Blossoming Berry Sorbets

blueberry lavender and raspberry rose hip sorbets - conveganence

Just recently, I discovered the bulk looseleaf tea aisle at Whole Foods. In that aisle, you can find any type of tea that strikes your fancy, and you can buy as much or as little as you want. I like brewing my own white tea with chamomile, lavender, and rose hips. You can use the dried flowers and herbs in the tea aisle for other purposes too, like creating your own salt scrubs, essential oils, and other bath products. Today, I decided to try something new with my tea fixins by blending them into sweet, summery sorbets.

I combined the rose hips with fresh raspberries, and the lavender with fresh blueberries. The lavender and rose hip flavor came through subtly, neutralizing the tang of the berries. I was very happy with the way the sorbets came out. They were very easy to make too, so they’d be perfect for deceiving your friends into thinking you’re fancier than you really are.

blueberry lavender and raspberry rose hip sorbets - conveganence

blueberry lavender and raspberry rose hip sorbets - conveganence

Blueberry Lavender Sorbet

Serves 2

Ingredients

12 oz fresh blueberries, rinsed

1 tbsp + 1 tsp dried lavender

1/2 C vegan cane sugar

1/4 tsp salt

juice and zest from 1 small lemon

Directions

1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, salt, and lavender with 1/3 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until sugar and salt dissolve. Set syrup aside and let cool for at least 15 minutes.

2. In a blender, combine the syrup, blueberries, lemon zest and lemon juice. Blend until smooth.

3. Strain blueberry mixture into a bowl to get rid of the skins and any large chunks of lavender. Chill mixture in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

4. Add mixture to ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, put mixture in freezer, checking every hour or so until it reaches the desired consistency.

blueberry lavender and raspberry rose hip sorbets - conveganence

Raspberry Rose Hip Sorbet

Serves 2

Follow recipe for Blueberry Lavender sorbet, only use 12 oz of raspberries (instead of blueberries) and 2 tbsp dried rose hips (instead of lavender).

I recommend that you serve the sorbets immediately so they don’t get too frozen. If you want to store them in the freezer, mix in a couple tablespoons of berry liqueur or corn syrup before storing.

3-2-1 Salad

3-2-1 Salads - conveganence blog

When I worked as an attorney, I ate lunch at my desk almost every single day. Most of the time, the food I ate wasn’t very healthy. It was heavily processed, high in sodium (think frozen lunches, canned soups,  or even chips and crackers). By the time 2pm rolled around, I would feel exhausted, bloated, and crabby. I’m sure most of you know what I’m talking about!

If only I had known that I could avoid the mid-afternoon doldrums with just a little bit of planning. (Actually I probably did know that, I was just too miserable to do anything about it.) Anyway, this recipe is something I think I will make every week for both myself and my husband, whose office eating habits are even worse than mine used to be.

I call this the 3-2-1 salad because the recipe makes 3 salads for 2 people in under 1 hour, AND for less than $15 (assuming you’ve got olive oil and vinegar or your favorite dressing on hand). This simple, budget friendly recipe is vegan (of course), gluten free, soy free and sugar free. Plus, each salad is full of my two favorite nutrients: protein and fiber.

3-2-1 Salad

Prep time: 45 minutes

Makes 6 salads

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 small head of broccoli, chopped into very small florets

1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into very small florets

1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 C red quinoa

1 can artichoke hearts

1/2 C kalamata olives

3/4 C julienne sliced sundried tomatoes

1/2 C shelled pistachios or other nuts of your choice (optional)

Dressing ingredients: (or use your favorite dressing)

1 C cilantro, chopped

1/2 C olive oil (probably less)

3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

juice from 1 lemon

3-4 cloves garlic

1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp ground cumin

Instructions:

1) Combine ingredients for dressing in a food processor (except for olive oil). Drizzle in olive oil, a few tablespoons at a time, while pulsing food processor. Taste test every so often and stop adding olive oil when the spice becomes milder. Chill dressing for at least 30 minutes.

2) Preheat oven to 400F. Drain and rinse chickpeas, and spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toss with a bit of olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

3) Meanwhile, put quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.

4) In a food processor, combine artichoke hearts and olives until minced. You could also chop by hand.

5) Create Salad #1 (left photo) by layering the quinoa, artichoke hearts, olives, sundried tomatoes, and half the kale. (This salad would probably be fine without dressing. I just put a bit of extra oil from the sundried tomatoes in mine.)

6) Create Salad #2 (middle photo) by layering the remaining kale, chickpeas, chopped red pepper, and pistachios.

7) Create Salad #3 (right photo) by layering the white beans, kidney beans, broccoli and cauliflower.

8) Refrigerate salads and dressing until ready to serve. Each salad should last a few days. When you’re ready to eat, just add a bit of dressing to the jar, close the lid, and shake it up!

3-2-1 Salads - conveganence blog3-2-1 Salads - conveganence blog3-2-1 Salads - conveganence blog

Pink Lemonade Cake with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

Pink Lemonade Cake - by Conveganence

The other day I saw the most beautiful, mesmerizing pin on Pinterest: a light, fluffy pink lemonade cake with creamy white frosting. I clicked through to the recipe, but alas, it was not vegan. Shocker, I know. So this whole week, I’ve been obsessed with making a vegan version of this cake. After a couple hit or miss attempts (including a nice tasting but sad looking gluten free version), I think I finally got it right. I might be a few days behind on posts, but I was determined to make this cake and put it on the blog!

I realized when I was photographing this cake that I already have a disproportionate number of pink food items on the blog. For that, I apologize. Also, I’m sorry this cake isn’t exactly diet friendly. But it would be fun for a special occasion, like a baby shower, bachelorette party, or bridal shower. Or a Thursday.

This cake turned out very moist and spongy. I don’t bake that often, but I’ve found that vegan cakes and cupcakes typically have more moisture and density than their non-vegan counterparts. This is a good thing! I made a vegan cream cheese frosting, which paired perfectly with the lemon flavor of the cake.

Pink Lemonade Cake

Prep time: 25 minutes, Bake time: 35-40 minutes

makes two 9″ rounds

Ingredients:

2 C vegan cane sugar

1/2 C vegan butter (I used Earth Balance buttery sticks), plus more for prepping cake pans

1 C applesauce

3 C all purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 C nondairy milk

4 tsp vanilla

1 small packet of powdered pink lemonade (about 1 tbsp)*

zest and juice from 1 medium lemon

few drops red food coloring (optional)*

vegan cream cheese frosting (recipe below)

*make sure these ingredients do not contain Red 40, which is made of beetles. If you cannot locate these items without Red 40, use 1/4 C of raspberry or strawberry puree to achieve the pink color.

Instructions

1) Preheat the oven to 350F. Prep two round 9″ cake pans with the buttery spread and flour.

2) Using an electric mixer, blend the butter and sugar until mixture is crumbly.

2) Add vanilla to mixture. Add applesauce, mixing in 1/4 C at a time until fully incorporated.

3) Add the flour and baking powder, mixing in 1/2 C at a time until fully incorporated.

4) Add milk, lemonade powder, lemonade mix and lemon zest. Mix until smooth. Fold in a few drops off food coloring at a time until the batter reaches the desired color.

5) Put half of the batter in each cake pan. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes. (While cake is baking, prepare the frosting.) Remove from oven, and allow pans to cool for 10-12 minutes before removing cake and transferring it to a cooling rack. Allow cake to cool for 1 hour before frosting.

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

(makes enough frosting for two 9″ round cakes)

1/2 C vegan butter

8 oz vegan cream cheese (I like Tofutti brand)

3 C powdered sugar, sifted

1 tsp vanilla extract

Blend ingredients together until smooth. Chill in refrigerator while cakes are cooling.

Pink Lemonade Cake - by conveganence

Pink Lemonade Cake - by conveganence

Portobello, Tempeh and White Bean Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Q: What’s the best night of the week?

A: Taco night. Hands down. Always.

The prospect of taco night has excited me since I was a young child. (Evidently my life has never been that exciting.) My mom would pick up an Old El Paso taco kit at the grocery store, which was a staple of any decent 1980s childhood. The kit came with about 5 too many taco shells, taco seasoning, and some kind of red sauce. She’d also pick up a packet of shredded cheese, sliced black olives, sour cream, green onions, and a big tomato. When the taco filling was ready, we’d get to assemble our own tacos. I’m not even sure why I’m explaining this process to you, since you’re probably already familiar.

Sadly, taco nights were lost to me for a while when I stopped eating meat and animal products. But once I stepped outside of the culinary comfort zone of the Old El Paso taco kit, I was able to take taco night to a whole new level. No offense to my parents, but vegan taco nights have been the best I’ve ever experienced!

For example, these portobello, tempeh and white bean tacos. They are spicy, meaty (yet meat-free!) and have plenty of fiber and protein. They are gluten-free if made with corn shells. The pineapple salsa is a must for this recipe. The sweetness of the pineapple perfectly balances the heat from the tacos. In my opinion, this is what makes the dish, so don’t leave it out! If you’re not a fan of pineapple, you could probably substitute another fruit…maybe strawberry or mango.

portobello, tempeh and white bean tacos - conveganence blog

Portobello, Tempeh and White Bean Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Salsa Ingredients:

1.5 C fresh pineapple, chopped into 1/4″ cubes

1.5 C seeded and diced tomatoes

1 small white onion, diced

1/2 C cilantro, finely chopped

1 jalapeno, diced (leave seeds in for more heat, otherwise remove them)

juice from 1 lime

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Taco Ingredients

2 portobello mushroom caps, diced (be sure to scrape out the gills first)

8 oz tempeh, cut into dice

1 14-oz can white beans

1 medium yellow onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 8-oz can tomato paste

juice from 1 lime

2 C vegetable or vegan “chicken” broth

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp oregano

salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

olive oil

Other

taco shells

vegan sour cream

sliced avocado

vegan shredded cheese (I recommend Daiya brand)

Instructions:

Combine all salsa ingredients into a large bowl. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until onions begin to soften. Add portobello and tempeh and cook about 5 more minutes, until the mushrooms begin to give up their juices. Add the white beans and spices, cook for about 3 more minutes.

Add the vegetable broth and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken. When sauce is close to desired texture, stir in the nutritional yeast and add the lime juice. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

Serve on taco shells and top with pineapple salsa and desired toppings. There will be plenty of leftover pineapple salsa, so store any remaining in an airtight container. It should keep in the fridge for a few days.

portobello, tempeh and white bean tacos - conveganence blog

portobello, tempeh and white bean tacos - conveganence blog

Pallet Herb Garden

If you’re on Pinterest, you’ve probably seen a pallet garden before. A pallet garden is exactly what it sounds like: a garden growing out of a shipping pallet. I’ve been wanting to make a pallet garden for a year now, but the only thing stopping me was my inability to procure a pallet. These things are surprisingly hard to come by, especially when you’re looking for one! Last year I asked people at several hardware and grocery stores, but no one was willing to part with their precious pallets.

About a month ago, I went to Lowe’s to buy my herbs, intending to plant them in traditional planters, having given up hope of ever procuring a pallet. I asked one of the associates in the garden department if they happened to have pallets, fully expecting to her to look at me like I had 3 heads and tell me no, as usual. To my surprise (and delight!) she gave me 2 free pallets! So if you’re having similar issues finding pallets, try asking the nice people at Lowe’s.

In addition to a pallet, you’ll need the following:

– A LOT of potting soil. I used four (4) 17-qt bags of Miracle-Gro Expand n’ Grow.

landscape fabric or plywood cut to fit the back of the pallet. I used the plywood, but I recommend the fabric if you plan to turn your pallet upright instead of keeping it flat on the ground.

– heavy duty staples and staple gun

– herbs and/or flowers. Each section of the pallet fit 4 small pots of herbs, so you’ll need quite a few plants to fill up the whole thing. If you’re buying herbs that grow and spread easily, like cilantro, mint, and basil, you could probably get away with just 2 small plants in each section.

To make the garden:

1) Attach the landscaping fabric or plywood to the back and sides of the pallet with the staple gun. This tutorial has great step-by-step instructions for attaching the fabric. If you plant to leave your pallet garden flat on the ground, you only need to attach the fabric or wood to the back.

2)  If you plan to leave the pallet flat, choose its permanent location and begin working there, as the pallet will be difficult to move once it’s filled with dirt and plants. If you plan to flip it upright, work in an area where it would be easy to transition the pallet from the ground to against a wall.

3) Flip the pallet over, and fill it halfway with dirt. Water the dirt a little bit before you start planting.

4) Plant each herb or flower in the desired slot. Cover with more dirt, and pack in the plants until they are firmly secured. Water the entire pallet again.

4) Even if you plan to turn your pallet upright, leave it flat on the ground for at least a few weeks to allow the plants to develop roots and acclimate to the soil.

5) Make sure to water your pallet every day!

My pallet herb garden has worked out pretty well so far. All of my herbs are in one place, but the dividing boards prevent one herb from completely taking over the whole garden. I planted the herbs I use most often, so I no longer have to go to the grocery store to buy a tiny plastic packet of herbs, only to use 1 sprig while the rest goes bad in my fridge.

Have you started your herb garden this year?

Here is the pallet garden after I first planted it (May 1, 2013).

Here is the pallet garden after I first planted it (May 1, 2013).

 

And here it is a month later...look how everything has grown! Except the dill. I ate most of that :-/

And here it is a month later…look how everything has grown! Except the dill. I ate most of that :-/

 

Niçoise Salad Sandwich (aka “Ugly Sandwich”)

Vegan Nicoise Sandwich - conveganence blog

Ask anyone in my family the name of the ubiquitous dish that was present at every holiday gathering, and they will unanimously tell you about the Ugly Salad. The Ugly Salad was my Oma’s recipe, and as its name would indicate, it wasn’t the prettiest salad. But it was full of delicious stuff: cauliflower, olives, roasted red peppers, and artichoke hearts to name a few. (I’m not giving away the recipe on this blog–sorry!) Personally, I don’t think it was all that ugly, but perhaps it qualified as such in the 1980s when salads were supposed to be neon iceberg green and bright tomato red. However aesthetically objectionable it was, it was delicious and there were rarely leftovers.

So I guess I should explain why I’m talking about a salad when this blog post is supposed to be about a sandwich. To make a long story short, this sandwich reminded me of the Ugly Salad because it is not the most aesthetically pleasing sandwich in the world, but it is certainly pleasing to the palate!

This sandwich was inspired by a French dish, the salade niçoise. A real Niçoise salad has a lot of non-vegan things in it, like eggs, tuna, and anchovies. Obviously you won’t find any of those things in here. I based this recipe in part off of the popular Not Tuna Salad recipe, found on the Whole Foods website. Then I added a few ingredients to give it the rich, salty flavor of a Niçoise salad; like olives, dijon, capers, and vegan mayo. Spread it on a baguette, stuff it in a pita, or eat it on a bed of lettuce–and enjoy!

Niçoise Salad Sandwich

Serves 4

1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained and mashed

1/2 apple, cored and chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons dill relish

1 medium shallot, minced

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp capers

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

3 tbsp vegan mayo

1/2 C kalamata olives, sliced or chopped

kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste

2 large tomatoes

4 small baguettes

Olive oil

Direction

Combine all ingredients except for the tomatoes, olive oil, and baguettes. Use a food processor to save time chopping and mashing. Season with salt, pepper, and extra lemon juice if needed.

Slice baguettes in half. Brush each side each side with olive oil (or you could use more mustard and vegan mayo). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread garbanzo bean mixture evenly on baguettes. Top with tomato. Wrap baguettes in parchment paper if picnicking or otherwise transporting the sandwiches.

Vegan Nicoise Sandwich2 - conveganence blog

 

Cherry Vanilla Almond Smoothie

Are you in the mood for a breakfast that tastes like a dessert but won’t take up half your allotted calories for the day? If so, then give this smoothie a whirl! It’s got everything: protein, fiber, antioxidants, calcium, Omega-3s, and the triple-threat of all flavor combinations: cherry/vanilla/almond. (Edit: Did anyone else read that last sentence in Stefon’s voice, or have I just been watching too much SNL?)

I made this smoothie for breakfast yesterday, and I didn’t get around to eating lunch until 3pm, nor was I tempted to have a snack. Needless to say, this smoothie will become part of my regular breakfast repertoire.

Cherry Vanilla Almond Smoothie

Serves 1

Prep time: 10 minutes (plus 30+ minutes to soak chia seeds)

Ingredients

3/4 C plain or vanilla almond milk yogurt

1 C fresh cherries, pitted and stems removed (about 15 cherries)

1/3 C almond milk

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp almond butter

1/4 tsp vanilla extract (if you did not use vanilla flavored yogurt–otherwise, omit it)

1/4 tsp almond extract

1 scoop plain or vanilla plant-based protein powder (optional–I did not use any protein powder in this yesterday)

4-5 ice cubes

Directions

1) Soak chia seeds in almond milk the night before, or for at least 30 minutes prior to making the smoothie.

2) Pit the cherries. I recommend using a chopstick or a skewer to do this. Make sure to pit the cherries over a paper towel or plate, as it can get messy.

3) Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Image

Strawberry Rhubarb Salad

This weekend was the official opening of the farmer’s market in my town. It was a little anticlimactic because there weren’t many vendors yet, and most of the vendors didn’t have much in the way of offerings. Fortunately, I managed to score some beautiful ruby red rhubarb.

 

rhubarbconveganence blog - strawberry rhubarb salad

I was too lazy to go grocery shopping or look for recipes that use rhubarb, so I just combined it with some ingredients I happened to have around the house.

This salad is on the sweet side, and it’s perfect for the hot weather we’ve had lately. If you can wait a while before eating it, I recommend serving it chilled. I ate it warm (I’m impatient like that) but that didn’t stop me from wolfing this down.

Strawberry Rhubarb Salad

Serves 4

Preparation time: 25 minutes (plus chill time)

Ingredients:

For the Salad

1 C quinoa, cooked according to package instructions

2 large stalks rhubarb, diced (about 2 C)

2 tbsp vegan cane sugar

1 1/2 C strawberries, sliced

10 oz watercress or other green (spinach would work nicely here too)

optional: almond slivers (I didn’t use any but I thought it would go well with this salad)

For the Dressing

1 C  strawberries, stems removed

3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

2 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

juice from 1 lemon

1/2 tsp agave nectar

1/2 tsp ground ginger (or 1″ grated fresh if you’ve got it)

cracked black pepper to taste (about 1/4 tsp)

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 450F. Toss diced rhubarb in a bowl with sugar until rhubarb is evenly coated. Let sit about 10 minutes. Arrange rhubarb in a single layer on a baking sheet, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool before combining it with other salad ingredients.

2) Meanwhile, mix all dressing ingredients together in a food processor.

3) Toss watercress, sliced strawberries, rhubarb, and almonds, if using.

4) If you are chilling the salad, chill dressing, quinoa, and watercress mixture in separate containers for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve, place quinoa in a salad bowl or on a plate, and top with rhubarb mixture. Drizzle with dressing and cracked pepper. (You could also mix it all together if you want.)

conveganence blog - strawberry rhubarb saladconveganence blog - strawberry rhubarb salad

salad1conveganence blog - strawberry rhubarb salad

 

 

 

 

Savory Sunday Brunch

table

Here in Chicago (and I assume most other urban areas in the Western world?) Sunday brunch is a pretty  big deal. When you’re young, brunch is key for soaking up all the booze (and stories!) from the night before. When you’re old, like me, brunch comes after hot yoga but before a trip to Home Depot. It’s the bright spot of Sunday, a cheerful crescendo before the ennui and dread of the workweek ahead team up to ruin the rest of your day.

Brunch can be challenging when you’re not eating animal products. The only vegan options at most brunch restaurants range from unappetizing to downright nauseating. Typically, vegans can choose from a selection of lumpy oatmeal, dry granola, a cup full of withered and flavorless fruits, tomato slices, and breakfast potatoes.

My husband and I, like most Chicagoans, have a relatively well-established tradition of brunching on Sundays. Eggs benedict (subbing spinach for the Canadian bacon) was my go-to dish. Pretty much every restaurant had it. After giving up eggs, I was a little worried whether I’d ever be able to brunch again. After suffering through a few brunches with a sad fruit cup and unlimited mimosas (it was the only vegan thing on the menu, I swear!) my husband finally agreed to give up his bacon and take me to a few vegetarian/vegan restaurants for brunch.

One of our favorite vegan friendly brunch places in Chicago is Handlebar, and my Simple Savory Scramble is inspired by one of their dishes (the Pepita Scramble). Mine’s a bit more basic than the Pepita Scramble (no pesto, no kale, no need to deep fry the onions), so it’s manageable to whip up on a weekend morning. To balance out the spice and heat from the scramble, I added a bright and colorful fruit cup. Then, I mixed up a refreshing Grapefruit and Blueberry Sparkler to wash it all down.

scramble

Simple Savory Scramble (serves 4)*

*to make this SUPER simple, use frozen, pre-chopped potatoes and bell peppers.You can get them at Trader Joe’s!

Ingredients:

1 package of extra firm organic tofu, drained and cut into 1″ cubes

1-2 lbs red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 2″ dice (or use frozen red potatoes)

2 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 small bell peppers, sliced: 1 red, 1 green, and 1 orange (or use frozen sliced bell peppers)

1/2 medium yellow onion sliced thin

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

1 tsp turmeric

salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste

olive oil

Optional: fried onions to put on top

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 425F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil, and arrange the potatoes on a single layer. Toss with  garlic and rosemary, plus a little more olive oil. Bake for 30-40 minutes, flipping potatoes halfway through.

2) Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the tofu and cook until tofu turns golden brown and crisp, flipping tofu every few minutes to cook evenly. Sprinkle the turmeric over the tofu and stir until coated (the tofu will turn yellow, like scrambled eggs). Lower heat to medium and add peppers, onion, and jalapeno. Cook for about 7 -10 minutes, until peppers and onions soften. Stir frequently so as not to overcook or burn tofu. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes as desired.

3) Top potatoes with tofu mixture, and top with fried onions if desired. (I left them out this time.) Add a bit of sriracha for more heat if you want.

fruitsalad

The fruit cup is self explanatory. Just take fresh papaya cubes and pineapple cubes and put them in a pretty dish. You could also add mint, berries, or whatever else you have on hand. I like to keep mine in the freezer while preparing the rest of the food, especially on a warm morning like today.

grapefruitspritzer

grapefruitspritzer2

Grapefruit Blueberry Sparkler:

Add some crushed iced to pre-chilled glasses. Add 3 parts freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, and 1 part Izze Blueberry Sparkling Juice. Garnish with a thyme sprig. I made these as mocktails, but you could also add sparkling wine if you want.

What are your favorite brunch dishes?

Breezy Buckwheat Berry Breakfast

Say that 5 times fast!

DSC_0423

I figured the first breakfast recipe I post on this blog should be the one I eat the most often. This breakfast rocks my world because there are so many different flavors (sweet, nutty, tangy) and textures (crunchy, creamy) that it’s impossible to get bored with it. Also, you can take the basic recipe and customize it a million different ways. The buckwheat and chia seeds are packed with fiber and will keep you full until lunch. Plus, this recipe is gluten and soy free. Breakfast doesn’t get much better than that!

This recipe was inspired by and adapted from one of my favorite vegan blogs, Oh She Glows. You can find the original here.

Ingredients:

(serves 1)

1/3 C buckwheat groats

1 C fresh or frozen berries, thawed

2 tbsp chia seeds

1/2 C non-dairy milk (I’ve tried almond, coconut, and brazil nut milk–all work great)

A few drops of vanilla extract or stevia extract

Toppings (all optional):

– almond butter

– nuts

– carob chips

– goji berries

– nondairy yogurt

– cinnamon

– anything else that strikes your fancy!

Directions:

1) Place buckwheat groats in a bowl and cover them with water. Place berries in a bowl with the milk, chia seeds, and sweetener. Place both bowls in the fridge to soak. You have two options here. Your first option is to soak them overnight before bed. Your other option is to start soaking them before you begin your morning routine. In any event, they must soak for at least 30 minutes (ideally at least an hour). I prefer the latter method, because I like when the buckwheat is a bit crunchier.

2) Place buckwheat in a strainer, rinse and drain out as much water as you can. Combine buckwheat with berry and chia seed mixture, and mix well.

3) Add desired toppings. The only topping I added today was almond butter. I got a little out of control with the almond butter (no surprise there) so you can see globs of it in the photo. Whoops.

DSC_0422