Peanut Butter Strawberry Smoothie

Green smoothies get all the hype. I’m looking at you, Green Monster Movement.

And yes, while they’re super healthy and super delicious, sometimes they just don’t cut it. When it’s finally 22 C in April instead of -15 C and snowing, (it used to snow on my birthday every year – and I have a May birthday) you just want a fruit smoothie.

That you can sip on while sitting on the porch, as your Vitamin D-deficient skin slurps the sun up for the first time in months – without being shielded by a giant winter coat, hat and ear muffs, of course. Calgary is a very sunny city. Even when it’s -40 C.

On those wonderful days when you can escape the perpetual chill, you just want something that you can slip some vodka into, if you feel like it. Am I right?

Peanut Butter Strawberry Smoothie

1 cup orange or cranberry juice
1 banana
1/2 cup strawberries
1/4 cup mango
1 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 scoop soy protein powder
Crushed ice (optional)

1. Combine everything in a blender on ice setting. Blend for 30 seconds to a minute.

– Silvia

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Wild Mushroom and Barley Risotto

We love risotto in our house because it’s delicious, creamy and pleases vegans and omnivores alike.

Wild Mushroom and Barley Risotto

1 cup uncooked barley
3 tablespoons margarine
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon black truffle salt
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
4 Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 Portobello mushrooms, sliced
2-3 oyster mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
5-6 Shallots, chopped

1. In a medium pot on medium heat, melt the margarine and saute the barley in it until lightly toasted.
2. Add 3 cups of the vegetable stock to the barley, and bring to a boil. Cook on low heat, covered, for 30 min or until barley is cooked.
3. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy pan, and add the sliced mushrooms.
Saute mushrooms for 10-15 min, then add chopped shallots and pressed garlic and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the flavors infuse into the mushrooms.
4. Add barley, salt, pepper, and truffle salt to the mushroom mixture. Stir and slowly pour in the remaining cup of vegetable stock to make it creamier.
5. Right before it’s served, mix in 3 tablespoons of fresh parsley.

– DJ

Traditional Easter Bread

When I was growing up, one of the Easter traditions in my family was baking sweet bread to be served at breakfast on Easter, along with ham and eggs. We no longer cook ham, but we decorate eggs and bake traditional Easter bread.

Traditional Easter Bread

600 grams white sifted flour
2 teaspoons yeast
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons sugar
250 ml almond milk
100 ml vegetable oil
200 grams raisins
50 ml dark rum

Glaze:
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon water

1. Soak raisins in 50 ml of rum for a few hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together, then add the egg and one additional egg yolk, almond milk, oil and then knead the dough until bubbles form. You can also use a bread maker on the pizza dough setting.
3. Wait at least 30 minutes or until the dough doubles in size. Once raised, coat your work area with flour and use a sharp knife to divide the dough into three equal pieces.

4. Roll the dough into three long ropes.

5. Braid the three ropes into a three-strand braid.

6. Pinch the ends together on both sides and form the braid into a circle. Transfer carefully into a round pan.

7. Prepare a glaze by whisking one egg with one-half tablespoon of water. Just before baking gently brush glaze over the entire surface of the loaf.
8. Bake the bread for 45 to 55 minutes or until the bread crust is a deep golden brown.

– DJ

Roasted Almond, Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

The next time someone curious about veganism asks me, “where do you get your protein?” I’ll spoon-feed them a bite of this roasted almond, asparagus and black bean bowl while singing an Iron and Wine song. Once they are no longer creeped out and have regressed to that of a sleepy, full toddler, they’ll rejoice in the simplicity and delightful flavour of this salad.

Add spices to taste. I throw in whatever I’m in the mood for, which is usually smoked paprika.

Roasted Almond, Asparagus and Black Bean Bowl Recipe

1/2 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cup water
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup almonds
1/2 bunch asparagus
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup black beans
1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
Favourite spices (smoked paprika, cumin, etc.)

1. Start by boiling the quinoa. The best way to prepare quinoa is to rinse and drain it in water first, as this will get rid of the slightly bitter taste you might find after it’s been cooked. After rinsing, place in a small pot with water, maple syrup and garlic. Bring to a boil, then cover and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes. Quinoa will be done when it has a tiny curl and will be slightly crunchy. Fluff with a fork and add to large bowl.
2. While quinoa is boiling, roast almonds in a dry pan on medium-high heat. Watch almonds closely to make sure they don’t burn. Once browned, or you start smelling that delightful “almonds roasting over a stovetop” smell, remove from heat and let cool.
3. Time for the asparagus. Wash, break off ends, then place in a small pan filled with water and 1/4 tsp salt. Allow to boil on medium-high for 5-6 minutes. When done, should be slightly firm and bright green. Rinse in cold water and then set aside.
4. Rinse and drain black beans. Add to large bowl.
5. Once quinoa is done, mix quinoa, almonds, asparagus and black beans together in the bowl.
6. For the dressing, mix the juice of one lemon with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add whatever spices you’d like, for example 1/4-1/2 tsp smoked paprika or cumin. Season to taste! Pour over salad and mix.

Prep and cooking time: 25 minutes.

Adapted from a recipe in Glow Magazine.

– Silvia