Green Smoothie Bowl

We just spent 4 weeks in the Pacific Northwest road-tripping through the Cascades and the Washington/Oregon coast in our 2006 Sprinter van. I absolutely fell in love with the Cascades – green forests, lakes, shady trails, wildflowers, snow-capped mountains, rivers, and oh the wild berries! We have a propane stove and a refrigerator in the van, so we were still able to eat pretty healthy on the road. But its been nice to indulge in some smoothies since we got back – I was sorely missing my favorite way to get kale in my diet.

Even more fun are smoothie bowls. I like a thick smoothie base with toppings to make it more interesting.

The key to a thick smoothie: use less liquid than you think, and gradually add some if your blender really can’t handle it.

Ginger Peach Smoothie Base

Large handful kale

1/2 cup almond milk

1/4″ nub of ginger

2 cups frozen peaches/nectarines

1/2 banana (frozen, or not)

1-2 tbsp almond butter

4 ice cubes

Shake of cinnamon (optional)

1 scoop protein powder (if desired)

Blend the kale, almond milk and ginger til no chunks of kale remain. Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend on high til its smooth but thick.

Top with whatever you like: chia or hemp seeds, sliced almonds, coconut flakes, berries, sliced banana, etc.


Chia Seed Energy Bars

Over the last few months I’ve gotten into a semi-regular routine of running at dawn (or even pre-dawn, before Daylight Savings started again). In addition to the practical benefit of doing my run while my family sleeps, there is something very good for my soul about running at this time of day. The stars are crisply bright in the dark velvet sky. The miles slip by as the sky gradually lightens, almost as if they didn’t happen. The twitter of oh-so many-birds chattering in the dawn. Sometimes a glimpse of a gorgeous sunrise over the ocean. It is almost always cool (sometimes a little too chilly, warranting an immediate shower to get my hands functioning again), my ideal running temperature. I come home after these runs refreshed and ready for the day.

Because I am pretty much rolling out of bed and out the door, I only want a quick snack before I go. I’ve never been able to run on an empty stomach, and especially now that I’m pregnant (due at the end of October!), its important to have a little something. For awhile I was dipping a spoon in almond butter, coating it with chia seeds, and topping with a few bites of banana. However, that can be messy and isn’t very portable.

Homemade chia energy bars

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I really liked the Health warrior Chia bars, but I figured I could probably make something similar myself. Plus, my son loves anything Larabar-like that can be made in a food processor, so I thought it would be fun to make these with him. I looked up the ingredients on the internet, took a guess at the proportions, and made a few substitutions.

The first time I made these, I used almond butter instead of the nuts, and added in some puffed quinoa along with the chia seeds. But since most people don’t have puffed quinoa laying around

Chia Energy Bars

makes ~10-12 bars, depending on how you divide them

1/4 cup oats

1/4 cup almonds or cashews (or nut butter)

1/4 cup coconut flakes

1/4 cup dates or figs

2 pinches of salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 banana (or add water a tablespoon at a time until its moist and sticks together)

1/2 cup chia seeds

Pulse oats, coconut and nuts in a food processor until fairly small (if you are using almond butter, wait to add it with the dates). Add dates, salt and vanilla, and whirl until well combined, then add the banana. (You want it to be sticking together and holding its shape). Dump into a bowl, and add the chia seeds. Once mixed, form into balls or roll out and cut. Store in the refrigerator.

*Ideas for Variations: Cacao powder for chocolate flavor. Other dried fruits. Add puffed quinoa (or crisp rice cereal?)


One Pot Pasta with Zucchini and Mushrooms

I’ve had this one pot pasta trend on my to-do list for awhile, just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. We really don’t eat pasta all that often, but I finally decided to go for it tonight (after experimenting with the concept on our latest van adventure to Utah). I don’t really like wasting the cooking water either, especially in a drought, so that was appealing as well.

One pot pasta for dinner = success. #plantbased #wholefoods #athletefood

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What’s not to love about the idea of throwing pasta, water and vegetables into a pot and having it cook down into a delicious mess? When I initially put everything in the pot, I was really skeptical that it was going to work, since at least half the pasta was nowhere near the water! But sure enough it all melted down and cooked into a saucy creamy dish.

As tomato season comes upon us, I think I’ll definitely be doing the Martha Stewart version with tomatoes and basil – the essence of summer.

One Pot Pasta with Zucchini and Mushrooms

Based on this recipe by Damn Delicious. This recipe is vegan as I made it, but feel free to use whatever substitutions you like.

2 Zucchini, quartered and sliced thinly

16 oz mushrooms, sliced thinly

2/3 cup peas or asparagus

16 oz pasta (I used the brown rice and quinoa fusilli from Trader Joe’s)

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1-2 sprigs of basil

glug of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

4 1/2 cups of water

1/3 cup cashew or almond milk

1/2 cup vegan parmesan (there’s an easy delicious recipe here that I make with cashews and walnuts/hazelnuts)

Combine the above ingredients through the water in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until pasta is cooked through and liquid has reduced, about 8-12 minutes. Add the milk and parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with more parmesan and/or fresh basil.

Chunky Granola

Finally, a proper chunky granola with great texture! #greensmoothie bowl

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We eat oats pretty much every morning, whether it be rolled or steel-cut. One of my favorite breakfasts is a green smoothie bowl topped with sliced strawberries and granola, but I don’t make granola very often. Its easy to make, but it disappears so quickly that its almost not quite worth the time it takes to make it. I’ve heard that granola will keep for two weeks, but it rarely lasts for more than a day around here!

Granola is so adaptable to whatever you have. It will take just about any combination of nuts, seeds and dried fruit and still taste delicious.

This recipe is crunchy and chunky, my favorite combination. I think the key is to have maple syrup, a bit of oil, and not to stir while it bakes! All date/banana (and no oil) makes it chewier. Enjoy!

Chunky Coconut Granola

Based on this recipe by Minimalist Baker

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2-1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2-1 cup chopped nuts (I used hazelnuts, but almonds, pecans, or cashews would all work)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp  coconut oil (I used mostly sunflower oil)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3 dates blended with 1/2 banana and 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • optional: 1/2 cup dried fruit (I used cranberries, but any will work)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Add oats, coconut, almonds, pecans, coconut sugar, and salt to a large mixing bowl – stir to combine.
  3. To a small saucepan, add oil, maple syrup, date mixture. Warm over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, whisking frequently until combined. Add vanilla, whisk once more.
  4. Immediately pour over the dry ingredients and stir to combine until all oats and nuts are thoroughly coated. Arrange on a large baking sheet covered in parchment paper and spread into an even layer.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from oven and turn the pan around so the other end goes into the oven first (so it bakes evenly).
  6. To keep this granola chunky, don’t stir during baking, or right after. This will help it form together and create “chunks”, so handle as little as possible!
  7. Bake 5-10 minutes more, watching carefully as to not let it burn. You’ll know it’s done when the granola is golden brown and very fragrant.
  8. Let cool completely before enjoying. Add dried fruit to the pan while the granola is cooling (optional). Break into clumps.

Cashew Milk Creamer

Cashew milk creamer. #plantbased #wholefoods #ditchthedairy

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After spending months cutting dairy out of my regular diet, I still couldn’t kick my half-and-half-in-my-coffee habit. Almond and soy milk didn’t have the same mouth-feel, and all the plant-based creamers in the stores have extra gunk/preservatives in them (which is why I started making almond milk, now a habit that requires hardly any thought at all).
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