Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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Nanaimo bars are one of my all-time favourite treats – when i lived in BC growing up they were just about everywhere we went, and I could never get enough. After moving to Toronto I realized they were much harder to come by out of province. Did you know Nanaimo Bars are named for their birthplace, a small city on Vancouver Island in BC? I grew up at bike races (yes, I was super sporty!) in and around that area, so it’s no wonder these sweet triple-layer treats make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Traditional Nanaimo bars are certainly not healthy or even close to vegan, but as per usual Amanda of Blueberry Moon came through and made our vegan dessert dreams come true! Instead of custard for the centre filling she created a pink peppermint coconut-based cream, and oats, dates and almonds were used alongside coconut to boost health points in the base layer.

Scroll down for the recipe

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What you’ll need //

Crust:
1 cup almonds
1/2 c packed dates
1/2 c oats
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 c shredded coconut
2 tbsp coconut oil

Cream center:
1 cup coconut butter
3/4 chilled full fat coconut milk
1 cup icing sugar
2 tsp mint extract
2 tsp peppermint extract
2 tsp beet juice (may need to adjust slightly based on colour preference)

Topping:
1.5 cups melted chocolate chips

Optional: Crushed candy cane, sprinkles

Recipe //

Prepare your base layer by adding all crust ingredients listed into your food processor.
Once it reaches a crust like consistency, press firmly into a greased square pan. You could also cut out some parchment paper tabs to line the bottom for easy removal.

Next, begin to prepare the middle layer by adding all ingredients into your high speed blender. We used our Vitamix. Once this layer is thick, creamy and smooth, pour it over the crust and spread as evenly as possible. You may want to carefully slam the tray (it not glass) a couple times against your counter to remove air bubble and really pack down.

Move to freezer to set faster.

Once the middle layer feels firm enough you can begin to melt your chocolate.

To do this, boil a couple inches of water in a pot and use a heat safe bowl to place on top of the pot (making sure its big enough to not fall through!) Add your chocolate chips into the bowl and keep stiring with a spatula until the chocolate has melted.

Pour over the middle layer and add your crushed candy canes.

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Shopping links!

Pink Food Processor

Beetroot Powder (Natural Food Colour)

4pc Gold Cutlery Set

Lorann Oils Natural Peppermint

Pink Christmas Tree

Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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Making nut mylk is one of those things that just makes sense – it’s quick, simple, and yields a really delicious and nutritious end product. We’ve been trying to get on board with nut mylk and cheese in favour of dairy as much as possible, for the sake of ourselves, animals, and the environment, and luckily we have Amanda from Blueberrymoon here to help!

Cashews are one of the best nuts to use in dairy-inspired recipes thanks to their creamy rich texture. We made this version a bit more fun by adding some fresh local strawberries and a touch of beet juice to make our pink milk that much more pink! It’s super delicious on it’s own, in a strawberry banana smoothie, or blended with a bit o vegan ice cream for the ultimate strawberry shake!

Scroll down for the recipe

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Hey guys! Blueberrymoon here. I just wanted to add some notes and tips about making nut mylk at home! As noted above it’s so simple and so much better than store bought. Since cashews don’t have skins and become so soft once soaked, there is no need for a nut straining bag. If you’re using nuts with skins such as almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts or walnuts, a straining bag is required. However even with the extra step, you’re still looking at an easy process! When storing your mylk, make sure it’s kept in an air tight container or jar in your fridge and consumed within 3-5 days.

What you’ll need //

1 cup soaked cashews
1 cup fresh strawberries
4-6 dates
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
beet juice

Instructions //

Soak cashews in water for 4-8 hours or overnight.

Once soaked, rinse well adding all ingredients to your high-speed blender, we used our Vitamix.

Blend on high for about one minute.

If you like your mylk sweet, add a touch of honey or maple syrup!

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Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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As much as I like to think of myself as a good cook, the honest truth is I don’t make food nearly as much as I’d like to. I hate being one of those busy people, but most days I just can’t figure out how to make time to plan, prep, cook, and clean up after a meal without getting overwhelmed.

I always admire my friends who seem to have it all figured out, especially Amanda of It’s Blueberry Moon. If you remember drooling over the pink sushi recipe I published awhile back, Amanda was a big part of that, and though her blog name has changed her crazy talent for making beautiful, colourful, HEALTHY food has not.

Constantly inspired by Amanda’s incredible Instagram posts documenting her meals (aka works of art) I approached her to collaborate on a brand new RAOP series that celebrates healthy living and a plant-based diet: Introducing #EatYourPastels! We’ll be sharing mega nutritious rainbow recipes a couple times every month, starting with this pink rice bowl! Without further ado, here’s Amanda and her first recipe on the RAOP site:

I’m already obsessed with eating and creating colourful foods, so when Alyssa approached me about a pastel collab I didn’t think twice! Taking everything to the next level (like pink tahini sauce!) could not excite me more. I wanted to make our recipes simple so that they’re easy to recreate at home. Hope you all have as much fun eating pink food as we did!

Scroll down for the recipe!

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What you’ll need //

Bowl Ingredients

1 cup brown rice
2 cups water
1 tbsp beet juice
1/2 avocado
1/4 cup chickpeas
1 mini cucumber
2 radish’s
1 small watermelon radish
1 stalk green onion
1 carrot
greens of choice

Dressing Ingredients

1/4 cup tahini
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp beet juice

Directions //

Start by bringing your water to a boil. Rinse your rice well and add it to the water while reducing heat. Cover and simmer until cooked. While your rice is cooking you can start to chop up your veggies and make your dressing. Slice everything as desired, leaving your avo until last so it doesn’t brown.

To make dressing, combine all ingredients in your food processor or blender. If you don’t have either, no problem! Swap out the clove of garlic for a 1/2 tsp garlic powder and mix your sauce with a fork or mini whisk. You may need more lemon juice depending on the size of you lemon. Add to taste.

Once your rice has finished cooking, add your beet juice and fold it in gently to colour.

To assemble your bowl, start with a generous handful of greens for your base. We used mixed greens and some purple kale. If you like your food to look aesthetically pleasing before consumption, then use a tiny bowl to pack your rice in to form a little rice dome. Build your chickpeas and veggies around the rice in little pockets. Finish with a generous drizzle of dressing and garnish with some fresh sprouts.

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Sips, Sweets & Snacks

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Let me start by clarifying – Team RAOP does not support drinking copious amounts of gross green beer and kissing strangers *just* because they’re Irish today, but we absolutely support getting lucky in whatever way you see fit. For us, that means devouring some extra sweet treats!

These VEGAN + GLUTEN FREE (yes, both) Rice Krispie squares are so super easy to make it’s almost funny, and the level of delicious is nothing short of shocking. Adapted from the Dandies Marshmallow website, we added matcha and a sprinkle mix crust to our version, because St. Patrick’s Day. Now if only we could find ourselves a pot of edible gold flakes…

Scroll down for the full recipe!

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Ingredients //

1 bag of Dandies Marshmallows
5 cups Gluten Free Rice Krispie Cereal
2 Tbsp. Earth Balance
2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
2 Tbsp. sweetened matcha powder
+ MANY sprinkles of your choosing!

Recipe //

In a medium pot on very LOW heat, combine margarine, coconut oil and marshmallows. Stir until it has all fully melted down to a sticky mess.

Mix in the cereal and stir until evenly coated with marshmallow mixture.

Stir in the matcha.

Press mixture into a 9×9 pan. Top with sprinkles and press even more to form a crust.

Once cool, cut into squares, and GET LUCKY!

Makes 1 9×9 pan, approx. 12 squares

Recipe adapted from the Dandies Marshmallow website!

This recipe also goes GREAT with last year’s LUCKY CHARMS CEREAL MILK MATCHA LATTE! What is it about St. Patty and cereal?

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Get Creative

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With the Spring Equinox almost upon us and the weather still cold as ever, Jo and I have been feeling a little drained. The days always feel too short, I was sick for quite some time with a kidney infection (OW) and we’re both in the process of moving, which is exhausting all on its own.

We couldn’t have asked for a better time to attend Hunt and Gather’s workshop with Witch in the Wild.

Let’s face it, a bad day (or month in this case) is no match for fresh blooms, self care products, and a touch of crystal magic. This two-part girl gang workshop started with an awesome lesson on blending your own organic, vegan, crystal-infused floral toner. The medicinal meets mystical with this simple DIY, and I loved how fun it was to make, even for a terrible crafter like me.

Part two was taken over by Tellie, one of my favourite florists, and owner of the brand new Hunt and Gather (go there and buy ALL the plants – you won’t regret it). Faced with amber jars and buckets of fresh flowers, we got to arranging our own divine bouquets to take home and treasure.

Topped with tea, treats, and a healthy dose of girl power, this evening event was exactly what Jo and I needed to recharge and power up. See you at the next workshop?

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