Get crazy with smoothies for Nativas Natural’s “Smoothment!” Plus: smoothie recipes! »
On Saturday (that’s tomorrow!), Nativas Naturals is launching the Back-to-Basics Smoothment—a smoothie movement! From what I gather on social media, a bunch of you hippies are into this kind of “healthy milkshake” thing. You’re in luck—Nativas has got your back. Just head on over to the website, and sign on up! It’s all free of charge, and you’ll gain access to instructional videos, receive free recipes and even get discounts on featured raw, organic products. Just the incentive you needed to plug in that blender, isn’t it?
When it comes to smoothies, I like to think of my friend Caroline as the professional between the two of us. I prefer my blended drinks at a tiki bar, but Caroline actually drinks smoothies for breakfast. I thought that’s what coffee was for? Silly me, I have so much to learn! For all of our sakes (mine especially), I recruited Caroline as Vegansaurus’ own Miss Smoothment! Armed with products and a blessing sent to us from Navitas, Caroline agreed to share a couple of her own recipes with us, to kick off the occasion. Take it away, girlfriend!
“Anyone who follows me on Instagram is well aware that I’ve been obsessed with smoothies lately (I mean, why eat your food, when you can drink it?), so I wasn’t totally surprised when Jenny asked me to help review some of the Navitas superfood products.
You may have seen the colorful Navitas packaging in your local health food stores—I’ve definitely used some of them before (namely the chia seeds and cacao powder—great for raw desserts). Needless to say, I was STOKED when I had a whole box of their goodies to play with.
I usually start my day with a protein smoothie of some sort (using a vegan protein mix and my kitchen staple, the immersion blender), so I did what any excessive American girl would do — I mixed all the powders together for the mother of all breakfast smoothies. I wanted to see how this stood up to my “rigorous” morning workout (hello, I’ve got to be at my best when working out beside the retirees in the San Francisco Presidio Y). I also wanted to see how it compared to the more “performance”-oriented mixtures that I’ve been using. The verdict? I felt totally energized (as much as I can at 8 a.m.), and wasn’t hungry afterward. Not to mention, it was super delicious! (Bonus that all their products are organic—I’m not a fan of drinking chemicals and pesticides in my smoothies—raw, and gluten-free.)
Here’s what my typical morning smoothie looks like:
Serves 1 (6-foot girl)
2 Tbsp raw Hemp Protein powder
1 Tbsp sprouted Flax Seed powder
1 Tbsp Freeze-Dried Acai powder
1 tsp raw Maca powder
1 Tbsp raw Cacao powder
12 oz almond milk (or a mixture of half-almond, half-rice)
Handful of blueberries
Handful of ice
Lately I’ve been having a smoothie for lunch—again, why go through the hassle of chewing your food? Below is the recipe for one of my favorite combinations. I added a few of the Navitas superfoods to the mix, and felt extra pumped. (My boss has a Vitamix, which I try to put to use as much as possible.)
Lunchtime smoothie, serves 2:
3 Tbsp raw Hemp Protein Powder
2 tsp raw Maca Powder
12 oz almond milk
Handful of baby spinach (kale is good, too)
1/2 of an avocado
Handful of raspberries
Handful of strawberries
3 Tbsp organic peanut butter
Handful of ice
I shared this with a friend of my boss and she said it was the best thing she had ever tasted. Not bad for a testimonial, eh? I totally agree—why else would I drink this almost every day?
Since I’m already armed with so many of Nativas amazing products, I have no choice but to participate in their Smoothment. I also can’t stand not joining things (only child syndrome). Perhaps you’ll give it a whirl, too (Get it? Bad smoothie puns!).”
As usual, please share your personal recipes with us! Don’t forget to follow my girl Caroline on Twitter and Instagram (@wakeupcaroline)—I can’t wait to see all the smoothie talk that will ensue, while wondering if rum is also a suitable ingredient in your icy beverages.
Have you been to Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden in Alameda? Because they’ve got vegan pastries, tea-soaked quinoa, and THE BEST G-D VEGAN PÂTÉ ON EARTH. I wrote it up completely for SF Weekly but I just want to encourage you all to head to the isla bonita for some tasty treats. Plus, heated patio and also, VEGAN PÂTÉ. Get fucked, foie gras, this is where it’s at.
Potala Organic opened in Albany (Calif., right next to Berkeley!) and it’s definitely worth checking out. Several times. And then again. It’s from the former chef at Oakland’s Shangri-La Vegan and the healthy, hearty fare reflects that. Seriously, if you feel disgusting after Thanksgiving because you’re awesome and gave it your fatty all, detox at Potala!
Vegan MoFo: Margherita toast! »
More often than not, my easy vegan recipes come from a random craving that needs immediate satisfaction. Margherita toast is no exception: One autumn afternoon in 2010 I had a serious hankering for pizza—not greasy, drippy, stringy-cheesy pizza, but hearty, rich, and healthy: whole grains, chunky veggies, fresh greens, and tons of flavor. With no vegan pizza options in the vicinity, I rolled up my sleeves, opened my refrigerator door, and decided I’d have to get creative. Margherita Toast was soon born, and has become a simple staple in my household ever since.
Depending on the portion, it can be a snack or a full meal, and the flavors are full and rich enough to satisfy cravings for the not-so-super-healthy pizza varieties. Read on, and drool accordingly!
A couple slices of bread (whole grain is obviously best; sprouted is even better!)
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground salt and pepper
Fresh greens (I like arugula, but spinach, mizuna, broccoli rabe, etc. all work too)
vegan cheese alternative (I love Daiya, any flavor)
Fresh or dried Italian spices (basil, rosemary, oregano, etc.)
Get creative! Maybe some olives? Mushrooms? Artichoke hearts?
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place one or two (or more!) slices of bread on a baking sheet or sheet of tinfoil. Spread a spoonful of sauce on the bread if you like, or just leave it plain. If you have a taste for cheese, sprinkle a little handful of Daiya (whichever flavor you like) on each piece of bread.
Then lay three or four tomato slices on each piece—slice ‘em thick if you like it hearty, or thin if you prefer a more subtle tomato flavor.
After the oven has preheated, put your creation on the middle rack and let it toast for about 12 minutes, depending on your oven—it may take as little as 10, or as much as 15.
Yank those bad boys out of the oven before they burn, and sprinkle some finely chopped fresh or dried herbs if you’re into it, then toss a good handful of greens on top of the whole mess. Follow that up with a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper, then a drizzle of olive oil over everything. Let it marinate for a minute or two—be patient!—and then feast.
With all the fresh, real, simple ingredients combined, you’ve created a serious taste of Italy. Win!
LYFE Kitchen to open very soon, and here’s the menu! »
LYFE Kitchen (Meave wrote about them earlier this year) is set to open “later this month” (it’s already August 23! When, dammit! When!) at 167 Hamilton Ave in Palo Alto. As a refresher, LYFE kitchen is an experimental healthy fast food restaurant from some former McDonald’s head honchos, Oprah’s chef Art Smith (WHAT’S UP, O!), and vegan chef extraordinaire, Tal Ronnen. Because of Tal’s involvement, there are tons of vegan options on the menu, and they all look damn good. That’s a picture of the vegan corn chowder, I WILL EAT YOU. I THOUGHT all the desserts were supposed to be vegan, but they’re not marked as such, even though that banana run cheesecake sounds like something from Tal’s cookbook?? I dunno ‘bout that!
I got to interview Art Smith earlier this year and he was a very charming Southern gent of adorability and I fell straight in love with him. He told me Moby played his wedding’s after-party (yes, a wedding with an after-party! MARRY ME, ART! I, too, love to party hard!) and the whole thing was vegan (at Moby’s insistence, although Art thought it was a great idea, too!). Man, TO BE RICH AND IN LOVE. Although not to be a bitch but to be a total bitch, I’d probably have Leslie Hall play my after-party. Sorry, Moby! You just can’t work a gem sweater like my girl Leslie!
Anyway, what do you think of the menu? Will you be going to Palo Alto to eat there? I am pretty sure I will because even though the target demographic is soccer moms, I can eat just as much as those bitches! Also, I’d like this idea to succeed, and for the vegan options to sell well, and for LYFE Kitchen to grow bigger than McDonald’s and for us all to eat vegan banana rum cheesecake in a field of dreams! LET’S DO THIS.
YisRoYal vegan cookie dough is the BOMB »
It’s no secret—we vegans get kinda lazy sometimes. Plus it’s not always easy to just run to the market and pick up all the necessary ingredients when we’ve developed an insatiable craving for fresh-baked, straight-out-of-the-oven, warm and chewy cookies—am I right? Enter YisRoYal vegan cookie dough!
That’s right my gluttonous friends, pre-made and ready to bake cookie dough. Born from a family’s fruitless search for wholesome treats that fit their dietary principles, YisRoYal’s gourmet doughs are 100 percent vegan and free of soy, artificial sweeteners and coloring, bleached flours and hydrogenated oils. The name YisRoYal stems from the Hebrew name Yisra’el, meaning “to be upright with God,” and was chosen in accordance with the company promise to “respect all creation by using only organic, whole ingredients.” How neato is THAT? Though it boasts a two-month shelf life, I knew the dough wouldn’t last long in my household, baked or otherwise. All three tubs—one each of the three flavors, Chocolate Chip, Spicy Ginger and Oatmeal Raisin—lasted the first night without disturbance. Come night number two, however, the temptation was just too much and I cracked each tub open carefully. After two bites of each, I sealed them back up and tried to hide them from myself in the back of the shelf…but it was no use. Another bite here and there left me with about three-fourths of each flavor remaining and I knew I’d better get to baking these darn things.
Per the instructions, I pre-heated the oven to 375 degrees and spooned 12 cookies from the Chocolate Chip tub to the (lightly greased) cookie sheet. Easy peasy!
Twelve minutes later, PING! Cookies! Done!
Honestly, it was so easy I felt like I was cheating. I let the first batch cool and proceeded to bake three more batches and less than one hour later, I have more cookies than I know what to do with. That’s a lie, they’re already half gone. The cookies were totally delicious: sweet but not overly so, not grainy or crumbly like many other vegan cookies, just the right amount of chips/raisins—a total success. My only suggestion would be to keep the cooking time to 10 minutes on the nose. The instructions say 10 to 12 minutes; however, after 12 minutes, the bottoms of each batch were slightly burned. Once I got the hang of it—spacing, dollop size, baking time—they came out picture-perfect. Only they didn’t last long enough for the picture part. To quote my omnivorous boyfriend, “These are fucking GOOD, yo!” I can’t think of a better endorsement than that.
Anyone tried the vegan sushirito yet!? »
It’s a sushi burrito and San Francisco is going apeshit for it. Sushirito (yes, that’s the name) is only open during lunch and the line is HELLA long so none of our SOMA working affiliates have indulged. YET. There’s only one vegan options but it sounds to be the bomb: it’s called the Buddha Boy and it’s a tofu cutlet, miso eggplant, shiitake mushroom, Japanese gourd, avocado, shaved cabbage, daikon radish, green onion, and crumbled rice crisps. It’s all wrapped up in a large sheet of nori and you go crazy on it like you’re Anne Heche and it’s a big bottle of crazy. Did that make sense? I’m so very hungry.
Anyone tried it yet? Thoughts?
Here is a crappy photo from Yelp. I am so hungry on this cleanse that I will now spend the rest of the day slowly petting my screen.
GIRL, PREACH IT.
Product review: Gardein Crispy Tenders! »
We’ve reviewed the buffalo wings and the Sicilian trio, but my heart is with the Gardein crispy tenders. They are no joke! I used the toaster oven method of cooking, and cooked them like twice as long as suggested. They are my jam. And for our recently vocal health enthusiasts, you’ll be happy to hear that a serving has 1.5 grams of fat (zero saturated fat) and 9 grams of protein. Damn, that’s a lotta protein, my pals! One serving is only two nuggets and I usually eat four nuggets at a time, but that’s still not much fat and even more protein.
I like to eat them with a nice half-barbecue sauce, half-ketchup mix because I’m a culinary genius. Try it! Then tell me I’m not the man! You can’t! Because I’m the man.
UPDATE: Did you know that Gardein is currently testing AMERICAN SIZED bags of crispy tenders at a few Costco’s to see if they sell well? It’s true! We hope this pans out because then soccer moms can fill their kids with a less crappy version of the food they love. Next, can they work on creating a vegan version of those huge-ass bags of taquitos? Because a few of us remember those fondly from our youth/blame our childhood obesity directly on them. Bring it!
Tasty vegan recipes from non-vegan blogs! Holla! »
Apparently “The American People” (shittiest expression ever) aren’t eating produce anymore. WELL WHY??? Vegansaurus to the rescue! The recipes below leave you no excuse for not getting your 5-Alive. Do it up, fatties!
Bay Area Bites wants us to make apple butter (DO IT!), and The Paupered Chef has some Mexican food snacks that aren’t deep-fried (don’t hold it against them!). You could easily veganize this Avocado Milkshake over at The Kitchn by subbing coconut creamer (yum!) for condensed milk. Have you ever had an avocado milkshake? It’s like a party in your mouth meets a party in your pants and everyone wants to do it with each other. GNARLY MAGIC. Seriously, make one! Or, if you’re too lazy, buy one! And if you’re into doing it in the raw (NO COMMENT), check out Blisstree's Sun-Dried Tomato and Sunflower Seed Burgers. I’m only 1/4 hippie, and those look damn good to me!
Finally, because you’re all a bunch of fucking lushes, you should probably check out The Acadian from Beretta. SFist has the recipe and it’s so easy to just replace the honey with agave and have a par-tay. Haven’t tried absinthe? Well, you’re in for a hallucinogenic treat! Also, get some vegan pizza while you’re there—it’s the shiz!
Also, if you’re eating downtown in the FiDi, our Megan Allison says that the Siam salad (sub avocado for cucumber DO IT UP, FATTY) at Mixt Greens is the only food that does anything for her anymore. She ain’t mad atchu, lemongrass vinaigrette. Also funny that at salad place Mixt Greens, that’s the only salad that’s vegan by default. AMERICA!
[photo by Nick Kindlesperger of The Paupered Chef!]