Best Way to Start a 4 Day Vacation? Smoothies and Booze!

Today is remembrance day, and also the day my best out of town peep and her fab fam are coming in for a wedding in Surrey!  Super stoked because it is going to be a weekend of family fun mixed in with some adult indulgence.  With some of my best besties!  So as if i wasn’t already jazzed enough about today and tomorrow and the next day, the 1st day and the last day will be and were pretty rad too.  Huh whu?  Yes, i need some more coffee.

Night before 4 day vacation:

Ethiopian food and Wii Sports!  Thanks be to Siobhan and Stephen for taking us to their fave Ethiopian restaurant, Fassil on Broadway.  This place knows Stephen by name and serves YUMMY food with a smile and a sense of pride.  I think it’s a husband and wife team that own this place (and serve and cook and bus) and you really feel like you have been invited into their home for some of their home countries specialties.  Also wonderful?!?  The squishy bread, injera, is made with teff flour and so is gluten free!  Whoot!  I always forget how filling injera is and so it was with a very full belly the gang of us went back to Siobhan’s and Stephen’s so that i could suck at Wii bowling and kick ass at Wii tennis (but not before i dropped my iPhone in a tiolet 😦 ).  All with a mustache on my Mii – you know, for Movember!

Day 1 of vacation:

BEST SMOOTHIE EVER, toast with PB and fancy jam,  and coffee with Kahlua!  Ok, so it’s been 3 days straight that i have been making this smoothie.  It is scrumptious and delicious (no, i don’t care that those mean the same thing) and healthy and easy and basically as milk shake you can have for breakfast and…well you know….

Almond Butter Banana Smoothie = RADICAL!

From the fantastical Happy Healthy Life blog, be sure to go on over there because the author, Kathy, has some great tips and info on this smoothie.

Easy Energy Almond Butter Banana Smoothie
vegan, serves 2

2 cups non-dairy milk, vanilla flavor
*soy or hemp pref’d
2 frozen bananas, ripe
2 Tbsp raw almond butter, not salted is pref’d
*fresh ground almond butter is best
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp agave or maple syrup
1 cup ice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
optional: a few dashes of cayenne
garnish: roasted almonds

And if you are lucky enough to have a Vita-Mix blend for approximatly 30 freaking seconds!!  No kidding!

I also add protein (right now it’s hemp hearts), oil (Udo’s), and vitamin D to boost this breakfast into the stratosphere of nutritious and delicious!  It’s almost as amazing as a double rainbow.  Almost.

Ok, so now i have to get this teeny tiny apartment family ready!  Good day to you all!  Hopefully i’ll have time to post the rest of my vacation shenanigans later!

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Quick and Easy….just how i like my…..Soups.

So it seems that every time i make a soup i think it’s the best soup ever.  And that’s ok.

Today’s BEST SOUP EVER (!!) is not only the best soup ever but also the easiest soup ever.  Seriously.  No chopping except if you wanna.  And it’s brought to you buy Vegan Yum Yum (yum!) via Chic Vegan ….otherwise known as “Why doesn’t my blog look as pretty as that?” … perhaps one day…


 

Coconut, Corn and Black Bean Soup

The picture on Vegan Yum Yum is 100X better….but the iPhone does not bad!

Coconut, Corn, and Black Bean Soup
Makes 4 lunch sized portions (or 1 Van Chick sized dinner and 1 Van Chick sized lunch serving**)

**Van Chick’s comments in italics

2 Cans Black Beans
1 Cup Pureed Stewed Tomatoes – Hooray for new Vita-Mix!  Pureed those tomots in .5 seconds!
1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
1 Vegetable Bullion Cube – I use Better Than Bullion..mmmm
1 Cup Frozen Corn
1 tsp Smoked Paprika (please actually use the smoked kind!) – I think mine was smoked…smelled smoky.
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt – or pink Himalayan salt!  Or whatever you have!
1 tsp of your favorite herb(s) – my favorite herb rhymes is FrillantroAnd here’s where the chop if you wanna comes in.

Add both cans of beans with their liquid to a heavy soup pot. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, bullion cube, and paprika. Simmer for at least 20 minutes, but it can cook on low, covered, for much longer if needed. A few minutes before serving, add the corn. Garnish with some fresh herbs, if available, and/or a splash of coconut milk.

You may consider adding shredded carrot, fresh baby spinach, pasta, rice, lentils, or even a diced potato if you feel like jazzing it up a bit. It’s a very versatile soup, and I find it refreshing change from the vegetable broth and tomato based soups I usually make.

I made some quinoa (keeeeen-waaaaaah) in my rice cooker (miracle!) with “chicken” flavored Better Than Bullion (used the veggie flavor in the soup) and the poured the soup over that.  And, since i like crunch (almost as much as i like sauce) i added a garnish of blue corn tortilla chipsMMMMMMM!  The one and only change i would make is to not add any salt as the bullion is salty enough as is.

DAIYA CHEESE! At Capers and Donalds!

Who needs a post with a title like that?!?! Well i should say something i guess….

As much as we ♥♥♥ Karmavore – (who are (is?!?) moving to a BIGGER location with a DELI!) I am excited to announce Daiya cheese is now available at locations in Van City!  If you are not in the know Daiya is a locally made dairy, soy, and gluten free vegan cheese.  If you’re thinking it must suck than think again.  1st of all IT MELTS and second, as a good friend of mine says “it’s actually pretty cheesy”  He’s a cheese eating dude in case that matters.  Not sure what sizes are available…perhaps my super star friends and Vegan Spotters Jenn and Josie can let us know in the comments.

Josie confirms a sighting of Daiya at the Commercial Dr location, no word on Hastings St.

Jenn spotted Daiya at Capers on Robson, no news from other Whole Food locations.

To celebrate here’s a kick ass CHEESY vegan recipe!  Whoot!

Vegan Baked Mac and Cheese with Daiya

Eating Clean August – Day 6, 7, 8 – August 8th, 9th, and 10th

Combining 3 days into 1 because…i can.

Sunday was not a total write off but if i fell off the wagon on Saturday i was only climbing back up on Sunday.  There was a fantastical shake that included banana, strawberry, raw cocao, vanilla, and natural peanut butter and a yumtastic tofu scramble…but there was also fries with ketchup.  So yeah, i was holding on to the wagon but flailing and dragging my feet big time.

Monday was better.  It featured a shake (shock!), left over curry from dinner Sunday, and a BIG stirfry.  You may have heard of my BIG salads, well this is almost the same but sauteed.  Baby bok choy (and i don’t care…i just always have to sing that after saying baby bok choy), baby corn, asparagus, red, green, and yellow peppers, sprouts, broccoli, and tofu.  Lots of times when i make a BIG stirfry i don’t bother with a grain as it just seems like filler, so this was nothing but veggies seasoned with Braggs, nutritional yeast, and Spike.  SO good.

And then there was today…..a bounty of awesome good for me radness.  1st there was…A SHAKE…seriously, have to start making radder shakes….anyone have a recipe i can try?

Schweeeet and Schpiiiiicy!

And then it got good.  For lunch i had Raw Sweet and Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms as taught to me by the lovely and amazing Janice of Raw Foundation.  I marinated portabello mushrooms in Braggs and water over night and then topped with a concoction of avocado, chilli powder, cayenne, lemon, agave, and fresh tomato.  So much lovelier than the BBQ that was happening at my work that made the whole building smell super gross.  I am such a hippy.

WOWOWOWOWOW-Zers!

And for dinner?!?!  VEGAN AND GLUTEN FREE PIZZA from The Wallflower! I ♥♥♥ this place and i SUPER ♥♥♥ the pizza that you can only get on Tuesday!  The crust is homeade and amazing (not the usual shit substitutes GF peeps have to deal with) topped with Daiya cheese, vegan “meat” options, and veggies.  SO YUM!  I shared the pizza so also had a spicy peanut wrap and Lightening Fries (vegan chilli fries).  And if that wasn’t enough super awesomeness they also have a gluten free beer at the Wallflower!

Look how sad my water was to be pushed aside for this awesome gluten free ale (can you call any beer an ale?!?).  Don’t know if it’s vegan but will find out.  I really hope it is (hopehopehope).  Oh, and we used a Groupon so we saved $20.  Because we are super smart and awesome like that.

So that was what i ate.  Now for the lesson you’ve been dying to learn:

WTF is Nutritional Yeast?!? And Why All You Crazy Vegan’s So Nutty For It?!?

From Buzzle.com

Nutritional yeast is the deactivated form of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is called the “vegetarians’ proteins” as it is a rich source of protein while still containing a number of other nutrients. Nutritional yeast is grown on cane sugar and molasses. It is then harvested, washed, dried and sold either in the form of flakes or powder. The color of nutritional yeast may range from yellow to brown depending upon the manufacturer. The various nutritional yeast benefits have made this nutritional supplement a popular choice for many, specially amongst vegetarians.

Nutritional Yeast Benefits

With 18 amino acids, nutritional yeast is a complete protein. It is up to 55% high quality protein. In addition, it has 15 minerals in it. For vegetarians and those who are on a low cholesterol diet, nutritional yeast is a great substitute for meat, dairy products or other sources of proteins that are also rich in fats.

Other health benefits of nutritional yeast include:

  • It maintains ideal intestinal ecology.
  • It improves blood production.
  • It helps in maintaining optimum cholesterol levels.
  • It improves liver health and function.

Including Nutritional Yeast in Diet

Besides the health benefits of nutritional yeast flakes or powder, it is the nutty and cheese like flavor that also has a role to play in popularizing this supplement. It is favored by many as a cheese substitute. Here are some ways in which nutritional yeast can be included in the diet:

  • Use it as a topping for popcorn, instead of butter and salt.
  • Put in on your scrambled eggs <– nope, don’t do that, use it in your TOFU SCRAMBLE!  Much better!
  • Use nutritional yeast for it’s cheesy flavor in pizzas, pastas and casseroles. <– check out THIS awesome Mac and “Cheese” recipe!
  • Add to soup to give it a creamy taste without adding milk.
  • Use it with fried or mashed potatoes.
  • Can be used with gravies and sauces.
  • Mix it with vinegar and oil and use as salad dressing.
  • Mix 1 tablespoon with every 2 cups of vegetable mixture for burgers. <– veggie burgers 😉
  • Add 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast to each cup of flour while making baked foods.

And no, eating lots of nutritionl yeast does not cause yeast-y problems.  In case you were wondering.

There you have it….see you tomorrow…when i will be starting my day with…an omlette!  Just kidding.  A shake.

Eating Clean August – Day 5 – August 7th

Ok…so i may have fallen off the wagon a tad…

The day started off well with a sugar free hazelnut latte and 2 vegan, gluten and sugar free treats from the farmers market.  Later in the day i snacked on Bean Boy hummus, raw vegetable crackers from Organic Lives, and strawberries from the market.

Everyone loves strawberries.

Then Josie came over with some organic wine and everything went off the rails after we each drank half the bottle…before dinner.  We went to a mexican restaurant where we succumbed to our weakness for tequila, which led to margaritas.  Whoops.  Oh well, at least my drunken before bed snack was Falafel Chips which are totally organic, and super duper healthy.  At least there’s that.

And there’s this:

Health Benefits of Tequila:

*Tequila dissolves fat and has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol and increase your good cholesterol.

*In small to moderate amounts, it is a heart healthy drink.

*When you are feeling stressed, one shot of tequila can help you relax.

*According to Tequila Health, if you drink a small glass of tequila after eating your dinner, it helps you digest your food faster.

*Tequila Health also says that drinking moderate amounts of tequila can help reduce your chances of getting dementia in later years.

I have no idea where the website i found this on got the info (what’s Tequila Health?  I couldn’t find it) but let’s just assume it’s all true.  And we’re not even thinking about the health benefits of the lime 😉

Squeeky Jandals at the Farmers Market

Jandals are what crazy New Zealanders call flip flops.  And squeeky is what my jandals got when i walked to the West End Farmers Market today in the rain.  It was TOTALLY worth it though as not only did i get some nummy fresh, local, organic fruits and veg i also got:

A dairy free latte from the Bean Buggy.  These guys rule because not only do they have a dairy alternative…they have 3!

Not sure if you can see this but Bean Buggy carries unsweetened almond milk, rice milk, and soy milk.  Wow.  They should talk to the stupid effing Flamingo hotel in Vegas who don’t even carry any soy milk (the Venetian does :)) Also their hazelnut flavor is sugar free.  Whoot.

Banana loaf and a lemon cookie that were vegan, gluten free, and sugar free.  Everyone except me is like…dude, that is sick.  But it wasn’t sick!  At all!!!  It was yummy and good for me.  So eff off and try one for yourself, edible flours delivers!  For being so rad edible flours has taken the title in the category of KICK ASS!

And last but not least i got Earthlings the movie.  Narrated by Joaquin Pheonix while we was still a hottie.  I have never seen this film, have wanted to, and was able to help out Liberation BC by buying a copy from their booth at the market.  So that was nice.  of me.

Now if only i could have also taken home a BF.  A hot, rad, earth loving, tattoo’d, hottie who also is vegan and shops at the farmers market.  Le sigh….perhaps next week!

Eating Clean August – Day 4 – August 6th

Ok, i am confused….I think i am ahead a day…which is actually fine since the day before yesterday was lame.  I didn’t cheat but i didn’t really eat or learn anything worth telling you about either.  So…Friday the 6th it is.

Breakfast and lunch were more shakes and leftovers.  Although i’m not sick of eating my Go To shakes i am sick of writing about them so i need a fun new shake to share.  I will work on a ‘Week of Rad Shakes’ which will be awesome and inspiring and all that jazz.  Until then…sorry.

So what about dinner?!?  Thanks to the awesome shmasome Jenn I had a fantastic meal of Greek salad (with her mom’s secret recipe dressing which was awesome), olives on the side (because olives are disgusting).  Rice with Earth Balance (i decided after reading the ingredients on Earth Balance that even though it’s a processed product it’s all good stuff so it’s ok), Braggs (same goes) and nutritional yeast.  Roasted potots with Spike (i had no idea how good Spike was!  For you and taste wise).  All jumbled up together on my plate with homous* and hot sauce.  Oh man…there was probably sugar in the hot sauce!  It’s EVERYWHERE!

For wine we had some kind of organic pinot grigio that was fizzy and had a top that popped!  Super fun but i cannot remember the name of the winery…Jenn, you still have the bottle?!?  Holla atta peep!

So that was that.

When i got home there were some Kiwi’s on my doorstep.  Not the fuzzy kind, the kind who just took the bus up from Kelowna to visit for a few days…and they brought an Aussie with them!  For dinner they had Wok Box (one of the Kiwi’s had never eaten out of a Chinese food box!  How sad).  I had heard Wok Box was getting gluten free sauces (every 2 weeks they have been telling me it’ll be another 2 weeks) and so i asked what the what what was.  They didn’t seem to be aware of the impending influx of GF sauces but did tell me the Kung Pow with rice noodles was gluten free..yippee!  As we were walking to the restaurant we got to talking about organic wine as one of the Kiwi’s, Tell, has worked for vinyards for years and years.  She says it’s not that important to find organic wine because vinyards spray so little due to how their rating systems work.  So even if it’s not labeled  “organic” it’s probably still ok.  AHHHH!!!  I am SOOOO confused!!  The only safe wine as far as i can see is Summerhill as it’s organic and vegan.  And i used to hang with one of the families kids.  Not that that matters.  I think i might just try to be super strict on the vegan end of things and forget about organics and sulphites, and all the rest….anyone have anything to say about it all?!?  PLEASE go ahead!

Remember that asterisk back a few paragraphs?  Next to the word homous?  Well it’s because i’m going to tell you about the 3 best homous’ hands down.  Besides yours of course.

Royal Gourmet Foods Homous I ♥♥♥♥ this homous, and so does everyone i have ever shared it with.  It is mad garlicky, super creamy, and just so effing awesome i cannot live without it.  I eat probably 2 containers a week, no joke.  It’s great as a dip, a sauce, or just to eat with a spoon or your finger.  I do it and so can you.  No shame.  It’s also really close in flavor and texture to one of the loves i lost to veganism, the skordalia (or garlic sauce) from Stepho’s.  If you too miss that delectable dip then try this out and feel whole again.  And it’s local (for those of you in Van, it’s from Burnaby)!  I get mine at the Ghetto Grocery (what Ange and i call the Super Value on Davie), and West Valley Produce on Bute and Davie.  I think Donald’s Market also carries it.  just look for the fat little chef on the logo 🙂

So even though i am annoyed by all places with urban in their name the homous in the deli here is great.  It is actually almost the same as Royale Gourmet…someone must have stolen the recipe and i’m pinning it on UF, but only because of their douchy name.  So if you cannot get your hands on any RG Homous then this is your next best bet.

So i can’t find anything online about this company but man do they make gooooood homous!  They are usually at the West End Farmers Market so you can pick some up there.  It looks gross but tastes awesome and freezes really well.  Mmmmm, mmmmmm, mmmmmm.  In fact i just ate me some a few minutes ago!

I ♥ HOMOUS!

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