But I Could Never Go Vegan! Review, Recipe & Giveaway

but i could never go vegan

What does your cookbook collection look like?  Are your shelves spilling over with books that have stained, dog-eared pages showing that they are truly loved?  Mine keeps on growing, but sometimes, there’s just that one book that you can’t wait to get your hands on and cook through!  Kristy Turner’s But I Could Never Go Vegan! was that book for me this year.  They say not to judge a book by its cover, but the manly BBQ Bacon Burger with pickled red cabbage and blue cheese is a feast for the eyes.  That’s just the beginning.  As I flipped through the book, the gorgeous photos by Chris Miller (a talented and inspiring photographer who also happens to be Kristy’s husband) gave me an inviting and comforting feel.  Kristy’s story-telling makes it feel like you are BFFs and you are welcomed right into her world!  But, most of all – the FOOD.  It’s brilliant.  

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Vitamix S30 Personal Blender Review, Recipes & Giveaway!

Hello friends! I hope you are all doing great and keeping afloat in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  This time of year usually means lots of time spent in the kitchen, cooking for family and friends and baking awesome treats.  I love giving the gift of food to my family and friends for Christmas, itโ€™s always greatly appreciated and you can really get creative with what you bake, and how you package and present it.   My son, of course, has a list of toys on his Wish List. ๐Ÿ™‚

I am beyond excited to tell you Christmas is coming early around here, folks!  I have a huge giveaway for one of my amazing readers!  I was lucky to be included in Vitamixโ€™s Canadian launch of their personal blender, the Vitamix S30.  They very generously provided me with a blender to test, review, go crazy making recipes with, and ultimately, fall in love with.  I use my S30 almost every single day, for smoothies, dips, sauces, and also for my favourite Sunflower Seed Pesto recipe which I will be sharing with you all today.

Vitamix S30  

First, I want to tell you a bit about this little powerhouse!  Do not be fooled by its size.  The S30 is crazy powerful, with a 790 watt motor, which translates into super smooth greens (no chewing those smoothies anymore! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

The Vitamix S30 arrived with a big book of recipes, in both English and French.  It’s filled with beautiful photos and recipes ranging from beverages, dips/spreads, dressings, soups, sauces and desserts.  This was a really nice added bonus to inspire new creations!  

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I tried several recipes from the book, and today I’ll also be sharing one from it.  This delicious Cranberry Smoothie was so easy to make, not to mention delicious and nutritious.  

Vitamix Cranberry Smoothie
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Ingredients
  1. 1/3 cup ice cubes
  2. 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  3. 1/4 lemon, peeled
  4. 4 pitted dates, halved
  5. 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 3/4 cup plain unsweetened rice milk
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix 20-ounce container in the order listed and secure blade.
  2. Turn the dial to 1 and slowly increase the speed to 10.
  3. Blend for 40 to 45 seconds or until desired consistency is reached.
Love and Lentils http://loveandlentils.com/
Vitamix S30 IMG_7894-2 IMG_7904-2 IMG_7912-2

One of its greatest features is the portability of its container! In addition to the 40-ounce compact container which you would use for sauces, soups, etc., you get a 20-ounce personal container with a flip-top lid.  This is so convenient for blending smoothies on the go.  You can blend the smoothie directly in this container, remove the base, screw on the lid, and grab and go! Itโ€™s brilliant!  Honestly – in love with this feature!  

Iโ€™m not sure about you, but I have a pretty small kitchen, with limited counter space.  I like to keep my blender on the counter because I always notice Iโ€™ll slack on the smoothie-making if I store it and have to pull it out when I need it.  But, I hate the bulkiness and amount of room blenders normally take up.  The great thing about the S30 is its sleek and compact design which allows for keeping it on the counter without taking up a ton of room.  It measures approx 20โ€h x 9โ€w.  Also, the blender-base is removable and dishwasher safe, making things even easier. 

I made several of my own recipes using the Vitamix, including my homemade Hazelnut Spread, Berry Green Breakfast Smoothie, and a new recipe, Sunflower Seed Pesto.  I created this recipe to satisfy our love for basil pesto, but to make it nut-free.  My son started kindergarten this year, and his entire school is nut-free.  This has become a staple recipe in my house, the little guy loves it, and so do we. ๐Ÿ™‚  It’s also vegan, to allow even more people the option of eating it! 

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So, here it goes:

Sunflower Seed Pesto

Yield: 1/2 cup

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients into your blender. Blend at low speed for 30 seconds or until desired consistency is reached. You don't want to blend until it is a runny pesto, a thicker consistency is best.
  2. Serve this pesto with your favourite pastas, as a base for your pizzas, sandwich spreads, toss with veggies, and even mix it into your salad dressings.
http://loveandlentils.com/2014/12/14/vitamix-s30-personal-blender-review-recipes-giveaway/

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Vegan Sunflower Seed Pesto 

Time for the fun!  Vitamix will be giving away one S30 blender to a lucky reader.  You must be a resident of Canada or the USA to enter.  This is a phenomenal value, worth over $400!  Iโ€™m so excited, guys!  Be sure to share this with your friends and family!  Enter using the Rafflecopter entries below.  Best of luck to you all. 

Thanks for being here,

sophia

 

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Matcha Green Tea Donuts

Matcha Green Tea Donuts - Vegan

I was recently contacted by the nice folks over at Kiss Me Organics and they asked me if I would be interested in reviewing their organic matcha.  I was thrilled, since I’m a huge fan of matcha and all its health benefits, and I immediately started thinking up recipes to share with you.  I received my bag of organic matcha and whipped up a smoothie right away, it was so delicious and as matcha is known for, it really does boost your energy.  I would highly recommend adding a teaspoon to your smoothies or juices. ๐Ÿ™‚ I started thinking up matcha baking recipes, as I wanted to use it in a more unconventional way.  Then, the stars aligned and I found a great set of donut pans at a garage sale, and I instantly thought: matcha donuts!!

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Matcha Green Tea Donuts - VeganWho doesn’t love donuts, right?  I thought, what better way to healthify them than by baking them instead of deep frying and adding in the organic matcha.  Matcha is extremely high in antioxidants and lifts your vitality while boosting your metabolism.  Not to mention, this high quality grade matcha is pure indulgence, rich in flavour and aroma.  I absolutely loved the green colour of the donut glaze, and fought my son to lick the spoon clean. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Matcha Green Tea Donuts - Vegan

Of course, the easiest way to have matcha is by simply adding it to boiling water and enjoying a green tea – but I promise this is one of the easiest recipes I have ever made.  Also, it’s really quick; you’ll be all done within 30 minutes.  My son was immediately attracted to these green donuts as well, he gobbled them up!  They have a moist, cake-like texture, and you won’t miss the fact that they aren’t deep fried.  They also go great with a nice hot cup of green tea. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, let’s get to the recipe, and then, we’ll get to the giveaway! Woot woot. ๐Ÿ™‚  

Matcha Green Tea Donuts

Yield: 6 donuts

Ingredients

  • Dry Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Wet Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup plain almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • Matcha Glaze:
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon organic matcha powder
  • 3 tablespoons plain almond milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ยฐF.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined and a soft dough is formed.
  3. Scoop dough into a greased donut pan (either with cooking spray or coconut oil) and bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Begin making your glaze.
  4. In a bowl, mix the icing sugar, matcha powder and almond milk. Once the donuts have cooled, dip each donut into the bowl of icing, and set on a cooling rack. You can add sprinkles if you prefer. Serve at room temperature. I recommend that you consume these donuts on the same day, otherwise store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
http://loveandlentils.com/2014/08/09/matcha-green-tea-donuts/

Matcha Green Tea Donuts - Vegan

Kiss Me Organics is generously offering one of you lucky readers your own bag of top grade organic matcha!  It is available exclusively through Amazon, and a bag should last you about 6 weeks.  ๐Ÿ™‚  All first time customers also receive a free PDF file of matcha recipes to also inspire you!

Matcha Green Tea Donuts - Vegan

Matcha Green Tea Donuts - Vegan

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I’d love to hear, do you enjoy matcha?  What’s your favourite way to prepare it?  

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Signed,

A green tea latte addict xx

 

Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake with Peanut Butter

I have so much to share with you in today’s post!  A few weeks ago I gave you all a little teaser on Instagram that I’d be giving away a copy of Emily von Euw’s AMAZING book, Rawsome Vegan Baking.  Well, today is that day folks. ๐Ÿ™‚  Emily was super sweet in also giving me the opportunity to share a recipe from the (un)cookbook with you.

rawsome cover 

If you don’t already have your hands on this book, I need to tell you how impressive it is.  When I received the book, I sat next to my son on the couch and we flipped through the pages.  Page after page, he kept exclaiming, “that looks sooooo delicious!”.  Emily’s photos are mesmerizing, deep, dark and drool-worthy, and there’s a lot of them.  There’s so much to explore, from raw cakes, cupcakes, bars, pies, tarts, ice cream and more.  I had Sonny’s help in making a few very easy recipes, including the S’mores Cupcakes and also the Almond Joys with Crunchy Coconut Center Enrobed in Raw Chocolate.  How good do those sound? Seriously – amazing!  They are very kid-friendly, and so much healthier than your typical desserts.  

raw, cake, rawsome vegan baking

The recipes do not require any weird kitchen equipment or too much time, except for the occasional overnight freezing which takes zero effort ๐Ÿ™‚ and the use of a dehydrator, which I do not have.  The recipes are made from nuts, seeds, fruit, coconut, cacao and other superfoods.  They do not contain dairy, refined sugar, processed flours, eggs, or gluten.  They do contain tons of flavour and are awe-inspiring.  And finally, they are completely raw, so no cooking required.

Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake with Peanut Butter

I really received this book at the perfect time, I’ve just recently started experimenting with raw baking and despite my initial doubts, it is SO easy and way more impressive than any ordinary dessert.  I’ve served my Very Berry Raw Pie so many times, and it’s always such a crowd-pleaser.  Today, I am sharing an incredible recipe from Emily’s book,  a Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake with Peanut Butter.  I mean, seriously, without even going any further, how amazing does this sound?  

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This was a very simple recipe to make, and I already had all the ingredients on hand, which you most likely would as well.  The only thing I did different from the recipe was instead of drizzling the peanut butter overtop the cake, I spread it right on.  PB lovers over here, what can I say.

Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake with Peanut Butter

Ingredients

  • Crust:
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • Cheesecake:
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup preferred liquid sweetener (optional; I used about 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup)
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
  • Water
  • 1/4 cup cacao or carob powder (I used cacao powder)
  • Topping:
  • 3 tablespoons raw peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons raw chocolate (see below)
  • Raw Chocolate:
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup preferred liquid sweetener
  • Mix all ingredients together until smooth
  • To make the crust:
  • Pulse the oats into flour in your food processor. Add the dates and process until they stick together. Press into the bottom of a springform pan and put in the fridge.
  • To make the cheesecake:
  • Blend all ingredients, except the cacao powder, until very smooth, using as little water (or maple syrup) as possible, to keep your cheesecake creamy. If you don't want to add any water, use some liquid sweetener. This is your vanilla layer.
  • Transfer half of the batter to a bowl. To make the chocolate layer, add the cacao powder to the remaining batter that is still in your blender/food processor and blend until it's incorporated. Now spread the vanilla layer and the chocolate layer on your crust, alternating layers a few times. Set in the freezer overnight then drizzle with peanut butter and chocolate the next day. Enjoy!

Notes

I spread the peanut butter right onto the cake, rather than drizzling, just to get more of a peanut butter flavour.

http://loveandlentils.com/2014/05/25/vanilla-chocolate-chunk-cheesecake-with-peanut-butter/

Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake with Peanut Butter

You’ll need to prepare it the day before you wish to serve it, because it needs to set in the freezer overnight.  That’s the longest part of the recipe, and it takes zero effort. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Don’t forget to also enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a free copy of Rawsome Vegan Baking! Good luck to all.  It’s open worldwide so share with your friends.  Contest closes Friday, May 30th at noon.

  
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Recipe Revelations Challenge – Best In Salad Winner!

Weeeeee! I’m so excited.  My day has been made, and it’s thanks to all of you who loved the recipe and voted!  I recently entered the Canadian Lentils Recipe Revelations Challenge, and today I got the amazing news that my Sweet Lentil Salad & Greens won Best in Salad category.  I am elated!  We seriously love this salad in my home, and I am so happy to see so many of you do as well.  

Of course, I want to share a piece of my joy and gift with you, so I am hosting a giveaway!  Woot woot!

Enter below for your chance of winning a $25 Amazon Gift Card.  This contest is open to everyone, worldwide and ends next Friday!

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Thank you so much everyone, and please, do try this recipe, it’s a winner!

Sophia xx

Sweet Lentil Salad & Greens