CRUNCHY KALE SALAD + CITRUS DRESSING

CRUNCHY KALE SALAD + CITRUS DRESSING

This salad featuring the king of leafy greens has been a perfect match for my lighter fare cravings. It's sweet with the cranberries and bell pepper, a bit citrusy from the dressing and crunchy from the carrots, kale and sunflower seeds. Everything adds up to nice flavor and texture. My favorite way to enjoy a kale salad is to let the kale marinate with the dressing for about an hour. This will help relax the kale and take some of the bitterness away. Making your salad this way makes for a great pack-n-go lunch option. Your salad will be softened and ready by the time lunch comes. When your looking to add some freshness into your diet, I think you'll find this to be a great inspiration!

If you don't already know, KALE is a power house of nutrients. It's loaded with anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory support as well as being rich in calcium, iron and vitamin K, A & C. It aids in the body's detoxifying process and offers cardiovascular support. But even with all this goodness, you may have heard that too much kale is not so good. That is true for some. Kale is a green that may be best consumed moderately, especially for those with kidney and gallbladder issues because of the high amounts of oxalates. If you're in good health, kale can be consumed on a fairly regular basis without much concern. Look for organic kale whenever possible. The 'dirty dozen' list has been revised to be the 'dirty dozen plus' with kale/collards greens coming in at #16 of produce with highest amounts of pesticide residue.

CRUNCHY KALE SALAD + CITRUS DRESSINGCRUNCHY KALE SALAD + CITRUS DRESSINGCRUNCHY KALE SALAD + CITRUS DRESSING

CRUNCHY KALE SALAD + CITRUS DRESSING

Ingredients
  • 1 bunch kale, julienned
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (toasted or raw)
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
Dressing
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 -2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, optional

Prepare your vegetables and gather your cranberries and seeds. 

Mix kale, carrots, bell peppers and dressing together. Let set for about an hour at room temp or in the refrigerator (this will soften the kale nicely and reduce the bitterness). Serve in individual bowls topped with cranberries and seeds. If you don't have time to let the kale marinate with the dressing, the salad will still be great! 

Serves 2

Notes:

Use orange, lemon, lime and/or grapefruit as your citrus juice. Mix and match your citrus flavors using whatever you have on hand or is available.

Make this a creamy dressing by adding 1 - 2 tablespoon tahini when mixing the dressing.

The dijon is optional, I found that I preferred it with a small amount. Try it both ways and see what you think.


PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA GRANOLA SNACK CLUSTERS

PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA GRANOLA SNACK CLUSTERS

I have some granola inspiration to share with you today! While at the store a few weeks ago, I saw a package of granola from La Brea Bakery and loved that it had big chunks. I set out to recreate that in my kitchen. Initially I wanted to make a mixed fruit granola, but seeing that I had some very ripe bananas that needed to be used up I thought I'd put them into a granola with a nut butter instead. We'll save the fruit granola for another time. This combination turned out great. Not too sweet, chunky like I wanted and the nut butter will add a good amount of protein. This is a perfect snacking granola! Great to have on hand at home or pack some up and take it with on the go. You can also break it up a bit more and top it on non-dairy ice cream or yogurt. You may even like to fill a bowl full, add some milk and enjoy. However you like your granola, this will be a great addition to your granola addiction!

PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA GRANOLA SNACK CLUSTERSPEANUT BUTTER & BANANA GRANOLA SNACK CLUSTERSPEANUT BUTTER & BANANA GRANOLA SNACK CLUSTERS

I used almond butter here but you can use any natural nut butter you like. The bananas, the riper the better...the more ripe they are the sweeter they'll be.

PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA GRANOLA SNACK CLUSTERS

Mix your wet and dry ingredients...

PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA GRANOLA SNACK CLUSTERS

Spread on 1 extra large baking sheet or 2 smaller ones. In the picture above I spread the granola close together. I did one sheet this way and another loosely spread out (first photo). Both batches worked great but the loosely spread granola baked a little faster.

PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA GRANOLA SNACK CLUSTERS

Once cooled and broken up, you're ready to enjoy!

PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA GRANOLA SNACK CLUSTERS

PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA GRANOLA SNACK CLUSTERS

Ingredients
  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup almond or peanut butter (I used crunchy almond butter)
  • 2 small ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, optional
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, pepitas, cinnamon and salt.

Warm your coconut oil and maple syrup, combine with vanilla extract. Mash your bananas and measure your nut butter. Combine the wet ingredients with the oat mixture. Toss and mix to coat well.

Spread mixture evenly on a lined or lightly greased baking sheet (I used two baking sheets). You can either lightly compact the mixture or loosely spread it out a bit. If compacting, you'll want to mix the granola when rotating after 30 minutes.

Bake for 30 minutes. Turn and rotate sheet/sheets, bake an additional 25 - 30 minutes. Keep an eye towards the end so it doesn't over brown (ovens run differently). Remove from oven, granola will be somewhat soft at first. Let cool for 15 minutes, break up into chunks, especially the center part if you've compacted the mixture. Let granola cool completely to harden.

Notes:

Change up the nuts using peanuts, walnuts or pecan pieces. Use sunflower seeds in place of the pepitas.

You will most likely do just as well without any oil. If you'd like to reduce the oil, try using only 2 tablespoons. I like the flavor and addition of the coconut oil for myself.

Once cooled, if you still find your granola to not be as crunchy as you might like, bake again at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes, keep an eye so it doesn't over brown.

This granola needs to cook low and slow. My first batch I baked at 325 degrees F. for 40 minutes but it still needed extra baking time after cooling to become crunchy. I lowered the temp and added a bit more time. Be sure to watch it towards the end so it doesn't become burnt, especially if you've spread it loosely on the baking sheet.

The 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon gives a very subtle flavor, add another 1/2 teaspoon for a more enhanced cinnamon flavor.

If you happen to have both rolled and quick oats on hand, try using 2 - 3 cups rolled oats and 1 -2 cups of quick oats (use whatever combo equals 4 cups with at least 2 cups rolled oats). This will also help to make nice clusters.

Enjoy!

CURRY ROASTED CAULIFLOWER & QUINOA SALAD

CURRIED ROASTED CAULIFLOWER & QUINOA SALAD

Get ready for a different flavor sensation! It's a nice balance of sweet, a bit of tang and curry flavor that I just can't get enough of. If you love roasted cauliflower and the combination of ingredients in this salad, I have no doubt you will find this to be a great addition to your meal rotations.

This recipe came about from a recent trip to a small grocery store near me. I picked up a version they had and thought it was good enough to recreate for the recipe collection. The quinoa is my own addition, I wanted to add some protein and extra fullness to the salad. The remaining ingredients are almost the same. I did have to guess at the dressing but it came out perfect, even better than theirs I think...much less oily. This can easily be a side salad or a full meal. Great for to-go lunches as well, can be served at room temp or chilled. 

To all of those who have picked up a copy of THE ARCHIVES VOL 1, thank you so much! :)

CURRIED ROASTED CAULIFLOWER & QUINOA SALADCURRIED ROASTED CAULIFLOWER & QUINOA SALAD

Roast your cauliflower and prepare your quinoa...

CURRIED ROASTED CAULIFLOWER & QUINOA SALAD

Mix the dressing and gather the rest of the ingredients...

CURRIED ROASTED CAULIFLOWER & QUINOA SALAD

toss everything together and you're ready for a flavorful and filling salad!

CURRIED ROASTED CAULIFLOWER & QUINOA SALAD

CURRY ROASTED CAULIFLOWER & QUINOA SALAD

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup dried quinoa
  • 1 cup water (or just under)
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1 medium apple (I used Fuji), cored and diced
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut

Dressing
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • mineral salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut cauliflower into florets. Lay in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Add a drizzle of oil and toss to coat. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes, mixing the cauliflower around half way through. Remove from oven, let cool. 

Rinse your quinoa using a fine mesh sieve (honestly, I usually skip this part but have it here for good measure. Don't feel you have to do it but you may find that you prefer it that way.) In a medium pot/pan, add quinoa and water, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Once done, turn heat off, uncover and let rest for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the dressing. Set aside to let the flavors develop. Taste for seasoning adding anything extra you might like. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine quinoa, cauliflower, apple, raisins, shredded coconut and dressing, toss well to coat. 

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Serves 4

Notes:

If you know and love the Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar from Trader Joe's, or elsewhere, this is a great place to use it! Use it in place of the apple cider vinegar.

Sub in a tablespoon or so of water for the oil. Try using 1 tablespoon oil and 2 - 3 tablespoons water.

Feel free to use regular raisins or currants. Cranberries may even be a nice change up.

For my quinoa, I buy one bag each of white and tri-color and mix them together creating a nice blend of color and texture.

Enjoy this flavor combination, it's delicious!


HEARTY LENTIL & MUSHROOM RAGU + PASTA

Hearty Lentil & Mushroom Ragu + Pasta

Hi again! I've missed being here and am so glad to be back in the swing of my normal day to day activities. I haven't really been far, just working on other things for TSV. For starters, TSV quietly turned 2 in July. I can't believe it! In honor of my 2nd blogiversary, I put together an Archive E-Book as I've had a few requests for it. Seemed like the perfect time. It's done and it's awesome...you can find more about that here: The Archives E-Book. Also, I finally got a new computer, a much needed one that can handle my multi-tasking! It's wonderful and working well, making life so much smoother and easier. Cheers to all things positive and worthwhile! I hope you all are finding yourself in a happy place as well. :)

Hearty Lentil & Mushroom Ragu + Pasta

Today, I have something wonderful and savory to share with you! It's a perfect hearty meal, comforting and warm while filling all your senses. The aroma alone smells delicious. Once you take your first bite, you'll be hooked. I had seconds and thirds. Seriously! It's packed with protein and fiber, as well as other important vitamins to keep you plant strong and loving it. This is another super easy dish to put together, ready in under an hour. It's versatile too, always a plus. If you don't like mushrooms...sub in red bell pepper, zucchini or celery. Use pasta of choice. I chose pappardelle here but have used all kinds of other pastas with this. The notes will fill you in on more. 

This recipe came about when I was away. I didn't go grocery shopping for about two weeks and lived off what was in my pantry. I made spaghetti using canned beans with jarred sauce, and it was so delicious! That was super easy, but decided for this recipe that I'd use lentils and some fresh produce. Once I finally got back to normal, went grocery shopping and did a little research, I pulled this together. It's a keeper and a welcome addition to the recipe collection!

Hearty Lentil & Mushroom Ragu + PastaHearty Lentil & Mushroom Ragu + Pasta

HEARTY LENTIL & MUSHROOM RAGU + PASTA  

Hearty Lentil & Mushroom Ragu + Pasta

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups lentils (green/brown or puy) 
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced or diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 can (28oz.) diced tomatoes 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or 1/4 cup water for water saute
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano or herbes de provence
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup full-bodied red wine
  • 1 tablespoon corn or tapioca starch, or arrowroot powder
  • mineral salt & cracked pepper to taste
  • 16 oz. pasta of choice
  • chopped parsley, to serve

In a large dutch oven/pot, heat oil or water over medium heat, add onions and saute for 5 minutes, add garlic, carrots, mushrooms, red pepper flakes and oregano, saute for 4 minutes, or until mushrooms begin to soften.

Add tomatoes, lentils, vegetable broth and wine, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, until lentils are tender.

Combine starch with 3 tablespoons water, mix well, add to the ragu, stir and cook another 10-15 minutes. Add more water, broth or wine as needed. (Omit the addition of starch if using jarred pasta sauce, keep cooking lentils as needed until tender.)

Cook pasta according to package.

Serve ragu over pasta. Top with chopped parsley and a light dusting of Almond Parmesan.

Serves 6

Notes: 

If you don't have canned tomatoes on hand, sub in a jar (25 oz) of organic pasta sauce of choice. I used canned tomatoes with basil and olive oil..added nice flavoring. 

Use whatever pasta you like. I've served this with all kinds of pasta types. 

If not using wine, replace with water or veggie broth. If using wine, feel free to add more...it gives a wonderful flavor!

If you don't like mushrooms...sub in a small diced red bell pepper, small diced zucchini or 1/2 cup diced celery.

Feel free to omit the corn/tapioca starch. It's just to thicken it up a bit but will be great without it. If using a jar of pasta sauce, you can most definitely omit this part.

I used 2 cups of puy lentils here.

Looking for vegan wine, take a look at this great resource! Barnivore: Vegan Wine Directory



Enjoy!

BANANA COCONUT GINGER ICE CREAM



If you have followed my blog long enough, you know that I love my banana ice creams! The reason being is that I don't have an ice cream maker, or the space for one, so I make due by blending up banana's with all kinds of fun ingredients. They can be served as a soft-serve, or frozen for a few hours and scooped out like ice cream. The best of both worlds. Just blend your ingredients and enjoy now or later. Easy and done!

This recipe came about on a whim. I threw these ingredients together and it worked beautifully (of course, this combo is a no brainer!). My taste buds were extremely pleased and if you love these ingredients, yours will be too! 

Banana Coconut Ginger Ice Cream (soft serve) Banana Coconut Ginger Ice Cream (soft serve)Banana Coconut Ginger Ice Cream (soft serve)

 Get ready for summer with some of the easiest ice cream you'll ever make!

Banana Coconut Ginger Ice Cream (soft serve)

Soft-serve or frozen....you choose!

Banana Coconut Ginger Ice Cream

BANANA COCONUT GINGER ICE CREAM

Ingredients
  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons coconut butter, coconut milk* or 3 tablespoons shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • splash or two of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Place ingredients into your food processor/blender, except milk, process, adding milk as needed through the feeder to help move the mixture around, blend until fairly smooth and creamy. 

For soft-serve: eat right away.

For ice cream: place mixture into a freezer safe container, cover and place in the freezer for at least 4 hours before serving. Scoop out like ice cream and serve.

Serve with mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut or whatever you like.

Serves 2 to 3...or one as a meal.

Notes: 

*Canned coconut milk should be chilled before using, store the remaining in the refrigerator for up to a week.

If using shredded coconut, place in food processor/blender and blend until finely shredded or creamy.

Try not to over blend, it will become almost frothy. I personally didn't care for over blending.

Adjust ingredients to suit your taste.


APPLE NACHOS

Apple Nachos

Gather some of your favorite apples and get ready to enjoy a simple, fun and delicious treat! I'm not sure why I haven't made this yet, I guess it's true that everything has its time. I've seen apple nachos here and there on the web over the last couple years, a quick google search will pull up all kinds of similar versions, but I never put it on my immediate to do list. With all the busyness going on in life right now, I was thinking of something easy to share here and this popped into mind. I'm so glad that the time has come because these are absolutely delicious! A well loved classic, and I can see why. It's fresh, sweet (if using a sweet apple), with bits of chocolate and coconut flakes all topped with warm nut butter and cinnamon. What's not to love?! I easily ate two apples and could've eaten more if in the end I felt like slicing up more. But really two was enough, and maybe one will be enough for you, but I highly recommend going ahead and slicing up 2 per person, just in case. If you don't end up eating all the apple slices, the lemon juice will keep them from turning brown so you can make it with the leftovers the next day. This is also a great way to get in some protein that everyone seems to fuse over about a vegan diet. Where do you get your protein? How many times have I heard that. ;) Have no fear, this treat will give you about 8 grams of protein for every 2 tablespoons of nut butter you use (different butters may vary). Not too bad at all! This is a great snack for kids, as well as adults. I can see myself indulging in this quite often!

APPLE NACHOS

If you can circle your apples similar to this, you'll be sure to have a little of everything on every apple slice without causing too much mess when eating. But I sure didn't mind liking my fingers clean and I'm sure you won't mind either!

Apple Nachos
APPLE NACHOS APPLE NACHOS

I was asked if I'd like to try out this gourmet raw almond butter from Dastony, and being that it's from a small family business I said of course. I'm all about promoting small family run businesses, and they deliver a wonderful product that's smooth & creamy! They have a quite a few butters to choose from, even a couple sprouted ones that look delicious, all of which may work well in this recipe. Their butters are 100% organic, stone ground, raw, vegan, and free from additives and preservatives. If you're looking for that special nut butter as a gift or one for yourself to use every day, this is it!

APPLE NACHOS APPLE NACHOS APPLE NACHOS

APPLE NACHOS

Ingredients
  • 2 apples of choice 
  • 1/4 cup natural nut butter of choice
  • small handful chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life Mini Chips)
  • small handful shredded coconut
  • small handful slivered almonds
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Optional toppings:
  • hemp hearts
  • cacao nibs
  • raisins or currants
  • ground cardamom
  • pure maple syrup

Wash, core and cut your apples into 1/4 inch slices. I like to cut mine into quarters, take a small paring knife and carefully remove the core and upper and lower end where dirt may still be collected (even after washing). Lay apple quarters on a flat surface with the inside of the apple facing up, carefully slice your apple into 1/4 inch slices, you may even be able to get them into 1/8 inch slices if your extremely patient, even 1/2 inch slices is good too. Whatever thickness you prefer, no rules here! Place apple slices in a small bowl with the lemon juice, toss to coat.

Heat your nut butter just until warmed and somewhat runny. I like to heat mine by using a small silicon bowl placed in a small pot with just enough water to reach half way up the side of the silicon bowl, heat water on low and gently heat the nut butter until warm and drizzable.

On a serving plate, lay your apple slices in a single layer around the outside edge, then layer another small layer over those but towards the inside center of the plate (like shown in the picture above). Drizzle the nut butter in a circular motion, from the middle of the plate to the outside edge. You can also just zig zag the almond butter from one side to the other if you like. Again, no rules...just do what you feel is best! Top with choco chips, coconut flakes, almonds and sprinkle of cinnamon (or whatever you've chosen to use as your toppings). Enjoy this simple yet delicious treat!

Serves one generously, or two as a small plate.

Notes: 

Use red or green apples, you may even consider using one of each for a combination of sweet & tart.

Make this 100% raw by using raw nut butters, raw cacao chips and unsweetened shredded coconut.

Live well & thrive!

I'd love to see your masterpieces...
#thesimpleveganista


MEDITERRANEAN KALE SALAD

MEDITERRANEAN KALE SALAD

Summer in California is setting in, the temperatures are rising and salads are always welcome. I've been on an olive loving kick lately, as well as a chickpea kick (I'll tell you why soon), so this salad hit the spot with some salty olives, fresh sweet grape tomatoes & red bell peppers, refreshing cucumbers, red onion and fresh cooked chickpeas. All dressed up with a light vinaigrette and nice dollop of hummus. This salad didn't start with a dollop of hummus, but half way through eating I added a scoop and decided it needed to be included in the recipe (and photo), although I list it as optional. It adds such nice creaminess and rounds it out the salad well. If you find raw kale too hard to eat, even after letting it relax in lemon juice, a dollop of hummus will definitely do a world of good for you. It adds a nice creaminess to the overall salad while masking some of kale's bitterness. Similar to the Every Day Nourish Bowl, we now have another option of whole hearted goodness to choose from when a craving for salads occur! It's simple, accessible, not too expensive and good for you. Cheers to all of those things! :)

I have some fun news to share! I'm going to be immersed in all things chickpeas the next few months. I figured this post is a great place to introduce a project I've been working so hard on called, CHICKPEA: THE CHICKPEA HANDBOOK/COOKBOOK. It's all you need to know about chickpeas, with chapters containing information on nutrition, history, types, sprouting, growing (gardening), storing & selecting, flour, cooking and a few other relevant chapters. Plus, it will include upwards of 100+ recipes (not sure where to stop since there's so many good ones I want to add), including pictures of each one. It will include all of the favorite chickpea recipes from the blog and a ton of new ones. I'm excited out of my mind for this project! I was asked a few months ago what was the one ingredient that was important in my kitchen and my answer was chickpeas. They are so versatile and I use them often, especially for my hummus which is so much more than just a dip. After toying around with a couple cookbook ideas, doing a chickpea cookbook seemed so right. I want to celebrate the chickpea in all its glory and showcase its versatility, all the way from breakfast to desserts. It's a perfect fit for me and I know it will be a useful addition to any kitchen library! It's meant to be used often and will have my signature simplicity with a few recipes to kick it up a notch. I'm shooting for the end of the year but am really in no hurry as I want this book to be amazing. I ♥ chickpeas and think we should all eat more of them!

Enjoy the salad, and of course, this will be in the book! :)

MEDITERRANEAN  KALE SALAD kale MEDITERRANEAN KALE SALAD MEDITERRANEAN KALE SALAD MEDITERRANEAN KALE SALAD

MEDITERRANEAN  KALE SALAD

Ingredients 
  • 3/4 bunch kale, stems removed and julienned
  • 1 large lemon, juice of
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/8 small red onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cucumber, sliced
  • small handful cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half or campari tomatoes, quartered
  • small handful cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • dollop of hummus, optional (but so good!), to serve
  • fresh chopped parsley, to serve
Vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, optional
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Remove the stems from the center of the kale leaves, as least the thickest parts. Julienne kale leaves and place in a medium size bowl, add lemon juice, mix to coat the leaves and let set while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. The lemon juice will help soften the kale leaves. Toss every few minutes or so.

In a small bowl, add the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Whisk together until emulsified. It usually takes me about one minute, set aside.

Once you've prepped your other ingredients you're ready to assemble your salad. In a serving dish, add kale and top with bell pepper, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, olives and chickpeas. Add your vinaigrette over top and a dollop of hummus anywhere you like.

Serves one generously.

Notes:

Depending on the size of your produce, amounts will vary. Adjust accordingly to suit your taste and situation. For instance, I used small Persian cucumbers here but used a whole small one. Typically, you'll be using a regular or English cucumber and will only use about 1/4 of it, as per the recipe.


Enjoy!


VANILLA DATE SMOOTHIE

VANILLA DATE SMOOTHIE

I never regret going to the gym, but I always regret not going! Case in point, I've been working very hard on a special project I have coming up and sometimes get lost in the passion of it all. It's enough to keep me from going, for which I always end up regretting. I make myself go in these times and always feel amazing when I'm done. The ideas open up and flow through me with ease, I've come up with some amazing ideas. Plus, it gives me time to break away from the intensity of the day. Even though the gym is intense in its own way, it's blood circulating and sweat producing, I find it so relaxing as well...maybe more so when it's over. ;) It really is essential to your overall good health and well-being. I agree to that 100%. Maybe some of you feel the way I do, or maybe you simply dislike it like a few people I know. Either way, I wish everyone the best of health! It's what I was thinking about today, how good it feels and I was so glad I went. Not to mention, coming home to make this vanilla date smoothie. It's a perfect sweet treat for a job well done!

VANILLA DATE SMOOTHIE

Earlier this month, I picked up this big beautiful box of dates from my local Indian farmers market. How could I resist?! These are the extra fancy ones and they are the most tender, soft, sweet and caramely date I've had in long time. Fresh dates are simply the best, they are sweet and ready to be put to good use. As soon as I got home from the market I put together this vanilla date smoothie and loved every sip, especially those little date pieces that are like pieces of heaven to eat. If you've got some dates and frozen bananas on hand, I suggest you treat yourself to something simple and wonderful!

VANILLA DATE SMOOTHIE VANILLA DATE SMOOTHIE VANILLA DATE SMOOTHIE VANILLA DATE SMOOTHIE
VANILLA DATE SMOOTHIE VANILLA DATE SMOOTHIE  

VANILLA DATE SMOOTHIE

Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk 
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, optional
  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 4 - 5 ice cubes or another frozen banana
  • 3 - 4 medjool dates, pitted (soft and fresh is best)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine ingredients in blender and blend until smooth, about two minutes. Add a splash or two of extra almond milk if needed.

You may have visually small pieces of dates within the shake. That's ok, and even with those I had no trouble using my straw without having to clear the bottom of it maybe once or twice....Those little chunks are so caramely and delicious!

Serves one.

Notes:

For the protein powder, I've been using the Garden of Life Raw Fit lately. I love the fact that Garden of Life has a few protein powders that don't contain stevia. I prefer to sweeten my shakes/smoothies with fruits and personally don't care for the stevia after taste. I'm not on a weight management program but do love the high protein amount in this powder. The Raw Fit contains 28 grams of protein, which is half my daily recommended amount. For me, one shake a day is a perfect treat! If using protein powder, you may like to add 1/4 - 1/2 cup more of milk or water.

Enjoy!