Pumpkin Spice Smoothie Bowl

Mine

October 13, 2014 By

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:
summer fall

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

 

Ingredients

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

Toppings:

  • 1 apple, diced (I used a Red Delicious Apple)
  • walnuts
  • chia seeds (optional)

 

Step 1: Mix the blender/food processor ingredients.

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Heaping tablespoon.

Heaping tablespoon.

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Mix until the ingredients are completely liquified.

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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?

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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.

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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.

Mine

Mine

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Matt’s (and Fleegle’s, apparently)

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!

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DSC_0112Oh, by the way, after my bowl gets dolled up for the picture, I always end up mixing my bowl together before eating. That’s what it really ends up looking like.

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.

 

Happy blending,

thisvegangirllogo

 

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Peach Pie Quinoa Porridge

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August 7, 2014 By

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)

 

Ingredients:

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)

Toppings:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 4 peaches, pitted and diced
  • hemp hearts
  • chia seeds
  • walnuts

 

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.

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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).

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Pre-blend

Post-blend

Post-blend

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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 🙂

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Pretty and pristine.

Pretty and pristine.

All mixed up.

All mixed up.

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!

Don’t forget to friend me on Facebook, follow me on Pinterest, too!

 

Happy blending,

thisvegangirllogo

 

 

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Almond Butter Smoothie Bowl

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July 14, 2014 By

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.


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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

 

Ingredients

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)

Toppings:

  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • walnuts
  • 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.

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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.

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My baby Fleegle loves to help in the kitchen! Here he is singing to the bag of frozen dark leafy greens.

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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

Happy blending,

thisvegangirllogo

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Gluten-Free Meatballs

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July 16, 2013 By

I don’t feel comfortable calling these meatballs. I tried a few different spelling variations, like meitballs, “meat”balls, or my personal fave, meetballs, but the latter seemed a little too risqué.

So, it will just be meatballs, and people will get the picture when they see that the name of the website is “This Vegan Girl.”

 

So, what makes the perfect meatball? To me, the perfect meatball must encompass the following attributes:

  1. Firm enough to hold it’s own (doesn’t crumble)
  2. Moist, not dry
  3. Has absorbed the outside tomato juices (comes from slow cooking)

Now, I can say that these meatballs you are about to see fit in the first and second criteria. I’m not sure about the third, as I did not cook these meatballs in a crockpot.

The meatball’s main ingredients are tempeh, chia seeds, and a little bit of GF all-purpose flour. The tempeh made it firm, while the chia seeds and GF flour work together to really hold this thing together and gives it its moistness.

For those of you who prefer to use flax seed as an egg substitute, I’m not sure if that would work in this recipe. You need a really firm and sticky binding agent for this recipe, and I think flax seed might be a bit too goopy.

 

These meatballs are packed with nutrition! Between the tempeh and the chia seeds alone, you are getting a good source of protein, omega-3’s, phosphorous, fiber, and calcium! Not only that, but chia seeds contain Tryptophen, the same amino acid found in turkey that makes you so sleepy after eating it. Eat my meatballs and prepare for the ultimate post-meal coze*!

 

Gluten-Free Meatballs

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35+ minutes

Yield: 12 small/medium-sized meatballs

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of tempeh (8oz)
  • 2 tbs GF all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbs chia seed
  • 3 tbs warm water
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • GF seasoned coating mix (to coat meatballs)
  • 1 jar of marinara/pasta sauce

 

STEP 1: Prepare your chia seed by combining the chia seed with warm water in a small bowl. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. Almost like magic, the seeds grow and become sticky and gelatin-like!

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STEP 2: While your chia seeds are doing magical things, prepare the rest of your meatball mixture. Start by cutting the tempeh into tiny pieces. I did not use a blender or food processor to ground up my tempeh, but I’m not knocking the idea.

Cut the onion into tiny pieces as well (do NOT use a food processor for that step… we don’t want a watery mess!) Add those ingredients, including the GF flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, in a bowl.

 

STEP 3: Using your (clean) fingers, mix it up! Create a giant ball so you know that it will bind well. If your meatball is not sticking, I’d add a tiny bit of water.

Next, start creating your meatballs. My mixture made 12 small-to-medium-sized  meatballs.

One giant meatball!

One giant meatball!

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STEP 4: Place your meatballs on a plate with your GF Seasoned Coating Mix. My GF seasoned coating mix was from Hodgson Mill, and the ingredients seemed simple: “Brown Rice Flour, Salt, Natural Spices, Extracts; and Herbs.” When I placed my finger in it, it was salty and had a good taste. Sounds good to me!

Your meatballs should be slightly sticky to the touch. If not, coat your fingers with water and move your fingers along your meatballs. Then, move the meatballs in circles through the seasoning and around the plate until they are fully coated.

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Nervous meatballs on the sidelines, anxiously waiting for their turn.

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STEP 5: Place meatballs on an oiled-up pan and put them in the oven at 375°F for 30 minutes. Halfway through cooking, move them around a bit so they cook at a different angle.

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STEP 6: Take out your meatballs and place them in a pot with your favorite pasta sauce. On low-medium heat, cover your meatballs for 5+ minutes. I say + because I think the longer they cook, the better they will taste. This is completely up to you, though.

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STEP 7: Remove with a ladle and prepare to enjoy! These would be great on top of spaghetti, but we just ate ours by themselves. They were great!

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*coze

[kohz] cozed, coz·ing, related to the adjective cozy

verb (used without object)

  • to be in a comfortable, snuggly position. Let’s coze together.

noun

  • a comfortable, snuggly position. This is such a coze.

 

 

Happy cooking!

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Fried Gluten-Free Chickun Nuggets

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July 3, 2013 By

There’s a vegan restaurant named Ethos Vegan Kitchen in my area. They have so many dishes that inspire my recipes. (Stop by if you’re ever in the Orlando area!)

 

I had my first taste of “chickun” at Ethos. After indulging in a bite, it took me a second to make myself believe that it was actually vegan. It seriously tasted “just like chicken,” as the saying goes.

 

Since becoming vegan, my tofu adventures have always turned into tofu disasters. Well, not today, I’ve decided. I am going to MAKE that tofu taste like chicken, dammit. Since the 4th of July is in a few days, I wanted to make something that is fried, crispy, and all-out delicious. This meal is not the most nutritious, but hey, we vegans gotta keep it real and have fun sometimes.

 

An old friend of mine (a long time friend, not a 60 year-old friend) assisted me in making my chickun nuggets. They turned out just the way I wanted them to; the nostalgic fried-ness was crispy on the outside and chicken-like on the inside.

 

Get some friends together and make gluten-free chickun nuggets today!

 

Fried Gluten-Free Chickun Nuggets

Yield: 3-4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of super firm cubed tofu (frozen, then de-frosted)
  • 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 2 tbs salt
  • 1 tbs pepper
  • 1 tbs poultry seasoning
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 tbs chia seed
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 cups canola oil

 

STEP 1: Place the oil in a deep skillet on the stove. Turn the heat on to a medium-low setting (a 3 or 4 on most stoves).

 

STEP 2: Gather all your ingredients. In one bowl, mix the gluten-free flour and all the seasonings. In a different bowl, combine the chia seed and warm water. Allow the chia seeds to absorb the water and get gooey, which takes about 5 minutes. That is your “egg batter.”

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STEP 3: Form an assembly line! Take some tofu cubes, place them in the chia seeds, and then place them in the flour mixture.

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For added measure, I did that process 2x. I placed the tofu cubes from the flour mixture back in the chia seed pool, followed by another dip in the flour. By doing this, I could tell that the batter was thicker and more secure.

 

STEP 4: When you’ve breaded all your cubes, it’s time to place your cubes in the oil. Take a spatula, gather as many cubes that will fit on it, and place it in the oil GENTLY. (No splashing – it hurts BADLY.) When the nuggets are in the oil, occasionally mix the cubes around for about 3-5 minutes, until the cubes look a crispy golden brown.

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DO NOT DO THIS! YOU WILL BURN THE F OUT OF YOUR HAND!

DO NOT DO THIS! YOU WILL BURN THE HECK OUT OF YOUR HAND!

 

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STEP 5: Using the spatula, take out cubes and place them on a plate lined with paper towels.

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Get your favorite dipping sauce (I’m an old-fashioned ketchup girl myself) and get to enjoying your chickun nuggets!

 

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Look at that texture! Just like chicken!

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Happy cooking!

thisvegangirllogo

 

 

 

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