{Recipe; Vegan MoFo} Chocolate and Chai: Celebrating my 100th post

This is my 100th post. ūüôā

I had always assumed that I would do something monumental for my 100th post. But since it falls (almost) in the middle of Vegan MoFo, I will stick with a food theme. Besides, I am suffering from a touch of creativity fatigue. This (almost) daily posting caper is a little exhausting!

I considered posting a celebratory cake or cupcake recipe. However, I posted a cupcake recipe on Sunday, and I’ll be posting a strawberry cake tomorrow.

Ultimately, I decided to post a simple recipe.

My tagline is simply vegan after all. ūüôā

I chose a recipe that does not require complicated or expensive ingredients, or multiple steps.

One that features my favourite flavour combination of the moment – chai spices – combined with my traditional favourite (chocolate, of course!).

A no-bake recipe that doubles as a decadent breakfast and a guilt-free dessert. A recipe that my children will enjoy.

A recipe that signals summer is on the way!

I settled on¬†chocolate chai ‘ice-cream’.

chocchai1

Ingredients

( 2 serves, or 3 child-size serves)

3 cups frozen banana pieces

1 generous Tbsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 

1/16 tsp ground cardamon

1/16 tsp of ground cloves

1 Tbsp walnut pieces

1/2 Tbsp cacao nibs or choc chips (optional)

Additional freshly grated nutmeg, for sprinkling on top (optional)

Method

1. Combine the spices and raw cacao powder in a small bowl, and mix well.

2. Place the bananas in the food processor jug, and process for 15 seconds. Stop the machine, and add the spice mixture. Process until smooth. The bananas will move through a process of looking grainy before becoming smooth and creamy in texture.

3. Serve immediately in bowls or glasses, and top with walnut pieces, cacao nibs (or choc chips) and freshly grated nutmeg.

From this......to this.

From this……………….to this.

A Tiny Vegan’s Verdict

Little Baker was the only tiny vegan who was around to share my celebratory ‘ice-cream’ treat. He devoured it in much the same way that he tackled chia pudding last week. He required a bath immediately afterwards.

I interpreted his cries of ‘more, more‘ as a nod of approval for this simple treat.

chocchai2

***

 Ally

{Recipe} Banana Oat Bars

I am all ‘chocolated’ out! Yes, it is a bona fide condition (and word). Not one I ever thought I would suffer from but, nonetheless, that is the case.

I hope you have had an enjoyable Easter.

Today I am featuring a healthy, chocolate-free bar. One that is suitable for lunchboxes and picnics.

In fact, I baked it for a recent Vegan Parents Australia meet-up on the Gold Coast. The weather was glorious, and 7 families attended. The children were aged 4 months to 9 years. It was our largest Gold Coast meet-up to date. My kids had a ball!

bars1

Banana Oat Bars are loaded with nutritious ingredients. The taste is reminiscent of a muesli bar. They do not contain oil, refined sugar, or liquid sweeteners. They are loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, and nourishing oats. They are simple and quick to prepare.

bars5

Yes, that is the entire ingredients list.

I made  a couple of small variations to the recipe.

The recipe requires a 1/2 cup of dates or raisins. Instead, I used 1/4 cup of chopped dried apricots and 1/4 cup of raisins. Rather than mash the bananas, as specified in the directions, I liquified them with an immersion blender.

Also, my bars were ready within 25 minutes (the recipe specifies a baking time of 30 mins).

bars2

The recipe is available here¬†(scroll down to ‘Yummy Banana Oat Bars’).

You¬†could¬†drizzle the bars with melted chocolate if you wanted to jazz them up. Might be nice. ¬†ūüėČ

***

APT7

APT7

During our weekend trip to the Gold Coast, we drove north to Brisbane to visit the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA). We took the kids to the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art  (APT7).

APT3

APT7

It was a feast for the eyes, and ears.

APT6

It was impossible to photograph my favourite piece of the exhibition, Fukushima Esperanto by Japanese artist Tadasu Takamine. It was a multi-media experience of light, music, voice, shadow, and disparate objects. Click here for a description of Fukushima Esperanto, and some photos.

APT1

APT7

There were 13 activities for children, many of them craft based. My kids were in craft heaven!

APT5

Have you seen any great exhibitions, concerts, or shows lately?

APT7

APT7

Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my family. I hope your family enjoys it too.

Ally

{Recipe} Sensational Smoothies

Our new, shiny, RED Blendtec blender arrived last week!

blender

***

Lately, our Powermill blender has been acting up, demonstrating to us that it is ready for early retirement. It has served us well for 5 years. I had always been happy with the texture achieved by the Powermill, but the Blendtec makes the silkiest, smoothest green smoothies. It leaves the Powermill for dead.

When the Blendtec arrived, we eagerly opened the box and began excitedly discussing possible smoothie combinations.

Mat decided on an orange, carrot, rockmelon, banana and baby spinach blend. Yes, a whole carrot. The Blendtec took it in her stride. I was enraptured from that moment.

Blenders get heavy use in our house, but the excitement of a new blender (that is so easy to clean) has resulted in an escalation of smoothie making. It’s so easy to clean! Did I mention that? Moreover, the jug and motor are much lighter than the Powermill’s.

I am posting a sample of the smoothies that my family enjoyed last week. I don’t usually measure ingredients when making smoothies, but I did last week in order to provide you with adequate instructions.

First up, my favourite. Green smoothies!

***

1. Green Smoothies

Mango Citrus Berry

 Mango Citrus Berry Smoothie is a standard green smoothie at our house.  All of my green smoothies contain bananas as a base, the riper the better, and usually frozen. Frozen bananas provide a beautiful, creamy texture. I also add oranges and frozen blueberries. Mangoes are cheap and abundant at the moment, so they have been featuring regularly in our smoothies.

Mat and I prefer to use coconut water, but are happy to use filtered water if coconut water is not available. I always add ground flax seeds (linseeds) and chia seeds to my smoothies. Mat likes Maca powder so I usually add that too. The greens don’t vary considerably. I always add baby spinach leaves. If we have kale, I add 2 leaves. Otherwise, I add baby cos or cos lettuce.

You will need:

(Serves 2)

500ml coconut water or filtered water, cold

flesh of 1 mango

2 bananas (frozen is preferable, for a creamy texture)

1 orange, peeled and cut in half (remove visible seeds)

1/4 – 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

4 cups baby spinach leaves, washed

6 baby cos lettuce leaves, washed

1 heaped tsp of ground flaxseed or chia seed (or use a combination, as I do)

1 heaped tsp Maca powder

Method

1. Pour coconut water (or water) in jug;

2. Add maca powder, flax seeds/chia seeds, orange, bananas (if unfrozen), mango, and all of the leaves;

3. Lastly, add blueberries and banana (if frozen).

4. Blend until smooth (obviously, the time it takes to achieve a smooth blend will depend on the power of your blender).

***

Summerrain1

This blend reminds me of summer. It is the perfect summer drink, containing mango, nectarine and pineapple. I was going to name it Summer Smoothie, but it began to rain as I took the photos, so a new name was bestowed upon it. 

You will need:

(Serves 2)

5ooml coconut water or filtered water, cold

2 bananas (preferably frozen)

flesh of 1 mango

1 nectarine, seed removed

1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple

20 (approximately) fresh mint leaves

5 cups of baby spinach leaves

1 heaped tsp of ground flax seeds or chia seeds (or a combination)

Method

1. Pour coconut water or water in jug;

2. Add the flax seeds/chia seeds, mango, nectarine, pineapple, and all of the leaves;

3. Add banana (frozen or unfrozen);

4. Blend until smooth.

Just to set the record straight, I don’t drink green smoothies out of wine glasses. I use this….

IMG_0909

….which gives you an idea of the portion size of my smoothies. No small glasses for me!

***

2. Coconut water/water-based smoothie (not green):

Mat's smoothieA

Mat usually has a green smoothie each day. Depending on the particular workout he has endured, he may also make this smoothie.

I usually have some too because it is scrumptious! Or he shares it with the kids.

You will need:

(serves 2)

15 raw almonds, soaked overnight

5 dates, soaked overnight

15g goji berries, soaked overnight

1 cup frozen blueberries

3 bananas (preferably frozen)

500ml coconut water or filtered water, cold

1 heaped tsp maca powder

3 heaped dessertspoons of protein powder (we use Vital or Sun Warrior)

Method

1. Pour coconut water or water in jug;

2. Add maca powder, protein powder, dates, goji berries, bananas (if unfrozen);

3. Add blueberries, bananas (if frozen) and almonds;

4. Blend until smooth.

***

3. Non-dairy Milk-based Smoothies

Mango Berry

Mango Berry is one of my daughter’s favourite smoothie concoctions. She’s not too keen on green smoothies, unfortunately. She will drink a tiny amount because she understands that they are healthy but she doesn’t request them. She prefers rice or soy milk-based smoothies.

Our 3 year old will drink any type of smoothie. Our 6 year old went off green smoothies a couple of years ago (after enjoying them as a toddler), but in recent days (yay!) he is enjoying them again -it must be the new blender! 

You will need:

(2 child-size serves)

1 cup organic soy milk or protein-enriched rice milk

flesh of 1 mango

1/4 cup frozen blueberries

1/4 cup frozen raspberries

1 banana (preferably frozen)

1 heaped tsp ground flax seeds/chia seeds (or a combination)

5 ice cubes

Method:

1. Pour non-dairy milk in jug;

2. Add ground flax seeds/chia seeds, mango and banana (if unfrozen);

3. Add blueberries, raspberries, bananas (if frozen) and ice cubes;

4. Blend until smooth.

***

Chocberry1

Raw cacao powder is delicious in smoothies. Bananas and frozen blueberries complement the rich chocolaty flavour. I don’t use cacao powder in my green smoothies (maybe I should!), but I do like using it to make hot chocolate (in winter) and raw desserts. ¬†My kids enjoy it in their milk-based smoothies. I really enjoyed this smoothie, and will probably indulge in it again soon.

You will need:

(2 child-size serves)

1 cup organic soy milk (or your preferred non-dairy milk)

2 bananas (preferably frozen)

1 heaped tbsp avocado

1 heaped tbsp cacao powder

1/4 cup frozen blueberries

1 heaped tsp ground flax seeds/chia seeds (or a combination)

Method

1. Pour soy milk in jug;

2. Add flax seeds/chia seeds, avocado, cacao powder, bananas (if unfrozen);

3. Add blueberries, and bananas (if frozen);

4. Blend until smooth.

***

Peanut Butter Chocolate

My sons are enamoured with peanut butter and bananas sandwiches, so I suggested that they may like a peanut butter and banana smoothie. Of course, they thought it was a brilliant idea! The addition of raw cacao powder gives this smoothie a richer flavour.

You will need:

(2 child-size serves)

2 cups protein-enriched rice milk (or your preferred non-dairy milk)

2 bananas (Yep, you guessed it!…preferably frozen)

1 tbsp cacao powder

1tbsp natural peanut butter (sugar-free, salt-free);

1 heaped tsp ground flax seeds/chia seeds (or a combination)

Method

1. Pour rice milk in jug;

2. Add ground flax seeds/chia seeds, cacao powder, peanut butter.

3. Add bananas (frozen or unfrozen);

4. Blend until smooth.

***

What is your favourite smoothie recipe? Please share it with all of us!

If you recently posted a smoothie recipe on your blog, I am happy for you to share the link in the comments section if you would like to. 

I know that a few of you are trying to establish a regular green smoothie habit. If you would like some tips or ideas, please use the comments section too. I am sure that the seasoned green smoothie drinkers among us would be happy to help! I am all too happy to spread the green smoothie joy. ūüôā

Every Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my family – I hope your family enjoys it too!

RP

Thank you to eveyone who has been voting for me in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Vegan and Vegetarian Moms 2013. I really appreciate your support. 

If you enjoy my blog, I would be thrilled if you voted for me. You can find my entry here. Also, there is an icon on my home page, and you can click on that too.

You can vote more than once! You can vote for me once every 24 hours. You are not required to register, or provide your email address. You just click. It’s really quick!

The competition ends on 7 February. Thank you. ūüôā

 

Ally 

{Recipe} Banana Oat Pancakes | Scrambled Tofu

What a difference a day makes! As I write, it is raining!

The extreme temperatures of the weekend have subsided – at least in my part of the country. It is a relief. However, high temps are expected later in the week.

I hope the rain is falling where it is so desperately needed.

***

Today I am posting two recipes that are ideal for a weekend breakfast.

Banana Oat Pancakes and Scrambled Tofu.

Take your pick. Sweet or savoury. Or both!

Banana Oat Pancake

Banana Oat Pancakes

From¬†The Cancer Survivor’s Guide¬†by Neal Barnard, MD and Jennifer Reilly, RD

Quantity: 10 pancakes

My children adore these pancakes, and they enjoy helping with the preparation. There is enough mixing and mashing to keep 3 children involved, with only a few minor scuffles over the wooden spoon! I don’t know what we will do when Little Baker wants in on the action!
My school aged kids also enjoy finding a mini pancake (or two) in their lunchboxes.

In the recipe, the walnuts are listed as ‘optional’. We always add them.

The recipe is available here.

[ Edited on 2 March 2013 Gluten-free version: We have made the recipe several times with rice flour in place of wheat flour, and they are delicious.]

pancakes 3

Serve with sliced banana and maple syrup, or berries and maple syrup.

***

Scrambled Tofu

Serves 3.

When I first embraced veganism many moons ago, I regularly indulged in scrambled tofu. It is a versatile, simple-to-prepare meal. It is flexible too. I would use whatever vegies were languishing in my fridge. For some reason, I stopped making it – for years.

Recently, I recalled the charms of scrambled tofu. The good news? My eldest son likes it! When he was 4, my son was very enthusiastic about helping me (and his dad) in the kitchen with food preparation. I used to call him Mini Chef.

Well, Mini Chef is back! He enthusiastically assisted me to prepare our scrambled tofu meal. He also endured his first cooking injury- a tiny burn on his finger. He was stoic. A burn wasn’t going to stop Mini Chef!

This meal is also suitable for a quick, simple dinner. You can ramp up the heat by adding more cayenne pepper, or some chilli flakes.

You will need:

250g firm tofu (approx. 9 oz)

1 tbsp spring onions, chopped (shallots)

1/2 cup grated carrot

1/4 cup red capsicum, diced (bell pepper)

2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes (oil free), chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

1/8 tsp ginger

1/8 tsp salt

1 tsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari

2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

a dash of pepper

sunflower greens or sprouts

tofu 1

Method

1. Break the tofu into pieces, and crumble between your fingertips. Set aside.

2. Heat a fry pan (skillet) and add a splash of olive oil or water.

3. Add the spring onions, and stir regularly. Add the minced garlic, and cook until fragrant.

4. Add all of the spices, including salt and pepper, and cook until fragrant, stirring regularly.

5. Add the crumbled tofu, and stir until it is coated in the spices and takes on a yellow colour (from the turmeric).

6. Add the nutritional yeast, and mix well. Pour in the soy sauce. Stir.

7. Add the vegetables, stir well, and cook for a few minutes. Sprinkle parsley over the top just prior to serving.

8. Serve immediately with toast, avocado slices and sunflower greens.

serve 1

I served the scrambled tofu with store-bought rice and chia bread (gluten-free).

***

Do you prefer a sweet or savoury breakfast? What is your favourite indulgent, weekend breakfast?

Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe (or two!) that is enjoyed (or outright adored!) by my family. I hope your family enjoys it too.

***

Do you like green smoothies? Do you want to establish a daily green smoothie habit? Check out my e-book giveaway here.

Ally

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