Very Berry Smoothie Bowl!

Happy Hump Day! Are you looking for a mid-week boost and something to cool you down in this hot weather? This smoothie bowl is the perfect idea to refresh, cool-down and a great way to nourish your body. Adding protein powder is optional.. however I strongly recommend adding protein to amp up the satiety of this recipe. I choose Genuine Health’s Fermented Vegan Vanilla Protein powder…it is my FAVOURITE. Out of all plant-based proteins I’ve ever tried it is not “chalky” or “sandy” in texture like many of the other ones out there on the market.

Why choose a fermented plant-based protein powder?

For one, I choose plant-based because I find I get bloating and gut discomfort from some whey (dairy-based) protein powders. Also, plant-based protein powders are a great way to add additional veggies into your diet.

Fermentation is something I always look for when buying a plant-based protein powder. The fermentation process partially breaks down the plant-based proteins which allows for optimal absorption of protein from the product! (you will absorb a higher percentage of the protein per scoop if it is fermented versus the regular not fermented protein). Look for the words fermented or sprouted on plant-based protein powders for the most benefit. 

Smoothie tip! Always sneak veggies in wherever you can. Since this blend involves dark deep and bright colored berries, spinach will be well hidden in the blend. This helps you meet your veggies goals, lower the sugar per serving, increase folate content and amp up the nutritional content.

smoothie bowl

Very Berry Smoothie Bowl (Serves ~1-2 people)

INGREDIENTS

TOPPINGS

  • 1 Tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut (desiccated)
  • Fresh berries
  • 1 Tbsp Nuts/seeds/granola

Instructions

  1. Add frozen berries and banana to a powerful blender (I recommend Vitamix or Ninja)
  2. Add almond milk and protein powder (optional), and blend on low again, until the mixture reaches a soft serve consistency. Use a spatula to scrape the walls of the blender to ensure all the protein powder is distributed evenly.
  3. Scoop into 1-2 serving bowls and top with desired toppings. My favourite toppings are homemade granola, shredded coconut, and fresh fruit. You can add flax meal or psyillium seed husk for a fibre boost as well!

 

Special thanks to my friends at Genuine Health for all the amazing protein samples they’ve provided me to play with. If you are interested in learning more about their products please email me at brooke@ateaspoonofbliss.com 

Hope you are all having a wonderful week!

xo

Dark Chocolate Salted Crunch Bark

One of my all-time favourite dessert/treat recipes! I’ve posted a very similar recipe to this before….and here it is again because it is so tasty!  This recipe is always a hit with my family and it was a big hit with my coworkers as well. This bark didn’t last very long in our fridge! Give it a try 🙂

chickpea-bark

Ingredients (makes ~12 bars):

  • 1-2 cans chickpeas (540mL cans)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or olive oil spray
  • 2 Camino 55% dark chocolate bars (or dark chocolate of choice)
  • Ground sea salt

 

Directions:

  1. Rinse and drain chickpeas.
  2. Pour the chickpeas onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil or spray with olive oil. Distribute evenly.
  3. Turn the oven to bake at 425F. Place the chickpeas in the cool oven.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes and mix the chickpeas regularly to ensure even browning.
  5. Remove from the chickpeas from the oven and allow to cool for 45-60 minutes.
  6. In the meantime, melt your two bars of dark chocolate.
  7. Place your cooled chickpeas in a shallow rectangular Tupperware container with parchment paper.
  8. Add ground sea salt to the chickpeas.
  9. Pour the melted dark chocolate over your chickpeas. Distribute evenly using a spatula so that all chickpeas are coated. Add some fresh ground sea salt on the top.
  10. Place in the freezer or refrigerator for cooling.
  11. Once the chocolate has hardened, pop the large chocolate piece out of the Tupperware container. Remove the parchment paper and place in a large Ziploc bag.
  12. Break up the chocolate into bark bite-sized pieces in the Ziploc bag (this avoids a mess).
  13. Enjoy chilled.

 

Apple “donuts”! A fun snack that lets your kids to get creative in the kitchen.

I was playing around in our kitchen today at Sobeys. We have some upcoming children’s classes and I wanted to test out recipes to make sure they were kid friendly. This recipe is DEFINITELY a keeper. It is so easy and can be tailored to many picky-eaters. The kids can get creative in the kitchen and let their inspiration stem from their own taste buds!

apple donut.jpg

What you will need: 

  • Large apples of choice
  • An apple corer (remove the core and allow for easy slicing)

Toppings: 

  • Natural Almond butter, natural peanut butter, or a nut-free spread (e.g. SunButter), Daiya dairy-free strawberry or regular cream “cheese” spread, etc. Pick a spread best suited to your kids taste! Aim for healthier alternatives like those that I mentioned above.
  • Add chopped up fruit (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes)
  • Add granola of choice, oats, nuts, chia, hemp hearts, chocolate chips, etc.

Have some fun with it. Let the kids get creative and decorate their apple donuts to suit their food preferences. 

An easy and delicious snack that contains all 3 macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

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Why should fibre be a priority in your diet?

Today’s food fact of the day’s spotlight is on fibre. I recently did a presentation in the community and was asked a lot of questions about fibre.. what is soluble fibre? what is the difference between soluble and insoluble fibre? How do I know what foods to eat? Well here is my short summary to understanding fibre. To begin.. fibre is FANTASTIC for our health.

blueberry-bliss-baked-oatmeal

Fiber can’t be broken down and absorbed by your digestive system. As fibre moves through your body, it slows digestion and makes your stools softer and easier to pass.

  • fibrous foods help create and maintain a healthy digestive system
  • bowel regularity  😉
  • have beneficial effects on blood sugars
  • play a role in heart health

What is soluble fibre? 

  • Absorbs liquid in our bodies (e.g. think oats soaking in water)
  • Plays the main role in lowering cholesterol
  • Helps to control blood sugars (glucose)
  • What foods does soluble fibre come from?
    • Some vegetables & fruits, lentils, legumes, beans, oatmeal, berries, nuts

What is insoluble fibre? 

  • Does NOT absorb water
  • Creates a healthy colon by keeping you regular!
  • What foods can you find insoluble fibre in?
    • seeds, skins of fruit, whole grains, brown rice, wheat bran, etc

Adult women (19-50years) need 25 grams of fibre per day and males of this age group need 38 grams per day. 

Try some of my recipes packed with high fibre ingredients: Blueberry Oat Pancakes , The Ultimate Trail Mix Cookie!Vegan/Vegetarian Quinoa ChiliTrail-Mix Energy BitesGranola CupsThe Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie (Dairy Free)Blueberry Crumble Bars (Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-free)

 

Roasted Pear & Goat Cheese Salad

roasted pear and goat cheese salad.JPG

Ingredients (serves ~6):

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. brown rice syrup
  • 1-2 bartlett pears
  • 1 cup. fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup goat’s cheese
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries
  • Nonna Pia’s  Classic Balsamic Reduction to taste– found at Costco

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, add in sliced pears and pecans, drizzled with 2 tbsp. maple syrup and 1 tbsp. brown rice syrup. Turn temperature to medium-high heat. Bring to a boil (when it starts bubbling). Lower to simmer and regular flip/mix the pears so they are coated evenly.
  2. Remove the pears and pecans from skillet and place on a piece of parchment paper to harden.
  3. In the same skillet, you can now add in the fresh cranberries, sliced onion, and drizzled with 2 tbsp. maple syrup. Again, bring this to a boil and then allow to simmer. The cranberries will “pop” when they are cooking. When they have all popped they will be ready to be removed from the skillet. The onions will become caramelized.
  4. Pour the cranberries and now caramelized onion onto parchment paper as well.
  5. In a clean small skillet, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and add in your whole garlic cloves. Allow them to slowly roast on low-medium heat. When they have browned and softened, remove from the heat.
  6. In a large salad bowl, add in your spinach. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds, cranberries, onion, garlic and add the pears and pecans last for appearance. Crumble the goat cheese on top and drizzle with a Balsamic reduction when served! Enjoy 🙂

Brooke’s Homemade KIND Bars

kind-bars

I love KIND bars especially when I am on the move and looking for something quick and satisfying. They contain a substantial amount of nuts for healthy fats and brown rice syrup for a source of glucose (energy) for your body.

So… I decided it’s about time I try to make my own home-made version.

What you will need (makes ~9 bars): 

  • 3 tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1 tbsp honey (you can also omit the honey and do a full 1/4 cup brown rice syrup.. or vice versa)
  • 1 tbsp natural nut butter (almond preferred as peanut has an overpowering flavour)
  • 1 tbsp quinoa flour (or gluten-free flour of choice e.g. almond meal, coconut flour, etc).
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground sea salt
  • 1/2 cup puffed quinoa (found at bulkbarn by GoGo Quinoa)
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 tbsp peanuts
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • Optional: 1.5 tbsp chopped dark >70% dark chocolate

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (149°C). Line a small pan (I used my small loaf pan for making banana bread) with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the bars from the pan. Set aside.
  2. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix the brown rice syrup, honey, vanilla, quinoa flour, salt, and nut butter together until combined. Fold in each of the dry ingredients one at a time: almonds, puffed quinoa, peanuts, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and optional dark chocolate chunks (at least 70% cacao).
  3. Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan and press very firmly into an even layer. You really want it packed in tight- as tight as possible. Bake at 300F for 20-22 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack for 1 hour, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 1 more hour. This helps firm up the bars which makes them stay compact. Remove bars from the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. Individually wrap each bar in plastic wrap or parchment.
  4. ENJOY! 🙂

Notes: this recipe is easy to tweek and make fit your desires. If you want to add coconut and remove pumpkin seeds.. DO IT! If you want raisins instead of cranberries.. go for it. It is easy to tailor the additives to what you want. So have fun playing with different ingredients to change the flavours. 🙂

Blueberry Protein Shake (Vegan + Dairy-Free)

 

blueberry shakeHi guys! I just wanted to share one of my favourite protein shakes right now. I am absolutely addicted to this combo and it’s so easy to make.

Ingredients (serves 1): 

  • 1 scoop protein powder (I choose to use either Sunwarrior Vegan Proteins or Genuine Health’s vegan vanilla protein powder)
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup silk unsweetened vanilla cashew milk
  • 2 ice cubes
  • 1/3 cup frozen wild blueberries
  • 1 packet of stevia

Combine all these ingredients in your blender or bullet and enjoy! It’s a quick, easy, DELICIOUS and a healthy on-the-go shake. I like to top mine with home-made granola or a little coconut for a crunch.

Nutrition Facts per one smoothie: 116 calories, 1.3 g fat, 10.2 g carbs, 17g protein (nutritional composition will vary depending on the protein powder you use).

**Increase your amount of protein powder if you are looking for more calories, protein, and to increase the thickness of your shake.