Saturday, May 25, 2013

Kicking off the weekend with plant protein!

I'm starting my Memorial Day weekend with a plant protein packed smoothie using a packet of 22 Days Nutrition brand plant-based protein powder that came in this month's Vegan Cuts Snack Box. A packet came in last month's box too, but I still haven't had a chance to try it, but since I am spending this Memorial Day weekend with more work and not much play, I figured it'd be a great opportunity to try the vanilla-flavored powder that boasts 22 grams of protein per serving!

There's my packet of 22 Days Plan Protein Powder mixed in with all the other wonderful treats in this month's Vegan Cuts Snack Box!
I'm not complaining too much though, because I spent last weekend exploring Portland, Oregon, also known as Vegan Mecca! I ran a half-marathon this past Sunday and that's why we made the trip, but I also had the chance to see a few college friends on Saturday and Sunday too. Portland is beautiful, my friends are doing well for themselves and I finished my half with a slower time than my last finish time of 2:34. But, with 2:56 on the record books for this race and the fact that I haven't been running nearly as much as I was last summer, I'm happy I finished within my goal of under 3 hours.

The ingredients in the 22 Days protein powder are a refreshing blend of organic fruits and vegetables with everything from acai berry to tomatoes included in the blend. It also comes with 5,000 mg of organic flax seed per serving. Not to mention, this protein powder is organic, gluten free, GMO free and of course, vegan! I can't wait to try the next packet in a smoothie before a workout later this week.

Check out my recipe for the Morning Plant Protein Smoothie below and I hope to upload more photos of Portland soon as a separate blog entry!

I couldn't wait to take a drink of this green plant protein packed beast of a smoothie!

Morning Plant Protein Smoothie
(makes enough for two smaller smoothies)

• 1 cup frozen watermelon chunks
• 2 cups of fresh water
• 1 banana, peeled and sliced
• 1 Fuji apple, sliced into small chunks (I left the skin on my apple, but feel free to peel it, if it's not your thing.)
• 1 packet vanilla 22 Days Nutrition Plant Protein Power
• 1 cup baby kale, or greens of your choice and use organic if possible
• about 1 teaspoon of ginger
• 1/2 cup to 1 cup ice cubes
• more fresh fruit of your choice to top your smoothie, I used fresh strawberries and really ripe mango and they tasted delicious with the sweet watermelon and slight hints of vanilla and ginger.

- Pour 1 1/2 cups of water into a blender along with the frozen watermelon chunks, banana, apple, ginger and contents of the protein powder packet and blend thoroughly.
- Throw the baby kale, or greens of your choice, in the blender next with the ice cubes and remaining 1/2 cup of water and blend for a good minute-and-a-half to two minutes to assure that the greens are broken down and blended well.
- Top your smoothie with fresh fruit of your choice, or even some chia seeds, flax, hemp hearts or other tasty toppers!

Look at this cute bicycle on a street in rainy Portland! More on that later...

Monday, May 6, 2013

Zesty Mexi Chia Cheese

I ran out of my Wayfare We Can't Say It's Cheese in Mexi Cheddar flavor the other night, but I've been using the pack of tortillas I bought last week for quick dinner dishes to finish them up. That was my plan for tonight's dinner too.

I didn't want to go to the store and I wanted to try something new in terms of vegan cheese sauce. There's nothing better than that slightly spicy, zesty taste that comes along with Wayfare's Mexi Cheddar cheese spread. I've also read the label countless times, wondering how they created something so good. It's also a Made in Montana product! Wayfare We Can't Say It's Cheese spread is mainly oat-based and the first ingredients are prepared oats, made with water. I've also been looking around at chia seed-based vegan cheese sauces, like the Chia Cheeze Sauce made by Heidi Ho Veganics. I might just have to order myself a jar soon!

After a few Google and Pinterest searches, I also found this recipe for "Chia Chili Cheese." Since I'm avoiding making a trip to the grocery store, I looked over the recipe for Chia Chili Cheese on and it starts off by mixing 2 tablespoons of chia seeds in 1/2 cup water and letting the chia seeds "gel" for about 10 minutes. I have water and I have chia seeds. I also have rolled oats in my pantry, so I got out my small food processor, a string of ingredients both fresh and in the pantry and got to making my own Zesty Mexi Chia Cheese. Prepared oatmeal and chia seeds help thicken the sauce and the nooch adds that cheesy cheddary flavor you want with your dinner.

Think of this cheesy sauce as part queso to scoop up with your tortilla chips, part thick cheesy goodness and a great addition to your Mexican-themed dishes or something to make quick and bring along to your next get-together. It should last a few days stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Another great aspect of this recipe is that you can tweak the saltiness and spiciness to your taste level! I put my smoked paprika, liquid smoke and sriracha sauce to use with this cheese sauce.

Yesterday may have been Cinco de Mayo, but that doesn't mean the buck has to stop there!

Zesty Mexi Chia Cheese

• 2 tablespoons chia seeds mixed with 1/2 cup water, set aside and let "gel" for at least 10 minutes
• 2 tablespoons diced onion
• 2 tablespoons salsa
• 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes (Start with 1/4 cup and add more nutritional yeast flakes if you want a "cheesier" taste.)
• spring of sea salt
• sprinkle of smoked paprika
• a few dashes of liquid smoke
• sriracha sauce to taste
• 3/4 to 1 cup prepared oatmeal (using 1/2 cup rolled oats mixed with 1/2 to 3/4 cup water)
• cilantro for garnish (optional)

- How easy is this? Once your chia seeds and water mixture have "gelled" combine the rest of the ingredients and the prepared oatmeal with the chia seed/water mixture in a food processor or high powered blender and process until everything is blended together. Add more nutritional yeast, sriracha sauce, salt, or liquid smoke to meet your taste preferences.