Almond Butter Cup Smoothie Bowl + Magic Chocolate Sauce

img_3426

Permission to eat chocolate covered strawberries for breakfast granted! You’re welcome. Very, very welcome. Because in the depths of this Southern Ontario sun deprived deep freeze kind of a winter some joy is needed. And chocolate brings joy. Especially in the form of a chocolatey smoothie bowl made up of high vibe ingredients to delight the body and soul. Though I have to say, while chocolate does its magic, for anyone reading this who hails from some warm and sunshiney corner of the world – can I come live with you?? I think I make a decent roommate. I can guarantee good food, witty banter and a willingness to clean. Ok, so only one of those is true.

In the meantime, back to chocolate. For now. Until someone from California sends for me.

img_3451img_3456

So this smoothie bowl is the first smoothie bowl I have ever made. For real. I feel like I’m so late to the party that the party is almost over…they’ve started playing this. I know smoothie bowls have been around for forever but for some reason I’ve never been compelled to make one. Probably for a few  reasons: A) A smoothie bowls seem like breakfast food to me B) I’d much rather eat something savoury for breakfast and C) I pretty much always eat breakfast in my car on the way to work. Smoothie bowls are not conducive to these pursuits. But one day this past week I woke up with this exact smoothie bowl idea in my head. I imagine that’s what song writers or artists or novelists mean when they say that ideas come to them fully formed. Except in my case it’s always food. Sometimes a half-baked concept that collapses when put into action (ahem, shortbread cookies) and sometimes a successful recipe that strikes gold upon first try. This bowl was of the latter sort. A vision appeared in my head, I created it and then praise was heaped upon it by those who tasted the magnificent results. Or something like that.

This recipe makes a pretty good sized smoothie bowl so it’s perfect for sharing. Though with about 24 grams of fibre (!!) and 13 grams of protein, it makes a mighty satisfying meal for one. There’s virtually no added sugar in this recipe, except for the maple syrup in the chocolate sauce, which you can skip. Though the chocolate sauce is my favourite thing about this bowl! It is super easy to make and it hardens when poured onto the icy smoothie and cold fruit, creating a shell of chocolate drizzle that breaks up into chocolate chunks as you crack it with your spoon (that’s the magic!) Umm are we talking decadent dessert or breakfast still? To be quite honest I don’t think anyone would complain if you finished off a meal with this and called it dessert. I certainly wouldn’t. Perhaps a Valentine’s Day treat?

The other ingredients are essentially fruits, seeds and nuts. These do a body good! And all the chocolate goodness comes from good quality organic cocoa powder as opposed to processed chocolate. I can live with that.

img_3447img_3489

Almond Butter Cup Smoothie Bowl With Magic Chocolate Sauce

Makes 1-2 Servings

Prep Time 10 minutes

Ingredients for the Smoothie Bowl:

2 frozen bananas, broken up into chunks

1-2 medjool dates

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other plant-based milk)

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1 1/2 Tablespoons chia seeds

1 1/2 Tablespoons smooth almond butter

 Ingredients for the Chocolate Sauce:

2 teaspoons virgin coconut oil, melted

2 teaspoons maple syrup

2 teaspoons cocoa powder

Toppings:  strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, sliced banana, chopped raw almonds; other fruit or nuts may be used, as desired

1. Blend all smoothie bowl ingredients in a blender until smooth. Depending on your blender, you may need to stop it a few times and use a spoon to move the ingredients around, or use more almond milk to get it to  a smooth consistency. If you have a Vitamix, use the tamper to move the ingredients around.

2. Use a fork to whisk all chocolate sauce ingredients until smooth.

3. Pour smoothie into a bowl, top with desired toppings and drizzle with the chocolate sauce. Enjoy!

img_3505

img_3514

Green Chickpea Pancake For One

Some weekends are just the stuff dreams are made of. This one was one of them. Sunny summery skies and welcome heat (despite technically it still being spring) were the backdrop to some seriously good times: karaoke with friends, a Blue Jays game under an open dome with family and poolside pedicures + margaritas at a friend’s house. Sigh.
Driving home from today’s outing I decided I wanted to make a quick dinner so I could soak up the rest of the day’s warmth. Seems like a lot of food inspiration hits when I’m behind the wheel (see my last post)…I guess the fresh air and open road makes me think good food thoughts!
So here is my less than 15 minute veggie and protein packed creation.

image

Green Chickpea Pancake for One
Makes 1 serving

Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 10-12 minutes

Ingredients
1/3 cup chickpea flour
1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon water
1 large handful baby spinach
1/4 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup frozen green peas
1 teaspoon coconut oil

Toppings
Avocado
Green peas
Cucumber, sliced
Crushed Hot Chili Peppers
Other ideas: hummus, vegan cream cheese, mixed greens, roasted or sautéed veggies

1. Put chickpea flour, water, spinach, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings.
2. Add frozen green peas and stir.
3. Heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil in non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Pour batter onto pan, spread out evenly. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side, until slightly golden (being careful when flipping pancake). Place onto a plate and top with desired toppings.

I also love having this type of pancake for breakfast as I prefer savoury first thing in the morning. You can change up the additions or even omit the spinach to make a non-green version (but why would you?? Green is the new black.)

image

On a side note I have a serious addiction to this crushed hot chili peppers sauce – I get it from a local Italian market. I first found something similar at a farmer’s market in Italy. Hooked ever since. I put that shhh on everything! I find reasons to eat. Everything else is created to be a vehicle for this amazingness. It is fiery hot and I adore it that way.

image

image

Wishing you all a wonderful, plant-fuelled week ahead!

Xo

ilona

Brunch Success: Tofu Scramble Wrap with Greens and Zingy Avocado

I arrived at my sister’s house for our family brunch and was immediately greeted with bacony, eggy aromas that were so very familiar…and so very delicious (I didn’t start this whole veg thing because I hated these tastes, after all!)

My stomach grumbled. All I could think was that the meal I was about to prepare for myself better not disappoint as I might just gobble down a very non-veg pumpkin pancake before being aware of my actions.

Well, I would have to say that it turned out good. Very good indeed.

Wrap1

IMG_1041

 The taste was bright and the sprouts added a very fresh touch. The zingy avocado spread pulled it all together and I can’t imagine preparing this version without it.

IMG_1044

 

 Tofu Scramble Wrap with Greens and Zingy Avocado

The Engevita yeast (also know as nutritional yeast) adds a savoury note to the scramble, interestingly approximating the tastes you would find on an omnivores breakfast plate. Turmeric, a vibrant burnt-orange hued spice hailing from South Asia, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, adds a golden, egg-like colour. I happened to have come across pea shoots at an organic market the day before making this, but other greens like baby spinach, arugula, cress or such can easily be substituted. The easy to make avocado spread really makes this dish sing.

Adapted from one of my go-to veg cookbooks, Fresh: New Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes from the Award-winning Fresh Restaurants

Servings: 4

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 block firm tofu, crumbled

2 Tbsp Engevita yeast

1 tsp dried oregano

pinch of turmeric

¾ tsp salt

fresh ground pepper

½ cup water

2 avocados

3 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons)

4 whole grain tortillas

2 large handfuls of pea shoots (or other tender greens), tossed with a tiny drizzle of olive oil and a squirt of  lemon juice

1 cup fresh sprouts (I had some home-grown broccoli sprouts, but any will do), optional

Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Sautee onion until softened and starting to colour. Add the crumbled tofu and stir about for a minute or two.

In a small bowl combine the yeast, oregano, turmeric, salt and pepper with the water and whisk with a fork until smooth. Pour over the tofu and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and let cook until all the liquid has evaporated.

Mash the avocado with the lemon juice, add salt and pepper to taste. Dress the greens.

To assemble, divide the avocado mixture amongst the four tortillas, top with the tofu scramble, sprouts and greens. Roll up and enjoy!

IMG_1050

 My brothers feedback: you could fool a meat eater into ingesting tofu with this wrap. I’ll take that as a compliment 🙂

A few other family members tried a bite and conceded they would have some, that is if they weren’t so full already. I am so going to hold them to that!

After I finished the wrap, as I sat around watching my family devour pancakes, I decided I wanted to finish off my meal with something sweet too. I toasted up some Silver Hills Squirrely bread, slathered it with all natural peanut butter, topped with a mountain of fruit and drizzled with maple syrup.

"Pancake"

Yum! Feel free to lick the screen. I think this was quite ingenious on my part, wouldn’t you say?

"Pancake" - 2Well, enjoy the rest of your Sunday. I’m off to mope…Sunday afternoons remind me that work is just around the corner.

ilona

P.S. Here’s a peek at those home-grown broccoli sprouts I mentioned. Oddly satisfying to have cultivated something delicious and nutritious from a hard, unimpressive, tiny seed.

IMG_1054Anyone want to learn how to sprout??

1st Vegan Challenge…Accepted!

Barely a week into my vegan way of life and I am being faced with a challenge. We often do a family breakfast/brunch on Sundays, a way to reconnect with everyone and hang out with the awesome, fascinating, entertaining kids in the family (two of my nephews and a niece; aged 19mos, almost 2 and 5). Inevitably the gathering ends with three or four consecutive plays of Gangnam Style (I swear we have contributed a large chunk to the billion plus YouTube views that video has garnered.)

This meal 99.9% of the time consists of eggs, bacon and pancakes. My sister, the host of this weeks gathering, BBMed me today wondering what in the world I would be eating. Remember: my sister and bro are eating milk and eggs, so the only component they’re going to have to do without is bacon…not so for me. Essentially the entire meal is verboten as per the vegan manifesto.

I responded by saying that I would bring something vegan and edible. My mom, who had at this point joined the BBM conversation, stated (using no less than three exclamation marks): “just not the tempeh bacon!!!”

Apparently she is still scarred by my (clearly failed) attempt to make a non-meat version of the breakfast staple. This happened almost a year ago. In her kitchen. She claims that to this day she can smell the botched results. It has taken me this long to admit that, yes mom, that whole experiment didn’t fare so well. So there.

Well, my family, you’re in luck. There will be no tempeh bacon resurrection. But I will bring something vegan. Something daring. Something new. I am now considering my many options, but I think I am going to settle on a tofu scramble. I’ve perused a few recipes and if all goes well I envision wrapping it up in a tortilla with some Daiya cheese, veg and other tasty accoutrements..

So stay tuned! Sunday I will reveal my family’s reaction. Good or bad.

Yay for Friday!

ilona