DAIRY-FREE ICED MATCHA LATTE

2015-08-23 dairy-free iced matcha latte

Confession time: never have I ever had a matcha latte before, mainly because I’ve only ever seen them in Starbucks and something about the neon green color has always been a little off-putting to me. And did you know that the matcha powder that Starbucks uses is half sugar? True story, check it out. I basically don’t trust anything from Starbucks unless it’s straight black coffee.

BUT while shopping the bulk aisle of the co-op this weekend, I randomly grabbed a bag of matcha powder and decided to finally give it a shot. I wanted something nice and refreshing on this hot August day and set out to find some recipe inspiration. I stumbled upon this recipe for an iced matcha latte and used it as a jump-off point for the final creation below. If Starbucks matcha frappuchinos are even 1/10th as tasty as this was, I can see what all the fuss is about. Where has this been all my life!? *crawls back under the rock I was living under*

For those of you not hip to matcha, let’s form a support group or something. It’s that good! And it not only tastes good, but it’s good for you. I won’t bore you with the nitty gritty health details, but a quick Google search will send you down the rabbit hole of its health benefits. :)

DAIRY-FREE ICED MATCHA LATTE

Servings: 1
Serving Size: 16 oz
Nutritional Info: 110 calories, 3.6 g fat, 20 g carbohydrates, 3 g of fiber, 1.6 g of protein
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 3 

Ingredients

– 1 tsp matcha powder
– 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
– 3 dried dates
– handful of ice cubes
– 3 tbsp hot water

Directions

1. Add matcha powder to 3 tbsp hot water and stir until powder is dissolved.
2. In a blender, add almond milk, dates, ice cubes, and dissolved matcha.
3. Blend on high until dates and ice are fully blended, serve over ice.

 

DIY SPICE BLEND

DIY spice blend

I wish I could take credit for this idea, but I was inspired by a woman in front of me in the check-out line a few weeks ago while I was grocery shopping. At the food co-op where I do my shopping, there is an incredible section filled with little baggies of fresh spices. Fun fact: if you’re buying jarred spices at the grocery store, chances are they’re not super fresh and may have diminished flavors as a result. Grocery store turnover of spices just isn’t fast enough to reliably ensure freshness. Anyways! This woman was purchasing about 25 little baggies of all different types of spices. My curiosity kicked in and I asked her about what she was making that she needed all of those spices for. Her reply?

“Oh, nothing! I mix them all together in a big jar and use it for seasoning salads, things I cook, all sorts of stuff.”

I was blown away. How had I never thought of such a brilliant idea? I’d made Mexican seasoning before for a recipe, but it was just a blend of 3 different spices. Now, throwing a ton of spices into a jar willy nilly and making my own custom “Amy blend”? That sounded incredible.

So the next time I went grocery shopping I stocked up on every spice imaginable that I thought I could reasonably combine into a DIY spice blend. Below is what my first iteration consisted of:

  • garlic flakes
  • onion flakes
  • ground sage
  • parsley
  • chives
  • rosemary
  • white pepper
  • sesame seeds
  • ground coriander
  • ground cumin
  • crumbled dulse seaweed

I’ve been putting it on EVERYTHING. Bagel with tofu cream cheese? Sprinkle of this goodness on top. Avocado toast with sliced tomato? You betcha. I’ve also been liberally using it on salads, pastas, wraps…I’m hooked. And my mind is already racing to think of what different things I can add to the next batch. YUM!

Veggie Supreme Vegan Pizza

2015-08-01 21.14.38

I have such fond memories from my childhood of homemade pizza nights, and of my mom trying to enlist my help in rolling out the pizza dough…an activity that sounded fun initially, but one that I lacked the patience for. It’s still one of the things I dislike the most about making pizza, but it’s a necessary evil. That and I refuse to spend $5+ on a pre-made and frozen pizza crust. So maybe it’s a combination of frugality and stubbornness. I’ve seen the light, and instead of making my own dough, something I know how to do but prefer not to, we usually buy it from the pizza joint down the street. They give you a HUGE container full of it, enough for two large pizzas, all for $3! Next time you make your own pizza, try going to a pizza place and asking if they sell dough. :)

Homemade pizza night is always a big hit — whether it’s just the two of us or we’re having friends over to hang out. It’s easy, customizable, and makes the apartment smell incredible. When we adopted a vegan lifestyle, a little part of me was worried about what I’d do if we had people over. After all, when you think pizza you think ooey gooey cheese. And telling people that you’re using vegan cheese instead of what they’re used to, it might set off some alarms.

But this could not be further from the truth! As a former self-professed cheese addict (a real thing, I swear), I can honestly say that Daiya Mozzarella Shreds totally hit the spot on this pizza. They give it that cheesy, melty, ooey gooey appearance that people are used to…all without the nasty stuff in actual cheese. Oh, and if you typically use jarred pizza sauce, do me a favor and just try making the sauce below. It takes less than 2 minutes and there is no cooking involved. It will blow your mind, and you’ll never again be able to go back to the store-bought stuff! No salt, no oil, and sweetened with a few dates…it may not be traditionally Italian, but then again neither is the Prego stuff from the store. 😉

VEGGIE SUPREME VEGAN PIZZA

Servings: 8
Serving Size: 1 slice
Nutritional Info: 190 calories, 4.2 g fat, 34.4 g carbohydrates, 3.6 g of fiber, 5.8 g of protein
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 5 

Ingredients

– 1 package pre-made pizza dough, or your own if making yourself
– 1 cup Daiya Mozzarella Shreds
– 1 cup diced peppers
– 1 cup diced mushrooms
– 1 cup diced sweet onions
– 28 oz canned plum tomatoes
– 3 dates
– 1 tbsp Italian seasoning

Directions

1. In a blender, combine canned tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and dates. Blend for 1 minute until fully combined.
2. Pre-heat oven to 475 and start rolling out pizza dough on floured surface.
3. I sprinkle cornmeal on the bottom of the pan or pizza stone so the dough doesn’t stick, but you can also cover with a piece of aluminum foil. Rub the top of the dough with a little bit of olive oil, which will get you that perfect crispy crust!
4. Layer sauce, mozzarella shreds, and toppings and bake for 20-22 minutes, checking around the 18 minute mark to see how it’s looking.

Mixed Rice and Bean Taco Salad

mixed bean and rice taco salad

Every time I make a bean and rice dish, I swear I start humming the song “Baby Got Back”….ya know the line “red beans and rice didn’t miss her!” Tonight’s dinner came together quickly because both Kristian and I initially had plans to be out tonight, both of which fell through. I hadn’t included a Monday dinner in this week’s meal plan, so I took stock of what we had and did a quick run to the food co-op for a few additional items. One such item was 4 lbs of cherries…because I just cannot get enough of them in the summer! YUM. Anyways, taco salad. Here we go!

I’ve been into black rice recently, but find that making a rice medley is a nicer way to enjoy it since it’s pretty dense on its own. We combined half black rice and half brown rice, so that’s what this recipe calls for, but use whatever you’ve got! Some yellow rice would be wonderful in this dish. I can always tell when something is a repeat meal because Kristian, who is usually the slowest eater in the world, absolutely devours it. And that’s exactly what happened with this one! Enjoy.

MIXED RICE AND BEAN TACO SALAD

Servings: 6
Serving Size: 1/2 cup bean mixture
Nutritional Info: 285 calories, 3.6 g fat, 24.6 g carbohydrates, 5 g of fiber, 33 g of protein
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 6 (not counting avocado)

Ingredients

– 1 cup rice, dry
– 1 15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
– 1/4 cup salsa
– 1 tsp cumin
– 1 tsp garlic powder
– 1 package Upton’s Ground Seitan
– 1/4 cup Daiya Shreds, cheddar style
– 1/2 head romaine lettuce
Optional: avocado and hot sauce!

Directions

1. Cook rice on stove or in rice cooker.
2. Add cooked rice, seitan, beans, salsa, garlic powder, cumin, and a bit of water to a skillet to simmer and combine ingredients.
3. Chop up desired amount of romaine and top with 1/2 cup rice and bean mixture. Drizzle with hot sauce, Daiya cheese shreds, and avocado!