Le Creamsicle

Continuing on my theme of recreating Aux Vivres dishes…my favourite smoothie there is le creamsicle!  It tastes just like its namesake.  The menu says it’s made of coconut milk, orange juice, carrot juice, dates, vanilla…so I set to work and think I pretty much nailed it.  I think they add ice to theirs to make it more frosty, but I liked it as a juice consistency.

And since I juiced the carrots myself, now I have all this pulp that I will either make into Aux Vivre’s vegé lox or maybe these raw carrot cake cupcakes.  Waste not and all that.

Vegan Creamsicle Smoothie
The original.

Creamsicle Smoothie
Makes enough for a blender full

1 can light coconut milk
2 cups orange juice
3/4 cup carrot juice
1 tsp pure vanilla
8-10 pitted dates (I used Parnoosh sayer dates – they’re my favourite)

Blend, blend, blend until the dates are pulverized and everything’s nice and silky.

For the record, I’m going through the exercise of recreating all my favourites because I live a 10-hour drive away from Montreal.  But if you can go there easily, go!  It’s an awesome place and should be supported.  Until I can visit again, I’ll be busy in my kitchen trying to recreate those flavours.

More Ottawa and Montreal

We’re finally home from our little trip! It’s true that it’s nice to get away but it’s even better to come home. Fortunately for us, we ate like kings while we were away…

The brunch at Café My House was calling our names and I’m so glad we decided to give it a try.

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THOSE SMOOTHIES!  The green one was mine and it was mango-cilantro.  It tasted a bit like a fresh roll in the best way possible.  I’m growing cilantro on the balcony this year and I’ll definitely be throwing some into smoothies.  Jenn’s was a typical cocoa-banana concoction which was super tasty as well, though not as interesting or refreshing as mine.

Jenn and Trevor both had the waffle BLTs with coconut bacon.  I had the tempeh benedict, which was fresh baguette, kale, eggplant, smoky tempeh and a really amazing hollandaise sauce.

And my favourite restaurant ever, Aux Vivres in Montreal.  I don’t know what it is about that place, but the food is just incredible and fresh, and I just love Montreal, so it all comes together to create such a lovely experience for me every time.

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Jenn got the Bouddha Bol, I got the coconut bacon BLT (they were one of the first places around doing coconut bacon!), Trevor got the tempeh burger.  I also got le creamsicle smoothie, which is coconut milk, orange juice, carrot juice, dates and vanilla and tastes exactly like its namesake.  Also, the chana paratha appetizer is INCREDIBLE.  I have to master paratha at home.

Another day, Trevor and I went back and we got more of the paratha, this time with their house veggie butter.  SO GOOD.
I also got their famed Dragon Bol which has an incredible Dragon sauce, and the Coconut Cashew Pie was my birthday cake, since this meal took place on my 30th birthday.

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Soooo much amazing food to be eaten.  More to come!

 

 

Tempeh and Ale Pie

I’ve never actually had steak and ale pie, but wandering through one of the many festivals that happen in downtown London, I saw a vendor selling an assortment of British meat pies and thought I really wanted to make one.  The recipe still needs some tweaks before I’m ready to share it, but just imagine this – succulent cubes of marinated tempeh, potatoes, carrots and peas smothered in a savoury ale-and-Marmite gravy, topped with a fluffy, flaky, buttery crust.  Sound good?  Damn right.

Perhaps the most disgusting photo posted on NVL yet.  It really was delicious, though.

I’m trying to get back into the good habit of making fruit smoothies.  This one had banana, vanilla soy protein powder, soy milk, orange juice and some giant handfuls of wild blackberries my dad picked for us, hence the brilliant colour.

– Crystal

Veg Out Brunch

We are so fortunate to live within walking distance of the amazing Veg Out, which is an all-vegan restaurant, so last Sunday morning we decided we wanted to treat ourselves to their scrumptious brunch.

I had the french toast, which was so delicious and cooked to perfection – with a side of tempeh bacon, of course.

And I had the cocobanana smoothie, too….coconut, banana and I think dates?
Trevor had the pancakes, which were really delicious and unlike any other pancake we’ve had (I tried a bite because he was marvelling at how good they were).  They were sort of crispy on the outside and really spongy so they soaked up the maple syrup nicely.
Mmm.  We love Veg Out.
– Crystal

Red Breakfast

This was breakfast one lazy Saturday morning – my strawberry freezer jam and Earth Balance on toast and a small bowl of raspberries and strawberries for me to graze on.  So good; I’ll be making that jam each year from now on.

Another strawberry-full concoction – a smoothie using up some of the frozen strawberries I had from when we went strawberry picking earlier in the season, with some banana, orange juice, soy milk, and a drizzle of coconut milk for creaminess.  Yum.

– Crystal

Strawberry Muffins

My quest for this week is to put strawberries in everything I possibly can.  Strawberry muffins seemed to make sense!  These are honestly perfect.  I topped half with pumpkin seeds and half with almond granola, just because.  I doubled the recipe and brought some in to work, and they were a hit!

Strawberry Muffins


4 oz. Earth Balance vegan margarine
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 banana
2 cup flour (I used half whole wheat, half all purpose and liked the texture a lot)
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup soy milk, with a tsp of cornstarch dissolved in
1 teaspoon vanilla
Approximately 2 cups strawberries, washed, hulled and coarsely chopped

Cream together margarine and vegan sugar until light and fluffy. Add the banana, and cream until well blended. Combine soy milk, arrowroot and vanilla. Add to creamy banana mixture.  Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly, until fully combined, but being careful not to overmix.  Fold in strawberries. Fill muffin tins nearly full, and bake at 375F for 25 to 30 minutes.

After the gym today, I had one with a smoothie that Trevor made.  Strawberries, guava pulp, lulo pulp, mango pulp, a fresh squeezed orange, soy milk and a splash of passionfruit juice.  The frozen tropical fruit pulps were purchased at our local Latin grocery; they have lots of great things there.

– Crystal

Jackfruit Carnitas

Jackfruit carnitas is a dish that has a few different variations floating around.  We found some canned young jackfruit in brine in the asian market, and decided to give my friend Melisser Elliott’s version a go, which you can see in this video here.  Anyway, it’s supposed to mimic pulled pork and it really does!  I was almost thrown off at first at how meaty it looked.  Texture wise, it’s a bit softer than meat, but delicious.  Totally delicious.

Jackfruit is an interesting thing, I had never had it before, but apparently in its young form, it is used quite commonly in many south asian countries where people perhaps don’t eat meat for religious or economical reasons.

Beware of the heat from the salsa verde you use to make it though – Trevor picked some up from the latin market and – OUCH! – it was hot hot hot.  Next time, we’ll use a milder version, so the other flavours can shine through more.

We filled tacos with the carnitas, along with some fresh guacamole and lettuce to cool it down a bit. Some vegan sour cream would have been lovely on it – a nice homemade cashew-based one would do the trick.  We had that with some fried plantains, and tortilla chips with salsa. We also scored some frozen tropical fruit pulp at the latin market – guava, mango and lulo – so we decided to blend that up with some fresh pineapple and orange juice, and have some yummy, healthy smoothies with dinner, to help cool our scorching tongues.

There are two states in which plantains are consumed – when they are green (made into tostones) or very ripe, nearly black.  We mostly eat them in the latter stage.  Cooking plantains is very easy. Let them ripen until the skin is black and soft…they aren’t like bananas, which would be no good by that point; you want them to be nice and black or atleast speckled a lot.  Peel them by cutting off the ends and then slicing through the skin lengthwise. It should peel off very easily this way. I like to slice them in four pieces, but you can really slice them up however you like. Heat up a tablespoon of coconut oil (or your preferred oil) in a frying pan on medium. Put the plantains in when the oil is hot. Squish ’em a bit with the back of a spoon if you like. Sprinkle them with lime juice as they fry. Cook them until they are a little crispy and brown on the outside. Now sprinkle a dash of salt on them and they’re ready to eat.

This is NOT meat!  

– Crystal