Eat Your Greens food blogging challenge: Avocado, Kale and Matcha Smoothie

Eat Your Greens challenge logo

This month I have entered the Eat Your Greens challenge set by Shaheen over at A2K- A Seasonal Veg Table.  The challenge requires you to prepare a dish (or beverage, or some kind of food) with green veggies.  All recipes must be vegetarian (vegan recipes are accepted too).

I joined the challenge quite late and it was good timing because my avocado and kale were looking a little sad and I’d also been wondering when I would start using the small tin of matcha I was given.  I’ve been hesitant to use it because, like yacon syrup, a small container is very expensive. So I prefer to sit and look at it.

I haven’t been having smoothies, green or any other colour, much lately because when I get up in the morning I’m so cold and immediately put the kettle on.  I don’t often have smoothies during the day, for me they’re pretty much always a breakfast thing.

Avocado Matcha Banana Protein Smoothie

For the Eat Your Greens challenge, I knew it was time to break out the smoothie love again. I didn’t follow a recipe, I just threw in the following based on smoothie combinations I usually make:

– 1 cup home made almond milk

– 1 banana

– 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (maybe half a scoop if you don’t like too much protein powdery taste)

– 1/4 tsp matcha powder

– a few kale leaves, torn (if using baby spinach, I add a big handful.  With kale, I use much less)

– 1/2 avocado

For me, the sweetness was just right because my banana was spotty. If the banana wasn’t as sweet, I would have added one Medjool date.

 

I’m glad I chose this for the challenge as it made me realise how much I miss my breakfast smoothies!

What I Ate: the Healthier Weightlossier edition, part II

Last week I blogged about what I ate, with a weight loss slant.  I continued with my oil-free cooking (ie not using oil from a bottle), no bread/pasta/crappy carbs eating this past week as well as continuing to cut out sugars (apart from fruit), watching my portion sizes and not giving in to my ‘inner Labrador’– that woofy voice that tells to me sniff around the kitchen for tidbits all day long.

So last week I was pretty happy with my loss of  1.5kg/3.3lbs (I’m recording my weight here weekly for interested parties!) but I’m not a person who goes much by numbers on the scale.  I care about how my clothes fit, how I feel and how un-bloated I look!  Scale readings can be dodgy from one day to the next, though I have been weighing daily in case I one day decide to put those numbers up publicly somewhere for some reason.  Truthfully, I don’t care for daily weighing, happy to do weekly but for me monthly is where I would probably get a more accurate idea of how I’m going.  I’m also not counting calories, weighing or measuring food at this point while I do have quite a lot of body fat to lose.  Once my stupid feet injuries are history and I begin training again when I have (hopefully!) lost lotsa fat, that’s when I’ll begin paying more attention to eating for fuel and recovery.  For now, I’m just getting myself back in to healthier eating habits that I can maintain daily long term.

This week I have lost 900g (1.98lbs), making a total weight loss of 2.4kg (5.2lbs) in two weeks.  I’m not doing anything strictly though I do prefer to use fruit in smoothies at breakfast time and not during the day. I’m avoiding using oil and throughout the day I keep a mental note of where I’ve eaten fats. I’m drinking more water too and not eating sweets though as you will see below, going out to dinner is the exception to the rule!

Okay, this week’s foodie goodness!

On Monday we had Easter lunch at my mum and dad’s house.  I’m avoiding things like rice and potatoes at home but I put a little on my plate along with some black pepper tofu.  Look at me having an okay portion size.  In other words, measly. Mum had made some stuffed vine leaves and dip made with roasted red peppers, eggplant, walnut and garlic:

dolmades

easterlunch

Dessert was the Banana Coconut Pie I made from one of Brendan Brazier’s Thrive books:

thrivebananacoconutpie1

thrivebananacoconutpie2

That morning’s early breakfast was a smoothie made with a hemp milk, banana, a few greens, orange and lemon:

breakfastsmoothie1

On Easter Sunday DeeW fell over at a park and broke her arm in one, possibly two places. Husband and I decided that DeeW and I should stay with my parents for a couple of days, just to allow her to chill out a bit more and also be closer to the hospital if she needed to go back for some reason.  This meant I had to go back home and scramble fast, like Goose and Maverick, to get all my gear together for a sleepover.  This included taking one of those big plastic storage tubs on wheels, carrying my blender, meals I’d cooked for the week, nooch, hemp protein, dressings, stuff from the veggie crisper drawers and canned beans.

I had (over) sauteed some kale and pak choy in water then added in a small batch of red quinoa I’d previously cooked and frozen.  I wanted to add this to meals throughout the week.  First up was a variation of the Pizza Bowl from Isa Does It.  I roasted some eggplant using only a little olive oil spray and well, this makes the eggplant turn out all dry and blergh.  I already had a little amount of pasta sauce in the fridge I’d made for DeeW, using an Aldi ‘Just Organic’ pasta sauce with some spinach and lentils added.  To that, I followed the Isa Does It recipe for the sauce and I add a small handful of raw cashews, a bottled roasted red pepper a tablespoon of tomato paste that had been in the fridge for almost-too-long, veggie broth and lemon juice.  I forgot to soak the cashews, because when I use my power blender I don’t have to soak.  But I forgot I was using my food processor when I threw cashews in to the mix, so they didn’t mix well (couldn’t mix them in the blender because there wasn’t enough sauce and it would have gathered under the blender blades).  The Isa Does It recipe uses vegan sausage but I used the roasted eggplant and some of Johanna’s Tomato Nut Roast with Buckwheat that I had frozen.  This was quite a filling meal though next time I’d want to follow the Isa Does It recipe to the letter… because here you can see the bits of cashews that didn’t whizz up well:

pizzabowl

Another Isa Does It recipe was the Citrus Tahini bowl.  Here, I marinated some firmer tofu overnight in sesame oil (less than what the recipe states, a couple of drops were enough for flavour), orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic and ginger (I leave out the sweet stuff like agave or maple syrup). The leftover marinade is mixed with tahini and used as a dressing. I served this over those overcooked greens and the not-very-good roasted eggplant.  Yum!

citrustahinibowl

A breakfast smoothie was made with fresh figs, banana, plant milk, cinnamon and hemp protein.  I can’t find my photo but it was delicious.

Mum cooked up some big bean things with carrot and potato.  I wasn’t very hungry when I ate this because I’d just had those dolmades, so this isn’t my usual dinner.  Because there’s not enough of it:

greekbeans

I asked Mum if she could make some of her Greek lentil soup without oil and with all the leftover veggie bits we had.  So this soup is made with brown lentils, onion, a bit of garlic, carrots, broccoli stems and kale. I admit that taste wise, this isn’t that fab because the olive oil is what adds that spark.  But I kinda feel that every now and then I need something that’s just a simple healthy food, without needing loads of flavour.  I need to break out of the mindset I have when it comes to food, I want everything to be fantastic and hate bland boring stuff, even if I know a dish is really good for me.  In other words, I’m a spoilt foodie brat.  As in, if I’m really hungry and whining about having nothing to eat because we’re going shopping the next day, Husband will suggest I eat toast. And then the scene looks like this:

groverblue

Anyway, here’s the soup.  I had this many times:

kalelentilsoup

I’ve been in a quiche craving mood lately so I decided to try these fab looking Mini Crustless Tofu Quiches from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  After reading through the comments I decided to use a packet of the Morinaga tofu that you find in the non-refrigerated aisles.  It seems that using soft or silken tofu that we get here in Australia would not result in a ‘set’ quiche.  I thought I had the same problem when I tried to take a quiche or two (or three…) out of the mould after they’d cooled down to warm, but when I let the rest cool completely they came out of the moulds fine.  I really liked these but predictably, my fussy family didn’t.  I’m going to use the filling recipe as a base for lots of other stuff.  I have some vegan vol au vent cases that may work:

minitofuquiches

This is the non-weight-lossy bit.  Friday was ANZAC Day here in Australia and we usually always make ANZAC biscuits.  Traditionally they contain butter which can be replaced with a vegan alternative, but this year I looked up healthy vegan versions online.  I found one using almonds and coconut oil, but I won’t link to it because it was a bit blergh.  I ended up adding some Nutellex because the amount of coconut oil wasn’t enough and I didn’t want to use up the little bit I have remaining.  This year I used maple extract instead of vanilla, just for something different.  I wouldn’t call them ANZAC biscuits at all, as ANZAC biscuits are something that stand on their own and healthier versions like this are just too different to even call themselves ANZAC biscuits.  I’d say the ones I made should be called coconut almond biscuits:

notquiteanzacs

Another non-weight-lossy bit was dinner at Loving Hut on ANZAC Day.  All healthy bets are off when it comes to meals out!  Though I did factor in what I’d eaten that day and that I had about four meals worth of lentil-veg oil free soup at home to make up for it all a bit!  I had some of the fried entrees (spring roll, crumbed prawns.  I ordered Husband the wrong spring rolls and he had one and didn’t like it much so I had the two leftovers…)  Then for my main I decided on the spicy lemongrass chicken with vermicelli noodles and a lemongrass dressing.  The bowl was loaded with mint and coriander which I love and some some salad ingredients.  The flavours were great but it was pretty spicy.  The ‘chicken’ was layers of (possibly) bean curd sheets and was quite chewy. I only ate a bit because I was already full and took the rest home to have for lunch the next day.  Aaaaand I maaaay have ordered the salted caramel coconut ice cream by Zebra Dream…

lovinghutlemongrasschicken

I saw plantains in a supermarket and decided to try them out.  I’ve never had them before and see so many American recipes using them:

plantains1

I had no idea what to do so I followed instructions for slicing the plantains in to 2mm slices, spraying with a little oil, then a little salt and lemon juice then bake.  They looked nothing like the photos of roasted plantains.  I didn’t like them at all so I think an expert has to prepare them for me next time:

plantains2

Okay, that’s about it.  I’ve just realised I haven’t got any meals prepared in advance for this week and I haven’t sat down to flip through cook books.  Apart from that lentil soup.  I have one plantain left so I guess I should do something with that as well as all the veggies.  I’ll probably end up with a veggie and chickpea/bean curry and I’d love to replicate the meal I had up there at Loving Hut.

Hope you all have a fabulous Monday!

What I Ate: the Healthier Weightlossier edition

A little while back, I blogged about needing to lose a bit of weight.  Make that a lot of weight!  5kg (11lbs) for starters, seeing as that’s what I’ve put on after getting down to a weight I hadn’t seen in a very very long time over a year ago!

This week I am right back in to my oil-free cooking and avoiding stuff like bread and pasta.  I’m also going for more wholefoods and minimising processed foods.  Fats are also cut waaay down so I am mindful of things like nuts, seeds and usage of coconut oil.  As much as I don’t like the cooking sprays, I am using a very short burst of olive oil spray for oven cooking but keeping that to zero as much as possible.  I don’t find this restrictive in any way, fortunately!

Here’s a look at what I’ve eaten this week.  I have retained only a little of the muscle mass I gained when heavy weight training over a year ago (boy does it hurt my pride to flex and see no more guns) so I’m trying to keep an eye on protein intake so I don’t shrivel away entirely…

bugsbicep

I started on Monday and today is the following Monday morning .  So in one week, I am down  1.5kg (3.3lbs).  I haven’t exercised, apart from one gym workout as a trial.  I have injuries in both feet and should avoid weight bearing and impact exercises like jogging.  Not fun when you want to lose weight, so I’ll be checking out exercise bike hire to get some HIIT happening.

So, these are some of the things I’ve eaten.  Of course, it’s not everything but I’m guessing you will all get sick of me photographing bananas and the same bowl of soup because I made enough for four days then went nuts because I hate leftovers after the second day…

Smoothie with unsweetened plant milk, banana, spinach, pepitas, hemp protein:

bananahempsmoothie

A bowl of vegetable and cannellini bean soup (there are also some red lentils floating around but not enough, so I threw in the beans for a protein boost).  Days worth of this:

beanveg

When I went for my haircut, I made a double serve of a breakfast smoothie so I could take some with me, seeing as a) I was at the hair salon for a couple of hours at least and b) I was near Crumbs Bakery, with their vegan pastries and donuts.  DANGER. This smoothie has spinach, banana, blueberries, hemp protein, flax:

blueberrysmoothie

Chickpea scramble made with broccoli, tomato, kale, lemon juice and lots of savoury yeast with my mum’s peas and carrots (cooked with onion and a little tomato paste) on the side:

lunch

Smoothie with hemp protein, flax, fresh mint, banana. As I was making it I was thinking “I’ve missed something, I just know it”… turns out it was the spinach.  I add spinach to all my smoothies.  Except this one:

bananahempsmoothie

Pan Seared Garlic Tofu from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, cooked in my new cast iron frying pan.  Oh my goodness, crispy tofu without using stacks of oil! I served this with the roast cauliflower (with a spritz of oil spray) and the miso tahini dressing from the Isa Does It recipe for the Roasty Soba Bowl.  Instead of soba I went for the last of the broccoli and some chickpea scramble.  YUM.  I had it again quite a few times:

misotahinivegtofuAlthough I enjoy smoothies for a quick easy breakfast, I decided to try pancakes.  AHA! I hear you say.  Pancakes on a diet?  Oh Veganopoulous, you crazy kid! Well!  I made the blueberry pancakes from Brendan Brazier’s Thrive nutrition book.  These are made with buckwheat flour, cooked quinoa, hemp milk, water, blueberries, salt, two dates, baking powder and baking soda.  You mix up the batter in a food processor.  They’re not the most attractive of pancake colours but they’re super healthy.  The recipe makes two large servings.  I had mine with a small sliced banana and home made applesauce (I just stewed some apples in a little water then pureed it all.  No sweetener).  The banana and applesauce did well as a ‘syrup’ seeing as I’ve waved goodbye to my beloved maple syrup for now.  This breakfast really filled me up and I was stuffed by the last couple of forkfuls so next time I’d make these as three smaller servings:

thriveblueberrypancakes

Another smoothie from Thrive, this one made with hemp, flax, pumpkin seed, banana, orange, ground cloves:
ironsmoothie

We visited my parents on Good Friday and my mum had made Greek lentil soup and added in some kale I took over.  Being Good Friday she didn’t use olive oil so I was pleased to have a nice bowl of oil free lentil soup.  Called “faki” in Greek, pronounced “fu-KI” and enough to earn me detention after the home ec teacher asked what I ate for dinner and I answered honestly:

faki

I made another Brendan Brazier Thrive recipe, this time the Black Bean Lime Salsa.  I love this! black beans, tomato, onion (which I left out), fresh coriander, balsamic vinegar, hemp oil, lime juice.  I moosh mine up in the food processor even though you’re supposed to just mix them together.  Here I have it served with the last of my roast cauliflower steaks:

blackbeansalsa

I haven’t featured any Easter gatherings here as I haven’t been to any.  We have a belated Easter lunch with my parents, sister and brother in law today so I’ll be blogging about that very soon.  This year I said I’d make hot cross buns with the kids but really, we’ve had so many store bought ones in the house that my dad insists on buying for us, that I am just well over them and I think Arthur and DeeW have consumed more than enough without needing to add to the count!

Although I ate the same things many times, it doesn’t bother me much now.  See, I’m a person who hates leftovers after day two.  I get BORED to the point where I would rather not eat than eat leftovers AGAIN.  I’m a bit of a princess like that.  On the third day I wanted to cry, in that whiny #firstworldproblem manner, when I realised I still had more bean-veg soup to eat.  Yea verily Veganopoulous, get over it! For day 4 I felt better about it because it certainly helps knowing what I will be eating, without having to worry about coming up with something new every day or two.  It makes for boring blog entries though!

 

This past week I’ve been playing and re-playing the new single by Tori Amos called ‘Trouble’s Lament’.  I can’t get enough of it!  I’m a looong time fan but the last couple of albums didn’t really jump out and grab me like all the rest.  But this song just kapowed me in the face!  If you’re a long time fan too, you might also be kapowed by the different sound she takes here.  Before I sat down to listen I was wondering how different, though familiar, it would be to her past albums and I wasn’t expecting this.  I’m looooving the percussion and guitars.  Kapow!

St. Patrick’s Day Colcannon Puffs and Dilly Stew with Rosemary Dumplings

Every year I try to incorporate days of celebration in to our family life.  Although we do not celebrate based on religion, it’s still a good opportunity to explain to Arthur and DeeW why people celebrate a certain day or occasion and we learn about different cultures, countries and beliefs.  We watched some short clips about Ireland online and borrowed some library books.

Husband and I visited Ireland back in about 2001.  A relative was staying in Howth so we arranged to meet up, as Husband and I were living in Amsterdam at the time.  Unfortunately we didn’t get much time there and we only had two full days in Dublin so we opted for day long bus tours which took us to Newgrange.  Newgrange was built in about 3200BC so it’s older than Stonehenge and the pyramids.  Amazing stuff and we really enjoyed the tour.  My photos are all stored on backups somewhere but I found this old-camera-that-was-great-at-the-time picture of the view from our bed and breakfast in Howth.  It’s the St. Mary’s Church and graveyard:

St. Marys church howth

Naturally, green food was on the menu for today.  I didn’t make anything sweet and the shamrock cookie cutter will stay in the drawer for another year.  We’ve had our share of sweet things recently and really didn’t need more cake or biscuits.

Arthur’s breakfast was a banana-sweet potato-spinach smoothie.  Which is simply called ‘banana smoothie’ in our house, for reasons that will be obvious if you were or have a child who hates vegetables:

green banana smoothie


My breakfast was the Cake Batter Smoothie from Eat Raw, Eat Well made with avocado, orange and lemon.  Of course, after drinking it, I realised I forgot to add some leafy greens to really green it up.  But it was still kinda green, though the lighting in the photos is really bad:

cake batter smoothie2

For lunch I made Colcannon Puffs from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  I thought they were great, Arthur rated them 60% but the kale was too much for Husband and DeeW taste and texture wise so next time I’ll use peas instead.  I used the baking option.  I think these would be great samosa style with nice curry-esque spices:

colcannon puffs

I wanted to make something along the lines of an Irish stew.  I used the Dilly Stew with Rosemary Dumplings recipe from Isa Does It as it seemed a perfect fit.  To save time I chopped some of the veggies the day before and got a few things ready in advance.  Then once everything was in the pot, I went off to get a can of white beans but ended up having a total Mother Hubbard moment.  As in, no beans.  Whoops.  Still, it turned out okay and Husband is a bit iffy when it comes to beans in a stew.  I used four cups of broth instead of the stated six cups.  Six was way too much for my pot and would have overflowed with that plus the beans I thought I had.  I think the four cups was a good decision in my case because my stew didn’t thicken enough, so I made a Nutellex-flour roux and whisked it in.  Then it thickened up beautifully. I sorta made the dumplings a bit too big…

dilly stew2

Next time I’ll reduce the amount of potatoes and add more carrot as it seemed I was scooping out lots of potato:

dilly stew1

As always, I’m loving Isa Chandra M’s recipes and am looking forward to seeing her, Terry Hope Romero and Vegan Black Metal Chef at their live show in Melbourne soon.  Are any of you guys going to see them here or Sydney?

Random eat-y bits and pieces

Back on the air after some internet silliness!  Like… going over your monthly usage quota and being punished by the speed of your connection slowing to snail’s pace.  Whoops.

I haven’t been keeping much of a record of what I’ve been eating.  Lots of smoothies and juices which kinda seem too boring to put on the blog. Here are some of the more less-boring ones.  A beet-berry-banana smoothie.  I don’t like the taste of beetroot in smoothies but this was okay.  The perfect thing to drink on… Prince’s birthday perhaps:

beet berry smoothie

This one had fig, banana, greens, flax and other stuff I don’t remember now:

fig banana smoothie

One of the nicer green juices:

green fruit veg juice

a maple walnut banana smoothie.  I used maple extract:

maple walnut smoothie

I made the Lentil Taco Meat recipe from Isa Does It (using chipotle powder instead) though I added a can of black beans to the mix.  Then I decided to use up the cooked red quinoa I’d discovered in the freezer so I threw that in too, along with some mushrooms.  I served it up in a bowl with baby spinach, lettuce, tomato, avocado all squirted with a little lime juice.  This is one of my favourite bowls:

lentil taco meat bowl

Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe posted a great nut roast recipe that uses buckwheat, one of my favourite ingredients to use.  Johanna’s recipe is also up on Ricki Heller’s awesome site. My attempt could have been a disaster because when I was simmering the buckwheat groats, I forgot about them.  The simmer time was 10-12 minutes.  I remembered them an hour later.  They were pretty mooshy by that time but not very burnt on the bottom of the pot which was a surprise and a relief!  Blurry photos, argh:

tomato nut roast2

tomato nut roast1

I made this fab chocolate chip cookie wedges recipe by Joann from Woman in Real Life.  In true Veganopoulos style, after I started the recipe I realised I didn’t have the full amount of sugar so I had to use less but it turned out great regardless.  This was a belated Valentine’s Day treat for the family:

oatchocchipcookiewedge

Chocolate chip biscuits:

choc chip biscuits

We had dinner at Loving Hut in Northcote again.  Southern fried ‘chicken’ and the homemade curry equals yumz:

Loving Hut Northcote

lhn2

aaaaaand Husband and I went to Loving Hut in Richmond.  I got my usual, which is the veg curry with tofu puffs.  Husband got the spring rolls:

Loving Hut spring rolls

Loving Hut curry

I over roasted some canned chickpeas with nooch for Arthur:

chickypops

Possibly my favourite kale dish is this cheezy chickpeas and kale dish from Fannetastic Food.  I added in some leftover roasted sweet potato:

cheezy chickpeas and kale

Husband and I received these lovely cherry truffles with the added bonus of it appearing quite vegan:

cherry chocs

Now, how many of you know how to fold a fitted sheet nicely?  I’ve been watching YouTube clips on how to do it but nope, mine turn out all horrible and I end up totally frustrated.  None of those pretty smooth corners for me.

Last weekend we went to the Moonee Valley Festival.  I did a quick run past the food stalls and there didn’t appear to be anything vegan.  If there were, I wouldn’t have waited as the queues were too long:

festival7

festival2

festival4

festival5

DeeW made a seed ball and planted it at home:

festival6

I lost $10 on this…

festival8

There were lots of lost balloons in the air:


festival1

I was glad to be home again.  I like visiting these community festivals but after a while I need to get out of there:
festival3
I found this sight quite amusing:

paintingtransporter

Excellent news is that tomorrow is the last day of summer!  Summer is my least favourite season so I’m not exactly sorry to see it go.  I have some plans for autumn and this year I hope I’ll stick to them!

talltree