I may not know whether they do any good or not but I do like to add superfoods to my smoothies. Except for spirulina – there’s just no disguising the rancid taste or smell of that stuff.
I’m happy to say the acai berry powder Selva Organic sent me neither smells nor tastes rancid. It’s also a dark purple colour, which pleases my inner goth. Acai berry powder is loaded with omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, fibre, protein and other nutrients and yesterday a spoonful of it went into my lunchtime smoothie.
Despite moaning inwardly there weren’t any bananas left to have in my smoothie, this smoothie of kiwi fruit, frozen summer fruit, cashews, dates, acai berry powder, soya milk and water is now up in my top ten smoothies. It goes to show you should always keep a bag of frozen fruit in the freezer for those bananaless emergencies.
Selva Organic don’t just sell acai berry powder – they have a 14-strong range of South American superfoods starting at £5.99. To check out their range and for more information on the benefits of superfoods, visit the Selva Organic website.
Veganuary Day 13 – Dinner
For dinner last night we had vegan chilli on jacket potatoes again, with mine being topped with Violife vegan cheese and home made vegan sour cream. As I made it last week and posted a pic of it then and it didn’t look any different last night, in true Blue Peter style, here’s one I made earlier.
Tomorrow (Friday), I’ve decided I’m going to go into town and be brave and order a hot chocolate in Caffè Nero with soya milk (I know… I know… on a bravery scale of 1-10, it’s not even on the scale. My scale begins at minus-something). I’ve checked Caffè Nero’s website and they do a vegan houmous and falafel wrap and if they’ve sold out of them when I get there, I’m going to have the hump as it will be my first purposely vegan meal outside of the house.
I’ll report back on my vegan food foraging on Saturday.
Veganuary Day 5 started off with a Nutriblast as usual (for my review of my Nutribullet, go here) and today’s Nutriblast was a combination of spinach, apple, carrot, clementine, chia seeds and coconut water. I haven’t had a carrot in a Nutriblast before but I had half of one left over from Monday’s stew, so I chucked it in. I’ve said before, it doesn’t seem to matter what I chuck in my Nutribullet, it always turns out fine, unlike when you juice without a recipe to guide you and it turns out like swamp water (she says, immediately before posting a photo of something resembling swamp water).
Lunch was another Nutriblast but, unlike my breakfast ones which I make into more of a juice, I like my lunchtime Nutriblasts to be more substantial and to contain more protein, so I filled up the tall Nutribullet cup with spinach, banana, kiwi fruit, passion fruit, dates, cashews, cacao and topped it up with soya milk and water. This filled me up to the verge of needing an afternoon nap.
Despite my Facebook friend Pete declaring a pie isn’t a pie unless it’s made of lard (forgive him, he’s northern), dinner was a Linda McCartney Country Pie, mashed potato (mine mashed with soya milk and Vitalite) and baked beans.
For a snack, I had hot chocolate and an Oat Flip (see yesterday’s post for hot chocolate and Oat Flip info and photo).
There’s nothing I’ve missed yet (what’s to miss when you can still eat pie and mash, huh?) and I definitely haven’t been hungry – I haven’t been snacking as much as I did before taking part in Veganuary and although I was having a couple of Oreos a day before January, a packet remains unopened in the kitchen (that’s probably because I’ve discovered how nice Oat Flips are).
Come back tomorrow to read about my bravery in Wetherspoons.
Another thick and creamy soup using cashews and soya milk – this time, the always popular leek and potato. I don’t know what it is, but my leek and potato soup never comes out as nice as the ones in the tins, but it’s probably the cream and additives and other unhealthy stuff, but I’m sure I’ll make the perfect vegan leek and potato soup one day – I’ll just have to keep experimenting.
Again, as with the vegan cream of mushroom soup I made the other day, I started this soup off in the frying pan, and finished it in the soup maker. If you haven’t got a soup maker, just add the stock and seasoning to the pan, simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked, leave the milk out until the end, then blend.
Although my VonShef Soup Maker acts as a great blender, I’ve been lazy and have just chucked all my ingredients in, pressed the start button and buggered off to leave it to it. This method ends up with a smooth, creamy soup but slightly lacking in flavour with the onion and garlic not being fried first. This is only to be expected – after all, boiled onion doesn’t sound appetising, does it?
So, yesterday, I decided I’d had enough of creamy, yet bland, soup and took a bit more effort with the vegan cream of mushroom soup I’d decided to make. Yes, it meant more washing up but only one pan, so it’s not that much of a hassle and it was totally worth it.
I’ve made mushroom soup in the past (see here, here, here and here) but this one is definitely my favourite. I had a brainwave and wondered if cashews and soya milk would give it the creaminess some of my soups are lacking and yes, it certainly does. I usually use a potato to thicken my soups up but cashews are definitely the way to go in the future. Cashews will obviously add a lot of calories to a soup – if you’re bothered about that kind of thing – but they’re good calories and full of protein and apart from protein being good for you, it keeps you full up and this soup kept me full all afternoon.
I’d had rather an unhealthy lunch of a toasted tofu, Violife cheese, onion, sundried tomato, cucumber, srirarcha and salad cream sandwich which, thinking about it, probably isn’t that unhealthy but it was so gooey and delicious, at the time it seemed like the junkiest junk food ever. So junky I put a photo of it on the What Fat Vegans Eat Facebook page.
So, because of my unhealthy lunch and because my energy levels over the last few days have been zero, I thought I’d give my body a boost and put something healthy into it and that something healthy was this banana, blueberry, cacao, cashew and coconut smoothie.
Although I use cacao quite often, such as in these recipes you can find elsewhere on my blog:
I’ve never used it in a smoothie before. I reckon this is because, subconsciously, I equate chocolate to sweets and therefore to junk and, as far as I’m concerned, although junk has its place, its place is not in a smoothie. But, as we’re always being told, cacao (or raw chocolate) is healthy and, not only is it healthy, it’s frequently given the status of being a superfood.
This smoothie was not only delicious but I could feel the goodness streaming through my bloodstream as I was drinking it, I kid you not. I used Alpro Coconut Drink (which I found in the Free From section in Tesco) but it would work just as well with any other soya/rice/almond/oat milk of your choice.
My cheapy food processor chopped the dry cashews okay but it didn’t like the bananas and refused to chop them, so I bashed them with a wooden spoon and the pecans kind of stayed whole. But the end result was delicious, so who cares if they look a bit ‘rustic’, eh?
As you’ll see from the recipe, I left my biscuits in the dehydrator for 10 hours but they were still a bit moist in the middle and therefore more cakey than biscuity. If that’s the texture you require, great – but if you want them a bit drier, then leave them in for another hour or two (or three or four).
Why did I wait so long to get a dehydrator? What I’ve eaten from it so far has made me want to give up pizza and become a raw foodist. Well, that might be a bit hasty, especially as it’s Friday and Friday night is chippy chips night, so any new raw foodist lifestyle will have to hang on for a bit.
But, these raw crackers I made are amazing. I tried some raw crackers a couple of years ago when I bought some at VegFest but I didn’t like them. So I wasn’t expecting great things from these but now I never want to eat anything else, ever. They’re especially good spread with the best ever hummus and topped with olives.
The original recipe is here but I added chilli flakes because, well, you know… chilli…
Like last week, this afternoon I prepared myself something to eat for when I got back from a run this evening. Like last week, I couldn’t resist ‘testing’ it first. I’d made myself a pasta salad with pesto, spinach, toasted pumpkin seeds and toasted pine nuts and it’s sitting in the fridge, taunting me. I remembered I had cashews and dates in the cupboard and thought, there must be something I can make with them to have as a healthy snack to stop me pigging out on the pasta? So I googled and found this recipe. It’s simply a cup of cashews, a cup of dates and a tablespoon of coconut oil put into a food processor for a couple of minutes, then rolled into balls and I can tell you this – they’re flipping delicious.
I reckon they’d be even nicer – if that’s possible – also rolled in desiccated coconut.
I did one of those quizzes on Facebook last night. This quiz was ‘What ridiculous food day is your birthday?’ My friend Helen got some weirdy meat thing so I wasn’t feeling too hopeful I’d get anything decent but I was happy when ‘date nut bread’ popped up for my birthday as I thought that sounded suitably vegetarian.
Helen said ‘you should make it’ and I agreed, so today I scouted around the internet looking at a few recipes, then came across one for which I already had all the ingredients. Sorted.
Apparently, the flavour improves after standing for 24 hours but I can’t imagine how it could be any nicer – it’s absolutely blinking delicious. I’m going on a 45 mile charity bike ride tomorrow, and the date nut bread will be coming with me to keep me going (if there’s any left by then).
I’m going to post below how I made it, as I somewhat deviated from the original recipe, as I didn’t have a sieve, so I just stirred the ingredients and hoped I’d got the floury lumps out; I didn’t add the egg and sugar to the dates, alternatively with the sifted ingredients, as I didn’t know what they meant by ‘alternatively’ (yes, I know what ‘alternatively’ means, I just didn’t know what they meant here); I didn’t dredge the nuts in flour, and I forgot to add any salt at all. Also, it said to let it rise, but mine didn’t rise at all, so you could probably skip that bit – unless there’s some scientific explanation to do with the baking powder that means it should sit for a while.
If you want to follow the proper instructions, you can see the original recipe at Food.com.
Date Nut Bread
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped (I used soft dates)
1 cup boiling water
1 tbsp butter (I used Flora)
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup nuts, chopped (I used cashews)
Combine the first three ingredients in a bowl, cover and let cool.
Grease a loaf pan.
Beat sugar and egg together and add to the dates.
Add the flour and baking powder and mix thoroughly.
Pour into prepared pan and let rise for 20 minutes.