Vegan Apple Walnut Green Smoothie Bowl

5-01-14 046

Nothing kicks off spring (or summer) quite like a fresh green bowl of creamy fruits and veggies.

With how hot it’s been out this past week, the thought of eating warm meals just makes me feel like melting on the spot. Instead of a typical salad dinner, I decided to try something new and come up with an extra heat-friendly dinner: a green smoothie bowl. Somehow, it was my first time making a true green smoothie. It was cool, creamy, refreshing, and contained pretty much all the same ingredients as the salad–with the addition of my customary after-dinner fruit! It was like a healthy meal and a decadent dessert all together in one bowl.

It was so filling, and unbelievably delicious; I was shocked by how well it turned out considering I had to throw it together with what I happened to have on hand. This would also make a wonderful breakfast–I’ll definitely be having it more often!

Makes one bowl / 3 cups worth.

5-01-14 0525-01-14 007

Ingredients

  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 cup or 2 big handfuls spinach
  • 3/4-1 cup soy, almond, or coconut milk
  • Hemp protein powder (optional)
  • 1/2 frozen banana (optional)
  • 1-3 ice cubes (optional)
  • 2 tbsp walnuts, chopped
  • Fresh ginger or powder: 1 tsp
  • 1 tbsp crystallized ginger, chopped, for topping

Other add-in ideas: Beets, blueberries, chia seeds, flax seed, psyllium

Directions

1. Set aside a quarter to a half of your apple to use for topping. Put the rest of it in a blender along with the avocado, cucumber, spinach, 1/2 cup milk, fresh ginger, and other optional add-ins. Blend until combined. Add 1/4 cup more milk, or until the mixture has reached your desired consistency.

2. Pour into bowl, and top with leftover apple pieces, walnuts, and chopped crystallized ginger.

And that’s it–enjoy!

Serving size: entire recipe (3 cups). Calories: 440

5-01-14 0755-01-14 0265-01-14 058

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Quinoa Porridge [Low Cal]

5-14-14 013

I have trouble letting go of winter and autumn foods by the time spring rolls around. Something about pumpkin spice, warm apple pies, winter squashes and brussels sprouts, and steaming soups and porridges just makes me want to eat them regardless of how hot it is outside.

When I cook for other people, though, I have to at least try to be season-appropriate–and when I’m home for the summer, I’m a bit addicted to cooking for my friends and family. So, I decided to give myself a last winter hurrah before I moved back home, and treated myself to this pumpkin pie porridge before one of my last finals.

I may continue to have this dish on those slightly-less-hot summer days simply because of how how delicious it is… and I’ll have to come up with an apple pie version, too!

Serves 1 (about 1.5 cups)

5-14-14 025

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (add more to taste)
  • Dash of cloves, nutmeg, and ginger, or of premade pumpkin spice
  • Maple syrup or sweetener to taste
  • Toppings: cocoa nibs, chocolate chips, cranberries, walnuts, etc.

Directions

1. In a pan over medium heat, combine soymilk, pumpkin puree, and quinoa. Bring to a boil, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the quinoa are split and soft and the mixture has thickened to an oatmeal-like texture.

2. Remove pan from heat, and add in the spices and sweetener. You may want to add another splash of milk if you like a less thick consistency.

3. Add toppings if desired, and serve hot!

Calories: 300 (using a 0 calorie sweetener and unsweetened soymilk)

5-14-14 0355-14-14 009

Vegan Nutty Chocolate Coconut Bars

5-04-14 238 crop

Every time I open the fridge, there is a lonely little can of coconut milk waiting for me to finish it up. I love making Thai coconut curries, but I have a serious problem making enough curry to use up those monstrous 14oz cans of coconut milk before they go bad. All too often I end up sadly throwing one out, with only a quarter of it used. Whose idea was it to make those cans so big, anyway? You’d have to be some kind of superhuman coconut milk drinker—and I’m talking the thick kind, not the deliciously drinkable diluted ones in cartons—or a curry-loving family of 5 to use those things up in time. But I’m getting off topic here.

I decided that the best way to do that coconut milk justice was to turn it into a pastry. I ended up going with my own version of Ohsheglows’ lightened up coconut bars, because, as I’m sure we all know, she is the guru of all things vegan cooking. The condensed coconut milk idea she uses in the recipe is absolute genius–I’m not sure if it was a common thing that I just happened to discover through her, but it’s seriously amazing! I’ll definitely be using that trick more often to use up those pesky coconut milk cans–I bet it would make a fabulous ice cream base too. But that recipe will have to wait til summer.

Never again will I have to forgo recipes calling for condensed milk!

Also, about the bars: warning, they’re extremely addictive. I ate way too many, but my tastebuds are happy campers.

5-04-14 215

Makes about 20 small bars.

Ingredients

Shortbread crust:

  • 1 + 1/3 cups flour
  • 6 tbsp earth balance, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp maple syrup

Topping:

  • 1 can light coconut milk (15oz?)
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup pecans or almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • Sea salt to sprinkle on top

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line a 9″ pan with parchment paper.

2. Prepare the crust: mix together the flour and brown sugar. Stir in the earth balance and maple syrup until the mixture clumps up and is evenly combined. Press crust into the bottom of the pan to form a somewhat compact layer.

3. Prepare the condensed coconut milk: combine the coconut milk and coconut sugar in a pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until it’s thickened up significantly.

4. Remove from heat, and pour in the chocolate chips, maple syrup. Stir until the chocolate chips have melted and combined. Pour this mixture on top of the crust. Sprinkle the chopped nuts, shredded coconut, and sea salt on top.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees, until it looks set and the coconut shreds are beginning to brown. Put in the freezer for a few hours, or in the fridge overnight. Once set, cut into bars, and serve!

– Serving size: 1/20 of recipe. Calories per serving: 190

5-04-14 2575-04-14 221

Make your own Iced Tea Lattes! [Vegan]

4-29-14 120

Homemade iced tea lattes. My new lifeblood, especially with summer upon us.

By some Berkeley miracle it’s 90 degrees out today, and being the heat-hater I am, I’d usually be miserable right now. But thanks to the fact that I’ve been sipping iced chai tea lattes all day, I feel great. This revelation also helps me meet my new goal to have at least 2 cups of black tea a day.

Here’s how that goal started: I realized that, with finals coming up and the fact that I’ll have one single day to pack and move out of my apartment, my stress levels are out of control. I’ve had all sorts of insane cravings–even after eating a big meal–am having trouble sleeping, and my skin is really upset with me. After doing some research, I stumbled across studies that show that those who drank black tea regularly had lowered cortisol after stressful activities than those given a placebo, even despite the caffeine content. Apparently, this is thanks to the polyphenols in black tea; I’ve been drinking tons of green and herbal tea lately, so I decided it was high time to start reintroducing black tea to my daily routine. Even if it isn’t a miracle stress solution, it can’t hurt!

And what better way than to make it cool, refreshing, and creamy?

4-29-14 139

I know this might be far too simple to call a recipe, but for blog-organizing purposes, I’m calling it one anyway!

Ingredients

  • Black tea: loose leaf or in a bag. (My favorites so far : Chai, French vanilla, Irish breakfast, Lady Grey)
  • Your favorite kind of milk (I use soy)
  • Sweetener (optional)
  • Other flavorings like vanilla, lemon, etc. if desired
  • Ice cubes

Directions

1. Brew a pot or pitcher of your tea according to the directions for that type. For example, white and green teas usually should be steeped at lower temperatures. Put the pot/pitcher in the fridge, and let cool. To speed it up, add ice cubes after ~1 minute of brewing.

2. Once room temperature or cooled, pour some of it into glass, add a splash of milk, and sweetener if you want it. Add in ice cubes, and enjoy! Alternatively, if you used a pitcher and left extra room, you can add the milk, ice cubes, and sweetener straight to that.

I also like to dilute it with more water because often the hot tea is quite strong, but that’s just personal preference. (It also makes my original brewed pot last longer.)

4-29-14 1064-29-14 100

Who need Starbucks when you can make all their drinks at home, perfectly to your tastes?