Coconut Whipped Cream and Elation!

I am very blessed in life and in general I am a pretty happy person, but every once in a while I just feel elated and today is one of those days!!!

I don’t really know why but I don’t really care either!

I did just eat a really incredible salad:Salad 002

Romaine, cucumber, carrot, baby beets (hence the pink hue to everything!), radishes, and the rest of the baked marinated tofu from the other day.

I’m not sure if scientifically you can get a high like this from food, but I’m going with it 🙂

More likely though I think it’s because I just had one of the best weekends of my life!

On Friday, H and the cats and I had a very chill night watching the original Batman.  Then on Saturday morning I got into the kitchen to do some baking for an upcoming blog post on Chic Vegan…

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…and had my first experience making Coconut Whipped Cream!

To make it, I used this tutorial from Oh She Glows.  I ended up adding about 3 tsp. of confectioner’s sugar and a full 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract.

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Holy crap it was rich and delicious!  Really easy to make too…I kind of can’t believe I had never done it before.

H and I enjoyed some with our breakfast:
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And if you’re wondering what the hell that is, fear not!  All will be revealed in due time 🙂

That afternoon, we dug up all of the waterproof gear we’ve ever owned and headed down to Foxborough for Patriots vs. Colts in the AFC divisional playoffs!!!

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Oh my God I had the frickin BEST time at both the tailgate and the game, totally in spite of the stupid rain!

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Our seats were incredible!

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And the atmosphere was so charged up!  This one took the cake for my favorite game ever, even surpassing the divisional playoff game from 2 years ago (against the Broncos and Tim Tebow).

Oh, yeah, and they won 🙂

Sunday by contrast was just ultra-relaxing, watching the other two divisional playoff games, eating junk food, spending time with my hubby, and cuddling with the cats.

Pats 009You can’t really get more relaxed than that.

How was your weekend?  Does anyone else ever get weirdly elated for no apparent reason??

Salad and Smoothie Spree

Today I am going to do a big old vegan food blog cliche by writing a post featuring salads and smoothies.  I embrace it.   I can’t help myself; I’ve been having so much fun with spring and summer produce!

I have the incredible fortune of living within 10 miles of 9 farmers’ markets and 36 farmstands (5 of them organic).  The bounty of gorgeous, fresh fruits and vegetables coincides perfectly with my body’s craving for lighter, more refreshing meals.  The result has been a total spree of salads and smoothies, with no room for boredom!

For example, two weeks ago, I bought the biggest head of lettuce I have ever seen in my life.  It cost $2.50 and lasted me up until this morning. And it was organic!

Salad Smoothie 005On day one, I chopped several of the leaves and tossed in some apple, carrot, and toasted pecans.

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I made a lemon-shallot vinaigrette to go with it.

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It kinda looks like a raw egg yolk, but it tasted amazing!  This was: 1/2 finely chopped medium shallot, juice of half a lemon, 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp. dijon mustard, 6 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, scant 1/2 tsp. agave nectar, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Last weekend, I bought a beautiful bunch of beets (how’s that for alliteration). On Sunday I roasted the bulbs, and used the roasted beets all week in salads.

Salad Smoothie 019Chopped farmstand lettuce, baby arugula, sectioned grapefruit, avocado, and roasted beets.  And yes, the beets stain everything pink!

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Chopped farmstand lettuce, baby arugula, cherry tomatoes, roasted beets, apple, carrot, radish, and avocado.  Also, the radish was the cutest thing ever:

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A very simple salad of organic baby arugula with organic raspberries and pine nuts, and a dressing of garlic-infused olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

I love that salad-making lets me incorporate whatever fruits and vegetables I happen to have on hand.  This has helped tremendously with my goal of avoiding wasting food.

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Today’s lunch: the end of the farmstand lettuce, organic baby arugula, cherry tomatoes, avocado, organic farmstand sugar snap peas, carrot, craisins, and hemp seeds.

Salads are obviously extremely portable, making them a great weekday bring-to-work lunch.  I love that I can do most of the prep ahead of time, either on the weekend or the night before.  It seriously saves me so much time and money.

The same is true of smoothies.  They are the perfect vehicle for incorporating a rainbow of ingredients and ensuring that I make use of the insane amount of produce I buy each week this time of year.

Like native strawberries galore:
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In the past I have not been a fan of smoothies for breakfast because, although they taste great, I find that they don’t keep me full for more than an hour or two.  Since at my current job I don’t go to lunch until 1:00, I need something longer-lasting than that.

During my 3-Day Detox in May, I learned that using “chia gel” (1 tbsp. chia seeds soaked overnight in 1 cup of water) as a smoothie base is a way to stretch a smoothie’s ability to count as an actual meal, likely thanks to the absurd amount of fiber contained in a small portion of seeds.

So now I’ve been having smoothies for breakfast between 3 and 5 mornings a week.  Each one is different from the next!

This smoothie contained 1 cup of chia gel, one fresh kiwi, one frozen banana, 4-5 fresh strawberries, and a big handful of spinach:
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I love this picture of it blending all together, with the little whirlpool in the middle!

Another day, I tried a yogurt-based smoothie, using So Delicious plain coconut milk yogurt.
Salad Smoothie 009It contained 1 cup of chia gel, one frozen banana, 1-1.5 cups fresh pineapple, 3 fresh strawberries, a big handful of chopped romaine lettuce, 1/2 a stalk of celery, and about 1/2 cup of coconut yogurt.Salad Smoothie 010The color was kind of ugly but this may have been the best-tasting smoothie I’ve made yet!  The yogurt definitely enhances the flavor and texture.

I have a lot more great seasonal dishes to share in an upcoming post, using farmstand treasures and more!