October 13, 2014 By This Vegan Girl
I’ve made a smoothie bowl entry in the past, which was the Almond Butter Smoothie Bowl. Okay okay, I’ve made two, if you count the Peach Pie Quinoa Porridge, which essentially is a smoothie bowl with quinoa in it. I figured that those would be my only smoothie bowl entries, as how different can it all get?
How wrong I was. I started making smoothie bowls in the summertime, once teaching ended. It never occurred to me that my smoothie bowls would change with the seasons, but sure enough, fall came, and I found that my bowls looked drastically different. Instead of bowls full of berries and mangoes, I have bowls full of apples and pears.
Check out this side-by-side smoothie bowl comparison of summer vs. fall, taken from my Instagram account:
I realized that now that it’s fall, I must start using pumpkin. I avoided it completely last year, and once I finally started craving it, the “fad” passed, and it was onto winter fruits. I was overcome with pumpkin regret. I pride myself on not jumping onto bandwagons often, but dammit, I want to enjoy pumpkin. So here is the fall-inspired Pumpkin Spice Smoothie Bowl. Until winter, enjoy!
Pumpkin Spice Smoothie Bowl
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 2 smoothie bowls
For the Blender/Food Processor:
- 3 bananas (frozen or fresh)
- 3 heaping tablespoons pureed pumpkin
- 2 tbs almond butter
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp coriander
- 1 apple, diced (I used a Red Delicious Apple)
- chia seeds (optional)
Step 1: Mix the blender/food processor ingredients.
Mix until the ingredients are completely liquified.
I like to set my bowls in the freezer while I prepare the toppings. Hopefully, you have room in your freezer to do this. If not, perhaps the fridge?
Step 2: Prepare the toppings.
Take this time to chop your apple and your walnuts. I like my walnuts to be cut into halves and thirds, as a full-sized walnut is a bit much.
Step 3: Decorate!
Once you have prepared the toppings, take your bowls out of the freezer. You might need to take a spoon or a whisk and give the smoothie bowl a quick stir if you think your bowl is icy or stiff.
I like to decorate my bowl. Matt likes to, well, just throw his toppings on top with no plan of action whatsoever. Different creative styles, I guess.
Oh, Fleegle! Stop! You know walnuts are bad for your little boy body!
Smoothie bowls are great for company. Most people have never had a smoothie bowl before, so it’s fun to introduce them to something awesome. Every time I’ve invited a guest to try one, they’ve been pleasantly surprised as to how delicious, healthy, and easy they are. Make them for your friends, relatives, and in-laws today!
If you make this bowl, I’d love to see how it turned out. On Instagram, take a picture and tag me @thisvegangirl or use the hashtag #thisvegangirl. Add me while you’re there. For updates, add me on Facebook, too. Oh, and of course I’m on Pinterest.
August 7, 2014 By This Vegan Girl
The word “porridge” makes me think of something I’d hate. Lumpy, tasteless nast. Perhaps a mix between grits (which I’ve never liked) and bland oatmeal, which sounds absolutely awful, doesn’t it?
I’m pleased to say that my quinoa porridge tastes nothing like that! It’s delightfully sweet, a hearty texture, and pleasantly filling.
So, what’s the difference between this and, say, the Almond Butter Smoothie Bowl? Not much, actually! If you want something more light, go with the smoothie bowl. If you want something more substantial and pie-tasting, then try the quinoa porridge.
Using vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg in this recipe make you feel like you’re enjoying a decadent pie. This is the perfect breakfast for someone who wants protein, has a sweet tooth, and wants something that won’t do damage on your figure.
Peach Pie Quinoa Porridge
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes (can be done during prep time)
Yield: 4 bowls (adjust measurements accordingly)
For the base:
- 6 bananas, frozen or ripe
- 4 peaches, pitted
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- coconut milk or almond milk
- 2-3 handfuls of dark leafy greens (optional)
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 4 peaches, pitted and diced
- hemp hearts
- chia seeds
Step 1: Start cooking the quinoa.
Start by gathering one cup of uncooked quinoa and two cups of water. Pour these items together in a pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
I prefer cold porridge (like Mama Bear), so when my quinoa is done cooking, I’ll place my quinoa into the freezer for a few minutes to cool down. You might prefer hot porridge, in which case you would scoop your quinoa directly into your porridge bowl.
Step 2: Prepare the base.
In essence, the base is a smoothie. A mock-dessert smoothie, that is. Thankfully, only spices create the illusion that you’re indulging in a pie, so you don’t need to worry about added sugar.
First, add all the “base” contents EXCEPT COCONUT/ALMOND MILK into your blender or food processor. I personally use a NutriBullet for my smoothie needs. Add the milk last, filling it up until it almost reaches the top of the rest of the contents. You don’t want to add too little (too lumpy) or too much (too watery).
As I mentioned before, I like my porridge cold, so I’ll use frozen bananas and frozen dark leafy greens to make the base a little icy. If you’d prefer your porridge to be warm/hot, you might opt for non-refrigerated fruit and milk as your base.
The dark leafy greens are optional because they don’t do anything for the taste or texture. I throw in these greens to create the most nutritious breakfast I can. If that’s not your style, leave it out! The base will turn out a beautiful peach color instead of a deep green, which might look more appealing to the dubious guest.
Once the base is ready, I place my porridge bowls in the freezer to keep cold until everything is ready. Otherwise, pour your base in bowls and set aside.
Step 3: Prepare toppings.
Cut up your peaches and gather all your nuts and things. I didn’t have walnuts this day, so I opted to use chopped almonds instead. Personally, the almonds failed in comparison, as they were a bit too crunchy next to the other contents in the bowl. It’s all about preference, though. Use whatever nuts/seeds you have on-hand. Don’t be stressed if you don’t have everything, as all the added nuts and seeds are optional.
Step 4: Create your bowl and serve.
Each smoothie bowl should receive roughly 1/4 cup of quinoa, 1 sliced peach, 1 tbs hemp hearts, 2 tbs walnuts, and 1 tsp chia seeds.
I like to decorate my bowl to make it look as pretty as possible. Ultimately, you end up mixing everything together to get the full “porridge” effect, so the beauty is a fleeting moment in time. That’s why I take pictures of all my decorated bowls on Instagram. 🙂
By the way, the peach route isn’t the only way you can take this bowl. In fact, I’ve made this exact bowl with strawberries, blueberries, mango, pineapple, and raspberries. See what’s in-season and go for it! You can see my day-to-day bowls on my Instagram account. Follow me there and see what I’m eating for the day. Also, I’d love to get inspired by you. If you use one of my recipes, take a picture and use #thisvegangirl so I can see your creations!
July 14, 2014 By This Vegan Girl
I have been more active on the This Vegan Girl account on Instagram recently.
Being on IG, I had no problem finding people to follow. Gorgeous photos, vibrant colors, exotic fruit, and ideas made to inspire filled my feed.
There was one recipe that seemed to be appearing time and time again: the smoothie bowl. In Buddha bowls or mason jars, these bowls were fruity, colorful, and versatile. The term “nana ice cream” also became a new word in my vocabulary.
I decided to try it myself. Not only was it incredibly easy, but the results have been superb time and time again. It is a fabulous breakfast or snack that can fill you up with healthy, wholesome ingredients.
The main things you’ll need to make Nana Ice Cream, or the base of any smoothie bowl, must contain the following:
- frozen banana
- non-dairy milk (I use coconut milk, as it is thick and sweet)
- a blender/food processor
I bought three bunches of bananas, sliced them, placed them in a plastic storage ziplock bag, and put the bag in the freezer. Do this the day or night before you intend to make your smoothie bowl. These bananas will definitely be gone in the next week or so.
When you’re ready to make the smoothie bowl, place 2-3 handfuls of frozen banana in your food processor. Fill with milk near the top of the fruit, almost covering the top frozen banana (but not quite). Mix and serve. It’s that simple.
Of course, there are so many ways to get creative with it. Here is one of my favorite smoothie bowls to make.
Almond Butter Smoothie Bowl
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Yield: as little, or as much, as you need
Base: (to go in the food processor)
- frozen banana
- frozen dark leafy greens
- coconut milk
- 2 tbs almond butter
- a splash of vanilla
- flax seed (optional)
- hemp hearts
- chia seed
STEP 1: Gather your base ingredients and place them in your food processor or blender.
The day before, I cut up frozen banana and placed them in the freezer in a plastic ziplock storage bag.
As far as the frozen dark leafy greens go, I make my own plastic ziplock storage bag containing a medley of my three favorites: kale, spinach, and swiss chard.
When placing the items in the food processor, put in all ingredients except the coconut milk. You want to pour in the milk last in order to fill in gaps and see exactly how much you need. The milk should be filled near the top of the pile, but don’t have it cover the ingredients. You want enough milk so the contents will stir, but you don’t want so much that you’ll be left with watery soup. You’ll want it to be the consistency of frozen yogurt (or frozen yogurt juuuust as its starting to melt).
STEP 2: Pour the base into a bowl.
I usually end up putting the bowl in the freezer as I prepare the toppings. This keeps the base cold, along with the bowl.
Or, you guys could be professional chefs and have everything ready before you begin. Whatever, all you organized people out there. Again, I’m the epitome of amateur hour.
STEP 3: Prepare the toppings.
I have all my seeds and nuts in mason jars. I’ll set them out in a row, kind of like an assembly line.
In this case, I needed to cut the strawberries. I sliced up a handful.
STEP 4: DECORATE!
This is the fun part!
Remove your smoothie bowl from the freezer. Stir it up before dressing it up, as the top and edges may be slightly solid from being in the freezer. After that, have fun!
Matt likes to just sprinkle and pile his toppings in no particular order or fashion. I, on the other hand, treat each bowl like a blank canvas. I try to make each bowl a different work of art.
To check out all of my smoothie bowl art, go to my Instagram account. Don’t forget to add me while you’re there. I’m trying to update the blog once per week, but I upload something on IG almost every day.
August 1, 2013 By This Vegan Girl
Orlando has an, uh, unique farmer’s market scene. It seems that the produce stands at Orlando farmer’s markets sell products that aren’t even cultivated in Florida. Huh? Needless to say, I do not support these phony farmers.
Luckily, there was local farmer’s market in our Mississippi town that we were excited to visit. It wasn’t a large one, but there were several produce stands that would fulfill our daily/weekly nutritional needs, amongst other things.
We purchased blueberries from a woman whose teeth implied that she had been dabbling with methamphetamines for quite some time. We also purchased some delicious jams that I’m determined to duplicate when they run out. We also couldn’t resist buying a watermelon the size of both of our heads, along with a small box full of juicy peaches. Mmmmm!
There’s always a small wish I make to myself when I go to a place like this: “Pleeeeease let there be a vegan and/or gluten-free stand!” At the very end of the lot, sure enough, there was a small, discreet stand with an elementary sign that read Gluten-Free Cakes. It was so unnoticeable that Matt walked right by. I pulled him back and said, “What are you doing?! LOOK!”
Long story short, Matt tried a banana cake with cream cheese frosting that he HAD to buy after 1 bite. During his heavenly bite, his eyes rolled back, he started nodded his head, and then looked at me with urgency in his eyes. So now, there’s a massive $35 cake in our fridge. It was quite a splurge, but worth it; how often does this boy get to buy a delicious treat like this? J
Unfortunately, it contained eggs and cream cheese, so I didn’t partake. I was determined to make this cake myself, though, and to veganize it. Here was my best shot at it.
Oh, and it was a damn good shot.
Gluten-Free Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30-60 minutes
Yield: 72 mini cupcakes
- 1 cup sorghum flour
- 1/4 teff flour
- 1/4 millet flour
- 1/4 potato starch
- 1/4 tapioca flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp xanthan gum
- chopped walnuts, optional
- 7 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup evaporated cane juice
- 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese
- 1/2 cup Sweet Cinnamon Earth Balance
- Powdered sugar
STEP 1: I used 7 ripe bananas for this recipe. The browner, the better. In fact, you want them NAST. I wish my bananas had been more ripe, but it takes too much patience! Peel them, place them in a bowl, and squish them between your fingers until it’s a liquid form.
After that, place the rest of the wet ingredients in the bowl and whisk it up.
STEP 2: In a different bowl, combine and whisk your dry ingredients together. After that, slowly add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients bowl, continuing to mix until all of the ingredients are fully blended.
STEP 3: I just bought an adorable mini heart-shaped silicone cupcake mold! Place these in the oven at 350°F for 15-17 minutes.
STEP 4: While the cupcakes are baking, start whipping your icing. In Tallahassee, I found this AMAZING Sweet Cinnamon Earth Balance butter, perfect for baking! If this gem is not in your town, I’d use the original Earth Balance and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.
Mix the cream cheese and butter together in a bowl. Using a mixer, add a little bit of powdered sugar at a time until you have reached your desired taste.
STEP 6: Wait until the cupcakes cool, frost those babies, top with a walnut, and enjoy!