Sleepy Morning Blender Matcha

At long last I’m able to give you a bit of an update on my recent health struggles! If you’re catching up, read this post and this post (and the comments) first.

Well, where did we leave off? To start, I’m so thankful to have found a great naturopath after not having an overly helpful experience earlier in the year. I’ve been struggling with my symptoms on and off for years now, so it’s been a huge relief to finally get some answers! Slowly but surely I’m starting to feel like a new person. My recent tests showed that my hormones are a hot mess…estrogen is too high, my morning cortisol is way too low (hello, feeling like a zombie even after a decent night’s sleep), and one of my thyroid hormones is also too low. My doctor had suspected many of these results based on my symptoms, but it was interesting to see them on paper! I’m definitely no expert on this stuff, but I learned that when one hormone is off, it can impact another…and on and on the cycle goes, often throwing your entire system out of whack in the process. I felt such relief knowing that how I was feeling wasn’t just in my head all this time.

It’s so easy to push through feeling awful, blaming your symptoms on other things. I can’t even tell you how many times I told myself that I felt like crap because I was a new mom, or I was nursing and up in the middle of the night, or I was working out too hard (or not enough), or I wasn’t taking my vitamins, or my diet wasn’t balanced, or I was just feeling anxious about changes in my life. Some of those things may have been part of the issue, but I overlooked the real possibility that something beyond my immediate control was at work.

Dear self: it’s okay to ask for help.

Speaking of which, my biggest regret is that I didn’t get help for my symptoms sooner. It’s easy to put off, especially when Dr. Google is at your fingertips. Everyone would tell me how important it is to take care of myself while raising two young kids, but most days I just pushed it aside and tried to rely on the fact that I am a generally healthy person who eats well and exercises. My mom and Nicole were the ones who finally pushed me to get help…we all need those people in our lives who look out for us! Sometimes you have to learn the hard way, but I’m grateful for this lesson and wake-up call. I may have ignored my body’s messages for quite some time, but once I commit to something, I’m all-in, and I’ve been such a good “student” these past few months!

Taking the time to heal has set me back on some career goals this year, but sometimes there’s no better goal than good health. I actually can’t think of a better way to celebrate OSG’s upcoming 10-year milestone than circling back to my journey to health, which is the reason I started my blog! It’s just another reminder that our journey is always changing and evolving over time.

I’ll try to update you again as soon as I have more to share, but in the meantime if you have any questions, or would like to share your own experiences, I would LOVE to read them below.

Oh, and I should probably mention this recipe before I go! My naturopath recently encouraged me to add more green tea to my diet, and this has been my go-to mix. I had requests for the recipe after sharing it on Insta Stories last week, so I decided to put it up on both the app and blog! I hope you’ll find this warm, creamy matcha blend as calming and gently energizing as I have.

4.5 from 6 reviews

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Sleepy Morning Blender Matcha

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

You know when you wake up on a chilly morning and need a hot drink now? Well this is my go-to on fall and winter mornings (or afternoons!) when I want a change from coffee. The thought of this smooth, warm, creamy drink seriously lures me out of my cozy bed. I love how effortless this recipe is, especially on those half-awake, barely functioning mornings (just make sure you’re alert enough to operate a blender with hot liquid!). I love matcha green tea powder because it delivers calming, jitter-free energy as well as powerful antioxidants. Be sure to see my Deluxe Version in the Tips section below for a more decadent way to make this beverage—when I want an especially comforting treat, I’ll forgo the water and only use canned coconut milk.

Yield
1 1/3 cups (330 mL)
Prep time
5 Minutes
Cook time
0 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (250 mL) water
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) canned light coconut milk, room temperature*
  • 1/2 teaspoon matcha green tea powder, or to taste**
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure maple syrup, or to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add the water to a kettle or pot and bring to a boil.
  2. While the water heats up, add the coconut milk and matcha powder to a high-speed blender.
  3. Once the water has boiled, remove it from the heat and let sit for 15 seconds. Carefully add it to the blender along with the maple syrup (if using).
  4. If your blender’s lid is vented, secure it on top. If you don’t have a vented lid, keep the lid slightly ajar so air can escape. Blend on the lowest speed, very slowly increasing to medium, for about 20 seconds until frothy and combined.
  5. Immediately pour into a mug and enjoy your cozy cup o’ green!

Tips:

* If using already chilled canned coconut milk, add an extra 1/3 cup (80 mL) hot water to ensure your blend is hot enough (nobody wants lukewarm tea, if you know what I mean!). Be sure to stir the coconut milk before measuring.

 

** My preferred brand of matcha powder is DoMatcha Organic Summer Harvest Matcha Powder.

 

Deluxe Version: Heat 1 cup (250 mL) canned light coconut milk on the stovetop over medium heat, watching closely to ensure it doesn’t boil over. Once it starts to simmer and froth, immediately remove it from the heat. Add this to the blender along with the matcha powder (and maple syrup, if using). Follow steps 4 and 5 above and enjoy your extra-creamy tea!

Instant Pot Cauliflower and Butternut Thai Curry

My very first vegan Instant Pot recipe is here! I finally took the plunge and purchased an Instant Pot after being on the fence about whether I wanted a new appliance to take up real estate on my counter (it would have to fight for space next to the kids’ piles of artwork, after all). Thanks again for the Ask Angela weigh-in back in February. I’m usually suspicious of new trends and like to wait a good while before I take the plunge, but I’m loooving it so far. I had totally underestimated how nice it is to put the lid on a recipe and walk away! But this same convenient feature also makes it challenging to develop recipes because you have ONE SHOT to get the cook time/pressure correct. No big deal. This curry took over 10 trials to get perfect…I changed up the flavours, cook time (6 minutes, 5 minutes, 1 minute, 4 minutes…ahh!), liquids-to-solids ratios…you name it, I tweaked it! Nicole and I love a challenge, though, so it’s been fun figuring it out and I do think we’ll get quicker as we go.

I had a stovetop pressure cooker back in the day and that thing used to scare the bejesus out of me with all of its rattling and clanking around. So the first two times I cooked with my new Instant Pot, I handed Eric a wooden spoon and instructed him to release the steam while I hid. I’m not proud, but hey, at least I’m now doing it myself! It’s really not that bad at all, and it feels so much safer than my old stovetop pressure cooker ever did.

Don’t worry if you don’t have an Instant Pot, though! I got yo’ back. We’ve tested this curry on the stovetop as well because I want everyone to be able to make these easy recipes at home! I haven’t had a chance to test this curry in a slow cooker yet, but if any of you do, could you please leave a comment and let us know how it goes? The beauty of this curry is that you literally throw everything (except the greens) into a pot, stir it, and cook. It couldn’t be easier! Of course, I wouldn’t call this an authentic Thai curry by any means, but it’s delicious and comes together quickly on those busy weeknights.

Anyway, if you have any questions about this recipe or the Instant Pot in general, please fire away below! If I can’t answer your question, maybe someone else can help by chiming in with their experience.

 

4.9 from 61 reviews

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Instant Pot Cauliflower Thai Curry

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

I love the soft, stew-like texture of this spicy curry and how serving it over a cup of fluffy rice lends just the right amount of chewiness! This dish is one of those crave-worthy comfort foods that I reach for again and again. I created this recipe out of a need for more go-to pantry dinner options that take advantage of my speedy new Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. Not to worry if you don’t have one, though—follow my directions in the tip below to make this curry on the stovetop instead. It’s important to follow the Instant Pot directions carefully to avoid overcooking the veggies. This recipe’s directions (steps 1 and 2) have been lightly edited as of January 10, 2018 to avoid some machines getting a burn notice. This recipe is adapted from my 8-Minute Pantry Dal.

Yield
5 1/2 cups (1.3 L) or 4 servings
Prep time
10 Minutes
Cook time
20 Minutes

Ingredients:

For the curry:
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can light coconut milk
  • 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can diced tomatoes, with juices*
  • 2 cups (260 g) chopped cauliflower florets (1-inch pieces)
  • 2 cups (340 g) peeled and cubed (3/4-inch) butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) red curry paste**
  • 1 teaspoon (7.5 mL) dried flaked onion***
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) uncooked red lentils
  • 2 cups (75 g) packed stemmed and finely chopped kale or chard
Serving suggestions:
  • Cooked jasmine rice or grain of choice
  • Fresh chopped cilantro leaves
  • Fresh lime juice

Directions:

  1. Add all of the curry ingredients (except the red lentils and kale/chard) to the Instant Pot and stir until combined. 
  2. Add the red lentils on top of the mixture and gently press them into the liquid (do not stir the lentils into the mixture as this can result in a burn notice in some machines).
  3. Secure lid in the lock position and check that the Steam Release Handle is pointing to the “Sealing” position.
  4. Press the “Pressure Cook” button (or “Manual”, on some machines) and set the cook time to 5 minutes on high pressure. After 5 seconds you’ll hear a couple beeps and the screen will say “on”. The cooking process has begun! You can now go do something fun for about 10 to 15 minutes while the curry cooks.
  5. You’ll hear a few beeps when the timer is up. Immediately do a “Quick Pressure Release” to avoid overcooking the curry. I stand back and use a wooden spoon handle (never my hand!) to shift the Steam Release Handle to the “Venting” position to release the pressure. Once all of the pressure has been released, the float valve will sink and you won’t hear steam anymore.
  6. Carefully open the lid and stir the curry. To achieve a thicker texture, I like to mash a bit of the curry with a potato masher, simply pulsing about 4 or 5 times around the pot. You can also blitz it for a second or two with an immersion blender.
  7. Stir in the chopped greens until thoroughly combined and secure the lid. Set the Instant Pot to the “Keep Warm” setting and allow the greens to wilt for about 5 minutes in the curry. Press “Cancel” to turn the heat off and release the steam again, if necessary, before removing the lid.
  8. Serve over rice or grain of choice, if desired, and garnish with cilantro and lime. The lime juice gives it a lovely brightness, but avoid using too much as it can overpower. I always add a sprinkle of salt and pepper before serving too.

Tips:

* The canned diced tomatoes that I use are quite “soupy” and liquid-y. If your can seems to be on the low end of the liquid content, I would recommend adding a 1/2 cup of water to this recipe before cooking.

** I love this Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste—it’s shelf stable and comes in a small glass jar. You can often find it in the international cuisine aisle of grocery chains.

 

*** Dried flaked onion is less concentrated than onion powder. Onion powder will work as a substitute if that’s what you have on hand, but I would suggest using a smaller amount (around 1/2 teaspoon) as it’s more flavourful.

 

STOVETOP OPTION: Not to worry if you don’t have an Instant Pot as this recipe works great on the stovetop too. Simply add all of the ingredients except the kale (or chard, if using) to a large pot, stir, and bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 25 to 35 minutes (adding the kale/chard during the last 10 minutes), until the veggies and lentils are tender. Stir the curry every 5 minutes while cooking, and reduce the heat if necessary to prevent it sticking to the pot. Follow directions #5 and #7.

 

Note: Cauliflower amount has been changed from 2 1/2 cups to 2 cups as of Sept. 25/18.

 

Grain-free, Nut-free Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Well, I finally did it—feast your eyes on these grain-free, nut-free vegan chocolate chunk beauties!! Whew. Nicole and I, along with a couple bonus mama testers (shout-out to Cynthia and Jen!), teamed up to test about 25 batches of cookies these past few weeks! High fives all around. I couldn’t do it without these amazing ladies.

Over the years I’ve been asked so many times to develop grain-free vegan cookies…and nut-free vegan cookies…and grain- AND nut-free vegan cookies! Haha. So you know what I did? I created grain-free and nut-free vegan cookies. It wasn’t easy, but the journey was rather delicious. These cookies have actually been in the making for a couple years as I went back to an old grain-free cookie recipe that I started developing and then forgot about. Score!

This recipe uses cassava flour, which is a grain- and gluten-free flour made from yuca with good binding properties and a neutral flavour. I wanted so badly to share a swap for the cassava flour (as I know it’s not a common ingredient), but I’m just not quite there yet—although I have been experimenting with arrowroot starch as an option! Stay tuned. So today, instead of a flour swap, I thought I’d share some other allergy-friendly OSG cookie recipes that might suit your needs in the list below. I’ve also included suggestions for where to find cassava flour within the recipe itself.

If you don’t have cassava flour on hand and still want to make some cookies (of course you do!), here are some of my nut- or grain-free vegan choco chip cookie options:

Nut-free vegan cookies:

  • Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies from Oh She Glows Every Day, p. 213. You can swap the peanut butter for natural smooth sunflower seed butter.
  • Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, p. 265. See the nut-free option on page 266.

Grain-free vegan cookies:

  • Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, p. 265. See the grain-free option on page 266.

Gluten-free vegan cookies:

Any faves out there? I’d like to think there’s something for everyone. 🙂

Let baking season begin in 3…2…1…GO!

4.9 from 8 reviews

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Grain-free, Nut-free Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free

I’ve had so many requests for a grain- and nut-free version of my popular vegan chocolate chip cookies and I’m so happy to have one to share at long last. These delicate cookies are light as air and use sunflower seeds (both in butter and ground form) to create a rich and “nutty” cookie. Sometimes sunflower seeds can lend a bitter flavour, but these cookies have a mellow and pleasant taste! I also use cassava flour, which is a grain- and gluten-free flour made from dried yuca. I’ve found it has good binding properties and a neutral flavour for baking. You can purchase it on Amazon or find it in some health food stores. It’s very important to follow the instructions exactly as written as these cookies are sensitive to even small changes. This recipe is adapted from my Jumbo Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

Yield
9 medium/large cookies
Prep time
10 Minutes
Cook time
10 Minutes

Ingredients:

For the wet ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup (63 g) natural smooth sunflower seed butter*
  • 2 tablespoons (25 g) packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) pure maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (37.5 mL) coconut oil (room temp) or grapeseed oil**
For the dry ingredients:
  • 6 tablespoons (54 g) raw sunflower seeds
  • 3 tablespoons (30 g) cassava flour***
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) ground chia seed****
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup (50 g) dark chocolate squares

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. To a large bowl, add the wet ingredients (sunflower seed butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and oil) and stir until completely smooth.
  3. Place the sunflower seeds into a food processor and process for about 40 to 60 seconds until a fine meal forms. You want to process the seeds to as fine a meal as possible without them turning into butter!
  4. Add the dry ingredients (ground sunflower seeds, cassava flour, ground chia seeds, baking soda, and salt) to the wet mixture bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. The dough will be very sticky, but this is normal. Chop the chocolate, reserving one heaping tablespoon for later. Stir the remaining chopped chocolate into the dough until combined.
  5. Using a 2-tablespoon (30-mL) cookie scoop (or simply a spoon), scoop small mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet a few inches apart. There’s no need to flatten the mounds as they’ll spread out during baking. Now, using the chocolate you set aside, press a few chunks into each mound (this just helps the cookies look a bit more chocolaty when baked!).
  6. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes (I bake for 10 minutes) for a soft and tender cookie.
  7. Remove cookies from the oven and cool directly on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Using a spatula, gently transfer each cookie (they’ll be very fragile) to a cooling rack for another 10 to 15 minutes. The cookies will be crumbly until they are fully cooled, so it’s very important that you give them some time to firm on the rack (I know, it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do!).
  8. Serve and enjoy! Cooled cookies will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 to 2 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 weeks. I love the delightful “snappy” texture these cookies get as the chocolate firms up from chilling!

Tips:

* The sunflower seed butter should be 100% sunflower seeds without any added sugars or oils. I use Organic SunButter. Be sure to stir the sunflower seed butter before measuring and avoid using the dry/hard butter at the bottom of the jar. If using thicker seed butter, the cookies won’t spread as much when baking.

** If your coconut oil is hard as rock, you can melt it over very low heat and then cool before using. Avoid using warm coconut oil as it’ll melt the chocolate chips.

*** Cassava flour can be a bit tricky to locate. Your best bet is to buy from an online retailer (such as this one on Amazon) or a natural food store.

**** To make ground chia seed, add seeds to a high-speed blender or coffee grinder and blend/grind on high until a flour forms. An equal amount of ground flaxseed also works in place of chia, but it will yield a thicker cookie. I prefer using ground chia. Leftover ground seeds can be stored in the freezer in an airtight freezer bag for future use.

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