Saturday, October 29, 2011

Green Monsters

The first time I ever made a green smoothie the results were disastrous. I had read so many things extolling the virtues of green shakes and I couldn't wait to try them, despite warnings that it was an 'acquired taste'. It was a taste I wanted to acquire, and so I set about trying a recipe I found in a book. The blender I was using at the time was definitely not up to the task of grinding up all those leafy greens into something tasty(I'm pretty sure the blender was older than I am. An egg whisk might have done a better job). I put way too many things into it in one go, as well as too much cilantro(BAD IDEA). It was gross, and I was put off and have been mildly terrified of green shakes since. Now I love me some greens, and I love green juice. I also love tossing a handful or 3 of spinach or kale into a more conventional fruit smoothie. Tonight I'm leaving for NYC(HOORAY!), and I had a bunch of spinach hanging out in the fridge that needed to be used. I decided today was the day, I was going to try green shakes again. This is a big deal. I think in the raw food world we sometimes eat some things that seem really strange to the rest of the world, and I've prided myself on trying as many of these things as I can(who says veganism is boring?) But after the green shake incident I hadn't even looked at one since. I put the spinach, a banana, some frozen pineapple, Sunwarrior Vanilla Protein Powder, stevia, and a splash of cashew milk into the vitamix(this is crucial! Not properly blended green shakes are, as I can say from experience, gag-reflex inducing. To this girl at least.). It was delicious, my faith in green shakes was restored, and I can foresee lots more of these in my future! Facing your fears is a good thing.

I rarely drink shakes in a cup, I like putting them in a bowl over some grapes(today's were green to keep with the theme), or other fruit and topping it with buckwheat groats, oats, hemp seeds, and goji berries.

Happy Halloweekend!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thanksgiving and Pumpkins

Canadian Thanksgiving is upon us and in Toronto we're celebrating with a lovely temperate 27 degree weekend. In an attempt to make October feel more like October, I decided to purchase some pumpkins and see what I could do with them. Roasting your own pumpkin tastes a million times better, although you can use canned if you're lazy. Canned food scares me however. Roasting pumpkins turned out to be a lot simpler than I thought, and it's cheaper in the long run. When you're using pumpkins for eating and not jack-o-latern-ing, you want to buy smaller(usually marked as Sugar Pie) Pumpkins. The larger the pumpkins are the stringier and less sweet they are, so save those for carving. You want to pick ones that are on the smaller side, and that feel heavy than they look.

Jack and Jill, unsuspecting of their fates.

To roast your pumpkins preheat the oven to 345, then slice off the tops of the pumpkins. Scoop out the seeds and save them in a bowl. Quarter each pumpkin and place on a baking tray(it's fine if they're a little crowded). Bake for about 45 mins-1 hour, depending on the size of your pumpkin. When they're done the skins should look a little shrivelled. Remove from oven and let cool, then pull the skins off. Chop the pumpkin then puree in a food processor or blender. Or mash it with a potato masher.

Rinse your pumpkin seeds in a colander, and place in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and roast in an oven at 345 for 45 minutes. I added Cajun seasoning to mine as well, curry powder, garlic powder, or other herbs would be good too. Pumpkin seeds are high in protein, iron, zinc and magnesium.

Pumpkin Guts

Maple Pumpkin Muffins
2 1/4 cups flour(I used spelt)
1 cup Sucanat(Or you could use brown sugar, demerera, ect)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tblspn cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
2 tblspns Maple Syrup Powder(optional)
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cups almond milk
1/3 cup vegan margarine(melted)
1 cup chocolate chips
Maple Syrup Powder for sprinkling(optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 345 degrees.

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and ginger.

In a separate bowl mix the pumpkin, almond milk and vegan margarine.

Make a well in the flour mixture, and pour in the pumpkin mixture. Fold until just mixed, and add the chocolate chips. Scoop into muffin cups, sprinkle with maple syrup powder.

Bake for 15-18 minutes.

Perfect muffin enjoying weather.