Mango Lassi Breakfast Parfait

When I met my husband back in the day, I had never tried Indian food (crazy, I know!).  He introduced me to some of the best Indian restaurants in Montreal, and to this day, it remains my favourite dinner date treat.  Although I don’t cook much Indian food at home, I am amazed by the delicious combinations of spices and it really is a very veg-friendly cuisine.  We love to order it in as a treat from our favourite restaurant, and even my 4 1/2 year old son asks for Indian food.  We are just obsessed with chickpea chana, aloo gobi, biryani, onion bhaji, and I’ll stop now before I make everyone really hungry…. 🙂

Vegan Mango Lassi Breakfast Parfait

This brings me to the ever-refreshing mango lassi that I was daydreaming of when I created this recipe.  Traditionally, lassi is a yoghurt-based chilled drink hailing from India, and either made sweet or savoury.  When making fruit lassi, mango is the most popular.  This is my take on the mango lassi incorporated with chia seeds to make a filling, refreshing, vibrant mango lassi parfait.  I never liked yoghurt, so I didn’t use it here, but if you would like to use yoghurt/non-dairy yoghurt then leave out the cashews and water and add 1/2 cup yoghurt.  I just love the creaminess cashews bring to a dish or drink and I think they worked really well in this parfait.

Vegan Mango Lassi Breakfast Parfait

 

 

If you are new to chia seeds, I just want to emphasize what a nutritional powerhouse this little seed is.  I’ll start by saying, yes it looks totally weird when you soak it, almost alien-like.  I know that doesn’t sound at all appetizing, but it’s actually really great-tasting soaked in almond milk or milk/juice of your choice.  Chia seed contains a wealth of fiber—5 grams in just one tablespoon. It is the fiber in chia that causes chia seed to swell when combined with water, creating chia gel.  Chia gel can also be used as a substitute for eggs in vegan baking. 

Ounce for ounce, chia seeds have more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon. Chia is one of the most concentrated sources of omega-3 in any food.  Chia also contains calcium; three times more than skim milk.

Great ways to use chia: 

  • Sprinkle on cereal or salad.
  • Add to shakes or smoothies.
  • Add to baked goods like muffins, cakes, and pancakes.
  • Make into gel and use to thicken puddings, sauces or dips.  You can make chia gel by adding 1/3 cup of chia seeds to 2 cups of almond milk (or juice, or water).  Mix well to avoid clumping.  Place the chia seeds in in a sealed jar and refrigerate overnight.
  • For vegan baking, replace one egg with 1/4 cup of chia gel.

 So, I guess you’ve now realized I am a big fan of this great little seed, so I’ll get on to the recipe!  This makes two servings, but for the purpose of taking a pretty, layered photo, I stuffed it all into one mason jar. 🙂

Mango Lassi Breakfast Parfait

Serving Size: 2

Ingredients

  • For the Chia Seeds:
  • 2 cups vanilla flavoured almond milk
  • 1/3 cup white chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • For the Mango Lassi:
  • 2 medium mango, peeled
  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons chopped roasted pistachios (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare your chia seeds the night before by combining almond milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt in a jar. Stir well, cover, and place in the refrigerator. After about 30 minutes, stir again to prevent clumping. Place back in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Soak your cashews overnight in a jar filled with water.
  3. In the morning, remove chia and cashews from the fridge.
  4. Blend 1 mango along with the cashews, water, dates, and a pinch of salt until you have a smooth consistency.
  5. Dice the one remaining mango.
  6. Layer parfait in a large cup or jar: spoon chia mixture into glass/jar first, then mango lassi, fresh mango, repeat. Top with fresh mango, pistachios, and ground cardamom.
  7. Serve cold.
http://loveandlentils.com/2014/04/27/mango-lassi-breakfast-parfait/
 

Vegan Mango Lassi Breakfast Parfait

Vegan Mango Lassi Breakfast Parfait

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Berry Red Beet Juice

It’s no secret, we are a beet-loving family.  I grew up eating them, and we often include them in our meals in a very simple way – usually boiled and served with a drizzle of olive oil.  My son loves them so much as well, which is so awesome since we can’t deny the amazing health benefits.

Beet Juice

Beets have been used in folk remedies for centuries, and the main reason being that they are loaded with betanin, an amazing antioxidant.  Their intense, deep red colour is not only gorgeous to look at, but shows how loaded they are with antioxidants. They are a wonderful tonic for the liver, working as a purifier for the blood.  Besides all of this, they are loaded with many other minerals and vitamins and taste delicious.  They work especially well with berries in smoothies or juices, as well as citrus and greens.  I’ve made many different beet juice concoctions, but my son simply loves this one!  Beets are naturally very sweet and moist, which makes them ideal for incorporating in a variety of beet dishes, desserts, or juices.

Beet Juice

I don’t know about you, but I can barely keep my eyes open past 9:00pm and this weekend was a jam-packed party.  We celebrated two friends’ birthdays last night, and we were home in the wee hours.  I was so exhausted today and I notice that I always crave fresh juice when I’m low on energy.  The energy boost from nutritious juices always seems to amaze me.  I felt so much better after having a tall glass of my Berry Red Beet Juice today.  

So I’ll be spending the rest of my Sunday with pink-stained hands.  Have a great rest of the weekend, everyone!

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Beet Juice

Berry Red Beet Juice

Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 organic beets
  • 8 organic strawberries
  • 1 organic orange

Instructions

  1. Wash the beets, strawberries and orange.
  2. Cut the greens off the strawberries, and slice the beets and orange into quarters.
  3. Place all ingredients through your juicer.
  4. Serve and drink right away.
http://loveandlentils.com/2014/04/13/berry-red-beet-juice/

Beet Juice

Beet Juice

Beet Juice

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Homemade Almond Milk – Step by Step

If you haven’t started making your own almond milk at home, I highly recommend it. I was so surprised with how much better it tasted with only three ingredients. Not to mention, the process is extremely simple and you are in control of exactly what ingredients are in your milk.

I have never been a fan of dairy milk, and was never one to drink a glass of it. I do, however like to use non-dairy milk in my cooking, in my morning coffee, and in the occasional bowl of cereal. The most convenient thing to do was to buy a carton of almond milk from the grocery store, as many do. I couldn’t imagine the ingredients being more than almonds, water and maybe sugar, but after carefully looking the labels over, I discovered that many contain preservatives, artificial sweeteners, ‘natural’ flavours, and even carrageenan. This substance is used in many processed foods, and very commonly used in non-dairy beverages as a thickener and also as a stabilizer to prevent seperating (which naturally occurs in almond milk). Although it is derived from seaweed, it is processed so highly that it has been linked to gastrointestinal inflammation, tumors and colon cancer.

Knowing this, I decided to give it a shot at home, and I am so glad I did. It’s just so tasty and free of additives! I find myself walking by the fridge and having a gulp of it, something I have never done with any type of milk, be it dairy or nut milk. I am still on the hunt for a healthy option from the grocery store, for pure convenience when in a bind.

Keep in mind that you can play around with the flavours here:  vanilla bean for a stronger flavour, dates, maple syrup or agave nectar for sweetness, or cinnamon or nutmeg for a nice touch of spice.  I always go with what I’m in the mood for, seeing that you’re making small portions, it’s easy to experiment.

Here are step by step instructions to start making your own almond milk. It will stay fresh for about 3 days in your fridge. Also, do not throw out the almond meal! You can use it in your baking.  I froze my almond meal to use on another day, and when I do, I will post step by step photos of how to use it.  You will basically need to dry out the almond meal first.  In the oven, on lowest temperature, spread out the almond meal on a baking sheet.  It will take about 3 hours to completely dry.  Remove from oven and grind in a food processor.  You now have delicious almond flour, which is a fantastic addition to baked goods such as muffins and cakes.

You may be curious (as my husband was), as to what is more economical; store bought or homemade almond milk.  I’ve done the math, and if you compare apples to apples, store bought was slightly cheaper (by less than a dollar) but when you make use of the almond meal and grind your own flour, now you are really saving.  Almond flour is quite pricey, about $10 per pound.  So, in total you are saving money, and you’re not consuming carcinogens!

Homemade Almond Milk Recipe

Makes 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 3 cups filtered water (+ 2 cups for soaking)
  • a pinch of kosher sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (optional)

Directions:

  • Place almonds in a bowl, cover with 2 cups of water and let soak overnight.

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  • Drain almonds. Place in blender along with 3 cups of water and sea salt.

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  • Process at high speed for a few minutes.
  • Give it a taste. At this point, if you want a natural, raw almond milk you are done with the blender. If you want the vanilla version which I made, add the extract, and blend once more.

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  • Place a few layers of cheesecloth over a bowl (unless you have a nut milk bag, which makes things easier). Slowly pour almond milk through cheesecloth into the bowl.

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  • Squeeze excess milk out of the cheesecloth to extract more milk.

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  • Pour it through a sieve into another bowl to filter out as much almond pieces as possible.

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  • Pour milk into a measuring cup to make it easier to pour into a container (I use mason jars).

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  • Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.  Natural almond milk tends to separate, give it a shake before drinking.
  • Enjoy!

Hot Off The Grill: Grilled Lemonade

Today, the family and I visited the little town of Hudson about half an hour from home to enjoy their annual street fair. My sister in law is an artisan who displays her creations in this picturesque town at their yearly event. If you appreciate vintage items with a modern flare, I encourage you to check out Kroon Designs Upcycled Goods.

While strolling the streets and beautiful booths, we got quite hungry and stopped for some street food. Unfortunately, the only restaurant close by did not have any vegetarian grub on their street food menu. What did catch my attention, though, was their Grilled Lemonade offering on the menu. We had to get going (we were pretty much starving at this point) so we didn’t have a chance to try it, but of course, I couldn’t wait to get home to grill some lemons! I personally have never heard of this variation of lemonade, but after a little research online, I discovered it’s one of the hottest trends in grilling!

I really enjoyed preparing this drink, albeit quite a bit more of a process than with traditional lemonade. The outcome, though, is fantastic. The grilling gives the entire drink a nice caramelized flavour and colour with a hint of herbal flavour from the mint. This is my new favourite summer refreshment!

Grilled Lemonade Recipe

Makes approx. 7 cups

Ingredients:

  • 16 lemons, halved
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon organic sugar
  • 5 cups water, divided
  • 1/2 cup unpasteurized honey (or other preferred liquid sweetener)
  • approx. 10 mint leaves
  • ice

Directions:

  • Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
  • Sprinkle one tablespoon of sugar onto a baking sheet and dip each of the lemons, cut side down, into sugar.

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  • Place lemons on the grill, cut side down, and cook for 5 minutes, or until browned. Remove from grill and set aside.

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  • In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add 2 cups of water, honey, sugar, and mint leaves. Whisk until all sugar is dissolved.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Squeeze lemons into a small bowl. I used a lemon squeezer, remember you are squeezing 32 lemon wedges!

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  • Transfer lemon juice to a large pitcher, slowly pouring through a fine mesh strainer (to avoid a pulpy lemonade).
  • Remove mint from sugar mixture, then pour mixture into the pitcher. Add 3 cups of water and give it a stir.
  • At this point, you can add more sugar or lemon if you like, but I thought it was the perfect tartness and sweetness.
  • Add a few lemon slices and ice cubes.
  • Serve chilled.
  • Enjoy!

Related articles:

http://www.meatwave.com/blog/grilled-lemonade-recipe

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/11/grilled-lemonade-recipe.html

Grilled Lemonade

Make-Your-Liver-Smile Juice

Yesterday, we had a very late night of loud music, great company, amazing food, and too much wine at our friends’ wedding!  I must say, it was definitely the best vegetarian meal I’ve ever been served at a wedding.  I usually get the average main course dish, minus the meat, which usually results in boring steamed veggies and mashed potatoes.  Last night, I was served a cutlet with a beautiful tomato sauce, and a couple of ‘meatballs’ with a fantastic risotto.  I made my husband taste it first as I was certain I was looking at a piece of pork.  He tried it, and immediately suggested I send it back, because it was in fact meat.  Well, the chef personally sent his message back to me, that it was absolutely not meat.  Completely vegetarian.  I was very impressed with the creativity put into this dish.  It was so delicious!
Well, this post is actually about the fact that I NEED to detoxify today.  My liver is not so happy with me, I am dehydrated, and need to refuel.  So, I turned to my favourite juice, beet juice!

This juice is amazing for your health.  Beetroot juice is one of the richest dietary sources of antioxidants and nitrates which improve blood flow throughout the entire body.  It is a great detoxifying agent for your liver.  Not only is it so good for you and tasty, it is so pretty in colour!

Here it is:

Make-Your-Liver-Smile Juice

Makes 1 glass of juice

Beetroot

Ingredients:

  • 1 beetroot
  • 1 green apple
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 handful spinach leaves

Directions:

  • Wash all your produce well.  Slice the beetroot in four to allow it to fit through your juicer.
  • Place all ingredients into your juicer.  Juice, serve, sip and smile!

Beetroot Juice