My brain is so confused today and I keep thinking it’s Tuesday, thanks to the glorious long weekend we just had. Mine was lovely, and included a long run, some dinner on the BBQ, naps, magazine reading, and a frigid cold (but still fun! early-morning bike ride with my buddy Jess. Seriously, if we hadn’t scheduled this ahead of time, I don’t think either of us would have showed up. Even with gloves, our fingers were like icicles and the first thing we did when we got back to our cars was crank the heat up! Definitely regretted the decision to wear shorts…
Speaking of cold things, this week’s recipe is a frozen one. Not ideal after a freezing cold bike ride, but I have faith that it will soon actually start feeling like summer and at that time, this little concoction will be what I think about in my last few miles.
1. Recipe of the Week. When I was little, one of my favourite treats was going to Pizza Hut and using their awesome soft serve ice cream machine. This happened on very rare occasions. The restaurants were typically very dark, and my mum’s theory was that this was because they were dirty and low light made it less noticeable. I didn’t care though, because all I really wanted to do was use the ice cream machine.
Plain vanilla was my thing, and I’d swirl it around in my bowl until I couldn’t fit any more in. Then, I’d frantically push the lever back up to avoid excess ice cream cascading over the edges and on to the floor. (I’m all about minimal food waste.) I’d proceed to trash it up with gummy worms, crushed Oreos, sprinkles, gummy bears, smarties, nerds, and whatever other toppings were available. I don’t even know if Pizza Hut does the whole ice cream bar thing any more because the last time I set foot in one was about probably in 1998.
Fast forward to now, and although I consider myself more of a frozen yogurt girl, recently I’ve been totally losing it over homemade banana-based ice cream. Get ready to see lots of flavour combinations in the weeks to come because there were some brilliant batches whipped up in my Vitamix on the long weekend.
The fabulous thing about using bananas as a base is that you don’t get that rock-hard ice thing happening as you would with popsicles, or anything else with high water content. Bananas keep things creamy and soft, which is greatly appreciated when it comes to forming nice, round scoops without breaking your wrist or a spoon in the process.
This Vegan Banana Walnut Matcha Ice Cream is a simple combo of 6 ingredients that you can make in a high-powdered blender or food processor in less than 5 minutes. You’ll want to freeze it after that unless your nanners are already frozen, in which case you’ll have a lovely soft serve texture.
To boost the nutrition profile of this ice cream, I’ve mixed in some powdered matcha (benefits here) and a scoop of vanilla Vega Sport Performance Protein, making it a really tasty post-workout treat that your tastebuds and muscles will thank you for. Alternatively, French vanilla Vega One works just as well, and will create a greener appearance, along with the powdered matcha.
2. New Simply Protein Fruit & Nut Bars. I’ve talked about The Simply Bar several times here on the blog before, but if this is the first time you’ve heard of them, they’re a lower-calorie high protein bar made by Wellness Foods, based here in Ontario. The original Simply Bars get their high protein content from soy crisps, and are vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO. A while back, the company also introduced Simply Whey Bars, which are really similar to the originals, but contain whey crisps rather than soy ones (and therefore are not vegan or dairy-free). What I appreciate about both types is that they’re not chocolate bars in a health claim-covered wrapper, they’re low in sugar (so there’s no nasty blood sugar spike-crash cycle), and very high in fibre (typically 9-11g per bar). I love them as a quick on-the-go option and often carry a few with me if I’m traveling and don’t have access to a kitchen.
Not long ago, Wellness Foods launched a brand new bar, Simply Protein Fruit & Nut. In fact, they’re so new that they’re not even up on the company’s website yet, but I’m told that they will be soon. A couple of weeks ago I received 2 boxes of the new bars to try. They come in two flavours, Almond Cherry and Peanut Butter Strawberry.
I tried my first bar yesterday at work as my mid-morning snack, and opted for the Almond Cherry one. Here’s a peek at the ingredients:
Pea crisps (pea protein, pea starch, rice flour, calcium carbonate), chicory root fibre, almonds, vegetable glycerin, cherries, natural peanut butter, natural flavour.
Per bar: 140 calories, 5g fat, 150mg sodium, 20g carbs, 10g fibre, 3g sugar, 10g protein.
First, let’s talk about the pros:
- The label doesn’t reveal any offending ingredients and the list is fairly short. (If you’re wondering what chicory root fibre is, it comes from a plant and is in a lot of food products. From what I’ve read, it’s pretty harmless unless you happen to be allergic to it. Read more about it here.)
- The protein source is pea crisps, which are vegan-friendly. One of the concerns among many about the original Simply Bars was that they contained soy, a very common allergen. I really like that Wellness Foods is innovative with their ingredients and has found a vegan-friendly bar that is soy-free.
- They have nice almond flakes and cherry bits in them, and I’m a sucker for both of those things.
And now, the cons:
- They fall apart really easily and they’re quite sticky, so I found myself needing to hold the bar in its wrapper while I ate it.
- They’re really, really sweet. I know there are only 3g of sugar in these guys, but they seemed a bit candy-like to me.
When it came to taste, I have to admit that these aren’t my favourite in the Simply product line. The texture was interesting, but as mentioned, their sticky-sweetness isn’t ideal. I haven’t tried the Peanut Butter Strawberry flavour yet, although I’m thinking it probably won’t trump my all-time faves which are the Cinnamon Pecan Simply Bar and Apple Cinnamon Simply Whey Bar. Nevertheless, I’m always excited to see what new products Wellness Foods is coming out with, and if you’d like to check out their full product line, you can do so here.
Now, tell me…
- Are you more of an ice cream or frozen yogurt kind of person?
- Favourite ice cream/fro yo topping?
- Did you try anything new yesterday?