Friday, April 25, 2014

The China Study All Star Collection- Free Recipe! {Pumpkin Seed and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Bars}

It's blog tour time! The same smart cookies who brought us The China Study Cookbook are back with this All Star Collection. You might remember my previous interview with Leanne Campbell (Colin T Campbell's daughter) and how much I enjoyed her book and this second round is no exception! 

With a wide range of recipes from some of my favourite vegan chefs in one handy book this is a wonderful place to start as a new vegan or a great addition to the cook book collection of a well seasoned vegan cook. It's divided into lots of handy categories: Breads and muffins; breakfasts; appetizers and salads; soups and chilis; burgers, sandwiches and tacos; side dishes and yummy yummy desserts so no matter how you like to eat they've got you covered.

We've been eating our way through the array of delicious plant based recipes and have already hit on some favourites!: Overnight muesli, Almond Cardamon Cream Chia Pudding with Fresh Berries, Lemon-lime Green Smoothie, Spicy Almonds, Confetti Kale Salad, Caesar Salad dressing, Quinoa Salad with pistachios, Lemon-Berry Sorbet (minus the vodka), Dreamy Baked Bananas and obviously Dreena's breakfast bar recipe below. 

I can personally recommend all of these recipes we've tried so far, they've all been hits! Seriously yummy hits that have been a godsend while I haven't had the time/energy to create my own new recipes. My fussy other half has been pleased with all the ones he's tried too (namely ones without veggies he doesn't like) but we've found it easy to substitute other things he does like in (e.g a brown rice version of the Quinoa salad or Spinach/Lettuce in the Kale Salad recipe)

Plus I can't wait to try a heap more! I've got my eye on the Green Papaya Salad, Perfect Pesto stuffed Mushrooms, Pineapple-Cucumber Gazpacho, Almond crusted Eggplant Cutlets, Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake, Peanut Butter Fudge Truffles etc. etc.

I've been lucky enough to share one of the scrummy recipes from the book with you too. I hope you enjoy Dreena's delicious breakfast bars (or if you're me anytime bars) as much as we did!

These are a terrific “on-the-go” healthy breakfast or a perfect snack anytime of the day. Our whole family loves them!

11/2 cups rolled oats
11/4 cups oat flour
3–4 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
2–3 tablespoons nondairy chocolate chips (see Tip)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8–1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1–2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons unsweetened plain nondairy milk

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats, oat flour, pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  • In a smaller bowl, combine the brown rice syrup with maple syrup and milk.
  • Add the wet ingredients into the dry mixture, stirring until well combined.
  • Transfer the mixture to an 8 × 8 baking dish or brownie pan lined with parchment paper and press it down until evenly distributed.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut to mark out the bars before you bake them to make it easier to fully cut and remove the bars once baked. (I usually mark out 16 bars, but you can make them whatever size you like.)
  • Bake for 20 minutes, then remove and let cool in pan. Once cooled, use a sharp knife to fully cut the bars, then remove with a spatula.

Mini chocolate chips are great if you have them. You can also substitute the pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips with raisins, cranberries, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, unsweetened coconut, or other dried fruit (chopped, if needed).

I hope you enjoy this breakfast bar as much as we did!
Love and Smiles,

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Soy Milk Story + Yummy 'milky' recipes

When I first went vegan, soymilk was my go-to. I fell in love with the sweet, creamy versions that made any recipe better... but then I did some research and found out about the darker side of soy (GMOs, pesticides, protein isolates, added sugar and oil). I decided if I was going to switch to soy it had better be made with organic soy beans! This was quite hard for me after getting rather attached to the luxurious soymilk but I made the change, I tried some organic brands... but they just didn't taste as good. I can distinctly remember standing in the supermarket aisle reading the back of all the soymilks searching for one that was made from organic soy beans and unsweetened but being bitterly disappointed. I soon realised there were many other non-dairy milk alternatives and set about drinking my way through them. I went with almond milk, it wasn't as creamy but for less calories I'd settle and my husband went for sweet rice milk... but every so often we were still tempted into buying the odd carton of (non-organic) soymilk because it just tasted so good.
You can imagine our delight when we found Vitasoy’s organic soymilk range, which is made from organic whole soybeans! I headed straight for the ultra low fat unsweetened organic bean soymilk and I'm LOVING it! It's only 40 cals per cup (same as almond milk but creamier with more protein – score!) & obviously my husband who doesn’t care about calories goes for the original version to 'cream' up his tea and cereal. The fact that Vitasoy are producing Aussie grown non-GMO whole organic bean soymilk makes me very happy. And the unsweetened low fat version with no carrageenan makes me off the charts happy because carrageenan is one of those annoying things I have to watch out for, as it upsets my tummy.

I'm really enjoying cooking with soymilk again and I've noticed how much of a difference it makes to 'creamy' dressings, sauces, smoothies and desserts. Why not give these yummy 'milky' recipes a try:

Fruit 'ice cream' (you all know I'm a fruit 'ice cream' lover but soy milk really ups the creaminess and makes it even more amazing without any change in flavour like with coconut cream/milk)
This discovery happened late last year so when I was given the opportunity to share this with you I couldn't really refuse. I know I said no more giveaways and I've been turning them all down since, but how can you knock back something you're consistently using and genuinely excited about? So apologies if you're not loving the giveaway but for those of you who would like the chance to win a Vitasoy hamper valued at $150 packed full of:

3 x 1 litre Vitasoy milk cartons
4 x Vitasoy recipe cards
1 x ‘Healthy Every Day’ cookbook by Pete Evans
1 x T2 coffee mug
1 x KeepCup
1 x 250g Global Cafe Direct organic coffee
1 x $65 Coles gift card
Please leave a comment on this post, my facebook or tweet me @ClaireASVF (mentioning #spillthebeans) telling me your favourite soymilk recipes! The competition is open from 15/4/14 - 29/4/14, click here to check out the T&Cs. The lucky winner will be announced 30/4/14. Good luck!

Love and Smiles,

*For calcium enriched soymilk in the Vitasoy flagship range, try original or reduced fat. 

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