Tag Archives: green smoothie

May 2017 Cooking Class – The Basics of Plant Based Eating

May 28, 2017

What a great class. We had 14 participants and 3 volunteers. Everyone had so much to share. Since we had a lot of new people this class, the focus was on the very basics of what to eat. We started the class in our usual way – with a green smoothie, one of my favorites – Kale Mango Banana. We also had a taste testing of one of my go to breakfasts – Overnight Oats. For dinner we made a Red Lentil, Carrot and Coconut Soup, a Kale and Apple Salad and Chia Pudding. I hope you enjoy the recipes as much as we all did.

Thanks Katherine for taking pictures. I will add them to this post as soon as I can.

Green Smoothie

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups greens (we used Kale)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (we used 1 fresh banana and 1 1/2 cups frozen mango cubes)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Place ingredients in a blender in the order above. Blend until smooth.

Overnight Oats

Overnight oats is the perfect breakfast dish, especially for the summer or for those days when you need to eat breakfast on the run. You mix everything up the night before  and in the morning, grab and go.

Adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon

  • 1 cup rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)
  • 2 ½ cups plant based milk (almond, coconut, rice, cashew or soy)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup raisins (or other dried fruit)
  • maple syrup (or other sweetener), to taste

In a small bowl, mash the banana and add oats, milk (we used cashew), chia seeds, cinnamon and dried fruit. Whisk together well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, stir the mixture and add a bit of maple syrup if desired.  Serve with a topping of fresh fruit, granola or hemp seed.

Need breakfast on the go? Spoon the overnight oats into a jar; add your toppings and seal. Throw it in your bag with a spoon.

Makes 3 servings

Red Lentil and Carrot Soup with Coconut

  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 to 6 large carrots, small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt (less if your bullion is salted)
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 Thai chillies, fresh or dried (optional)
  • 1 can (28 oz/796 ml) crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 large handful finely chopped kale or spinach (optional)
  • 1 can (14 oz/398 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar

 

Rinse lentils under cold water. Place lentils and all ingredients except kale,  coconut milk and lemon juice in a slow cooker or large pot. If using, leave chilli pepper whole for a slightly spicy soup, crush for more spice.  If using a slow cooker, cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours. If doing on the stove top, bring to a boil and simmer slowly until lentils are very well done and partially dissolved in the broth, about 1 hour. If using whole chilli peppers, remove from the soup. If using, add the kale or spinach and remove from heat.

Add coconut milk and lemon juice (or vinegar) and adjust seasonings to taste.

Red Lentil and Carrot Soup with Coconut

This is one of my all time favorite soups. Its fast and easy to make and contains basic ingredients I almost always have on hand. Serve with hearty whole grain bread and its a filling meal. (We had it with Ezekiel bread). We used 2 dried Thai chillies and the soup was very mild. If you like it spicier, crush your chillies or serve with some Sriracha or Garlic Chili sauce like Sambol Olek.

  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 to 6 large carrots, small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt (less if your bullion is salted)
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 Thai chillies, fresh or dried (optional)
  • 1 can (28 oz/796 ml) crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 large handful finely chopped kale or spinach (optional)
  • 1 can (14 oz/398 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar

Rinse lentils under cold water. Place lentils and all ingredients except kale,  coconut milk and lemon juice in a slow cooker or large pot. If using, leave chilli pepper whole for a slightly spicy soup, crush for more spice.  If using a slow cooker, cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours. If doing on the stove top, bring to a boil and simmer slowly until lentils are very well done and partially dissolved in the broth, about 1 hour. If using whole chilli peppers, remove from the soup. If using, add the kale or spinach and remove from heat.

Add coconut milk and lemon juice (or vinegar) and adjust seasonings to taste.

Kale and Apple Salad

This is a hearty salad that can easily be an entire meal. It makes a great supper paired with a baked potato.  The dressing is rich and creamy and bold enough to hold its own with kale. (if you are looking to reduce your nut intake, I have also done this dressing using 1/2 cup cashews and 1/2 cup cooked white beans.) If you are not a avid kale fan, be sure to cut your kale fine, don’t leave big pieces, and massage it well.

Dressing:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked until soft, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juice from
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Place all ingredients in high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

Pumpkin Parmesan

  •  ½ cup pumpkin seeds (or cashew, pecan or sesame seeds)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

In mini food processor or coffee grinder, combine pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast and salt. Process until crumbly. (or chop by hand) Sprinkle on top of your salad.

Salad:

  • 1 bunch of kale, de-stemmed and shredded fine
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup red onion, sliced thinly and separated into rings
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 bunch romaine lettuce, washed and torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds

Place kale in large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Massage the lemon juice and salt into the kale for a few minutes.  Add chopped apples, dried cranberries, sliced red onion, julienned carrots. Toss. Add a small amount of dressing and toss well.  Just before serving, add the romaine and toss with pumpkin seeds. Serve with a sprinkling of pecan parmesan.

Adapted from http://www.rawmazing.com/apple-and-kale-salad-with-oil-free-maple-dijon-dressing/

Chia Pudding

This is a recipe for a basic chia pudding. Add your choice of toppings or change it up by adding cocoa powder for a chocolate pudding, canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice for a pumpkin pie pudding.

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed; 1 tbsp maple syrup; or sweetener of choice
  • Optional add-ins – ¼ tsp vanilla, 1 tbsp cocoa, ¼ cup pumpkin puree & pumpkin pie spice
  • Optional toppings – coconut, fresh, frozen or dried fruit or berries, granola, nuts, hemp seeds

In a 2 cup jar, place milk, chia seeds and mashed banana or sweetener. (Optional, add vanilla, cocoa or pumpkin puree for a different flavour) Cover and shake well until combined. Let sit about 5 minutes and shake well again. Let sit another 5 minutes and shake well again. Let sit in the fridge for at least one hour before eating.  (For an instant pudding, blend pudding in a blender or use ground chia seeds.) Top with fruit, nuts, seeds or granola. Create a parfait by layering pudding with fruit and top with granola or nuts.

You can also replace 1 tbsp of chia seeds with 3 tbsp of rolled oats, and let sit overnight before eating. (oats take longer to soak)

 

 

 

 

 

Raw Food Weekend

April 25, 2017

I recently hosted a raw food and meditation retreat for a couple of friends. What a great experience. I have eaten raw for short periods of time before, but it has been a while. It was amazing how little we ate and yet always seemed to be content and full.

 

We did 3 full days raw. It was so much fun to try new recipes.  We experimented with a spiralizer making both zucchini and sweet potato noodles.

 

 

 

We started our mornings with a wheat grass shot after meditation and before the morning dog walk. A great way to get you energized for the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After our morning walk with the dog, breakfasts were Overnight Oats, Raw Granola and Fresh Cashew Milk, and Green Smoothies. Lunches were a Kale and Apple Salad with Pecans, a Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup and a Cauliflower Salad, and a Gazpacho with raw crudities. Suppers included Spiralized Zucchini Noodles with Raw Tomato Marinera, Spiralized Sweet Potatoes with a couple of different sauces (Cashew Curry, Wasabi Aoili, Herbed Ranch Style Dressing) and Cauliflower Rice. For snacks we had soaked raw almonds, fruit salad, figs, dates and dried apricots, and fresh fruit. So much good food.

The recipes from the weekend are below. I hope you will try some of them, even if you don’t do an entire day raw. They would be great alongside a cooked dish and are all super delicious.

Since my raw weekend, I have been continuing to eat raw for breakfast and raw or mostly raw for dinner. Lunches I have been eating cooked food. I find the raw suppers to be lighter and easier to digest and I sleep better.

Overnight Oats

Note: for this dish to be fully raw, you will need to make our own fresh plant milk. We made a cashew milk as cashew milk is rich and creamy and does not require straining out the pulp as almond milk does. To make your own cashew milk, blend 1/2 cup soaked raw cashews and 2 cups water until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate and use within 3 days. If you want a sweeter milk, add a couple of pitted dates to the mixture before blending.

  • 1 cup rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)
  • 2 ½ cups plant based milk (almond, coconut, rice, cashew or soy)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup raisins (or other dried fruit)
  • maple syrup (or other sweetener), to taste

In a small bowl, mash the banana and add oats, milk, chia seeds, cinnamon and dried fruit. Whisk together well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, stir the mixture and add a bit of maple syrup if desired.  Serve with a topping of fresh fruit, granola or hemp seed.

Adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon

Raw Granola

This raw granola is similar to overnight oats in that is also soaked before eating. However, it doesn’t contain chia seeds and so has a different texture. The recipe says to soak for 2 to 3 hours, but it can be soaked overnight as well, which is easier if you want to eat it when you get up. We found the original recipe way too heavy on the nuts, and adding lots more oats and quinoa flakes to be a delicious and much lighter breakfast. Feel free to use your favorite nuts, seeds and dried fruit. I like this for breakfast with the addition of a chopped fresh apple. For a fully raw version, make your own fresh nut milk.

  • 1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup sunflower seed
  • 1 cup pecan, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups raw oat flakes or quinoa flakes, or a mixture of the two
  • ½ cup goji berry
  • ½ cup cranberries
  • ½ cup hemp seed
  • 6-8 dates, chopped
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • big handful JOY ♥

Place everything in a jar. Each time you are hungry you take about ½  c of Granola, soak in just enough water to cover for 2-3 hrs and enjoy with cashew or almond milk.

Modified from Raw Solla’s recipe ebook.

Citrus Green Smoothie

We enjoyed quite a few smoothies over the weekend. My basic recipe is equal parts water, greens and fruit; however, we opted for an extra handful of greens in every smoothie, making them less sweet and more green.

  • two oranges, peeled
  • 2 bananas, fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups water

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Kale and Apple Salad

This kale and apple salad is one of my favorites and I have made it many times, either as a meal on its own, or as a side. The recipe makes a lot of Oil Free Maple Mustard dressing, enough for several salads, but it is delicious an many other salads and even on a baked potato instead of the traditional butter and sour cream. It will keep well in the fridge for at least one week.

The original recipe called for roasting the pecans in maple syrup but in the interest of remaining raw, we used raw pecans.

Dressing

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked until soft, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juice from
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Salad

  • 3 medium bunches of kale, de-stemmed and shredded fine
  • 1 lemon, juice from
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 4 apples, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • Julienned carrots
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Diced red pepper
  • pecans
  1. Place kale in large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice and salt. Massage the lemon juice and salt into the kale for about 4 minutes.
  2. Add chopped apples, dried cranberries, carrots, onion, and red pepper. Toss.
  3. Add dressing (start with half and then add to your taste) and toss well.
  4. Top with pecans and serve.

Adapted from Raw Amazing.

Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup

This is a fast and easy raw soup that is very satisfying. If you have a good high performance blender, like a Vitamix, you don’t need to grate the carrots or ginger just throw in the blender in chunks.

After blending the soup it is warm, from the blending action, and it is delicious this way. If you have to store it in the fridge, you may want to warm it up carefully on the stove before eating.

 

  • 3 large carrots, grated
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ½ tsp grated fresh ginger
  • Sea salt
  • Cilantro, to garnish

Place all ingredients except cilantro and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and add salt as needed. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

From The Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier

Cauliflower Salad with Herb Cashew Dressing

This is another favorite salad of mine. Adding fresh parsley to the dressing makes a lovely green sauce. However, if you prefer your dressing to be whiter, use dried parsley (1 or 2 tbsp) and stir it into the finished dressing instead.

My original recipe used thawed frozen peas, but to keep it raw, we used chopped broccoli instead.  Try the pea version by adding 2 cups of green peas, thawed under hot water.

Herb Cashew Dressing

  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 – 3 hours
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp whte miso
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 – 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to your taste

Adapted from The  PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli or asparagus
  • ½ cup green onions, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced fine
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds, soaked for ½ hour

Chop cauliflower and broccoli into small florets. Place chopped veggies in a large bowl. Add dressing and mix well. Add sunflower seeds.

Gazpacho

Finding a good gazpacho recipe can be tough, but we struck it lucky with this one from the Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook.  We made a few changes to the original recipe. We eliminated the oil. We didn’t have a cucumber, so we used a zucchini in its place. To keep it raw we substituted sun dried tomatoes for the tomato juice. The recipe calls for chopped avocado as a topping but we found adding an avocado to the soup adding a creaminess without refined oil. And the avocado did not change the color of the soup substantially, it stayed a beautiful red. For a vibrant colored soup, be sure to use bright red tomatoes and red pepper and peel your cucumber (or zucchini in our case).

  • 675 g ripe tomatoes (1 ½ pounds)
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled (or zucchini)
  • ¼ cup sweet onion
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 cups tomato juice or cocktail (or ½ cup sun dried tomatoes and 2 cups water)
  • 1 avocado (optional)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 4 tsp to 3 tbsp red wine vinegar (or balsamic)
  • Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
  • Topping:
  • Diced avocado, cucumber, red pepper
  • Chopped fresh basil, parsley, cilantro

Roughly chop the veggies for the soup and add all ingredients to the blender. Blend until smooth, adjust seasonings to your taste.

For a chunkier soup texture, add only half the tomatoes and pepper to the blender. Blend until smooth, then add the remaining tomatoes and pepper and pulse until desired texture is reached.

Top with toppings of your choice.

Adapted from Oh She Glows Every Day by Angela Liddon

 

Spiralized Zucchini and Marinara Sauce

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spiralized zucchini is now a favorite of mine. It is delicious cold and I don’t find any need to heat up the dish at all if you keep your marinara sauce at room temperature. What a quick and easy way to make a spaghetti dinner!

The original marinara recipe called for 3/4 cup olive oil – holy cow, that’s a lot of oil. We eliminated the oil totally, using my homemade vegetable broth instead. It tasted great. When I made this the next time, I added an avocado, which gave it a smoother richer taste.

Finely shred or spiralize 2 zucchini so that it is angel-hair in appearance.

Marinara Sauce

  • 2 cups tomatoes
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp dried basil (or sub fresh)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano (or sub fresh)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 5 pitted olives (we used green)
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 avocado, pitted (optional)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste. Serve over the zucchini pasta.

Adapted from Rawganique

 

Sweet Potato Noodles

The sweet potato noodles were a surprise for me. I didn’t even know you could eat sweet potatoes raw. I expected them to be starchy but they are crunchy and delicious. I have made this recipe a couple of times now and my favorite sauces are the curry and the wasabi. We also used the same Herbed Cashew Dressing as we used for the cauliflower salad. It is also great with the raw marinara sauce we used on the zucchini noodles.

Clockwise from 9 oclock – Curried Almond, Wasabi Aioli, Herbed Cashew

Spiralize your noodles and top with sauce of your choice. We tried a Curry Cashew Sauce, Wasabi  and Herb Cashew Dressing.

Curry Almond Sauce

  • ½ cup almond butter or cashew butter (we used cashew butter)
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 4 to 5  tsp curry powder
  • 1 to 2  tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp tamari

Place sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.  Garnish with  currents and walnuts.

Adapted from Jesse Lane Wellness.

Wasabi Aioli

The original recipe calls for less cashews and adds silken tofu. To keep this raw, we eliminated the tofu and added more cashews. (I also like this aioli as a topping on burgers.)

  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 to 3 hours
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp wasabi paste
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • ½ tsp salt

Drain soaked cashews.  Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Adapted from The  PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell.

Herb Cashew Dressing

  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 – 3 hours
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp whte miso
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 – 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to your taste

Adapted from The  PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell.

Cauliflower Rice

I have seen recipes for cauliflower rice pop up on Facebook more and more often lately. However, this was my first time trying it. Most of the recipes cook the cauliflower and veggies, but this one is fabulous raw. I love the sauce!

  • 1/2  head of cauliflower
  • 3 green onion tops
  • red bell pepper, chopped
  • diced celery
  • diced carrots
  • 2 tbsp parsley, fresh or dried
  • or substitute your favorite veggies

Sauce

  • 3 Green onion bulbs (the white part, use green tops for rice)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • juice of 1 lime (about 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp ginger (or 1 inch piece fresh ginger)
  • 1 tbsp broth (unsalted) or water
  1. Break cauliflower into florets and rinse well.
  2. Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until rice like in consistency.
  3. Place cauliflower rice in a bowl and stir in remaining rice ingredients.
  4. Blend all sauce ingredients, except parsley, pour over rice and mix thoroughly.
  5. Let rice sit for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Adapted from Raw Amanda

Jicima Fries

  • 1 jicima,
  • Lime juice
  • Chilli powder
  • salt

Peel the jicama and cut into French fry shape.  Toss with lime juice and sprinkle with chilli powder and salt. You could also add some garlic and onion powder if you like.

Raw Curly Salad

Since our retreat I have found this recipe which is absolutely delicious and can be modified in many ways. The dressing is orange based and so good on any salad including spring greens. The original recipe from the PlantPure Kitchen by Kim Campbell called for 1/2 cup of orange juice. I used one whole peeled orange instead. Using the whole orange gives you the benefit of the fibre in the orange but I also find it makes the dressing thicker.

This recipe makes a big salad. Feel free to use whatever veggies you have and make it to the size you need.

Orange Dressing

  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Salad

  • 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 2 cups, kale thinly sliced
  • 2 cups edamame beans or peas, thawed
  • 2 zucchini, made into noodle using a julienne peeler or spiralizer
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded or cut into thin noodles using a julienne peeler
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced (or 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, for garnish

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and garnish with sesame seeds.

I encourage you to add more raw food to your diet. And if you have the opportunity to go totally raw for a longer period, go for it. It was a wonderful experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 2016 Cooking Class – Comfort Food

November 13, 2016

It’s been a busy summer and fall, but we managed to squeeze in one more cooking class for the year. The weather is still nice out, but you just know that any day the bubble will burst and the cold and snow will arrive. It is a great time to enjoy hearty soups, stews, chowders and good old comfort food.

7_dinnerNovember’s cooking class featured a Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Gravy, a flavorful Italian Salad Dressing that uses vegetable broth thickened with chia seeds instead of oil, and a new take on an old fashioned Apple Crisp without the refined sugar and butter.

Thanks James for the great photos.

 

 

Green Smoothie

1_green-smoothies

You can’t have a cooking class without a green smoothie. I strongly believe that the most important change you can make to your diet is to consume more leafy green vegetables. For this class we enjoyed my favorite Classic Mango Kale Smoothie which follows The Raw Family’s basic recipe of 2 cups water, 2 cups greens and 2 cups fruit.

  • 1_green-smoothiw-ingredients2 cups water
  • 2 cups kale
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 2 cups frozen mango cubes

Place ingredients in a blender in the order given. Blend until smooth and creamy.

 

 

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

2_shepherds-pie-ingredThis recipe is an adaptation of Angela Liddon’s recipe in her new cookbook Oh She Glows Every Day. Like all the recipes in her new cookbook, this one is simple to make. It does have quite a few steps but don’t be intimidated, it comes together quickly. While this is a great every day comfort meal, it also makes a great company meal and left overs are great for lunch the next day.

This great for company because you can make it ahead of time and then pop it into the oven to heat while you visit. Just remember to add a bit extra cooking time if the dish is put into the oven cold.

While the original recipe contains both vegan butter and oil, it was easy to modify and omit these ingredients without compromising on the taste. I also substituted extra broth and a splash of red wine vinegar instead of the red wine in the recipe, and added a dollop of ketchup to the sauce.

Topping:

  • 2 ½ pounds potatoes, red, Yukon Gold, Sweet Potato or a mixture (about 6 medium potatoes), diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ to ½ cup unsweetened, unflavored plant based milk  (I used cashew)

Filling:

  • 2 medium leeks or 1 large onion, diced (about 2 ½ cups)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 ounces (450 grams) cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced or diced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 pound (450 grams) frozen mixed veggies or your choice of 4 cups diced veggies
  • 2 tbsp potato starch (or substitute 1 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp ground rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 ½ cups cooked lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 and lightly oil a 4 quart casserole dish.

Put potatoes in large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer 15 to 20 minutes until fork tender. Drain and return to the pot. Add garlic, garlic powder and salt. Mash until smooth adding milk as needed to achieve the desired consistency. Set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking, make the filling. In a large saucepan or wok, add leeks and garlic and sauté until soft. Add mushrooms and peppers and sauté until soft. Add vegetables and sauté until heated through.

In a small jar, mix broth, potato starch, red pepper flakes, rosemary, thyme and ketchup until smooth. Add to the veggies along with the lentils and cook until thickened.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon filling into prepared casserole and spread it out evenly. Top with potato topping in an even layer. Sprinkle with paprika and bake for 25 minutes or until heated through. Broil for a few minutes to toast the topping slightly if desired.

2_shepherds-pie-and-gravyServe with gravy.

Gravy

Since the filling of the Shepherd’s Pie is not very saucy, it is best served with gravy on the side. I used an oil free adaptation of Angela Liddon’s Cozy Gravy from her new cookbook Oh She Glows Every Day.  The oil can be easily omitted in almost all recipes that call for sautéing veggies in oil. You can add a splash of broth or water if you find the veggies sticking to the pan; however, I seldom find that any liquid is necessary if you cook on a medium heat.

I love Angela’s method of making the gravy and then blending it smooth in a blender. It makes a really smooth and flavorful gravy.

The original recipe uses flour as a thickening agent. I substituted arrowroot powder, but cornstarch would also work, as a gluten free option.

  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • ¼ cup low sodium tamari or soy sauce (or 2 tbsp of regular)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp white wine vinegar
  • Salt, to taste

In a medium saucepan, add onion and garlic and sauté until soft adding a tablespoon or two of broth if needed to prevent sticking. In a jar, combine broth, cornstarch, tamari, nutritional yeast and pepper. Cover jar and shake well. Add broth mixture to the onion mixture and simmer until mixture boils and thickens. (if not thick enough, mix a bit more cornstarch or arrowroot with water, add and cook. If too thick, add a bit more water or broth) Remove from heat and transfer to a blender.  Blend until smooth. ( or use an immersion blender to blend the gravy in the saucepan)

Italian Salad Dressing

3_salad-ingredWe served the Shepherd’s Pie along with a simple green salad to complete the meal. This Italian Salad Dressing recipe is from The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell. Instead of using oil, which adds few nutrients and a ton of calories, this recipe uses vegetable broth and chia seeds. The chia seeds produce a dressing that has a similar consistency to store bought oil based Italian dressings.

  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 ½ tsp chia seeds
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ tsp sweetener (agave, brown rice syrup, honey, raw sugar)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp paprika

3_salad-dressing-doneMix broth and chia seeds in a blender container and let stand at least 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients to the blender container and blend 10 to 15 seconds. Store in the fridge in a glass jar. (note, the original recipe does not call for soaking the chia seeds prior to blending but I find they blend better if soaked)

 

 

 

Apple Crisp

4_apple-crisp-ingredApple Crisp is a classic autumn recipe and is a great way to use apples from your tree.  Even though this recipe easily serves 8 to 10 people, I often make it for Ken and myself and consume it over the week. And when it is as healthy as this one, you can even enjoy leftovers for breakfast.

 

4_apple-crispThis recipe is a combination of a delicious apple crisp in Angela Liddon’s first cookbook The Oh She Glows Cookbook, and one found in Kim Campbell’s The PlantPure Nation Cookbook. I omitted the coconut oil in Angela’s recipe and replaced it with nut butter and apple sauce as used in the PlantPure cookbook.

Filling:

  • 8 heaping cups apples, chopped (we used a mixture of granny smith and gala)
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Topping:

  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup almond or cashew butter
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce

Preheat oven to 375֩ F and line a 11×9 inch pan with parchment paper.

Make the apple filling – (Note: You can peel the apples if you like, but I don’t find it is necessary.) Place chopped apples in a large bowl and sprinkle with arrowroot powder or cornstarch. Toss until combined. Add remaining filling ingredients and mix until well combined. Pour apple mixture into the prepared dish and smooth out evenly.

Make the topping – Stir together the oats, almond meal, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Mix maple syrup, nut butter and apple sauce together in a small bowl until smooth. Add nut butter mixture to oat mixture and combine until the oats are evenly coated with the nut butter.  Sprinkle oat mixture over apples in an even layer.

Cover the dish with foil and poke a couple of air holes in the foil. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the apples are just fork tender. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes until the topping is golden.  Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. The crisp is good served hot, warm or cold.

Making Coconut Whipped Topping
Making Coconut Whipped Topping

For the class we served it with coconut whipped topping, but it is great alone without any topping.

7_dinner-plate

Recommended Cookbooks

As you can tell from my recipe sources, I am a big fan of Angela Liddon as well as Kim Campbell.  I love every single dish I have ever made of theirs.  Below is a list of my most frequently used cookbooks.

  • The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon
  • Oh She Glows Every Day by Angela Liddon
  • The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell
  • Forks Over Knives
  • Forks Over Knives The Cookbook by Del Sroufe
  • 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson

Recommended Documentaries

Recently there has been an explosion of great documentaries outlining the benefits of plant based eating on health, environment and compassion for animals. They are a great way to educate yourself on the issues. Below is a list of my favorites.

  • Live and Let Live
  • Before the Flood
  • PlantPure Nation
  • Forks Over Knives
  • Vegucated
  • Cowspiracy
  • Food Matters
  • Hungry for Change
  • Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
  • Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead Part II

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 2016 Cooking Class – Cooking with Lentils

August 15, 2016

Our August cooking class focused on lentils. Lentils are little powerhouses of nutrition. Full of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. They are many different kinds of lentils, each with different properties.

I generally use red, green and black lentils. I love the red lentils for soups as they dissolve into the broth for a hearty, filling dish. Green lentils hold together better when cooked and are great for soups, stews and dishes where you want a bit more texture. And black lentils are very firm once cooked.  Cook up a batch of black lentils and leave them in the fridge. Add them to any dish your are cooking or sprinkle them on salads, or rice for an extra boost of protein and visual interest.

For the class we made a soup using red lentils and lentil-rice balls using green lentils. Of course the class also included a green smoothie and a dessert – apple crisp. I hope you will give the recipes below a try and enjoy them.

A big thank you goes out to Shirley who facilitated the class for me. I took an unfortunate tumble off my bicycle and am not getting around well right now. Shirley did not have time to pre-test my recipes and made them first time for the class. Thank you for taking on the challenge Shirley.

Our photographer, Michael, is away on vacation, so no pictures. I know a recipe is better with pictures, so I will try to add them later after I make these recipes again.

Kale Smoothie

This is my basic go to smoothie and I make it at least once every week. It follows the basic smoothie recipe from The Raw Family, 2 cups greens, 2 cups fruit, 2 cups water.

  • 2 cups kale
  • 2 cups frozen mango chunks
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 cups water

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Red Lentil and Carrot Soup with Coconut

I have been making this lentil soup for years. Its from a cookbook my mother gave me, 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson. I have adapted it slightly over the years. I love this soup even in the hot summer months. The red lentils dissolve into the broth so even those who don’t like lentils will love it.

  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 to 6 large carrots, small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 Thai chillies, fresh or dried (optional)
  • 1 can (28 oz/796 ml) crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 can (14 oz/398 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar

Rinse lentils under cold water and set aside. Place all ingredients except coconut milk and lemon juice (or vinegar) in a slow cooker or large pot. If using, leave chilli pepper whole for a slightly spicy soup, crush for more spice.  If using a slow cooker, cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours. If doing on the stove top, bring to a boil and simmer slowly until lentils are very well done and partially dissolved in the broth. If using whole chilli peppers, remove from the soup.

Add coconut milk and lemon juice (or vinegar) and it’s ready to serve.

Lentil Rice Patties or Balls

This Forks Over Knives recipe makes a great patty, ball or loaf. I have adapted the original recipe to add a bit more spices and flavorings. Its great as a burger or in a sandwich. If using the balls to top spaghetti or with gravy or a sauce, heat the balls separately in a frying pan. Don’t heat in the sauce as they will not hold their shape.

Don’t forget to add the oats when the rest of the mixture is quite hot as I find this helps bind the ingredients together well. You can use a food processor to partially mash the ingredients into a finer texture but it is not necessary. Just chop your veggies fine and mash everything together well.

  • 1¾ cups water
  • ½ cup brown-green lentils
  • ½ cup short-grain brown rice
  • 2 tsp dried poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp granulated onion
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 5 medium white or brown (cremini) mushrooms, chopped finely
  • 1 large rib celery, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp freshly minced garlic (about 5 medium cloves)
  • ¾ cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh sage leaf (or 1½ teaspoons dried, rubbed sage)
  • 1 tsp dried  thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh minced)
  • ¾  tsp dried ground rosemary (or 1 ½  teaspoon fresh minced)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 2 tsp fresh minced)
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (regular contains anchovies)
  • 1 to 2 tbsp soy sauce (to taste)
  • 2- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar (to taste)
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne (or to taste)

In a medium saucepan on high heat, combine water, lentils, rice, poultry seasoning, and granulated onion. Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer, and cook covered for 45 minutes. When done cooking, remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes with the lid still on. (Prepare your remaining ingredients while the rice and lentils are cooking.)

In a medium skillet on high heat, add 1 tablespoon of water. When the water begins to sputter, add the chopped onion, mushrooms, and celery, and cook stirring for about 3 minutes, adding water just as needed to prevent sticking. Add the garlic, and cook stirring for an additional 2 minutes, until the vegetables have softened (adding water as needed). If you’re using dried herbs, stir them in with the garlic (if using fresh herbs, add them in next step). Remove from heat.

In a large bowl combine the oats, tomato paste, nuts, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, vinegar and if you’re using fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano) add them now as well. When the cooked vegetables, and rice and lentils have cooled for about 10 minutes but are still very warm, add them to the bowl and  until all ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Adjust seasonings to taste (vinegar, soy sauce, spices).

If desired, place the mixture in a food processor and pulse just blended but still chunky.  Shape into patties or balls. Fry in a frying pan until crispy on both sides. Or bake in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes or until crispy. Also good as a loaf (bake 1 hour at 350).

Apple Crisp

Right now local apples are plentiful and this recipe from the Oh She Glows Cookbook is a great way to use them up. It is low in sugar and fat but super tasty. I have adapted the original recipe slightly to add more apples. I love this recipe for an easy dessert and then the leftovers for breakfast.

Angela Liddon from Oh She Glows has a new cookbook coming out in September 2016, next month. You can pre-order your copy of Oh She Glows Everyday from Amazon. I have mine ordered and one for each of the kids too. I love every recipe in her first cookbook.

Filling:

  • 10 to 12 heaping cups of apples, chopped but not peeled
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder or corn starch
  • 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Toppiing:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup thinly sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 11 by 9 inch baking dish with coconut oil, or line with parchment paper.

Make filling. Place chopped apples in a large bowl and sprinkle arrowroot powder on top. Toss well to combine. Add the sugar, chia seeds, cinnamon and lemon juice and combine well. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth top out evenly.

Make topping: Place all ingredients in the same bowl you used for the apples and combine well. Sprinkle evenly over the apples in the prepared pan.

Cover dish with foil and poke a couple air holes in the foil. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the apples are just fork tender. Uncover dish and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more until topping is nicely browned.

Serve hot or cold, your preference. Great with a scoop of vegan ice cream or Whipped Coconut Cream. (Check out this step by step tutorial for making Whipped Coconut Cream by Oh She Glows) Leftovers are great for breakfast.

 

Bonus Recipe

We did not make this recipe in class, but its another great lentil soup recipe that I hope you will try. Its from Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows Cookbook (I told you I loved every recipe in  the book and I meant it). I adapted it slightly to increase the veggies. The best part about this soup is the delicious broth, I love the spice mixture.

Red Lentil Kale Soup

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 – 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large handfuls of destemmed kale, chopped very fine (or spinach)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat oil. Add onions, garlic, celery and carrots and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the spices, stir to combine and sauté for a couple of minutes, until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes with their juices, broth and lentils. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and fluffy. Season with salt and pepper, discard bay leave. Stir in kale and cook for about 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

July 2016 Cooking Class – Cooking with Cashews

July 17, 2016

Today’s cooking class focused on quick, easy and delicious company meals sure to please every palette. Summer in Manitoba is short, so you want to enjoy every minute of it. When company arrives, you want to be able to whip up a delicious plant based meal without spending all day in the kitchen. Try out this delicious plant based menu –  Beet Green Smoothie, Fettucine Alfredo, Greek Salad and Cherry Cha Cha dessert.

(Pictures to be added later)

Beet Green Smoothie

Manitoba gardens are bursting with fresh greens. This blueberry beet green smoothie is so delicious they won’t even realize there are greens in it. And it has a lovely purple color.

  • 2 cups beet leaves
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 orange, pealed
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 banana, peeled and frozen
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Greek Salad

  • Red pepper, cored and diced
  • Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Cucumber, diced
  • Red onion, diced
  • Add greens, if desired

Creamy Salad Dressing

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons lemon juice (I used 4)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Soak cashews for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Drain cashews and place in a blender with the remaining ingredients, except salt and pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust as desired, add salt, pepper, more lemon. Refrigerate. Will last for several days in the fridge and is great on all kinds of salads. (Note: add a teaspoon or two of vegan Worcestershire sauce and some nutritional yeast to turn it into a Caesar Dressing. Adding ketchup and relish will give you a great Thousand Island)

Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

  • 2 1/2 cups chunked cauliflower
  • 1 1/2 cups plain unsweetened cashew milk
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 2 clove garlic – chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Soak cashews in water for at least 2 hours or overnight. Drain.

Steam cauliflower until tender.

Transfer cauliflower to a blender.  Add drained cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon juice, mustard. Blend until the sauce is totally creamy. Taste and adjust as necessary –salt, pepper, lemon juice, garlic, nutritional yeast, etc.

The sauce will thicken as it sits. Thin with water if necessary.

Serve over fettucine pasta and sauted veggies (ewe used red pepper, carrots, mushrooms, onions and peas) for a delicious Fettuccine Alfredo

Cherry Cha Cha or Blueberry Buckle or Peach Perfection

for the filling:

  • 6 cups fresh or frozen fruit (pitted cherries, blueberries, peaches, etc)
  • juice from ½ lemon
  • sweetener (agave, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, honey, sugar), to taste
  • 3 tbsp corn starch (or arrowroot powder)

for the crust:

  • 1 ½ cups almonds
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup packed, pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the topping

  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk
  • sweetener (maple syrup, agave, brown rice syrup, honey or sugar), to taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Place coconut milk cans in the fridge, right side up, for at least 24 hours.

To make filling: place berries in a large saucepan with lemon. Heat over medium heat. Fruit should form its own juice, but add a tablespoon or 2 of water, if necessary at the start to keep it from sticking to the pot. Bring mixtures to a boil. Simmer gently until fruit is tender. Taste the syrup and add sweetener until just sweet enough. Mix corn starch with ¼ cup water in a small bowl until smooth. (Note: need about 1 tbsp corn starch for each 1 cup of liquid. Increase if the fruit is very juicy) Add cornstarch/water mixture to the simmering fruit and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and cool.

To make crust: In a food processor, process almonds with salt until a fine flour forms. Add shredded coconut, dates and vanilla and process until mixture starts to stick together. Press evenly into the bottom of a cake pan or spring form pan. Refrigerate while making the filling.

To make the topping: Open the bottom of the chilled coconut milk with a can opener. Pour off coconut water and save for another use (drink or use in a smoothie in place of water). Open the top of the can with a can opener and scoop out the chilled coconut cream and place in a mixing bowl. Whip coconut cream until smooth. Add vanilla and just enough sweetener.  Keep in fridge until ready to use.

To assemble dessert: Spoon chilled filling over crust. Cover filling with coconut cream topping. Sprinkle toast coconut on top. Chill until ready to serve.

July Challenge

Your July cooking challenge – try cooking with cashews.  How about a Cream of Mushroom Soup, Macaroni and Cheez, Creamy Mushroom Gravy or even Cashew CheeseCake?

Your July education challenge – watch Cowspiracy, PlantPure Nation or Forks Over Knives.

 

Blenders

June 12, 2016

A blender is a key element in my plant based kitchen. Green smoothies are whipped up daily, so I need a blender that can last. And a cashew cream sauce requires a good blender to produce a smooth texture. Many, many years ago we purchased a VitaMix blender (3600 Plus). It turned out to be a really good investment. We paid around $600 for it, but it lasted for 35 years.  That’s a lot of smoothies and banana ice cream.

Broken Blade/Drive Shaft
Broken Blade/Drive Shaft

Sadly, my VitaMix bit the dust. The motor is still in fine working order but the blade shaft broke. Try as we might, we could not find a replacement part. They don’t make them anymore. Coincidently, the day after mine broke we found another, exactly the same, for sale on Kijiji. However, they wanted $200 for it. Given mine just suddenly gave up the ghost, I wasn’t ready to shell out that kind of money for another that might quit the next day.

Besides the VitaMix, I have had several other blenders over the last 35 years, all of which I picked up at garage sales. I have burned out a couple of Osters, 4 Betty Crocker personal blenders and a Magic Bullet.  To say I am hard on blenders is an understatement.

We did our research into what to buy. The units we considered were:

  1. VitaMix – I still consider the VitaMix to be the Cadillac of blenders. However, they also come with a %500 to $600 price tag. These power blenders use 1,500 watts of power.
  2. Blendtec – Also a very good blender. I use one of these for smoothies at the cooking classes. They have a smoothie button, just push and when the machine stops the smoothie is done just right. However, these also have a $500 to $600 price tag and use 1,500 watts of power.
  3. Ninja – my all have Ninja’s and love them. I like the design with some of the blades higher up on the shaft. I have used Kelsey’s Ninja for making green smoothies and found that they didn’t blend the greens as finely as I would like. I usually made a big green smoothie then finished it off to smooth consistency in the individual cup blender.  Also, there are a lot of plastic parts in this unit which worries me given how much use it would get. The Ninja is one of the new power blenders, using 1,500 watts of power.
  4. Waring – in our research we came across a review for a Waring commercial bar blender. After further research, we liked what we read and decided to give it a try. At only $150 on Amazon it was affordable, but a major reason for choosing a Waring MBB518 was that it only used 550 watts at peak. (We are off grid and during the winter, there are days when we did not have the power for the VitaMix)
35 year old VitaMix and new Waring MBB518
35 year old VitaMix and new Waring MBB518
Waring MBB518
Waring MBB518

Waring blenders are designed for commercial use and I am hoping this means they will stand the test of time – lots of green smoothie action. It has only 2 speeds, high and low – what more do you need? I like the glass container and the small compact motor unit. I have been using mine for a few days now. Three smoothies and a cashew cream sauce later and I love the machine. The container is much smaller than my old VitaMix (about half the size), and its much quieter too.  However, it has no problems making a smooth smoothie or sauce and powers through the frozen fruit like a pro. I think the smaller size helps.

The real test will be time.

August 11, 2016 update

I had used the Waring blender for just over a month and loving it. With the smaller container, I had to make 2 batches to feed both of us, but it did a super job blending them up nice and smooth. I really loved it for cashew creams, which is where the small container really shines. But then suddenly, it stopped working. We were on a green smoothie week and I guess it didn’t like making 6 to 8 smoothies a day. The motor runs but the blades do not turn under a load. The good news is that it is covered by a warranty so its been shipped off to Ontario. In the meantime, I am back to using the old Oster, carefully so as not to burn it out as well.

The day the Waring died, I checked VitaMix on line and found they had a sale on Certified Reconditioned units (sale on to September 30, 2016). These reconditioned units usually sell for $429 but are on for $319. We decided that perhaps the VitaMix is the best bet for our heavy blender use family. The units come with a 5 year warranty (Waring is 2 years) and free shipping. As a bonus, shipping is free if you need to return it for warranty work (cost me $20 to mail the Waring back). I purchased the extended warranty for an additional 3 years, for a cost of $99.

The drawback with the reconditioned units is that you don’t know exactly what model you are getting. It can be one of four C-series machines – Professional Series 500, 6300, 6500 or Total Nutrition Center 3.  However, I am not that picky and anxiously looking forward to it arriving. Will keep you posted with what I got and how it performs.

August 15, 2016 Update

My Vitamix has arrived! As mentioned earlier, its a reconditioned unit so you don’t know which one you will get. I got a 6300. It retails for $599 and I got it for $319. That’s a great deal.

I was super excited to try it out. Made myself a green pudding for dessert – 1 cup water, 3 tbsp chia seeds, a couple slices of fresh ginger, 2 cups parsley, 1 frozen banana and 1 cup frozen pineapple. Used the smoothie setting on the blender and voila – a totally creamy dessert pudding.

raspberry ice creamKen just came into the kitchen to ask if there was anything for dessert. I said “Green Pudding”. He turned up his nose just as I turned the page on the Vitamix cookbook I was reading. I said “how about a peach sherbet?”, which was on the cookbook page. Of course he said yah! No frozen peaches in the house but he did find raspberries. I used 1 cup almond milk, 1 frozen banana (for sweetness) and 1 cup frozen raspberries. OMG, I am in love with this machine. I used the frozen dessert setting and the tamper and in no time at all, super creamy and the consistency of soft serve ice cream. I used my old Vitamix for frozen desserts, and it did a good job. Better than any other blender I have used. However, it was no contest with this Vitamix 6300. I love the pre-set settings. The blender starts out slow and gradually increases in speed and then automatically stops.  I see lots of frozen desserts in our future.

Will update the post after I have had a chance to put the Vitamix 6300 through its paces.  And also on the repair progress on the Waring.

 

March 2016 Plant Based Cooking Classes

March 14, 2016

A perfect meal - Quinoa Pilaf, Kale and Apple Salad, Chia Pudding and a cup of Lemon Ginger Tea
A perfect meal – Quinoa Pilaf, Kale and Apple Salad, Chia Pudding and a cup of Lemon Ginger Tea

Wow, its been some time since I have had an opportunity to do a post. It was a busy winter season but I am happy to be back to cooking classes for 2016.

We had the first class last night and I was thrilled to see the interest for the class growing. Last night’s class had 22 participants. The class included a educational presentation followed by a cooking demonstration and a tasting of the dishes demonstrated. As in other classes, we started with a green smoothie. The recipes offered this class were a Quinoa Pilaf, a Kale Apple Salad and a Chia Pudding. Hope you will try them and enjoy.

Thanks James for the wonderful pictures.

Green Smoothie

2016_Mar_green smoothie

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Check out the Raw Family Website for great green smoothie recipes and information. You can find more of my favorite green smoothie recipes here.2016_Mar_green smoothie in blender

Orange, Mango, Banana and Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Orange, Mango, Banana and Juice of 1/2 Lemon

 

Quinoa Pilaf

Quinoa Pilaf to feed 30 people
Quinoa Pilaf to feed 30 people

 

2016_Mar_quinoa pilaf ingredientsThis recipe is great as a stuffing in a baked squash, peppers (try it for Easter in a mixture of red, yellow and orange peppers) or eggplant. If you are not a fan of the sage/rosemary spice mix typical of stuffings, try the recipe with an oregano/basil spice mix.

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 6 large cremini mushrooms, diced
  • 1 large carrot, grated or diced small
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp sage
  • ¾ tsp thyme
  • ¼ tsp ground rosemary
  • Salt and pepper

Rinse quinoa well and drain. Bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Add the quinoa and simmer 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove from heat and let sit covered for another 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, fluff with a fork, leave uncovered to cool.

In a large non-stick frying pan, sauté onion, celery, mushrooms, carrots and red pepper adding a tablespoon of water at a time, if necessary, to prevent from sticking.(or a small amount of vegetable oil) After a couple minutes, add the garlic and seasonings and fry a minute longer, until fragrant. Remove from heat. Stir in quinoa and season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Kale and Apple Salad

Kale and Apple Salad for 30 people
Kale and Apple Salad for 30 people

This recipe is an adaptation from a salad I love from Raw Amazing. Check out the original version and give it a try as well. Feel free to create your own version.

Maple Mustard Salad Dressing ingredients
Maple Mustard Salad Dressing ingredients

Dressing:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked until soft, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juice from
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
Blend Dressing in a Blender until smooth
Blend Dressing in a Blender until smooth

Place all ingredients in high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A small chopper is perfect for making Pecan Parmesan
A small chopper is perfect for making Pecan Parmesan

Pecan Parmesan

  •  ½ cup pecans, toasted
  • 1 ½ tsp nutritional yeast
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

Toast pecans in 300F oven for 7 to 9 minutes, until lightly toasted and fragrant. Cool. In mini food processor, combine pecans, nutritional yeast and salt. Process until crumbly. (or chop by hand). Pecan parmesan is also great on any salad or on spaghetti.

Ingredients for Kale and Apple Salad
Ingredients for Kale and Apple Salad

Salad:

  • 1 bunch of kale, de-stemmed and shredded fine
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup red onion, sliced thinly and separated into rings
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 bunch romaine lettuce, washed and torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds

 

Chop kale finely
Chop kale finely

Shred the kale finely, like you would a cole slaw. Place kale in large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Massage the lemon juice and salt into the kale for a few minutes.

Add chopped apples, dried cranberries, sliced red onion, julienned carrots. Toss. Add a small amount of dressing and toss well.  Just before serving, add the romaine and toss with pumpkin seeds. Serve with a sprinkling of pecan parmesan.

 

Chia Pudding

Ingredients for Chia Pudding
Ingredients for Chia Pudding

Chia pudding is a great dessert that is just sweet enough to top off a meal but also great as a breakfast or snack.

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed; 1 tbsp maple syrup; or sweetener of choice
  • Optional add-ins – ¼ tsp vanilla, 1 tbsp cocoa, ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • Optional toppings – coconut, fresh or frozen fruit or berries, granola, nuts, hemp seeds
Making Chia Pudding in a jar
Making Chia Pudding in a jar

In a 2 cup jar, place milk, chia seeds and mashed banana or sweetener. (Optional, add vanilla, cocoa or pumpkin puree for a different flavour) Cover and shake well until combined. Let sit about 5 minutes and shake well again. Let sit another 5 minutes and shake well again. Let sit in the fridge for at least one hour before eating.  (For an instant pudding, blend pudding in a blender or use ground chia seeds.) Top the jar with fruit, nuts or seeds of your choice, or create a parfait by layering pudding with fruit and top with granola or nuts.

You can also replace 1 tbsp of chia seeds with 3 tbsp of rolled oats, and let sit overnight before eating. Or try it as Overnight Oats.