I know what you’re thinking. No, the Vega One is not in the chicken or the butternut quinoa pilaf. Yes, it’s a little ironic that I’m telling you about Vega (which is vegan) and chicken in the same post,  but as an advocate of a plant-based (rather than plant-exclusive) lifestyle, I’m gonna say that’s allowed. We’ll talk about Vega in a minute, but first, let’s chat about this week’s featured recipe.

butternut squash and quinoa

A couple of weeks ago I went on a huuuuuge cooking spree, knowing that the majority of my kitchen items would be in boxes for a while and that taking squillions of photos of food probably shouldn’t be my first priority.

kale

If you’re a food blogger, you’ll probably know what an endurance event these cooking sprees can be. There were about 4 different recipes on the go, and 4 pots on the stove. The oven was hot with a tray of veggies on one rack and chicken roasting on the other. In my room, white bristol boards were set up on every flat surface in attempt to reflect as much light from my window as possible onto my dresser.

Maple Balsamic Chicken with Butternut Quinoa Pilaf - Eat Spin Run Repeat

My bed was covered in linens – not just sheets and my duvet, but about 10 different napkins and blog props. I had podcasts streaming from my laptop and recipes scribbled down that I was constantly editing as I cooked. Had someone walked in at any point during that day, I’m pretty sure they would have thought I was straight up cray cray.

butternut quinoa pilaf

Once this particular recipe, Maple Balsamic Chicken with Butternut Quinoa Pilaf, was ready for its close up, I did what I normally do and positioned my camera on top of my tripod. After a few straight-on and 45 degree angle shots, I hopped up on my bed to take a few from the top.

Maple Balsamic Chicken with Butternut Quinoa Pilaf - Eat Spin Run Repeat

To stabilize the tripod from this position, I typically tilt the camera onto its front two legs which are placed on my dresser. With one to the left and one to the right of the dish, the third one just sticks up in the air. Then, to get right over the food like in the shot below, I lean forward, one big toe balancing on the edge of the dresser (so as not to get in the shot) and the other foot on the bed. Staying as still as I possibly can, I focus the camera and hit the button.

Maple Balsamic Chicken with Butternut Quinoa Pilaf - Eat Spin Run Repeat

This particular episode of food blogger gymnastics was going just fine until I leaned just a little too hard on one of the front tripod legs. They extend with 2 clamps, and the section in the bottom third had decided it had had enough of my antics. What should have been a secure position quickly went to a very lopsided one as the leg gave out. I found myself wobbling on one toe, one tripod leg, and the foot on my bed. Within a few seconds my toe slipped off the dresser and I found myself quite literally face planting into this plate.

Maple Balsamic Chicken with Butternut Quinoa Pilaf - Eat Spin Run Repeat

There have been far worse kitchen disasters and messes in my lifetime, and I’m sure there will be many more to come. There was a mess to clean up but it was a tasty one, and even though my once-tripod was now an amputee (du-pod?) there just happened to be plenty of new options for sale on Black Friday. Problem solved!

Seriously though, photography acrobatics are not needed to make this recipe. I’s a brilliant pick for weekend meal prep because you can either bake or grill a bunch of chicken breasts, and prepare a great big batch of the quinoa pilaf ahead of time to get you through the week. I hope you’ll give it a try!

Head to Greatist for the recipe.

Maple Balsamic Chicken with Butternut Quinoa Pilaf - Eat Spin Run Repeat

And now, about the new Vega One

The rumours are true: Vega just launched its brand spankin’ new Vega One! Oh yes friends, I’ve been excited to tell you about this ever since a big green box from Vega was dropped on my doorstep last week!

Newly-formulated Vega One - Eat Spin Run Repeat

As a brand ambassador for Vega, it’s already pretty obvious that I’m a fan of their stuff – and it’s not just because they’re a Canadian company or because the folks that work there are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. It’s because they’re constantly innovating and improving product formulations, striving to deliver the highest quality products out there.

If you’re a little newer to the brand, you may already know that there’s the Vega Sport line which consists of products for each stage of an active person’s training: Prepare, Sustain, and Recover. Within the Recover phase, there’s Vega Performance Protein, which has been my go-to protein powder of choice after workouts for the past couple of years. But outside of the Vega Sport Line, there’s Vega One.

Vega One Whole Food Ingredients

It’s a product for anyone who wants to improve their nutrition in an easy way using whole, plant-based foods. (Let’s be real, who doesn’t want to do that?!) You may remember that it got a snazzy facelift not too long ago (the product was formerly Whole Food Health Optimizer), and that’s happened once again. Here’s the run down of the latest changes:

  • Each serving now has 20 grams of plant-based protein and the equivalent of 6 servings of greens. The increase in protein means it packs almost just as much as the Vega Sport Performance Protein (25g), in addition to all the other awesome nutritional goodies in the diagram above, which means it just might be my next new favourite post-workout smoothie ingredient.
  • EVERY. SINGLE. INGREDIENT is a whole food. No crazy science here folks – you’ll recognize every item on the label.
  • Each serving provides 50% of your recommended daily values for vitamins and minerals – this was true before the update but now these come from an even wider array of fruits and veggies – hence the rainbow on the packaging!
  • It’s Greener than kermit the frog – The new formula is even greener when mixed with water, thanks to spirulina, a protein-rich and nutrient-dense algae.
  • It’s non-GMO certified, and now made with more organic ingredients than ever.

Newly-formulated Vega One - Eat Spin Run Repeat

Last but certainly not least, the flavours are AHHHHHHmazeballs. They’re the same ones as before (French Vanilla, Vanilla Chai, Chocolate, Berry and Natural), but there have been improvements here too and I’m absolutely loving the Chocolate and Vanilla Chai ones. You may remember that a few years ago, Vega One (or Whole Food Health Optimizer, as it was called at the time) certainly did not taste fantastic. The product has come SO far and I was so blown away by the taste of my smoothie yesterday morning, I have to share it with you.

Pomegranate Raspberry Chai Smoothie - Eat Spin Run Repeat

Pomegranate Raspberry Chai Smoothie

by Angela Simpson

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cook Time: 0 mins

Ingredients (1 serving)

  • 1 scoop Vega One in Vanilla Chai (or use French Vanilla with 1/2 tsp each ground cinnamon and ginger)
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk or water (or a combo of both)
  • 1 tsp maca root powder (optional – it’s already in the Vega One formula but I added some for an extra boost)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • ice

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients except ice to a blender. Blend until frozen raspberry chunks are broken down.
  • Add ice and a little extra almond milk or water if necessary. Blend again until completely smooth.
  • Pour and enjoy!

Pomegranate Raspberry Chai Smoothie - Eat Spin Run Repeat

So tell me:

  •  Have you tried the new Vega One yet? If not, don’t you worry… just stay tuned because I *might* just happen to have a chance for you to win some coming up in the next couple of weeks!
  • What are your favourite smoothie ingredients right now? I’m all about the cinnamon and ginger. Smoothies are cold, but these two spices are warming and make them feel more appropriate to be drinking when it’s chilly outside!