Refreshing Lime Cucumber Smoothie

They cancelled the full Montreal marathon this weekend because of our current heat wave—but people still got to run the half!  Since Sundays are my long run days, I also got my badonk outside to power around the city in the hot weather, which meant seeing some of the runners in action. Watching all of the different participants supporting each other and wearing their numbers got me pretty excited about my own impending doom half marathon on October 22nd. (Week 9 of training officially begins on Monday!)

It was a tough run. The humidity made everything twice as hard. I poured about half of the water I was carrying straight down my back, and the last couple of kilometres were uphill. BUT, when it was over and done, and I forced myself to stretch—it was time for a recovery smoothie!

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This smoothie is a green dream! It’s on the lighter side in terms of taste and texture—there’s a time and a place for your double chocolate peanut butter mayhem, but for me, it’s not after hustling my butt around in 30 degree weather for two hours. The lime juice makes it refreshing, and the cucumber is re-hydrating. There’s also protein powder and banana to replenish your carb stores and help aid muscle recovery! Good stuff all around!

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You could even swap half the milk for coconut water and refill those electrolytes, and add more ice to up the chill factor. Side note: I ran Saturday and Sunday this weekend and made this smoothie after BOTH because I liked it so much. GET BLENDING!

Refreshing Lime Cucumber Smoothie
Serves 1
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1 c. almond milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 c. cucumber, diced
1/2 c. spinach
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 pinch sea salt

Optional: greens powder, 1 tbsp. maca powder, other add-ins of your choice!

1. Measure out almond milk, frozen banana, cucumber, and spinach into blender and run until smooth.

2. Add in the protein powder, lime juice, sea salt, and any of your other add-ins! (I used maca powder and a greens powder to stay on colour theme.)  Also add ice here if you feel like it!

3. Blend until smooth, pour into a glass, and enjoy!

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Cashew Coconut Curry with Crispy Tofu

It’s been an anxious week, y’know? The kind where being mindful is interrupted by just being in your skin—a discomfort with existence. When anxiety haunts me for no particular reason, I cling to the familiar—wearing a favourite t-shirt, watching an old reliable movie, or cooking a well-loved dish.

Cooking is an amazing escape. It engages your senses, and you usually need focus and finesse to make it happen. Meal prep is almost active meditation, and this curry adds a layer of velvet to that feeling. It’s spicy, creamy, and warming, especially as August runs head first for September and cooler nights are on their way.

I’ve been cooking this recipe—and variations of it—for years. The original was one of my favourites against the damp in Scotland, and I’ve tweaked it and changed it many times—I even adapted it when I was doing the Whole30. It’s simple, crave-worthy, and always open to interpretation. Sub chicken for tofu, forget the tomato paste and use canned tomatoes, or add other veggies for a finish. Don’t be afraid to branch out and trust your instincts—you’ll be noshing a delicious bowl of comfort in no time. (Legal disclaimer: it will actually take several minutes.)

Cashew Coconut Curry with Crispy Tofu
Adapted from Half-Baked Harvest
Serves 4-6

1 package firm tofu*
2 tbsp. coconut oil

1 can tomato paste (6 oz., 180 ml)
1 can coconut milk (14 oz., 400ml)
3/4 c. roasted cashews
1/2 c. water

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tbsp. dried ginger
2 tbsp. garam masala
2 tbsp. curry powder
1/2-1 tsp. turmeric
Salt (to taste)

2 heads broccoli, cut into florets
2 generous handfuls baby spinach (optional)

For serving:
2 c. cooked brown basmati rice
Naan bread

1. Press tofu by wrapping the drained block in paper towel and setting some heavy books on top for 30 minutes. After this, cut the tofu into 2 cm cubes. Heat 1 tbsp. of coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Spread the tofu in an even layer in the pan, turning when each side is golden brown.  Set tofu pieces aside on paper towel, reserving the skillet.

2. In a blender or food processor, add cashews and cover with coconut milk, running until combined. Then add tomato paste and water, blending until smooth. Set aside.

3. Add the second tablespoon of oil to the skillet from step 1. Sautee onions and garlic until fragrant. Add the spices and stir to toast them, about one minute.

4. Add the coconut cashew blend to the pan, stirring to distribute the spices. Add salt to taste. Raise heat to simmer. Stir in broccoli florets and then reduce heat slightly, allowing them to cook for a 3-5 minutes to desired tenderness.

5. Stir in tofu cubes until evenly coated and warmed through. If adding spinach, stir it in here, cooking until slightly wilted. Remove from heat.

6. Serve with fluffy basmati rice or delicious naan bread! Enjoy!

* If you have a soy allergy or sensitivity, this recipe is also great with paneer or chicken!

Creamy Vegan Garlic Pasta Sauce

This week’s motto: wash your blender. 

Sometimes, you take your first crack at homemade almond milk, and after two days of soaking the almonds, and then blending and straining them to perfection,  you detect a slight garlicky undertone at first sip. You realize the last thing you made in that blender was delicious potato hummus and maybe missed a spot in the scrubbing afterwards. So smoothie dreams take a back seat to sauce dreams… I don’t hate it.

Still, wash your blender.

It’s probably narrow-minded to resign this simple, warming, garlic sauce to pasta—especially since re: the rules of this month’s Whole30 challenge, I’m not technically eating pasta at all. You could put it on LOTS of stuff. I served it up with roasted spaghetti squash and broccoli, and homemade, ethically raised, hormone-free pork meatballs… My lunches this week are THE BOMB.

Yes I understand the ridiculousness of vegan pasta sauce with meatballs. IT’S MY LIFE OKAY? The Whole30 made me do it.

Creamy Vegan Garlic Pasta Sauce
(Adapted from The Minimalist Baker)
Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups sauce
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1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
2-3 tbsp arrowroot flour (use something else, but this makes it Whole30 compliant)
1 1/4 cup unsweetened, plain almond milk

1. Add olive oil, onions, and garlic in a medium saucepan, and sautee over medium-low heat until soft and fragrant.

2. Whisk in 2 tbsp. arrowroot flour. It will get clumpy, but don’t worry, just keep whisking!

3. Over low heat, slowly stream in the almond milk, whisking until the flour is no longer clumpy. Turn up the heat to medium, whisking the sauce until it begins to thicken to your desired consistency.

Note: If it doesn’t feel thick enough, whisk in the last tablespoon of arrowroot. If sauce becomes too *thick*, add in a splash of almond milk, veggie stock, or water to loosen the texture.

4. Arrowroot has a tendency to turn things into a bit of a gelatinous mass (yum!) so when you’re happy with the thickness, remove the sauce from heat, scrape into a blender, and let it run until the sauce has reached a velvety smoothness. Add salt and pepper to taste and blend again.

5. Serve over spaghetti squash or your noodle of choice, with roasted vegetables and maybe a little vegan parm on top if you want to get fancy! Recipe easily doubles for company or for when you want extra.

P.S. Don’t forget to wash your blender after this, yes, AGAIN.