How are ya? How’s your morning been so far? This week my co-workers and I have a bunch of Christmas festivities lined up – everything from decorating our desks to ugly sweater days to bake sales. Today happens to be the bake sale, so I was baking up a chocolatey storm last night.
These aren’t healthy treats by any stretch of the imagination, but after spotting them here (via Pinterest), I couldn’t resist!
I used a regular box of chocolate cake mix and swirled a few drops of peppermint extract into the chocolate icing. Bulk Barn was my go-to place for the decorations: Pretzels for the reindeer antlers, vanilla wafers, red Smarties for the noses, and white holly berries and a tube of black icing for the eyes. Super easy to make, and I think they’ll go over well!
If the sugar shakes are not really what you’re looking for today, don’t worry, I’ve got just the thing….
1. Recipe of the Week: After having eaten out several times last week while traveling, I have been more than happy to get back to slicing, dicing, chopping and everything else I do in my own kitchen. Nothing makes me feel quite as good when I get back from a trip than a lunch consisting of green juice (see last week’s featured recipe!) and a bright, beautiful salad full of flavour. That’s exactly what I did when I got back from California this weekend, and it was packed with all sorts of goodies.
The bottom layer: a sturdy base of baby spinach and shredded kale.
On top are layers of bean sprouts, followed by fresh local mixed microgreen sprouts. Don’t worry if you haven’t got these though – you could use any mix of sunflower, alfalfa, broccoli, clover sprouts – whatever you like.
Naturally, due to all the sproutage going on here in my ingredients, I’m calling this one the Sprout It Out Bowl. In case you’re new to sprouts, they’re ridiculously good for us because they’re a ‘living food’ that contains oxygen. We need oxygen to kill off nasties inside our bodies, so sprouts help out with this by creating an alkaline, high-oxygen environment. Sprouts also contain essential fatty acids, plant-based protein, and a whole range of vitamins depending on the type you’ve got. They can also be really easy to grow at home – hey, if I did it AND kept them alive, I know you can surely do it too!
Not only does this salad meet my bright and vibrant criteria, but it’s also high in vegan-friendly plant based protein from the edamame and chickpeas. Add that to the load of dietary fiber that you’re getting from all these gorgeous veggies, and you can be sure you’ll be kept full for hours.
Oh, and don’t you dare forget the sunflower seed and pumpkin seed topping. It’s one of the best parts of this bowl!
2. Amande Yogurt. When my blog buddy Leanne was here visiting in October, we spent a significant amount of time one afternoon walking around Whole Foods. When we reached the yogurt section, she was telling me about how she swears by Amande Cultured Almond Milk Yogurt.
We had been discussing how eating a lot of dairy tends to lead to major acne breakouts for both of us, and she told me that almond milk-based yogurts like this one are one of her favourite alternatives. Now that we’re well into winter, I’ve been decreasing my dairy intake because dairy in general is very mucus-forming, and in cold and flu season, that’s one thing I certainly don’t need in excess. I spotted the raspberry flavoured Amande yogurt at one of my local health foods stores for $1 (bargain!!) so I picked one up and decided to save it for a snack on Tuesday.
Before I get going on how it tasted, there are a few other great things to know about Amande Cultured Almond Milk Yogurt:
- There are 3 flavours: raspberry, plain, and peach.
- This yogurt is dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, and GMO-free.
- It’s sweetened only with natural fruit juices (the 6-ounce yogurts contain approximately three quarters of an ounce of fruit juice concentrate by weight, which translates into about 1 tbsp of natural sugar)
- It contains 6 live active cultures (good for your guts!) that are grown in a non-dairy medium
- Like traditional dairy products, Amande yogurts also contain calcium, but it’s in the form of Tricalcium Phosphate, which is a mineral sourced from rocks.
My yogurt became my afternoon snack, and I didn’t do anything too fancy other than sprinkle some Love Grown Foods granola on it. As I opened the container, I wonder if its texture would be as thick as the Greek yogurt that I’m accustomed to eating, or if it would be runny like the low-calorie yogurts I used to eat (which I know provided me with absolutely zero nutritional value).
So what was the verdict? Smooth was the first word that came to mind. I learned that almond milk-based yogurt definitely isn’t as thick or dense as Greek yogurt, which is sort of counter-intuitive since I always think of nuts as a very dense source of calories. Having said that, almond milk is pretty thin in texture, so I suppose this could be expected. Flavour-wise, it was definitely unique. The sweetness from the raspberry juice wasn’t over the top (which is one of my pet peeves when it comes to flavoured yogurts), so that was a good thing. But I’m not so sure I really loved the taste. It was a little bland and the texture was strange, but maybe that’s just because I’m not overly experienced when it comes to non-dairy yogurt.
Would I buy it again? Perhaps if I was in a pinch for a healthy snack. At only $1, it was a pretty affordable purchase. While this wouldn’t be my first choice when it comes to yogurts, I think the plain one might make a good substitutes in recipes where I’d otherwise use plain yogurt to create creaminess, like in curries. While I really appreciate that it’s vegan friendly, gluten free, and has no artificial ingredients, on its own…. it’s a little underwhelming.
So tell me…
- When you come home from a trip, what’s the first home-cooked meal that you crave?
- Do you buy non-dairy yogurts? What type/brands do you like?
- Have you entered my $100 Sport Chek gift card giveaway yet? So far, your responses have been totally blowing my mind. You guys are amazing and I’m so, so inspired by your stories. Not sure what I’m talking about? Check it out here!