26 July 2012

Quick Raw Vegan Breakfast: Banana, Cacao and Chia in Coconut Milk

It's been a tough couple of weeks in our kitchen. Our Little Baby has been having tummy problems and getting eczema rashes lately and it's looking like it's because of what I've been eating. I've already kicked dairy completely out of my diet and that helped a little bit but the rashes are still showing up! :( It has been a huge struggle just trying to figure out what exactly this little man is reacting to and I could rant on and on about this but to cut a long story short, I have decided to cut out soy and wheat (two notorious food allergens!) from my diet for now, too. So, yeah... bummer. :(

And while at first, I was feeling a little depressed about how much I had to give up -- seeing that wheat and soy are in practically everything!!! -- I think I have come to terms with the fact that it'll probably do me some good to stay away from all the processed wheat and soy products I have been eating anyway. So looking at the bright side, at least I get to go back to my awesome raw whole food favorites now!

This breakfast favorite was one of the things that had me looking forward to the big change! It's super simple and quick to prepare but it is super nutritious! And with the chia seeds and raw cacao nibs, it's an excellent way to get that much-needed energy fix in the morning!

Banana, Cacao and Chia in Coconut Milk

1 banana
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp wild raw honey or agave syrup
1 tbsp chia seeds
...and whatever good stuff you have on hand! (cacao nibs, walnuts, buckwheat groats, sunflower seeds, goji berries, raisins, etc.)

Mix coconut milk, raw cacao powder and honey or agave syrup (I either put these in the blender or put the ingredients in a jar and shake well to make sure I don't get whole blobs of cacao in the milk). Chop the bananas and put in a bowl. Add the chia seeds. Pour cacao-coconut milk mixture into the bowl and add all the other good stuff you want! (I always just put whatever I have on hand or whatever I'm in the mood for but I almost always end up with the following things in my breakfast: cacao nibs, walnuts, and raisins!)

And voila! A super easy power breakfast free of dairy, wheat or soy and just chockfull of whole, super foods! :)

23 July 2012

Quick Breakfast: Banana, Coffee & Cacao Nib Smoothie

The Mister and I had a pretty rough morning today. First off, it's a Monday. That's always extra hard for us since Sundays (our only full family day in the week!) always seems to go by way too fast. Second, our Little Baby has been having problems sleeping through the night again. He's just discovered rolling over so he would roll over from his back to his tummy in his sleep and wake up shocked and frustrated! It's pretty funny, really! Aaand, he's teething. So, ya. It's been... fun. And this morning, we had to be up at 6AM (!!!) to bring the Little Baby to a skin specialist to have his darn stubborn rashes checked. So needless to say, we are both trying to stay functional today with just a couple of hours of sleep. Yay.

Oh and I know I said we HAD to be up at 6AM, but I think we hit the snooze button too many times today and ended up with hardly enough time for some much-needed breakfast before we had to go. So, smoothie it is for breakfast then!

You see, I love having smoothies for breakfast. Especially on mornings like this when there's just enough time to blend and gulp down a meal before you have to get out and face the day! The thing is, I love my coffee, too. Especially after having moved to the Pacific Northwest where mornings are always (well, ALMOST always) gray and chilly, I NEED to have my hot cup of joe! So every morning, it is always a battle between having a smoothie or having a "real" breakfast for the sake of having it with coffee. And this is where my current favorite breakfast smoothie comes in to save the day!

Banana, Coffee & Cacao Nib Smoothie

1 frozen banana
2 tbsp cacao nibs
1/4 cup brewed coffee
1 cup soy milk
1 tbsp wheatgerm
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
a drizzle of raw wild honey or agave syrup

Put everything into a blender, blend and serve!

Quick tip: Whenever I brew a pot of coffee in the morning, I always brew a couple extra cups for either iced coffee for that afternoon or for this coffee smoothie the next day! I find that brewing my coffee extra strong by putting a tablespoon more of ground coffee per cup makes this smoothie or iced coffee still pretty strong even with all the extra stuff! Just pop into the fridge after coffee has cooled down and use when ready.

even better in my pretty to-go mug! ;)

With the flaxseed and wheatgerm, this keeps us feeling pretty full for hours and gives us a good kickstart for the day and with the superpower combination of coffee and cacao, this really never fails to perk us up and has even managed to make today's potentially dreary morning into a pretty good morning!

Happy Monday and enjoy the rest of the week, folks! ;-)

Love, light and blessings,
Earthbound Faerie

20 July 2012

Quick Vegan Meal Idea: Avocado & Vegan Coleslaw Bagel Sandwich

This summer, we get to enjoy outdoor family movies playing at the downtown park every Tuesday. Our Little Boy LOVES it! He loves being able to head out, help me “stake out” a good spot to lay our blanket out on, and just hang out until it gets dark enough for the movies. It definitely makes for a fun summer evening activity!

So the other night, I took the boys out to the park to see Happy Feet 2 (which I have to say is a great movie with a very real "the-planet-is-in-danger" message!). The Little Boy was so excited to see it and insisted that we NEEDED to have a pretty good spot close to the screen. Now to get a good spot though, we had to head out there very early so we decided to just make a quick sandwich to bring out to the park for a little picnic dinner before the movie.
So, dinner had to be quick, portable and light (to make room for the free popcorn, of course! ;p) and after a quick fridge check for what we had, we decided to make vegan coleslaw & avocado sandwiches!
Inspiration came from a sandwich that I absolutely LOVE having at our neighbourhood cafĂ©. We live just down the street from Gilbert’s, an almost-legendary deli in Old Bellevue that serves awesome sandwiches; so back when I was still having dairy, I used to order their Avocado & Pepper Jack Cheese bagel sandwich almost every other day for lunch. I would be so cranky if I didn’t have that for lunch (it was the pregnant hormones' craving, too)! So now that I can’t have dairy and now that I actually have more time to make our own food again, I decided to make our own version and “veganize” it!

my inspiration: avocado & coleslaw on poppy seed bagel at Gilbert's

Vegan Coleslaw & Avocado Bagel Sandwich
2 whole wheat bagels
2-4 tbsp Tofutti cream cheese
1 avocado
1 tomato
Vegan coleslaw:
          ½ cup shredded & chopped carrots
          ½ cup shredded & chopped cabbage
          1 tbsp Vegenaise or any brand of vegan mayo
          1 tsp white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
          1 tbsp maple syrup or agave syrup
          1 tbsp garlic salt
          Salt & pepper to taste

Start with the coleslaw by chopping & shredding the carrots and cabbage. (Now, I do have to tell you, this was made on a very, very lazy afternoon and I have zero knife skills so instead of “chopping and shredding”, I basically just hacked and murdered the cabbage and carrots we had on hand! And it turned out okay. I will have to say though, that when the Mister --who is a chef, btw! -- makes the perfect coleslaw shreds, it does end up tasting much better! I guess because the veggies are bathed in the dressing better when they’re chopped well? I’m not sure, but all I’m saying is that, if you have great knife skills, good for you! If you don’t, don’t sweat it! The coleslaw will still taste great! Just try your best to shred it as best you can! ;))

Put cabbage and carrots in a bowl and add the vinegar in and toss. In a separate bowl, whisk Vegenaise, maple syrup and garlic salt together. Pour into bowl with the veggies and toss again. Add salt & pepper to taste. (What I love doing to make it easier though... I’m telling you, this was a very lazy-friendly recipe! ;p ...is that I just put everything in a container with a lid so that I can shake everything up and that gets all the veggies covered in the dressing that way!) Put in the fridge for atleast 20 minutes.

In the meantime, cut bagels in half and toast them. Spread “cream cheese” onto each bagel. Layer avocado slices on top of two of the bagel halves. Sprinkle a little salt & pepper onto the avocado slices. Add the tomato slices over the tomato then add some of the coleslaw on top. Top with the other bagel half.  

Ta-da! Quick, portable vegan dinner! Enjoy! ;)

our homemade "veganized" version: avocado & vegan coleslaw on whole wheat bagel

17 July 2012

Well, hello, stranger! (an apology for another long hiatus and a super easy, super yummy recipe to make up for it!)

WOW. Has it really been THAT long since my last post?!
Now, any other sane person, after going a full year and a half without a single word posted would probably finally admit that blogging is not for her and quit. But no, not me! The fighter in me says I can still make up for it. Besides, I've been having way too many adventures this past year and a half that I CANNOT WAIT to share!! So my guess is, there's no stopping me now (except of course when real life gets in the way and blogging takes the backseat again!).

So, to say that I got a bit “sidetracked” would be a gross understatement. Now I am not making any more excuses for neglecting this little blog of mine but let me just say, that the past year was officially THE MOST EVENTFUL year our little family has ever had.
Leave it to the Universe to throw us the best life surprises... Here's a quick rundown of the mighty BIG things that happened in just the past year:
.. we decided to close our cafe and give up being entrepreneurs for now
.. we  decided to finally check off one of the places on our MUST TRAVEL TO list and took our Little Boy on a three-week trip to Vietnam (one of our big dreams come true!!)
.. we decided to go on a loooooong vacation in the US to be with family and to see what's in store for us on this side of the world
.. we decided to stay and live in the US!!!
.. Oh, and somewhere along the way, we had a baby!! Another beautiful baby boy!

So in the span of a year and a half, our little family has gone from a family of three, living in the Philippines to a family of four, here in Washington State in the US. Big changes? Yes. HUGE changes.

It's actually been a little over four months now since our Little Baby joined us earthside and as hard as I tried to type down our birth story (especially before I forget all the awesome details!), life in a new country with a now 6-year-old and a little newborn baby just didn't make it easy. So while I let our beautiful birth story sit quietly in my brain for a little longer before I get it written down, here's a peek, courtesy of our amazing birth photographer friend: http://kaethejobinderphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/6/baby-rain-bellevue-washington-birth-photographer-kaethejo-binder-photography.

I WILL be posting more, I will. I think that after about four months of getting adjusted to all the big changes in our life now, I am finally, finally starting to get the hang of it.

There is so much to say, so many stories to tell, so many photos to share. But for now, as another peace offering for the long silence, let me leave you with a quick and super easy recipe for a sinful vegan chocolate dessert! I actually found this recipe in my current favorite vegan recipe book, The Vegan Diner by Julie Hasson but I made several changes to the original recipe (I used a ready-made whole wheat pie shell instead of making the chocolate cookie crust, added more chocolate, used vanilla extract instead of strawberry/raspberry liquer, etc.) to make it much easier (meaning more mama-with-babies-in-the-house-friendly!) and a lot more chocolatey!!!

Vegan Chocolate Strawberry Pie on Whole Wheat Crust

1 whole wheat 9" pie shell (I used a whole wheat pie shell from Wholly Wholesome)
2 1/4 cups of dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup soy milk
3 tbsp all-natural vanilla extract
about 4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled, rinsed and sliced in half or quarters (We used strawberries since we got a box of beautiful locally grown fresh strawberries from the Farmers' Market that morning but I would imagine that fresh raspberries would be yummy in this recipe, too!)

Prepare and bake pie crust according to package directions. Let cool completely.

For the filling, I made our chocolate "cream" in batches so that it's easier to melt the chocolate with the soy milk. You can do this on a stovetop or you can do it in the microwave. (I am usually so against using the microwave but really, it has been so good to us especially during our little newborn's first few months so it has been a friend lately. So yes, I used the microwave.) Combine 3/4 cup chocolate chips and 1/4 cup soy milk in a microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl and heat for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir. Pour in a tablespoon of the vanilla extract, stir and heat again for another 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir again until chocolate mixture turns smooth. Pour into the pie shell and top with a third of the strawberries. Make another batch of the chocolate "cream" with 3/4 cup chocolate chips, 1/4 cup soy milk and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract following the same procedures and pour on top of the berries. Put in another layer of strawberries. Repeat procedures for the last batch of chocolate "cream" and top with the rest of the strawberries.

Refrigerate the pie for a couple of hours or until all the chocolate sets and firms up. Be patient!


This was super easy to make (and super easy to consume, too!!) and really hit the spot with all the chocolate dessert cravings we've been having and it's incredible that it's dairy-free, too!

With so many other recent changes in our diet, we have come up with quite the portfolio of recipes so I imagine that this would be just the first of lots of quick, easy  "green" recipes that are in this little blog's future. And with a new baby and a new home, we really have a bunch of new stories to tell.. about everything from natural childbirth, breastfeeding, creating a pretty "green" home, natural parenting, etc etc etc. So I am VERY excited to be blogging again! I'm thinking it's not going to be any easier. I am still learning how to type while nursing or babywearing after all, but I'm getting there!

So yay! I am back and here's to hoping I won't have to stop blogging again! Wish me luck!

Love, light and blessings,

Earthbound Faerie