Thursday, September 11, 2014

Vegan "Flintostone's Push Pop" Shake

Oh my goodness this shake is delicious. You'd never know it was a vegan drink made of just frozen fruit, stevia and water. Healthified nostalgic beverages are my favourite!

This delicious smoothie/vegan shake marries the tangy creaminess of mango with the sweet ice creaminess of frozen banana, and the tart and refreshing bite of frozen raspberries. It's heaven, in a glass.

Did I mention this shake is also incredibly pretty? The mango and raspberry combo makes a beautiful orangey-pink colour that you just want to stare at all day thinking 'wow, this colour is natural?!' I love fruit smoothies almost as much for their colour as for their flavours!

I think the best thing about this drink is that it just makes you feel summery and energized -- and we can all use a bit of that as summer is on its way out, clearly! It's already getting cold here and I'm starting to recoil to my couch with every opportunity (ahem, right now).

This smoothie wasn't designed to mimic Flinstone's Push Pops, it just tastes like them by accident! I LOVED those things in the summer as a child and this smoothie took me back to happy, if sweaty, afternoons in the sunshine. Running around like a maniac, riding bikes and chasing ice cream trucks in bare feet -- this drink is just, summer.

Flinstones Push Pop Shake
(vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free)
  • 1 cup or more frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup or more frozen raspberries
  • 1-2 frozen bananas
  • Enough water to achieve your desired consistency
  • A small amount of liquid stevia

Blend everything together. If your shake is too think add mire water and blend until smooth. Taste! Add enough stevia to get that "Push Pop" flavour. Serve.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

VEGAN FISH STICKS and VEGAN FISH STICK WRAPS! (gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free)

Yesterday was great, I took the day off and got a chance to make a nice kitchen experiment for dinner. Vegan Fish Sticks! Even better, hubs made up some delicious wraps with my little creations.

I should start by explaining my childhood love of fish sticks. It was perhaps only trumped by my love of ice cream and pie. I literally ate fish sticks with ketchup and mayo almost every day for lunch for several years. Glad that's one habit I moved past.

These healthy vegan "fish sticks" involve no fish or sea creatures at all! They are also gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, and grain-free. They are loaded with vegan protein and will totally trigger the childhood fish stick memories I can only assume you have as well. If you were never a fish stick person, try them anyway! They are a great alternative to fake meat or vegan burgers. They're unprocessed and pretty good for you, and really REALLY filling.


These "fish sticks" get their fishy flavor from chickpeas, capers and the brine from a jar of sauerkraut. Dunk them in my husband's vegan "tartar sauce" and they are even more convincing. The sauce takes on an extra fishy flavour thanks to a little dulse seaweed. Because fish sticks are traditionally breaded, I added some quinoa flakes for extra crunch. I left them out on half the sticks and preferred them bare but it's totally your call as they're great either way!

Because this September is Vegan MOFO and I have challenged myself to make wraps and ice cream all month long, my husband wrapped these sticks up in swiss chard leaves. They are so delicious that way and the greens make this dish even healthier for you.

Though I am not a parent, I would guess these "fish sticks" are a great meal for kids who don't want to eat their veggies and beans! To make the wraps, simply place one fish stick on a leaf of swiss chard, top with a little tartar sauce and a dash of hot sauce.

Vegan Fish Sticks with Tartar Sauce
(vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)
  • 3 cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 1 tbsp vegenaise
  • 2 tsp sauerkraut juice
Blend together everything but 1 can chickpeas until smooth. Add the chickpeas and pulse until they are chunky. Form into logs and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten each log into fish stick shapes.

  • 1 tbsp vegenaise
  • Quinoa flakes (optional)

Divide the extra vegenaise over each fish stick, smoothing over each with the back of a spoon.  Sprinkle a tiny amount of quinoa flakes over each stick.

Bake in an oven preheated to 350F until golden around edges. Broil or bake at 450 until they are golden on top but not burned. Serve with vegan tartar sauce or ketchup.
Tartar Sauce AND Fish Stick Wraps

  • 3-5 tbsp soy free vegenaise
  • 1 tsp kelp or dulse flakes (we used dulse because it’s fishier than kelp)
  • 1/2 dill pickle, chopped into tiny pieces
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 1-2 tsp or more Garlic powder

Stir all ingredients for the sauce together in a bowl, refrigerate until ready to use.

  • Swiss chard leaves, destemmed
  • vegan fish sticks
  • vegan tartar sauce
  • hot sauce
Clean and stem your swiss chard. Spoon a little Tartar Sauce onto each leaf. Top with a fish stick and a dash of hot sauce. Enjoy.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Purple Haze shake for Vegan MOFO

For the 2014 Vegan MOFO event I set myself the challenge of sharing new vegan ice cream and wraps recipes almost daily for the month of September. I am starting to feel daunted by the goal but I think it's worth the effort so I'm sticking to it.

Setting goals can be a difficult thing. While setting yourself a clear cut path may seem straight forward and beneficial, simple even, you may find yourself wavering or burdened by the routine. I have this issue a lot. I am often a very structured person. I like patterns and I form habits. While I often think fondly of my routines, I acknowledge that they are hard to break free from. This can especially be true of my food. I have favorites that I stick to and I often create little rules for my eating habits. This both makes food easier for me to tackle and more difficult. While these rules and patterns make dinner choices easier, I often find myself thrown for a loop when variables I can't control are thrown in forcing me to break those patterns. I initially worry about straying from my habits. However, I tend to reflect positively on those moments where I lose control and am forced to adapt. Its healthy. I think rules have a place but also need to be broken at times otherwise they can become destructive. Because of this, I tend to let my patterns take hold but then rejig them or nip them in the bud altogether for awhile so I don't become dependent on them. 

I firmly believe patterns can be dangerous due to my previous battle with an ED. EDs thrive on rules. Planning your food choices in minute detail can easily become dangerous. I learned that all too well.

My eating disorder presented itself at the end of highschool. Like too many teenage girls, the noise about what you should look like, what features are desireable, blah blah blah set in. I started changing my diet in grade 12, cutting calories, literally cutting some meals in half, giving food to friends... I had some unnecessary weight to lose at that time so the reaction I received was generally positive. People asked me at Prom what I had done, what I was eating/not eating. By university my ED was in full swing, low fat everything, lots and lots of swimming and gym time, endless walking around the city. I was not emaciated yet but I was often considered thin. By second year my best friend started to express her concern. She thought I was limiting my food choices too much and had lost too much weight in a short amount of time. I went to the doctor who assured me I was not at akk anorexic but that my friends and family were just unaccustomed to seeing me lighter. At that time my diet was still healthy, if limited. I was always opting for the healthiest options available in every situation. By third year I was very restrictive and miserable. I never went out because I was way too exhausted, I was always fighting off a cold or flu and my complexion was pale and wan. I did however have the coveted flat belly which was enough to motivate me to keep going as my skinny jeans got looser. Fourth year saw a break. I moved in with fun friends and gave myself a rest from all the rules. The scale started to tip the other way though and I felt overwhelmingly out of control again. I quickly reverted back to overexercising and changed my diet to a lean vegetarian plan full of protein and carb restricting. This worked well to change my body but involved way WAY too many rules and limitations that I just couldn't maintain. 

The worst period, perhaps in my entire life, came after university. I moved out of the country and the change and stress of living abroad took a toll on me. I was very very restrictive. I probably ate the same three meals daily for months. My friend and roommate held an intervention, trying to engage me in my love of food and stop killing myself but I didnt want to hear it. I kept going, my portions got smaller, my food choices were more limited. By the time I moved to yet another country I had eliminated the meal of lunch and started to feel the "hunger high" so many anorexics describe. It didn't help that a typical morning consisted of less than a handful of cereal, swimming intensely, diet coke and an apple. My evening meals would be feasts in comparison, pita with hummus, steamed vegetables and peanut butter on apple slices. I lived this way, using my starving hours to roam the streets, for months, maybe years. I hit my lowest weight by the time I moved back home, 92 pounds. I am 5'6 so it was very VERY small. I maintained it painstakingly with a very physical job and, excessive walking and swimming and little to no calories. I was running on pure adrenaline and caffeine as I had eaten most, if not all, of my body fat and most of my muscle mass. I also developed a slow heart rate, and low bone density and hadn't menstruated in years. 

I made a choice. My friends held an intervention after I had attended some drop-in support groups but narrowly improved my situation. My friends threatened to never speak to me again if I did not get some real help. They referred me to a therapist who specialized in EDs. I actually found those sessions frustratingly useless. Each time I went I was asked to regurgitate my story as my therapist scribbled and offered no tips except to eat pb sandwiches, tuna fish and a glass of milk every day. Thank you, no thank you. I stopped going. Why? Because part of my therapy was weekly weigh ins which showed me that I had gained 15 pounds since I first started the drop in group sessions months before therapy and I took that and the fact that the tip in the scale didn't distress me as a sign that I was moving in my own way towards a solution. I started to actively break my habits, I walked less, ate more, surrounded myself with friends and family and slowly pulled myself back together.

I strongly believe that an ED is very hard to recover from. I am technically recovered. My body is healthy, I eat proper meals. That being said, I am still hard on myself and push myself to my limits all too often out of anxiety and depression. I still make little patterns and rules, they just don't result in ill health. Since my recovery began my aim has been to optimize my health. I make informed food choices and try to balance my diet and mind. 

Veganism has actually been a very healthy change in my life. Instead of restricting, I now nourish my body. I don't worry about calories, I instead focus on the health benefits that food can provide me and how that food makes me feel when I eat it. I try to include a variety of foods that make me happy and make me feel energized every day. This makes me want to eat more of them! During my ED days, my restrictive habits stuck because food was boring. I never needed to worry about overeating because why would I overeat something so bland and lifeless?! Now I eat in abundance and don't worry about it because I know it's all going down easy and will benefit me. I love the diverse flavors, textures and scents I expose myself to every day through my food. I never get sick anymore, and I have even healed a few chronic health issues. Walking endlessly often takes a back seat now to cooking which I consider my favorite activity. 

If you or someone you love is suffering in this way, I encourage you to try or suggest a more, or entirely, plant based diet. Once you begin to nourish your body with plant based food, its hard to stop. It became the most difficult to shake habit that I have ever had. Eventually after you adopt a healthier outlook and lifestyle, you tune into your body's needs, eat what it wants and when. This not only improves your health and physical appearance, but also provides a feeling of balance and harmony.

Today's recipe is all about vibrant plant based flavor and colour. The foods used are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and will help fuel your day naturally. One taste of this vegan "milkshake" and I guarantee you will make this again.

Purple Haze Shake
(vegan, can be raw, gluten-free)

  • 1-2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1-2 frozen bananas
  • 1-2 cups pure water
  • 1-2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • dash turmeric
  • liquid stevia to taste
  • 1-2 tsp liquid sweetener (I used pear butter but you can sub maple or agave or coconut nectar)
  • handful of ice (optional)
Blend everything together in a high speed blender on the highest setting until totally smooth and thick. Serve.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Nearly raw rad vegan chocolate milkshake for veganMOFO

I should probably start by explaining that one of my favorite food memories is of real thick chocolate milkshakes. I'm talking diner style, almost too thick for your straw. That being said, I firmly believe those 'real' shakes are full of crap and do no good for anybody. Including my ten year old asthmatic self who would nearly choke on them. Every. Damn. Time. None the less, they continue to hold a place in my heart.

Today's shake is part of my vegan ice cream challenge that I have assigned myself for this year's Vegan MOFO. Its secretly a vegan green smoothie, and not so secretly amazeballs. Hope you give it a go if you're craving a chocolate shake but aren't digging guilt and remorse. Hooray for food imposters!

Rad Chocolate Shake:

  • 2/3 cup or more frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup or more frozen raspberries
  • 1-2 cups water
  • Handful of ice
  • 1-2 tbsp raw cacao power
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened pear or apple butter
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • Liquid stevia to taste 

Blend everything together except ice. Taste. If not sweet enough add more stevia, if not chocolatey enough add more cacao. Taste and if satisfied add ice and bkebd until smooth and thick. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Vegan Power Milkshake for Vegan MOFO

So, for those of you out of the loop, Baking Backwards is taking part in the 2014 edition of Vegan MOFO. I will be sharing vegan recipes all month....a lot! The goal is to post something almost daily. To keep myself motivated I have created a challenge for my posts -- I will share as many vegan wrap and vegan frozen dessert recipes as I can throughout September. They will all be delicious and healthy, not to mention gluten-free! To kick things off on a frosty foot may I present one of my staple recipes, my Vegan Power Milkshake!

Creamy, protein-rich, raw and green! This drink is so so good for you, especially if you workout and are looking for something to enjoy after your workout that won't make you bloated and will help your muscles recover. It's also cool and creamy, like a milkshake (the main reason its a staple in my life).

I really want to highlight the fact that this vegan shake, or smoothie, is fruit-free. Lots of people have a hard time processing fructose. Fruit leaves them feeling bloated and miserable. I imagine that smoothies seem off limits to people with a fructose intolerance. I created this smoothie initially because I firmly believe that protein does not combine well with fruit. Lots of people ignore this basic food combining principle (yogurt and berries, fruit protein shakes etc.) and may not have associated their intestinal discomfort with these poor choices for food combining. I can't tell you how much better I feel when I follow the basic rules of food combining. No bloating, no gas, no cramps. The issue is that fruit breaks down faster than protein and different digestive juices are required to break each food down. When you combine them in your stomach you end up with rapidly fermenting fruit. It is quickly digested then over digested by the additional juices generated to handle the protein. This causes fermentation of the fruit in your belly leaving you to reel from the process. In short, this should be avoided! Fruit can be combined with greens but should really stay clear of proteins.

I also use a raw sprouted brown rice protein in this drink. The sprouting process makes the protein easier on the tummy. If you give this one a go, I hope you enjoy it!

Vegan Power Shake
(RAW, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free)
  • 3-4 cups baby spinach
  • 2 cups pure water
  • dash of turmeric
  • liquid stevia to taste (/i used a water based stevia liquid)
  • 1.5 scoops raw sprouted brown rice protein powder
  • ½ cup ice cubes
  • 3 VARIATIONS, optional add ins:
    • vanilla bean powder or extract (½ tsp)
    • 1 tsp coconut nectar OR agave OR maple syrup OR raw honey
    • 1 tsp raw cacao powder
Blend all ingredients except the ice cubes together on the highest setting in a high speed blender until totally smooth and frothy. Add the ice and blend until totally smooth. Serve.

VEGANMOFO: Part two of my challenge

Hey guys! I know that in my last post I announced I would be focusing on vegan ice cream recipes for the 2014 VEGANMOFO challenge but after sleeping on it I had a change of heart. That's just too much sugar for me! So, in addition to sharing healthy vegan ice cream recipes I will be sharing delicious vegan wrap creations! I love wraps and I'm hoping this month's challenge will inspire some great ones! Stay tuned for vegan wraps and vegan ice cream recipes!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Vegan MOFO

I am pleased to share that I have signed up for the 2014 edition of Vegan MOFO. My posting will be super duper frequent this month as I share vegan recipes to raise awareness of the joy of vegan living.

I decided to challenge myself with a theme to help organize the month -- VEGAN ICE CREAM. What can I say, I'm not ready for summer to wither and die just yet.

 Stay tuned for healthy vegan ice cream recipes -- from blizzards to cakes! Follow my adventures in the kitchen here, or follow me on instagram @bakingbackwards!