Char's Kitchen: A Vegan Friendly Food Blog Passion for food, animals, life, health, & dessert 2013-12-09T02:34:40Z WordPress Char <![CDATA[Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (sugar-free)]]> 2013-10-27T18:25:38Z 2013-10-27T01:04:54Z Hey hey foodies!

Here’s another treat using NuNatural’s new natural sweetener: tagatose.

DSC03985 Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (sugar free)

There are several things I like about tagatose. While you can definitely taste a difference between it and sugar, it isn’t an unpleasant one. It’s delicious, VERY sweet, and replaces cup for cup. It also caramelizes the cookies like brown sugar does, which is great! It is also:

- low glycemic

- low calorie (6 cals per teaspoon)

- safe for diabetics

- won’t raise blood sugar

- prebiotic (feeds healthy bacteria)

- non- tooth decaying

- 100% natural

These cookies came out tasting very chewy and sweet. Please have patience with them when they first come out of the oven- they are very gooey, but if you let them sit, they firm up a little and remain very chewy. I much prefer this texture to crunchy cookies!

I am VERY happy with tagatose, and I’ve decided it’s my new sugar. I hope you love it as much as I do.

**Remember there is still time to enter the giveaway! Contest closes Tuesday, Oct 29th at 8pm.

DSC03987 Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (sugar free)

From my kitchen to yours <3

Adapted from this recipe

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (sugar-free)
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 15

Chewy, sugar-free cookies that are good for you!
  • ⅔ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup tagatose
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup oat flour
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1-1/2 cups rolled oats
  • ¾ – 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (use sugar-free, if desired)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Using an electric mixer (standing or handheld), beat together coconut oil and tagatose. Add in egg and pure vanilla extract, continuing to mix well. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flours, baking power, baking soda, and sea salt.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing as you go. Mix well.
  5. Mix in the rolled oats.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Use an ice cream scoop to spoon dough evenly onto a cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 11-13 mins. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 mins before transferring to cooling rack for another 5-10 mins.
  9. Enjoy blank Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (sugar free)

Char, xo

Char <![CDATA[Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies _ a NuNaturals Giveaway!]]> 2013-12-09T02:34:40Z 2013-10-23T02:05:30Z Hey hey foodies!

What better way to make a come-back than with fudgy chocolate cherry brownies and a fabulous giveaway? NuNaturals, the company that makes my favourite line of sweeteners, sent a generous package of products for me to test.

DSC03976 Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies & a NuNaturals Giveaway!

Luckily for you, I like to make chocolate.

DSC03980 Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies & a NuNaturals Giveaway!

Like, I REALLY like to make chocolate.

DSC03985 Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies & a NuNaturals Giveaway!

The brownies are dense, fudgy, and are very mildly sweet. Perfect for when you want a treat but don’t want to over-do it. I used NuNaturals new Cherry Vanilla liquid stevia drops in place of sugar, and coconut oil in place of butter. The chopped cherries add a nice, sweet touch.

The Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are chewy and sugar-free, made with NuNaturals sugar-free tagatose (NEW product!)…recipe coming soon!

So what’s this giveaway all about? What’s in it for you?

NuStevia 50 Packets Top Angle e1382508427109 Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies & a NuNaturals Giveaway!

NuNaturals wants YOU to have a chance to try these new products for free. There will be FOUR (4) winners, and this giveaway is open to WORLDWIDE readers (Please note: NuNaturals cannot ship to P.O. Boxes). Each winner will receive one (1) bottle of each NuNaturals liquid stevia flavour: Vanilla/ Lemon/ Cherry Vanilla, PLUS a 50 pkt. box of NuStevia White Stevia Powder packets.

Liquid Cherry Vanilla e1382493796223 Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies & a NuNaturals Giveaway!
There are five possible ways to enter. You do not have to complete all five, but each entry gets your name in the draw. Leave a separate comment on THIS post for EACH entry that you complete:

1) ‘Like’ NuNaturals on Facebook

2) ‘Like’ Char’s Kitchen on Facebook

3) Follow NuNaturals on Twitter

4) Follow Char’s Kitchen on Twitter

5) Copy _ paste this tweet: “Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies and @NuNaturals Stevia Giveaway @chars_kitchen !”

**UPDATE Oct 30th** Contest Closed! Here are the winners:

Krystal Crompton
1 Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies & a NuNaturals Giveaway!

11 Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies & a NuNaturals Giveaway!
Melissa Tenhave
16 Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies & a NuNaturals Giveaway!
Debra Lee
19 Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies & a NuNaturals Giveaway!
Please email me ( your full name and address and I will send it off to NuNaturals for you so that you can receive your prize. No P.O. boxes, please! Congratulations! Thank you for participating blank Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies & a NuNaturals Giveaway!

NuNaturals Logo Helping 4 x 4  e1382492955402 Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies & a NuNaturals Giveaway!

Readers also have access to a special discount for products purchased on NuNaturals website. Simply enter code  BLG1213 to get 15% off your entire order. Offer ends December 31, 2013. Free shipping for purchases over $35 made in the U.S.

Now back to those brownies! Where healthy meets delicious.

DSC03980 Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies & a NuNaturals Giveaway!

From my kitchen to yours <3

Adapted from this recipe.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies
Recipe type: Healthy Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 16

Dense, fudgy brownies, rich chocolate taste, balanced with sweet cherry _ vanilla.
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 60 drops NuNaturals Cherry Vanilla liquid stevia
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ⅛ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp finely ground coffee
  • ⅓ cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen cherries, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using a mixer, beat together the first 5 ingredients. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, sea salt, and ground coffee.
  4. While mixer is running, add the dry ingredients to the wet slowly, making sure to mix well.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips and chopped cherries.
  6. Spread mixture evenly in a 9×9 baking pan. This may be a tough batter, so use a wooden spoon. This makes for a very dense, fudgy brownie.
  7. Put pan in oven and let brownies bake for 25-30 mins.
  8. When brownies are done, remove from oven and allow to cool for 20-30 mins.
  9. Cut into squares and place on cooling rack for 10 mins before storing in air-tight container.
  10. Enjoy blank Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies & a NuNaturals Giveaway!

Char, xo

Char <![CDATA[Sweet _ Salty Roasted Veggies]]> 2013-07-25T02:38:42Z 2013-07-25T02:38:42Z You know when you discover an easy recipe and you suddenly become hooked and eat it every day? This is that recipe for me lately. I don’t know what inspired me. I just kept adding ingredients and suddenly it was delicious! I’ve eaten this just about every day for the last two weeks now. So delicious, so quick to prepare!

DSC03924 Sweet & Salty Roasted Veggies

Three things of note:

1. I always use broccoli, but have swapped between adding cauliflower and zucchini. Really, you could use all three, as well as any other cruciferous veggies which might happen to tickle your fancy.

2. I have used both coconut vinegar and balsamic vinegar (though not at the same time). They are both delicious and I actually don’t have a preference. Feel free to choose your poison.

3. You can eat the whole thing like a big warm salad or serve as two side dishes. Totes up to you.

That’s it that’s all! Not too much else to report from Calgary, though I’ve been crazy busy this week. It’s only 7:30pm and I am showered and in my (Minnie Mouse) pyjamas. It will be an early night. I hope all is well with you, foodies!

Enjoy <3

Sweet _ Salty Roasted Veggies
Recipe type: Serves on entree, or two sides
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 1-2

Share with someone as a side dish or keep it all for yourself as a delicious alternative to salad! Enjoy.
  • 1½ cups broccoli florets
  • 1½ cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar OR coconut vinegar
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • sea salt & black pepper, to taste
  • 2-4 tbsp fresh shredded parmesan cheese, to serve

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Put all ingredients except the cheese into a large mixing bowl and stir well to combine.
  3. Add mixed ingredients to the prepared baking sheet and put into the oven.
  4. Allow to roast for 12-15 mins. No need to stir.
  5. Remove from oven, scoop veggies onto a plate. Sprinkle with shredded parmesan to serve.
  6. Enjoy warm.

Char, xo

Char <![CDATA[Howdy, Calgary]]> 2013-07-25T03:01:03Z 2013-07-16T20:40:54Z Hey hey, foodies! I feel like every time I catch you up, I’m apologizing for disappearing. Here’s to (hopefully) keeping on track with my posts from now on!

To catch you up: I’m in Calgary! and I have been since Canada Day (July 1st).

cowgirl e1374720291786 Howdy, Calgary

Why? Among wanting to visit friends and family I don’t get to see very often, I wanted to volunteer in the Depression Lab in the Psychology Department at the University of Calgary. Though I can’t share with you about the research until it’s actually completed (in May 2014), I will tell you that I am enjoying it immensely. The graduate student I am assisting is awesome, I’m psyched about the research for her Master’s thesis, and it’s neat to get a peek into what grad school will be like. I’m so thankful that I have this opportunity.

u of c e1374720343832 Howdy, Calgary

On my way to Alberta (yep, I drove!), I stopped at my Auntie _ Uncle’s home in the Shuswap. I got all kinds of animal snuggles and yummy food.

house in Shuswap e1374720379223 Howdy, Calgary

Gulliver! One of the three dogs. I kinda wanted to steal him.

snuggles with Gulliver e1374720423717 Howdy, Calgary

Oh, those stuffed peppers <3 This whole meal was amazing, complete with obligatory red wine.

yummy dinner e1374720460833 Howdy, Calgary

I even met a cuddly turkey named Tommy. Who knew turkeys were cuddly?

Tommy the turkey e1374720497624 Howdy, Calgary

My cousin made these grain-free pancakes for breakfast in the morning, too. Mercy! Two eggs, one banana, cinnamon, vanilla, flaxseed, hempseed. Seriously, no flour! So good.

pancakes e1374720530907 Howdy, Calgary

Onto Calgary: I am having no shortage of fun here. First, I have been staying with a good friend that I actually have not seen since our prom in 2005. Meet Elysia:

me and elysia e1374720572482 Howdy, Calgary

Elysia is a sweetheart. Our daily girl talk, movie nights, and dinner making has been a blast. She lives with her fiance, Scott, not far from the university, and they are generously letting me stay with them for the summer.

I got her hooked on zucchini noodles, too.

Elysia and zucchini e1374720623901 Howdy, Calgary

And we made this amazing cauliflower Alfredo! My photo does not do it justice (I really need to stop with the iPhone photos), but you need to go make this tonight.

pasta alfredo e1374720663789 Howdy, Calgary

I also surprised her with this one pot pasta for dinner last night. NOM! So amazing. I stirred the parmesan right in and it tastes so creamy. Another new favourite!

one pot pasta e1374720695253 Howdy, Calgary

We even went Stampeding together. Yeehaw!

stampeding e1374720739230 Howdy, Calgary

And you might see more pictures of her beautiful dog, Kali. She is such a doll. One of the gentlest dogs I know.

Kali and Elysia e1374720789946 Howdy, Calgary

My beautiful sister at the Calgary Farmer’s Market:

amy e1374720832749 Howdy, Calgary

My sister Amy does not live in Calgary, but Lacombe about 2 hours north from here. She is looking after my baby Mowzers while I am in Calgary. It’s awesome because I get to see her on weekends. (Sadly, Gizmo is still missing. Please watch out for him, Nanaimo.)

mowzers2 e1374720870591 Howdy, Calgary

Mowzers was on high alert watching the thunderstorm with me. So cute!

mowzers e1374720903887 Howdy, Calgary

My sister and her fiance Mathew are also excellent cooks:

BBQ veggies!

BBQ veggies e1374720940708 Howdy, Calgary

Broccoli quiche. Damn, I love quiche.

quiche e1374720978796 Howdy, Calgary

They also made an incredible tomato basil soup, which I sadly forgot to take a picture of. Amazing. So even though they’re not in Calgary, I do get to see them quite a bit, which is awesome.

Visits with Tracey (Dallas’ sister) have been lots of fun, too. I even helped her style a photo shoot on the beach last week! Kinda neat to see a photo shoot from another angle (no pun intended).

me and tracey e1374721016811 Howdy, Calgary

lake e1374721078397 Howdy, Calgary

While we were there, I read my book a little, too. Any other Game of Thrones nerds reading this? I’m only on book two, so no spoilers! (Though I obviously watch the show.) I could seriously talk about this all day, but I will leave you with this: Dallas found an awesome YouTube channel that shows the history of the houses (Lannister, Targaeryan, Stark, etc) BEFORE book one begins. You know, concerning Lyanna, Brandon, Rhaegar, Aerys, and so on. It’s very detailed and very interesting. Here is a taste. It helps the story and the characters make a lot more sense. Search her videos for more. I love her channel.

reading e1374721118842 Howdy, Calgary

Tracey and I also checked out The Coup in the southwest of Calgary (Well, she treated me to dinner since I helped her with the photo shoot. Thanks, Tracey!). Sadly, all of the food photos I took are very dark, but if you go there for nothing else, order the yam fries! We got both the tahini miso dip and the curry dip for the fries, and I still can’t decide which is my favourite.

yam fries e1374721153244 Howdy, Calgary

Also, I finally mastered Mermaid pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana):

yoga e1374721183946 Howdy, Calgary

I am very proud of this! My next goal is Bakasana (crow pose).

And how could I forget hiking in Canmore?

hiking e1374721219479 Howdy, Calgary

Such beautiful views!

canmore e1374721251558 Howdy, Calgary

But damn, mosquitoes like we don’t get on the West Coast! I looked like a had a skin disease after this hike. haha.

And that’s about it! I will try to keep up with this over the summer, so that everyone knows what I’m up to. Also, I will get back in the habit of using my DSLR. It’s not as quick as using the iPhone, but damn the photos are way better.

Love you guys!

Char, xo

Char <![CDATA[Creamy Peanut Sauce]]> 2013-07-25T03:04:57Z 2013-05-12T22:58:32Z Hello, foodies! And a big Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there blank Creamy Peanut Sauce Including my own amazing mom, and all of my friends who are celebrating their first year as a mom. I love you all! <3

I mentioned in my last post that I’m back at hot yoga. I’ve been at it for a month now, and I’m so happy I went back. Remember my mission to complete the Learn to Run 10k program? Well, I tried so hard to love running…I really did. There were only 3 runs a week, and I really enjoyed them. My body, however, did not. My right hip is already pretty bad, and running only made it worse. Not only that, my left side started to compensate, which screwed up my left knee. Half the time I was limping and sore. I went to the chiropractor often, and even started needing massages. Healthy exercise should not make one feel like this. I even started gaining weight because I was in too much pain to work out.

Fast forward to hot yoga, and it is actually healing my right hip. Because of this, there is also no pain in my left knee. My anxiety has improved a lot, and I sleep like a baby every night (I frequently tend to experience insomnia). When I get into the practice room, I feel at peace. I always go 20-30 minutes early so that I can just lay there and relax. When I’m there, my phone can’t ring, I can’t check my email, and the only thing that’s important is peace. While I do enjoy practicing at home, there is something to be said for going to class. This week’s focus for Grow Your Yoga is actually called ‘Be Peace,’ where the goal is to get in 10 minutes of meditation everyday. I’m so on it. (To learn more about this year’s Grow Your Yoga, you can read my last post.)

Bonus: I’ve maintained a weight loss of 8lbs in a month! They came off in only 12 days, and now the weight loss is slowing down a bit. But honestly, even if I didn’t lose any more weight, I know I’ve found the workout for me. I’m sticking with it.

Anyhoo, for those that are here for the recipe: I am still obsessed with my Vitamix. Like, can’t imagine how I lived without it for so long. You can make this recipe in another blender, but will likely have to make sure that you mince your ginger and garlic first, and then heat the sauce in a pan before pouring it over your stirfry. Either way, it’s so worth making! I’ve cooked this up a few times now, and both Dallas and I love it. It’s also great to use as a dipping sauce for rice paper rolls. Enjoy!

photo 46 Creamy Peanut Sauce

Creamy Peanut Sauce
Recipe type: Sauce/Condiment
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2

  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (Bragg’s, tamari, whatevs)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • Sprinkle of chili flakes
  • Sea salt & black pepper, to taste

  1. Put all ingredients into your Vitamix. Blend for 3-4 minutes until steam comes out. (Alternatively, you can blend in any blender and then warm in a saucepan on the stove.)
  2. Pour evenly over top of two plates of stirfry. Enjoy warm.

peace, love, food <3

Char, xo

Char <![CDATA[Grow Your Yoga Week One and Zucchini _ Sundried Tomato Quiche]]> 2013-07-25T03:13:11Z 2013-05-06T06:17:57Z Hey hey foodies! I’ll catch you up on this in a later post, but I’ve quit running and gone back to hot yoga. It had been TWO YEARS since the last time I took a class. I’m now 3 weeks in to my membership and feeling like I’ve rekindled my passion for yoga all over again.

Have any of you heard of Grow Your Yoga? Set up by all 60 Moksha yoga studios, for the month of May the intent is to help us expand our practice off the mat by eating mindfully, spending time in meditation, avoiding gossip/spreading positivity, and reaching out to those in need. Each week of the month has its own focus. The first week has been about eating vegetarian, vegan, organic, and/or local.

I don’t have a hard time fitting in green smoothies, fruit, and lots of veggies, but I do have a hard time fitting in extra iron. And, as a recent blood test has shown, I’m quite low. So focusing on fresh ingredients including broccoli, zucchini, and free run local eggs, I made quiche!

DSC03856 Grow Your Yoga Week One and Zucchini & Sundried Tomato Quiche

Did you know that our bodies don’t absorb all of the iron we consume? And did you know that adding vitamin C to your diet helps boost iron absorption by about 30%? This is especially important to know for vegans and vegetarians: heme iron, found in meat, is very easy for the body to absorb. Non-heme iron, found in plant sources, is much harder for the body to absorb. Making sure to consume enough of it, and pairing it with vitamin C, will help you in making sure you’re getting all that you need. A vitamin supplement with added iron helps, too. In my smoothies, I make sure to add fruits that are high in vitamin C so as to better absorb the iron in my spinach or kale.

Two things that inhibit iron absorption are calcium and coffee. I quit drinking coffee about a month ago, and I really don’t miss it. I try to eat less calcium in meals where the intent is to absorb more iron, and then focus on calcium in other meals.

In my quiche, there is iron in the eggs and broccoli, and there is vitamin C in the yellow pepper. Fun fact: yellow and orange peppers are actually much higher in vitamin C than oranges! So make sure to add them into your dinner (pasta, wraps, stirfry, etc).

The quiche might seem like a lot of work, but I actually spent only about 15 minutes total in prep, including the dough. I was amazed at how quick it was to make, and will be making more in the future!

DSC03858 Grow Your Yoga Week One and Zucchini & Sundried Tomato Quiche

You know what else has iron in it? Black bean brownies! Yus. I cannot do healthy without dessert. This is Chocolate Covered Katie’s recipe. I followed it exactly, though I used coconut sugar instead of stevia. Amazing!

DSC03852 Grow Your Yoga Week One and Zucchini & Sundried Tomato Quiche

Back to the reaching out part of Grow Your Yoga: we are raising money for the Maasai Conservation Trust. The fundraiser is intended to help create incentive for the Maasai people to help grow their economy and protect their environment (including endangered species like lions, elephants, and giraffes). If we don’t do something, we could see the extinction of lions in our lifetime. To find out more about the cause, watch this video by Edward Norton:

Grow Your Yoga – Edward Norton speaks about the Maasai Conservation Trust

If you want to donate to the Maasai Conservation Trust, click here.

And if you want to make quiche, follow these instructions:

Zucchini _ Sundried Tomato Quiche
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6-8

  • For the crust:
  • ¾ cup coconut oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup ice water
  • Extra flour, for rolling out the dough
  • For the filling:
  • Coconut oil for frying
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • ½ yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped small
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 ½ tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cheddar style Daiya shreds
  • ¼ cup sundried tomatoes, marinated
  • Sea salt & black pepper, to taste

  1. For the dough:
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Put coconut oil & sea salt into a stand mixer. Turn speed to 2 and beat for a minute.
  4. While the stand mixer is still running, slowly sprinkle in the flour ½ cup at a time.
  5. While the stand mixer is still running, slowly add in the ice water. Let the stand mixer run until the dough forms a ball.
  6. On a clean counter, sprinkle some flour and drop your dough down onto the flour. Use a rolling pin to roll dough out into a pie shape. Gently lift dough into a pie plate and press around the plate to shape it.
  7. Bake at 425 degrees for 12 minutes. Remove and let sit for 2 minutes before adding filling.
  8. **Please note: Make sure your coconut oil is solid at room temperature. If it is liquid, freeze it first to make it firm. Otherwise you will not have dough – you will have a goopy, sticky mess**
  9. For the filling:
  10. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the coconut oil. Add in the zucchini, yellow pepper, and broccoli. Stirring occasionally, allow veggies to cook for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown and tender.
  11. Add the eggs, almond milk, flour, Daiya, sundried tomatoes, salt, and pepper to the stand mixer bowl. Fix the bowl with the whisk and let it beat for a minute or two. Set aside.
  12. Assembly:
  13. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  14. Scoop the sautéed veggies into the prepared pie crust and spread out evenly. Pour the egg mixture over top, being careful to spread out the sundried tomatoes.
  15. Put your prepared quiche into the oven and allow to cook for 35 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Keep leftovers in the fridge.

Yes, I’m back! I have more posts for you guys coming soon. I hope all is well, foodies. I’ve missed you!

peace, love, food, _ yoga <3

Char, xo

Char <![CDATA[Playing with the Vitamix {Recipes Included}]]> 2013-07-25T03:17:13Z 2013-04-08T00:15:30Z Hey hey foodies! Thank you to everyone who gave suggestions for recipes on my Facebook page. I will be giving them all a try in short order!

As many of you know, I finally ordered a Vitamix and UPS delivered it early Thursday morning blank Playing with the Vitamix {Recipes Included} It was really exciting to be able to use it right away for breakfast. First, Dallas _ I made this blueberry orange smoothie:

photo 41 Playing with the Vitamix {Recipes Included}

(Ingredients {for 1 serving}: 3/4 cup almond milk, 1 tsp vanilla, sprinkle cinnamon, 1 cup spinach, 1 banana, 1 orange, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries.)

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from the Vitamix for smoothies. Our blender (a Kitchenaid) did a pretty fine job up until now, but the Vitamix blew me away. I’ve never had a homemade smoothie taste so smooth! It was like drinking something from Orange Julius, only way healthier. I decided right away that this purchase was a good idea.

Next up: Orange juice. In an effort to reduce my coffee consumption, I decided I was going to start drinking real, fresh orange juice in the morning. This recipe was given to me by my friend, Alita.

photo 40 Playing with the Vitamix {Recipes Included}

(Ingredients: 1 cup water, 2 large oranges {or 3 medium}, 1 cup ice. optional: 1 carrot)

photo 32 Playing with the Vitamix {Recipes Included}

I looooove this drink! I tried it the first time with a carrot, and the last two days without. It’s great both ways. I’m amazed at how the whole fruits are in there, and yet there is no pulp! I brought some to class to drink instead of coffee, and it kept me awake just as effectively. The only difference? I didn’t feel dehydrated after, so no need to chug water.

photo 39 Playing with the Vitamix {Recipes Included}

Later, I had a crazy craving for mac _ cheese. Would you believe you can make cheese sauce in the Vitamix? Yep! Put in the milk, flour, butter, and salt, and blend for 3-4 mins until it starts steaming. Add in your cubed cheese, which will melt _ blend quite quickly. Pour over cooked macaroni noodles (and roasted broccoli!) and serve. OR cover with bread crumbs and bake, as I did! This meal was incredible.

photo 38 Playing with the Vitamix {Recipes Included}

Obviously I hadn’t already eaten enough, so I made some chocolate sorbet. It didn’t go as well as I’d hoped…apparently there’s definitely a method to making ice cream in the Vitamix, and my machine shut itself off while I was in the process (it has a heat sensor so that it can protect itself from overheating by shutting off). I didn’t follow a recipe, and I’ve decided that until I’m more comfortable with ice cream, I will only follow recipes. For this reason, I’m not sharing the chocolate sorbet recipe until I’ve got a good method down.

photo 33 Playing with the Vitamix {Recipes Included}

The next day, I had my girlfriend Alison over for lunch and we made tomato basil soup:

photo 37 Playing with the Vitamix {Recipes Included}

(Ingredients: 4 roma tomatoes, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 bunch basil.)

We were excited to see the steam coming out and it was really neat to not have to heat the soup on the stove. Just pour into a bowl, season with salt _ pepper, and eat! So good.

I went to my parents’ house in Victoria for the weekend (partly to celebrate my birthday early! yay), and we played quite a bit with the Vitamix, too. I got so caught up in everything that I didn’t take a lot of pictures, but here are some fun ones:

Orange Creamsicle!! Whaaat.

photo 36 Playing with the Vitamix {Recipes Included}

(Ingredients: 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt, 2 oranges, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 cup ice.)

This drink was so ridiculously good, it’s one of my favourites now. We all agreed that it was like drinking a milkshake, but without all of the sugar _ cream. Great for a healthy dessert! This is one I will be making again a lot.

Strawberry Daquiri

photo 34 Playing with the Vitamix {Recipes Included}

(Ingredients: 4 oz rum, 2 oz Grand Marnier, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 3 tbsp powdered sugar, 1 cup ice.)

My brother had some rum and really wanted to make some cocktails, so I shared in the afternoon drinks with him. This was a fun one! It’s pretty cool that my Vitamix doubles as a bartender.

We also used the Vitamix to help chop veggies _ garlic for dinner, we made a gluten-free cream of mushroom soup, and we made apple pie ice cream. By the end of the day, my parents were saying, “it’s so nice to eat food and feel good about it!” I agree.

Anybody else doing that 30-day green smoothie challenge? Today’s was a Strawberry Basil smoothie. Loooved this one! Though to be honest, there are a couple I’m not crazy about but I’m still trying all of them. I found that the less-than-desirable smoothies actually got way better when the Vitamix got here. What do you guys think of the smoothie challenge? Anyone still hanging in there?

photo 35 Playing with the Vitamix {Recipes Included}

Keep those recipe suggestions coming, foodies! I hope you all have a fabulous week blank Playing with the Vitamix {Recipes Included}

peace, love, food <3

Char, xo