BLUEBERRY GREEN TEA SMOOTHIE

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I’ve found myself to be in a bit of a smoothie rut lately. There are endless combinations to try and somehow I keep getting stuck making the same banana-berry-kale-smoothie. However, this time around, my cupboard is stocked with new green powders; chlorella, spirulina, and matcha, and I’m excited as ever to use them. I think I got a little carried away as I had the need to use all 3 in one smoothie, naturally.

All green powders mentioned above are what I would consider “superfoods”. Between them, you’ve got plenty of B-vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, iron, and chlorophyll {the green pigment present in all green plants, known to improve immunity, alkalinity, and inflammation}. Once I knew I wanted to incorporate the powders into a smoothie, I also included loads of blueberries and some avocado, an ingredient I wouldn’t usually think to add. It made the smoothie rich and creamy, similar to the texture of an ice-cream shake, uh yum.

Have you tried using chlorella, spirulina, or matcha in your recipes? If so, what’s your favourite way to eat them?

The Ingredients {Yield: 1 smoothie Total Time: 5 minutes}

  • 2 teaspoons matcha powder
  • handful blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon hemp seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon chlorella or spirulina powder {optional}

The Directions

1. Blend all ingredients together in blender until desired consistency

2. If you find the smoothie to be chalky, simply add more milk or water

PS. I do not recommend using paper straws. Although they’re super cute and more eco-friendly than regular ol’ plastic ones, they are quite unrealistic as they turn into papier-mâché-like mush within minutes.

QUINOA CRUSTED RED ONION RINGS

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This recipe is an ode to one of my favourite vegetarian spots here in Toronto, Fresh. I know I speak for many when I say their quinoa onion rings are out of this world.  I’ve always been more of a fry girl myself, but after eating these bad boys, I heavily contemplated becoming a convert. During one of my most recent visits to Fresh with a girlfriend, she made a good point that although the rings are quinoa crusted {we automatically think healthy right? not so fast…}, they are also deep-fried in canola oil. This got me thinking, how could I possibly eat more of these without feeling guilty about it? I figured I had two options, I could pan-fry them using a cooking oil, albeit a healthier variety, or I could ixnay oil altogether and bake them.

I ended up baking them, with low expectations, as I thought that without frying, they would lose their delicious hearty flavour and epic crunch. And how happy I was to have proved myself wrong! The outer coating was perfectly thick and crisp with an overall lightness that seems difficult to achieve in deep-fried foods. Thanks to the super simple cooking method, these rings become an easy midday snack or side dish.

Red onions are high in vitamins C & B6 and contain a generous amount of chromium which is known to assist in the regulation of blood sugar. They also contain very important flavonoids called quercetin, which is a phytochemical that works as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that may contribute to cancer prevention as well as help to reduce blood pressure and pollen allergies. It doesn’t hurt that this recipe also contains the protein- and fibre-rich puffed quinoa. Eat up, my veggie loving friends!

The Ingredients {Yield: 20-25 rings Total Time: 30 minutes}

  • 1 red onion, cut into 20 to 25 rings

Batter

  • 2/3 cup flour of your choice {I used: whole grain brown rice flour}
  • 2 tablespoon arrowroot flour {or cornstarch}
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk
  • 1/4 cup water

Quinoa Coating

  • 1 1/2 cup puffed quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon curry power
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne {optional}

The Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice onion into rings, approx 3/4 inch

2. Place onions in bowl of cold water for 10 minutes, this will help reduce the bite that the red onion is so well-known for

3. In the meantime, whisk together batter ingredients; flour, arrowroot flour, soy milk, salt and water in a bowl

4. In another bowl, mix together quinoa coating ingredients; puffed quinoa, panko, and spices

5. Using a fork or your hands, dip an onion ring into batter, making sure to coat all sides

6. Transfer ring to coating mixture and sprinkle all over. Your hands will get sticky {that’s part of the fun!}, simply rinse and dry, and start again

7. Place onion ring on baking sheet and repeat for the rest

8. Bake for 18 minutes, flipping once after 10 minutes. Feel free to broil them for a minute or two at the end to crisp. Serve immediately

*Looking for dipping sauce? Of course you are. Try blending mayo {or vegenaise for vegan option} with avocado, garlic, lemon and olive oil for a creamy green dip

MASHED RUTABAGAS WITH GINGER-ROASTED PEARS

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It’s safe to say that I’ve been feeling a little on-edge this past week; my Holiday to-do list has skyrocketed, exercise has been put on the back burner, and I haven’t seen the sun for days. I’m feeling drained to say the least. To keep myself present and grounded through this chaotic time, I’m treating myself to an hour-long meditation at one of my favourite studios in the city. I always leave feeling mentally detoxed and refreshed; ready to take on whatever the week has in store.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t often cook with rutabagas as I find them to be intimidating; they’re solid, heavy, and quite honestly, ugly. After working through this recipe though, I learned that rutabagas are quite like {if not, better than} many other root vegetables and simply require a vegetable peeler and an open mind.

The rutabaga originated as a cross between the cabbage and turnip and has a slight bitter taste, yet crisp and juicy. Mixed with the sweet ginger-roasted pears, it makes for a winning combination.

The Ingredients {Yield: 8 servings Total Time: 45 minutes}

  • 4lbs rutabagas, peeled & cut into 1″ cubes
  • 3 firm pears, peeled, cored & cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy cream
  • 2 tablespoons vegan margarine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme

The Directions

1. Cook rutabagas in a pot of boiling water for 35 minutes, or until tender

2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and in a large bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, ginger, and sugar. Add pears to bowl and toss until fully coated

3. Place pears on baking sheet {covered with wax paper for easy removal} and roast for about 35 minutes, turning every 10 minutes

4. Remove rutabagas from water; strain and return back to pot. Mash until a coarse puree. Once desired consistency achieved, stir over medium heat for 5 minutes to rid of excess moisture

5. Add soy cream, vegan margarine, and thyme

6. Toss in pears, mix and season with s&p

*Recipe adapted from epicurious

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