Friday, July 13, 2012

Zucchini Pasta w/ Spinach Cheese Sauce (Vegan)

As you may have read in our last post, Jenn and I have totally revamped our diet. After figuring out we don't do so well on sugar, we've been making a conscious effort to cut way back on it as well as reintroducing some animal products. So far so good! And we just wanted to honestly thank all of our readers, um you guys are seriously awesome and so supportive. We so appreciated all of your warm and fuzzy comments on our last post, gee whiz...thanks. ;)

Even though we're including animal products now in our diet. We still love our vegan meals and enjoy them on a frequent basis.

Amongst my favourite vegan meals are vegetable pastas. Pasta is the one thing that I am always in the mood for. It's always the perfect blank canvas for whatever creative, crazy concoctive sauce thing you can think up. And it's just so darn fun to eat.

This pasta dish I made is literally all vegetables, using thin spaghetti type noodles made with a julienne peeler out of zucchini. The peeler was only 7$ at a kitchenware store by the way, compared to 30$ for a spiralizer, ka-ching! And it's super quick to use and clean up too.

I was being a perfectionist like I tend to be and and peeled the zucchini first with a regular vegetable peeler before julienning so the noodles would be like white pasta noodles. Feel free to leave the skin on though because it's super healthy and stuff. :)

Noodles made from yellow and green zucchini
Why hello julienno

Save the middle parts to dip in hummus!

I've made this spinach cheese sauce numerous times in the past, it came from trying to make pesto in a magic bullet while accidentally using the cross blade; so it pureed it into a creamy sauce instead of a pesto. Don't let the green deceive you, it's all cheese. ;)

creepin' out in the sun

Spinach "Cheese" Pasta Sauce:

3 tbsp olive oil
Juice from half a lemon
1/2 cup spinach leaves, packed
3 tbsp chopped almonds
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 clove garlic
2 tsp italian herb blend
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in magic bullet, using a cross blade, or food processor (you may get a regular pesto consistency if you use a food processor). Blend until smooth and creamy.

"the rest" of the Pasta dish:

3 zucchinis peeled and "julienned"
Broccoli florets, handful
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1/4 red onion, sliced
Coconut oil, to cook with

Sautee the onions, red peppers and broccoli until tender. Add zucchini noodles. Cook until noodles have shrunken down in size slightly (make sure pan isn't too wet form cooking vegetables, wait until all water has evaporated, and add more oil if necessary). Add in sauce and cook for 1 minute or until cooked through. Top with nutritional yeast flakes and sesame seeds.

Makes 2 servings

A sprinkling of sesames and nutritionals for good measure ;)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

We're changing our blog! + New Sweetener on the Block + Chocolate Cake Muffins

Hi everyone! You may have noticed that we haven't been posting as often, part of that is because our camera literally broke (but we have a back up cammy! Not as good quality, but good for now.)

So we have been putting this off for a while, but thought we just need to come out and say it.

We are no longer vegan. This is a choice we have made for ourselves. We find that we feel the best on a high(er) protein, low sugar/carb diet and even though it IS possible to get enough protein on a vegan diet. Most of that protein is also coming from high carb sources such as beans and legumes.

Too much carbs!

But this doesn't mean that all of our recipes are going to have animal products in them. We will still be posting vegan recipes because we love creating with boundaries...weird I know. But you can expect to see some eggs, yogurt, and other animal products in our recipes too. We also plan on labelling all of the vegan recipes so that it makes it easier to navigate.

We aren't saying this is the "right" diet. It's just the one that works for us. It's totally possible to thrive on a vegan diet, it depends on many factors such as your cultural background, activity level and the quality of food you are consuming.


So now that that's out of the way. Phew! We made the most AMAZING chocolate cake muffins. You will seriously die. They are so good.

There's a new sweetener on the block, you may have heard of xylitol, a 0 glycemic sugar alcohol that causes absolutely no sugar highs, and you may have also heard of erythritol, another sugar alcohol found naturally in certain fruits and vegetables. But have you heard of Lakanto? It's erythritol combined with Lo Han Guo extract that can be used to make amazingly golden brown and delicious bakes! Saraya sent us some of their product to experiment with, Saraya is the only distributor so far in Canada that sells Lakanto online. Check out their website here.

Saraya Lakanto

I googled "baking with erythritol" and found that most people ended up with grittiness in their baked goods. So, we decided to grind it up in a spice grinder to make a fine powder and use it that way.

Lakanto on top of being zero glycemic is supposed to digest easier than xylitol, and it tastes so good, like a golden brown sugar caramel taste. Although there IS a cooling after taste that is trademark with all sugar alcohols, although you don't notice it as much in this recipe.

These muffins are super high in protein, low fat and taste like chocolate cake, I mean really, I'll take chocolate cake for breakfast any day.

cakey cross section

2 small bananas, mashed
1/2 cup applesauce
4 small scoops protein powder
4 tbsp coconut flour
4 eggs
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup lakanto, ground into a fine powder
4 tbsp carob powder
4 tbsp cocoa
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp coconut oil

Combine mashed bananas, applesauce, and eggs together. In a separate bowl combine lakanto, carob, cocoa, coconut flour, protein powder and salt. Mix dry into wet and stir until well combined. Then add in coconut oil and last but not least the baking soda and baking powder (we find by adding these two last it gives the muffins less time to deflate while mixing, you wanna keep em fluffy!)  Bake for 30 minutes at 350F. Makes 12 muffins.

Enjoy for breakfast, dessert or snack.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Japanese Inspired Broccoli Slaw

Hello peeps!

The other day I spotted some broccoli at the grocer's for only 2$, I was like: yes I would love some affordable and nutritious green vegetation, thank you!

We love reading Ashley's blog Edible Perspective, she is so innovative with her recipes and offers up some delectable looking photography. She posted a list of frugal kitchen tips, and seeing as frugal is pretty much our middle names, we read the list with the utmost enthusiasm.

One tip stood out for me and that was making use of broccoli stalks to make coleslaw, duh! That's such a useful idea! I usually steam the stalk ends and they're pretty blah cooked. But when used raw in a coleslaw they're nice and crunchy and actually taste really good.

I didn't have a food processor to shred the broccoli stalks but I did have a box grater, worked like a charm!

grated to a tee

good enough to eat!

"Japanese Inspired" Dressing:

2 tbsp sunflower seed butter
1 tbsp + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (I like mine rather tangy so I put even more in)
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp water (to make dressing consistency, may not need)
Pinch of salt, to taste
Pepper, ground to taste

Broccoli stalks, grated from a large crown of broccoli (or two small)
1 medium zuchini, grated
1 tbsp black sesame seeds

Grate vegetables, set on a paper towel, and put another paper towel over top, press down and get any excess liquid off of the veg (this will help the dressing to stick better). Mix all ingredients for dressing in a medium to large bowl. Then add in grated vegetables and sesame seeds to bowl, toss to combine. Makes enough for four small servings (side dish) or two large servings. Store in fridge it's even better the next day!

*you could add any other vegetables such as grated carrot, red pepper, even jicama*

We love Japanese Inspired meals, here are some of our favourite recipes we've made in the past:

Japanese Salad with Miso Dressing

Green Tea Soba Noodles with Quinoa Crunchies

Avocado and Cucumber Maki + Sweet Potato Nigiri

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Banana Spice Post-Workout Smoothie + Our Fave Protein!

This smoothie has been a frequenter for me after workouts. Mostly because it A. tastes like a delectable cinnamony-spice-vanilla banana cream pie in liquid form and B. it involves one of the cheapest fruits around: bananas!

Ugh I just love bananas in smoothies, is there anything better that makes a smooth, creamy and frosty consistency. And it's a fruit hello!

I'm always so excited to end my workouts so I can make this, which may not necessarily be a good thing...oh well, as always, blame it on the bananas. :)

I usually stretch for 10 minutes or so to cool down, shower, then get right to blending up this nutritious and protein packed smoothie. Which, is perfect for muscle recovery and getting in a good dose of energy for the rest of the day.

smoothie up!

1 frozen banana (organic preferably)
1 scoop vanilla vegan protein powder
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Water, to blend (1 cup or so)

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Makes one serving.

We used to make our own pumpkin pie spice from mixing up cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. But recently found it premixed at a bulk food store, it's much cheaper this way as well as lessens the amount of powders flying around in the kitchen. Oh the powders! They never end do they :).

Progressive Harmonized Vegan Protein is our favourite brand of vegan protein. We buy it for the nutritional profile (it has all of the amino acids that you need) and it also is the best tasting in our opinion. Vega is a close second though! This formula also has almost everything Vega has except for the Chlor-Essence blend, maca, and the various berry blends also, there aren't as many greens.

Progressive Harmonized Vegan Protein does however have kelp, dulse and spirulina (electrolytes!), flax seed oil powder, dandelion root, cranberry seed protein and lots of other unique ingredients, see a list here. It is also a fraction of the price of Vega.

We've always used sprouted brown rice protein powder in the past, but recently have made the switch to Progressive because of their higher amino acid profile.

We're curious, what protein powder do you guys use? And what do you usually put into your post workout smoothie to make it an extra special treat!?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Blackberry Quinoa Parfait w/ Almond Yogurt

One of our favourite blogs is Closet Cooking, written by Kevin Lynch. Literally every single recipe appeals to us, he's just so smart and innovative with his cooking yet still takes a relatable and traditional approach, we just love what he's got going on there. A lot of his recipes aren't exactly vegan but there is still lots of veggie based dishes to choose from. His most recent post was a Blueberry Quinoa Parfait, I was like: parfait! Omg totally did not realize, parfait is perfect in french, could this be any more perfect?...haha...

I was intrigued of using quinoa (instead of granola) in a parfait, I mean the more protein the better, especially when it comes to breakfast right?

Kevin used regular yogurt, so I needed to find a substitute, while out at the store today I spotted: Amande yogurt. I've seen it around and Jenn has tried it before, and she said she didn't like it very much so I never bothered to try it myself. They had the little containers of them though on sale for 1.50 each so...peach it was!

Jenn tried the plain flavour of this yogurt and I think that's why she didn't like it, because I actually loved the peach flavour. If you want to try it, definitely prepare for it to taste very almondy, and it's not as tart as regular dairy yogurt but it has a nice creamy and thick yogurty texture that is just perfect to layer into a parfait. Plus it's sweetened with fruit juice concentrate, so no refined sugars! I dunno I probably wouldn't buy it all the time but it's definitely a nice vegan yogurt substitute. Stamp of approval!

nice consistency
The fruit involved in this parfait were blackberries and bananas:


They were too big, choppy choppy choppy

1/2 cup dry quinoa, cooked (not too much, you still want it to be slightly chewy)
1/2 banana sliced
10 blackberries, cut in half
1 single serving container almond yogurt
Toppings (chopped dry roasted almonds, dried cranberries)

Cook quinoa, drain and cool by rinsing with cold water. Mix yogurt with sliced bananas. Layer in a parfait glass (or in this case, it was a regular drinking glass) yogurt mixture, quinoa, berries, yogurt, quinoa, berries, yogurt, then top with toppings of choice. Makes one amazing and hearty breakfast.

Thanks Kevin for the inspiration! I actually ended up eating this for lunch, I reckon it's a good meal anytime of day because of how nutritious and filling quinoa can be.

zee finished product...parfait (w/ chopped dry roasted almonds and dried cranberries)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chocolate Banana Seed Granola + Peanut Butter and Blueberry Jam Tarts

Hello everyone! We haven't been posting as much lately, because the LCD on our camera broke! it's been more difficult to take pics.

But nevertheless we have two tasty treats for you using ingredients from Elan Bio Perfection, a company based in Montreal that produces top notch quality nuts, dried fruits, trail mixes, chocolate products, and seeds/grains. We chose to review their sprouted buckwheat, hulled hemp seed, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds. Everything is so fresh and the pumpkin seeds were actually crunchy! :) not the old chewy ones you get at bulk barn (sorry bulk barn, we love you but not for your pumpkin seeds).

If you're interested in their products you can find them in Canada, we've seen them at Whole Foods, as well you can order them online here.

Elan's sprouted buckwheat is nice and crisp and fits in perfectly with this granola ;).


1 banana, pureed
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp coconut nectar
10 drops stevia
Sea salt, to taste
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup coconut
2 tbsp hemp seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp flax seeds
1/4 cup carob powder
1/3 cup sprouted buckwheat

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix in stevia and coconut nectar with banana puree before adding in. Spread evenly onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and baked through. Let cool so it gets nice and crunchy!


Banana Ice Cream! w/ choco granola

Can't forget the chias!

There just something about a tart, you feel very refined eating it like it's a special occasion. Well the
only occasion we were celebrating was trying out these wonderful little chias from Elan, as well as having a surplus of peanut butter in the back of our fridge.

We've made Raspberry Chia Jam before and we thought we could bring that recipe back and into a peanutty-coconut crust (ahem...which is also high in protein if I do say so myself).

A super low sugar-treat for those times when you want a little sweetness with your PB.


1/4 cup peanut butter (natural)
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp of shredded unsweetened coconut
3 tbsp brown rice protein powder
1/4 cup water
Stevia to taste
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Blueberry Filling:
2 cups frozen blueberries
1 tbsp lemon juice
Stevia, to taste
3 tbsp water
1/4 cup chia seeds

Combine crust ingredients, mix with hands until a dough forms. Press into muffin tin (4 tarts). Mix blueberries (frozen) with water, lemon juice, stevia and chia seeds, let soak for at least an hour.

Well I do say, I would LOVE a tart..

For more low-sugar treats check out our Simple Sweets ebook!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lemon Coconut Dream Pancakes + Falafel Chips

Jenn had a dream last night that she made these very pancakes. They were like macaroon pancakes with lots of coconut in them. We've posted a recipe before where it came from one of our dreams, No-Bake Pistachio Orange Cookies, and they turned out amazingly! Have you guys ever had your dream life leak into your everyday life?

These pancakes were bursting with lemon flavour from the lemon zest and the shredded coconut gave it a nice macaroon-y texture.

The recipe is from our Simple Sweets e-book from the Chocolate Pancakes w/ Peanut Butter Sauce, honestly this recipe is no fail! It's also high in fibre and protein and just makes the fluffiest little pans!

You can check out our Simple Sweets E-book here.

Panners with a little drizzle of coconut nectar 

Have you ever come across falafel chips? They sell this brand in Canada, and it can get up to 7 dollars for a bag. That's just crazy talk! We splurged on them when we went to New York when they were on sale for 5$ at Trader Joes and fell in love.

This homemade baked version, I must say it isn't the same as the bagged version, they turned out more like crackers, but were awesome with hummus!

If you don't have all of the spices, don't worry, we've come to realize that falafel flavour comes from just combining every and any spice that you have on hand, just be sparing with the cayenne, so hot!


1 cup + 2 tbsp corn flour
1 can garbanzo beans
1/4 cup water

1/4 cup organic sunflower oil
3 sundried tomatoes, soaked

2 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tsp parsley flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp chopped onion
2 tsp cumin powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
Pinch of cayenne, depending on how spicy you like it
2 tsp + more salt (to taste)
Black pepper, to taste

Puree chickpeas, water, oil, sun dried tomatoes and onions in a food processor until formed into a puree. In a medium bowl combine chickpea mixture with the rest of the ingredients. Roll out dough (you may need to do this in 2 or 3 batches to ensure maximum thin-ness). Score with knife to make squares in dough, bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tomato Potato Pizza w/ Pesto and Tahini "Cheese" Sauce

A pizza is a rare thing when you're vegan and gluten-free. It only comes up once and a while, but when it does, it's appreciation all around. My favourite part about this pizza is the crust, it's actually very thick, cooked all the way through and chewy like a pizza crust should be, I think because of the cooked quinoa in there.

The pesto is rich with cheesy flavour and creamy because of the almonds, making a perfect sauce base.
We didn't have many fancy toppings so we went with potato and tomato, weird combo right? But it sufficed. On top of the cheesy pesto was an even more cheesy tahini sauce which went really well with the potatoes. If I made this again, I would have pre-roasted the tomatoes and potatoes instead of boiling the potatoes and just putting on fresh tomatoes. A very cheesy pizza indeed!

Pesto Pizzi

After baked

Baked up


2/3 cup packed greens (I used spring mix, minus the red leaves)
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp water, or to blend
1/4 cup almonds
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 clove garlic

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, process until throughly combined and uniform and until well, it looks like a pesto. (We had enough of this leftover for one full serving of pasta, so if you don't want extra, halve this recipe).


1/2 cup chickpea flour
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
Water to form a sticky dough (we had to spread our crust with a spoon on parchment)
Pinch of salt

Mix ingredients together, you may not have to add water depending on the wetness of your quinoa. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake on 350F for 20-25 minutes or until thoroughly cooked through. (We have to mention, we don't know the exact measurements in the crust, we just made it by eyeballing, hopefully these are right though! Let us know if you make it if it turned out).


2 tbsp tahini
1/4 cup water (or enough to form a thick sauce)
1 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients until a sauce emerges! Spoon into ziploc bag and pipe onto pizza before baking.

Once crust is baked, spread on pesto sauce, add tomatoes (halved) and potatoes (pre boiled and sliced) and then add on cheese sauce. Bake pizza for another 15-20 minutes or until cooked. Makes enough for two people.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chickpea Omelette

This may look like a regular omelette using eggs, but it's actually a chickpea pancake! The taste is nuttier and sweeter but it has likeness to a veggie omelette. Chickpea flour is much lower in fat and calories than 2 eggs and is cheaper as well. Serve with a side of salad for a satisfying breakfast.

1/3 cup chickpea flour (1/3 cup = 2 "eggs")
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 tsp baking powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp water
1/2 tbsp coconut oil (for cooking)
Assorted veggies (I used kale, carrots, tomatoes and red onion)

Start by sautéing the veggies on medium heat with coconut oil. Once cooked through, combine rest of ingredients and stir until a batter forms. Pour batter into pan, cook for 5 minutes or so, (you can even add some more nutritional yeast flakes on top before folding for a cheesier centre) then fold "omelette" in half and continue cooking for another minute or until cooked through. You want it to be slightly soft in the middle though, so don't cook it too much! Makes 1 omelette.

Sunshine yellow omelette

If I knew it was this easy to have a protein rich, filling breakfast I would have been making these a long time ago. Protein smoothies are nice, but nothing beats a hearty cooked breakfast!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bunny Pasta! (Roasted Carrot and Tomato Fusili w/ Carrot Top Pesto)

I picked up a new pasta the other day: Eco Chefs Mung Bean Pasta. I'm usually not one to buy pasta, but the nutrition facts sold me in an instant. 24g of protein and 16g of fibre per serving?! Are you kidding me? Not only that, it has 35% of your daily intake of iron and the ingredients are super simple, "mung bean flour and water". This is, I'm sure a nutritionist's dream! but I'm just happy to have found a low carb pasta and for only 2.50 (1.25 per serving). :) The texture isn't as chewy and soft as regular pasta, and you're not going to get that pasta starchiness.

In my opinion, this is the best pasta option for those on low sugar, high protein diets that want a pasta shape in their meals every once in a while. I also plan on trying the Chickpea and Red Lentil varieties.

Nutritional Amazement!
Have you ever tried carrot tops? I always buy the carrots with the bright green tops, and then never know what to do with all the green goodness. Here is an easy carrot top roasted carrot/tomato pasta! When I told Jenn what I was doing with the carrot tops, she's like: that's what kind of pasta a bunny would eat! For some reason I found that funny...haha. Anyways...Bunny Pasta!:


1 bunch of carrot tops (stalks removed)
1 clove garlic
3 generous tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1/2 lemon, juice squeezed
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine carrot tops in a food processor, process until thoroughly chopped. Keep processing and add in olive oil gradually, then add rest of ingredients and process until a pesto is formed.


3 carrots, sliced into coins
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375F. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat. Lay carrots and tomatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until roasted.

Cook Mung Bean Pasta according to package instructions. Heat pesto in small pot on medium heat, add roasted veggies, cook for 1 minute, add pasta and toss to coat. Makes 2 servings.

Top with nutritional yeast!

Embarking on a low sugar diet? Check out our Inner Ecology E-book for sugar-free recipe ideas.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

First Protein Pancakes! + Mini Coconut Key-Lime Pies + Smoothie

Hey y'all! We haven't been posted lately because of a recent move. Jenn and I are actually subletting a place so we'll have to do the whole thing again in a month...gag. There isn't much light in our place, but that's not stopping us from blogging to our heart's content! ;)

We've been wanting to try protein pancakes, every time I (Jac) mention it, Jenn gives me this face of suspicion lol. I was looking up recipes and came across Choosing Raw's Protein Pancakes, they looked so fluffy, we had to try them, they are also low in sugar using stevia as a sweetener.

We don't have our bullet with us so we couldn't grind up the flax, so we put the seeds in whole, they still gel this way but don't hold together as well. We also used vanilla brown rice protein powder instead of hemp protein and water instead of almond milk and added some blueberries in them. They turned out great, not too sweet and very fluffy.


Pancakes with blueberry debris :P

2/3 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup almond flour
2 tbsp brown rice protein
2 tsp baking powder
Stevia extract, to taste
1 tbsp flaxseeds, whole
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup blueberries

Combine dry ingredients including flaxseeds. Add water and stir until thoroughly combined. Add in blueberries. Heat coconut oil in a frying pan on medium heat, spoon batter into pan, cook for a few minutes, then flip, continue until cooked through. Makes 6-7 pancakes.

We were asked by Christy Morgan from Blissful Chef to create a recipe using a Microplane Zester. You know how much we like Key Lime Pie flavoured treats. We decided to go all out and make Coconut Key-Lime Pies! these are low sugar, and super creamy with lots of zest, just how we like our key lime pies. ;).

Here is the link to Christy's blog for the recipe.

Last but not least we wanted to share with you guys a smoothie. Since we've been on a budget (namely Jac), we've had to be choosey about what we buy. Usually we would buy frozen berries for smoothies but have been resorting to a pretty good alternative. A few months back, Madre Labs sent us their Eureka! Berries and Simply Acai Berry Powder, I just combined the two and voila, insta-berries! Let's just say it's been a life saver antioxidant and vitamin C wise.

I usually add chia seeds to my smoothies for thickness but since scaling back on expensive ingredients I started using psyllium husk, I wanted to up my fibre too anyways. Psyllium is really cool because it gels just like chia, you only need a little bit and it adds so much extra fibre, it makes it shiny too which is kind of weird but interesting lol. This smoothie reminds me of those Happy Planet smoothies that you can buy in bottles, it's just so smooth!

Shining, shimmering, splendid

1 cup water
1 small pear, cubed with skin on
1 small mango, frozen
1 tsp psyllium husk
2 tsp Eureka! Berries + Simply Acai powder (or your own berry powder)

Add everything to a blender and blend!