Glow Getter: Fresh Restaurants and Juice Bars Founder Ruth Tal





http://ohsheglows.com/2018/04/25/glow-getter-fresh-restaurants-and-juice-bars-founder-ruth-tal/

Eric and I first visited Fresh Restaurants in Toronto way back in 2009, when Oh She Glows was just a year old, and I was beginning my own journey to plant-based eating. To say this is a full circle moment would be an understatement! Ruth has always been an inspiration to me, and I hope you enjoy reading about her life, routines, and best business advice in today’s Glow Getter feature!

Ruth opened her first vegan juice bar pop-up in Toronto 27 years ago (wowza!), emerging as one of the first Canadian entrepreneurs focused on making plant-based eating accessible and delicious. Now, Fresh Restaurants has expanded to four locations in Toronto (with another set to open this summer), plus two more in Mexico City and Moscow.

In addition to her work as a business owner and entrepreneur, Ruth has authored five plant-based cookbooks geared toward helping home cooks incorporate fresh, healthy ingredients into their daily meal plan. I love the way Ruth’s vibrant and colourful style pulls through in both the design of her restaurants and in her cooking. Her latest cookbook, Super Fresh, is a feast for the eyes. I don’t know about you, but I’m so much more inspired to eat healthy when I’m looking down at a rainbow on my plate!

Photo by Kyla Zanardi for Super Fresh cookbook by Jennifer Houston and Ruth Tal

Okay, let’s turn it over to Ruth and find out a bit more about her routines, go-to foods, and advice…





Photo by Kyla Zanardi for Super Fresh cookbook by Jennifer Houston and Ruth Tal

As always, let’s cap things off with Ruth’s best tip for fellow entrepreneurs…

Love it. Thank you so much, Ruth! 

On a different note, I want to thank you all so much for your support of our app’s nomination in The Webby Awards!! It was a huge honour just to be nominated, and your enthusiasm means so much to us. We didn’t end up taking home an award, but I’m super proud of our team and what we’ve created. We’re so excited to continue growing and improving the OSG app in the future, and as always we love hearing your feedback along the way. As a token of our appreciation, we’ve made a donation to isthmus, which will provide a local child with food on the weekends for an entire school year.

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Ask Angela: The spiralizer I use, make-ahead Superfood Porridge, Chocolate “Nutella” swaps, and more!





http://ohsheglows.com/2018/04/20/ask-angela-the-spiralizer-i-use-make-ahead-superfood-porridge-chocolate-nutella-swaps-and-more/

 

Happy Friday, friends! Boy, did I love reading your comments on my Crazy Mug Lady post the other day. Sooo funny! Glad to hear I’m not alone. After last weekend’s ice storm, we’re really looking forward to getting outside to enjoy some moderately warm-ish spring weather tomorrow and Sunday. I hope you have a great one too! 

Q1. Just came across your Superfood Porridge recipe! It seems great for my one-year-old. If I were to prepare this the night before, should I cook the veggies first and then add to the oatmeal to soak? Thanks! 

Hey Dawn, So glad you found this recipe! We love the porridge and make it often…it’s a nice way to sneak in veggies in the AM! You don’t need to cook the veggies in advance. I prep everything the night before (without cooking anything), then simply heat and serve in the morning. It really helps to use the super-fine grate hole in the grater box so the carrot and zucchini aren’t too thick—that way they won’t need much cooking to soften.

Q2. Hi Angela! I absolutely love your recipes. They are natural, healthy, and usually involve simple ingredients that I already have in my pantry. I have both cookbooks, the app, and I go on your website often for food inspiration. I base my meal planning around your cookbooks because they are so fail proof! I was wondering…have you ever thought about developing a meal planning app with all your recipes in it? 

Hey Mya, Thank you so much for the recipe love! That’s so cool you have both the cookbooks and our app…I appreciate your support so much. It’s funny you mention the meal-planning thing because it’s actually something Eric and I have talked about recently. It would be such a useful thing to have (goodness knows this mama could use some organization in her life)! So I guess my answer is that a meal-planning option may be a possibility for the future, whether it’s on the blog, the app, or in a book. Thank you so much for mentioning the idea—it’s great to hear that others would enjoy it. :) 

Q3. Hello! I have a question about your Homemade Mocha “Nutella” recipe from the app—do you think I could use honey instead of coconut sugar? If you think that might work, would you have a guess as to about how much honey I should use in place? I know you don’t include recipes with honey on your blog, but because brown rice syrup has a similar consistency, I was thinking it might be a close comparison to honey for swapping in recipes? Thank you! You’re doing a great job! 👏🏻  By the way, I voted for you in The Webby Awards and got three of my friends to buy your app. 😊

Hi Fiona, Thank you so much for your support (and your pals’, too!). You’re so sweet. :) I’ve found swapping liquid sweetener in nut butters can be tricky. Often the liquid sweetener causes the nut butter to seize (making it thick and clumpy), so I prefer to use coconut sugar in the “Nutella” to keep the spread creamy. I hope this helps!

Q4. I’ve made your Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Avocado-Garlic Aioli in the past and LOVE them. I’m wondering if these will still smash and roast okay if they’ve been refrigerated overnight and are cold? 

Hey Stacey, Hmm…I’m not sure whether chilling would impact the overall outcome. My guess is that the potatoes might be a bit firm for smashing, so I would suggest letting them sit at room temp for a bit? If you try it out I’d love to hear how it goes!

Q5. What kind of spiralizer do you use? 

I received a lot of questions about my spiralizer after my Insta Story the other week showing me making spiralized butternut squash noodles for dinner! I have used the Paderno World Cuisine spiralizer for several years now. There weren’t many spiralizer options on the market back when I purchased it, but now there are tons! This model isn’t as sturdy as I would like it to be, so if I was going to buy another in the future I would definitely shop around and read reviews. 

Q6. I can’t wait to try your Fail-Proof Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes! Just one question…what is the apple cider vinegar used for in this recipe?

Hey Elisa, Great question! The vinegar is there so it can react with the baking soda which helps the cake rise. I call for apple cider in this recipe as it’s a bit sweeter than other varieties, but white vinegar should work too since it’s just a small amount. Hope this helps!

“I just want to start by saying damn girl you know how to cook!!! I have for many years been on again off again vegetarian. I had always wanted to go full vegan but just couldn’t seem to make it happen. It always felt like unattainable goal. One day I went into a bookstore and pawed through the cookbook section unsure of what I might find. I placed my hands onto your Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook and now I am eight weeks into a new vegan lifestyle and haven’t looked back! I was having skin problems, and no matter what treatment I tried, I couldn’t fix things entirely…that’s what led me to try a plant-based diet. Now I am happy to report my skin has completely cleared! I give your cookbook the credit for that! Thank you.”

Erika, I’m totally smiling from ear to ear over here…thank you for sharing your story with all of us! That’s absolutely wonderful to hear. High fives to you for all the changes you’re making! I’m really flattered that I can be a part of your journey. :) :)

Photo credit (top image): Ashley McLaughlin

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Crazy Mug Lady: A round-up of my fave mugs!

http://ohsheglows.com/2018/04/18/crazy-mug-lady-a-round-up-of-my-fave-mugs/

As a kid I was a self-proclaimed Pro Sticker Collector (oh, how that huge 3-ring binder was my pride and joy!), and at one confusing point in my youth I was also the proud owner of a miniature cow collection (the toy kind, that is). Totally normal. 

Naturally, those childhood collections have led me to a new kind of obsession today: mugs. As Eric was unloading dishes the other day I heard him grumble, “We need to organize this mug area…[HEAVY SIGH]” He’s so funny like that! Okay, okay, maybe our shelf is a little chaotic, but I’m happy to say it’s a bit less so after doing this blog post and being forced to remove and put back each mug. (Um. Just kidding. I haven’t put the mugs back…they’re still strewn about in my photography studio. Oops.)

I also realized during the creation of this post that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who use all-white (or single-coloured) matchy mugs, and those who prefer to collect various mugs from here and there, adding from travels, etc. I guess I just ain’t a matchy mug kinda girl! When I shoot recipe photos, though, my go-to mugs are exclusively espresso-sized white mugs because they photograph so nicely. Try and put a random 16-ouncer in the background of a photo and it’s going to look like an elephant is sitting down to tea with you…lol.

I’m always asked where I get my mugs, so I thought it would be fun to put together a post rounding up my favourites. I grouped them into a few categories to snap these pics: Mama’s Going Crazy, Holiday Shenanigans, and Mama’s the Best.

Mama’s Going Crazy

This is the collection I most often turn to first thing in the morning because it always bring a little smile to my own tired mug.

From left to right we have: “It’s only cold if you’re standing still” (Indigo), “Sanity In A Cup” (Indigo), and “For Fox Sake” (Indigo).

The For Fox Sake one is a personal fave and deserves a bit of a close up…hah!

Holiday Shenanigans

I’ll bring these out in October and they’ll go strong right through to February! Maybe this collection is a bit overused around the holidays (and beyond), but when you need a boost during our gloomy winters, you do what you gotta do!

From left to right we have: “Oh Dear!” (Indigo), “Happy Owl-idays!” (Indigo), and a huge reindeer mug (tag brand purchased from HomeSense).

Mama’s the Best

Sometimes Eric or the kids buy these mugs for me, and sometimes I buy them for myself when I feel like I need a little more recognition, lol. #noshame 

From left to right we have: “Mom. Wife. Boss.” (Indigo), “Mama Bear” (Indigo), and “Best Mom Ever” (Indigo).

Well there you have it, folks! My current favourite mugs. I would LOVE to hear about which type of mug person you are (mono-colour or multi-mug mayhem like me?!). And just to make my life complete, I’d LOVE it if you tagged your favourite mug online using the hashtag #OSGfavemug so I can see it too! You don’t even know how excited this makes me. 

Last but not least, tomorrow is the final day to vote in The Webby Awards! We’d love your support…the race in our category is a close one! Eric and I made a snappy lil’ video to celebrate our app nomination below. Turn the sound on and get ready to drool. ;) 

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Ask Angela: Favourite uses for hemp hearts, make-ahead lentil loaf tips, my go-to wrap, and more!

http://ohsheglows.com/2018/04/13/ask-angela-favourite-uses-for-hemp-hearts-make-ahead-lentil-loaf-tips-my-go-to-wrap-and-more/

 

First of all, holy moly…thank you all for your support for our Webby Awards People’s Voice Award nomination! I can’t even convey how much it means to us. We’re so nervous/excited to hear the results on April 24th! Voting is open until April 19th if you’d like to give us one final push. :)

Without further ado, here are this week’s featured reader questions…it’s a great batch, and I’m loving the Comment of the Week by Kristen, too! Lots of great meal planning ideas in there.

Q1. Do you have any tips for using hemp hearts? I have a big unopened bag of them in the cupboard and don’t know where to start! Thank you!

I love this question because we’re big fans of hemp hearts in our house! I love to add them to smoothies and energy ball/granola bar recipes, chia seed pudding or overnight oats (either mixed in or sprinkled on top), stirred into pasta for a protein boost, sprinkled on avocado toast, or blended into nut/seed milks and salad dressings—but the possibilities are endless…they’re so versatile! If you’d like to use my recipes as a guide, searching “hemp hearts” in the search bar will lead you to any OSG recipes calling for them. I’d love to hear what you make with them!  

Q2. Hi Angela, thanks so much for all your wonderful recipes. I haven’t found one I don’t like yet. I do have a question though: I am gluten-free and haven’t found a good, gluten-free, vegan wrap that does not fall apart when you try to roll it. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks again.

Hey Silvia, Thank you for the kind words! My go-to raw flax wraps are made by Wrap It Up Raw. They’re delicious and hold together amazingly. You can find out where they’re sold on Wrap It Up Raw’s store locator page (exciting news…Metro Ontario just started carrying them!). Hope this helps!

Q3. Can I prep your Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf in advance and refrigerate it for baking the next day? 

Hey Roz, Yes, you can absolutely prep the loaf a day in advance and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake—just be sure to wrap the loaf pan tightly before refrigerating so it doesn’t dry out. If the loaf is going into the oven cold (straight from the fridge), you’ll likely need to cook it for a bit longer than called for…maybe 5 to 10 minutes more. Alternatively, you can bring the loaf to room temperature first and then bake as directed. 

Q4. I’m thinking about making your Warm Spring Salad, but adding more greens and dressing to make an even larger portion. Do you think it would be better to add spring mix, spinach, or butter lettuce? I was also thinking about adding some raw shaved brussels sprouts and some mint or basil along with the parsley. :) 

Hey Sara, I love your idea of adding greens and extra dressing…I honestly think that would be amazing. Butter lettuce sounds delightfully crunchy, but I think almost any variety should be fine. If you decide to go with a lettuce that wilts quickly (such as a delicate spring mix) I would opt to add it just before serving. Heartier veggies like kale or shaved brussels should be fine added in advance. Also, I’m not sure if you’ve tried this Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Panzanella recipe yet, but it’s to die for…and from the sounds of your comment, might be right up your alley!

Q5. Hi Angela, I am about to make your Cozy Butternut and Sweet Potato Red Lentil Stew. Really looking forward to trying it…yum! It’s great to hear another reader has tried the recipe without tomatoes, too. I have a question about upping the quantities. I need to make the stew for 13+ people, and I see your recipe yields 11 cups (2.75 quarts). I am English and a little unfamiliar with measuring in quarts. Do you have any tips for making enough Cozy Stew to feed my guests?

Hey Georgie, Happy to help! Eleven cups is also equal to 2.6 litres…I’m not sure if this info helps at all? So, if you’re making the stew for 13 people, I think you’d probably want to double the recipe, if not triple it. I estimate that this recipe (as written) serves 6 as a starter (at just under 2 cups/500 mL per person), but if you’re serving the stew as a main, I think 4 servings may be a safer estimate. Doubling soup recipes can be a bit tricky as sometimes you don’t need to fully double the liquid, and sometimes you need to use less salt, too…so my advice would be to add the liquid and salt slowly as it cooks, to your taste. I’d love to hear how it goes! 

Q6. I’m trying to use less cheese and dairy at home, but I find that so many non-dairy recipes call for cashews or cashew cream instead. My husband is allergic to cashews so that isn’t an option for us. Is there a universal swap for cashews in dairy replacements, or does it depend on the recipe? I’d love to make your All-Purpose Vegan Cheese Sauce and other vegan recipes, but have been struggling to figure out how to replace the cashews. Thank you!

Hey Valerie, A cashew allergy can make swapping tricky for sure, but don’t despair as it can be done! I’d say it depends on the recipe, but I’m happy to help you troubleshoot if you have any specific ones in mind. If you leave a comment with the recipes you’d like to make first I can reply with my substitution ideas (it’s fun brainstorming for me…I’m kind of a nerd like that). Sometimes you can swap raw cashews for raw sunflower seeds, such as in my All-Purpose Vegan Cheese Sauce recipe (see the tip for the deets!). I’ve also heard you can use macadamia nuts as an alternative to cashews in some recipes, but I haven’t tried it yet.

“Angela, Thank you so you so much! I wanted to share a snapshot of our staple rotation meals made possible because of you! You’ve made a majorly positive impact on my family’s health and well-being. And having everything in the App is a dream! You have a talent that is valued and appreciated. ❤

Here are our staple OSG meals:

Breakfast
Zucchini Bread Muffin Tops, 5-Minute Oatmeal Power Bowl, Heavenly Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal, Hidden Greens Chocolate Protein Smoothie, Flourless Thumbprint Breakfast Cookies

Lunch
Endurance Crackers, hummus, cucumbers, blueberries, strawberries, and pistachios

Dinner
Our Perfect Veggie Burgers with Whitewater Burger Sauce (using Sir Kensington vegan mayo), Speedy Veggie Noodle Bowls, Roasted Butternut Squash with Almond-Pecan Parmesan, Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Avocado-Garlic Aioli, Adriana’s Fave 10-Minute Pasta, Soul-Soothing African Peanut Stew, Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes with Easy Mushroom Gravy

Snacks
Crispy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, One-Bowl Jumbo Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Vegan Banana Bread

Dessert
Fail-Proof Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Buttercream

Thanksgiving
Saweet! Potato Crumble with a Crunchy Nut Crumble

If we have a cold
Hot Detox Tonic, Restoring Citrus Tonic

We also love making your Cheerful Vegan Nachos (with your delicious All-Purpose Vegan Cheese Sauce) for a fun dinner! We also make and freeze your veggie burgers for an incredible, easy-to-prepare dinnertime treat. We invest the time to make a big batch, wrap them in freezer paper, put them in a labelled freezer bag, and then have an awesome and wholesome dinner ready for busy school nights! ❤

Hey Kristen, WOW, you’re on fire! Thank you for sharing all of your meal ideas…I always find it so inspiring when readers mention what they’re making, and comments like yours never fail to make me remember those forgotten recipes of OSG’s past! And I love that you make the loaded nachos for dinner…we do that too from time to time and it’s always a hit. Thank you for all of your support and kind words!

Just a quick note that I added a revamp of my Homemade Mocha Nutella to the app…and wowza it’s good. Also, the iOS version of our app is still on sale for 99 cents (for the next several days) if you want to take advantage! 

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Ask Angela: Our go-to vegan sunscreen, freezing vegan taco “meat,” a reader poll, and more!

http://ohsheglows.com/2018/04/06/ask-angela-our-go-to-vegan-sunscreen-freezing-vegan-taco-meat-a-reader-poll-and-more/

Happy Friday, friends! Before diving in, I want to share some fun news in case you missed our newsletter yesterday…The Oh She Glows Plant-Based Recipe App has been nominated for a WEBBY AWARD! It felt like such a long shot when I applied a few months ago (apparently they had over 13,000 applications come in from around the world!), but then I thought of all the praise and encouragement you’ve given our app and decided to just go for it—no harm trying, right?! I’m still in complete shock over finding out we were nominated, and so proud that we’re the only 100% plant-based app in our category. I gotta say it feels pretty awesome to be reppin’ the veggies. :) 

If you enjoy our app, I’d be so grateful if you took a minute to vote for us! I can’t thank you enough for your support and for all of the encouragement that has been coming in this week. :) 

Q1. Your Triple Almond Energy Balls are so delicious and healthy that I had to make them twice in the past two days! My only question is how you make the toppings stick to the balls and stay put? I can’t get the coconut to stick as much as I’d like to. 

Hey Mary, Oh good question! I find lightly wetting the energy balls helps the shredded coconut, ground nuts, and hemp hearts stick when rolling. I just added this tip to the recipe directions as I realized I forgot to mention it. Enjoy that triple almond goodness! They are a favourite around here.

Q2. With the weather getting warmer, I’m wondering if you can share which vegan sunscreens you would recommend (including one for the kiddos)? #AskAngela

Hey Leslie, Our whole family uses the same vegan sunscreen and we love it! It’s a clear SPF 50 spray by Alba Botanica. I actually wrote about it on My Favourite Skin Care Products page here in case you want to read more. I hope this helps!

Q3. How do you store nuts in your house? In the fridge, or in the pantry using an airtight container? Also, do you use ground flax seed often? I bought a large bag at Costco and I hate the strong flavour it imparts on my baking. Do you have any suggestions for me?

Hey Liz, We usually buy nuts in small quantities from bulk bins as we need them, so I don’t tend to freeze them as I’m not buying large enough amounts to need longer storage. If I was going to, though (say if there was a sale on!), I would freeze a stash in an airtight bag or container. Also, I hear you on ground flax…I find the flavour of some brands’ pre-ground flaxseed off-putting—almost like it’s spoiled or rancid. I use Bob’s Red Mill brand when I don’t have time to grind my own. You can freshly grind flaxseeds in a blender or coffee grinder and then store those in the freezer or fridge. See if you like the flavour better when ground fresh. If that doesn’t help you enjoy them, you may be able to swap ground chia seeds in baking (chia seeds absorb more water, though, so you may need to use less than called for) depending on the recipe. 

Q4. I am wondering whether your Ultimate Green Taco Wraps with Lentil-Walnut Taco Meat can be prepared in advance, and frozen. As for leftovers, do you reheat those in the microwave, or on the stove top? Thanks.

Hey Grace, I haven’t tried freezing the taco meat before, but if you try it please let me know how it goes. I can’t see why it wouldn’t freeze just fine! As for reheating, we don’t have a microwave so I would opt to reheat the thawed “meat” on the stovetop along with a splash or two of oil to add some moisture back. 

Q5. I’d really like to make your Flourless Bite-Sized Breakfast Muffins, but don’t have a silicone muffin tin. I’ve been wanting to buy one anyways, so is there a brand you’d recommend before I do? So many of the ones I see online don’t get great reviews. Thanks! 

Hey Rosie, For sure! Mine are Wilton brand. I like them well enough, though I do find that I need to wash them by hand as they come out with a white residue when I put them in the dishwasher. 

Q6. Hi Angela, I have an Ask Angela question about non-stick frying pans. My husband and I are looking for an extra-large workhorse frying pan—something that I can cook a million veggies on high heat in. We both work full-time, and I only have 20 minutes to get dinner on the table with two little kids who want to hug my legs the whole time. I’d like to invest in something that will last for years—we’re willing to spend more for a pan that is going to be used every day. Please give us the gold standard recommendation! (PS: No cast iron please because we can’t keep up with the maintenance. Sad but true.)

Hey Stephanie, I love this question! It’s funny because I’ve been on the hunt for that “gold standard” my whole life it seems. Right now I’m using a 12-inch Green Earth Frying Pan by Ozeri and a stainless steel wok by Calphalon, but I wouldn’t say that either of them are the workhorse you’re probably looking for. I thought this would be a fun time to ask fellow OSG readers if they have any suggestions for us. So, does anyone out there have any recs to share? Please feel free to chime in on Facebook, Twitter, or the comments below. We’re all ears! 

“I’ve tried my fair share of your recipes and love them all, but I must say your new Nutty Crusted Butternut Squash Bowl is a new favourite (currently eating the leftovers)! Something about the flavor and texture almost reminds me of chicken fingers, but better? I don’t know maybe I’m crazy but they’re absolutely delicious! I whipped together a quick sauce to dip them in and I was so pleased with the results that I thought I would share! If you’re a fan of spice, I highly suggest whisking together some tahini, lemon juice, Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and warm water. Super simple and the pairing of sweet squash & spicy sauce is to die for! Thanks for sharing. Xx”

Hi Cayley, we were on vacation visiting my parents when I saw your comment, and I couldn’t help reading it out loud! We all think your dipping sauce sounds ah-mazing…and so simple too. I love that you can make the squash on its own, and a dipping sauce to go with it is pure genius!! Thanks for sharing your idea. Enjoy the leftovers!

Psst…to celebrate our 2-year app-iversary, The Oh She Glows Recipe App is on sale for 99 cents until April 11th! You can download our app in the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

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Things I’m Loving Lately: March 29, 2018

http://ohsheglows.com/2018/03/29/things-im-loving-lately-march-29-2018/

Boy have we ever soaked up the sunshine on our vacation! I wish I could bottle this warm sunny weather and take it back to Ontario with us. While we’re getting settled, I thought I’d share the next roundup of Things I’m Loving Lately. And a quick note that there will be no Ask Angela post tomorrow due to the holiday. If you’re celebrating this weekend, I hope you have a very happy Easter!!

1. Soom Pure Ground Sesame Tahini 

On an impulse, I added this tahini to my Naturamarket.ca order (the website where I buy my beloved Nutpods!) and ended up falling in love with it! I adore how smooth and luxurious this tahini is, plus it has that nice “runny” texture that’s perfect for drizzling—some brands I’ve tried in the past can be quite firm and dry with a layer of separated oil that’s difficult to mix in. Its flavour is so rich and nutty too. 

2. Mina Harissa paste

I’m a bit late to the party trying Harissa, but once I did there was no turning back. While I’m by no means an expert on traditional Harissa pastes (and I’ve yet to try making a homemade version!), I really enjoy Mina’s Harissa as it’s super flavourful and preservative-free, too.

3. Vita Bio Organic Chickpeas (Jarred)

These chickpeas are a great option when I don’t have time to soak and cook my own chickpeas, and I also love that they’re stored in glass as opposed to tins. If I don’t recycle the jars, I like to throw them in the dishwasher to reuse for overnight oats or homemade salad dressings. Just a word of caution though: these jarred chickpeas have a jelly-like coating (as opposed to the liquid state of aquafaba), but it’s nothing a good rinse can’t fix. (At first I was mega creeped out though! lol.)

4. Young Lux Plates

Young Lux reached out to me last month offering to send our kids some of their bamboo plates to try out. I was actually planning to put an order in myself after seeing the brand pop up on social media, so I gladly accepted their kind offer! The kids adore their new plates, and I have to say, so does mama—their modern/stylish design is a nice change from the usual kid-friendly look (a parent can only take so much neon green and orange…ya know?), plus they’re free from plastics, too…whohoo! My only small complaint with the plates so far is that I’ve noticed some light staining on them. This could be because we use a natural dishwasher detergent (which doesn’t work super well), but I’m not sure. Young Lux does say that the plates are dishwasher safe.

5. Tarteist Glossy Lip Paint in WCW 

This lip “paint” by tarte is my go-to lip colour. I adore a rich berry tone and this one has so much pigment—I simply tap a few dots across my lips and then blend all over with my finger for a quick pop of colour. I top it off with my fave Kopari Coconut Lip Glossy for shine and moisture.

6. Mama Bear Indigo mug

It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a collector (okay, hoarder!) when it comes to Indigo’s mugs…they’re just so cute and have the best catchy sayings and puns. This Mama Bear mug is one of my favourites, and I find its large 16-ounce size perfect for my French press coffee with all the fixin’s! Sadly, that one appears to be out of stock, but there’s a similar 13-ounce version here that might make a sweet Mother’s Day gift, if you’re on the hunt! 

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Ask Angela: A protein-packed lunch idea, tomato-free Cozy Stew, family meal times, and more

http://ohsheglows.com/2018/03/22/ask-angela-a-protein-packed-lunch-idea-tomato-free-cozy-stew-family-meal-times-and-more/

It’s spring, it’s spring!! I was outside the other day when it hit me that I can now officially say that winter is behind us (according to the calendar, anyway…I think it’ll be a while before it actually feels like it here). The winter of ‘18–’19 was a challenging one for me, and I feel so ready for a fresh start (I think I’ve said this about ten times so far in 2018!)  

I’m popping in a day early with Ask Angela because I just couldn’t wait to share this week’s fun questions. I hope you enjoy this batch as much as I did, and please keep those questions rollin’ in…they give me something to ponder when I’m up in the middle of the night, lol.

 

 

Q1. Hi there, your Cozy Butternut, Sweet Potato, and Red Lentil Stew sounds absolutely delicious. I am trying to adapt a week’s worth of meals for a lady who is allergic to vegetables in the nightshade family. (So no tomatoes.) Have you ever tried making this without the tomatoes? 

Hey Georgie, Your question came at just the right time…I was planning on making a batch of this stew for dinner that very night! (We’ve been on a huge Cozy Stew kick this week!) So, after receiving your question, I decided to give it a spin, and held off adding the canned tomatoes and tomato paste until the very end. I tasted the stew without the tomatoes and it’s still quite good! I do think you can get away without using tomato products, however since there’s no acidity from the tomatoes it’s especially important to add the apple cider vinegar called for at the end to balance the flavours. You may even want to use a bit more vinegar to up the acidity (I’d recommend adding slowly to taste). You’ll find the stew will be thicker without the liquid from the canned tomatoes, so you may also want to add a bit more broth as you cook it…although a super thick and hearty stew never hurt anybody, I suppose. :) I’d love to hear how it goes if you try it out, Georgie!

Q2. Hi Angela, My husband and I as well as our family of five boys really enjoy your recipes—Oh She Glows is my go-to site for plant-based yummy food =) We just tried the Salted Chocolate Avocado Pudding Bowls and they were a hit. I’m wondering if you ever made pudding pops with that recipe, and if so how the avocado held out…I have never frozen avocado myself. 

Hey Sarah, Wow, five boys!! How do you even have time to make this pudding? Heh. I’m so happy to hear how much you all enjoy the recipes! My kids love popsicles, so I tried out your avocado pudding pops idea and the frozen version worked pretty well—the pops came out chewy, dense, and fudgy! I did find it a bit tricky spooning the pudding into molds as it is quite thick, and you may need to push the pudding down a few times to get the air bubbles out as you go. Not a big deal, though! The popsicles were also a bit challenging to remove from the molds (I had to put the mold under hot water for a while to loosen them up), but in the end they tasted great and I didn’t find the avocado flavour (which is subtle) changed due to freezing. Also, if you happen to have the Bonus Recipe Bundle from my Oh She Glows Every Day pre-order promotion, you might want to give my Dreamiest Dark Chocolate Fudgsicles recipe a try too. Those pops are made with a decadent base of melted dark chocolate, coconut milk, and banana…obsession-worthy!

Q3. Do you feed the kids first and then eat after they are in bed? I struggle with this and am wondering if you have any suggestions. (Note from Angela: A little context—Jess’ question came in after I did a couple Insta Stories showing me making my Cozy Butternut, Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Stew early evening, and then finishing off the cooking process after my kids were tucked in for the night.)

Hey Jess, I can so relate to your struggles with this! We tend to play it by ear schedule-wise and change it up depending on the day (weeknights and weekends are vastly different around here), how the kids are feeling (are they hangry, happy/content, etc.), and what dinner foods we have on hand. Adriana and Arlo tend to eat quite early (we call it the 5 o’clock Seniors’ Special, hah), so during weeknights Eric and I will often eat a bit later after they go to bed. Occasionally, I’ll be hungry enough when the kids are ready to eat and I’ll eat with them at the same time…it just depends! On weekends we always try to eat together since I tend to have more time to plan and cook special meals. In sum, we pretty much fly by the seat of our pants most days, but I’ve come to realize that’s what parenthood is all about (at least for us).

Q4. Love to make your Lightened Up Spring Stuffing for Easter, but since it’s an older recipe, I’m wondering if there is anything you’d change to update it. Or is this one of those tried-and-true Oh She Glows recipes that is just as awesome today as a few years ago? 😊 

Hey Sue, Oh yes this is an older recipe from 2012! Somehow it feels like just yesterday that I posted it too. It’s been a while since I’ve made it, but I remember really loving this lightened up take on stuffing. I’ll put this on my list of recipes to revisit this spring as it would be a great one to re-test and add to the app. The crusty seed & cranberry raisin loaf that I used in the recipe added so much to the overall dish, so I would suggest using a similar loaf as the base if you can. The pops of cranberry and raisin were really nice (if you’re into that!), although I’m sure sourdough would be nice too and you could always add dried cranberries separately if you use a different variety of bread. I’d love to hear what you think if you try it…maybe a test run is in store before the big day?

Q5. Hi Angela, You posted a tasty looking lunch idea on Insta Stories yesterday and it was gone from your story before I could screenshot the ingredients you listed. Do you mind sharing what was in it and how you made it? I need more green in my life this spring! 

Hey Becca, Absolutely! It was such a great lunch that I was actually debating whether to turn it into a recipe on the blog and app. For this dish, I was lucky to have some leftover cooked quinoa on hand—I find it always helps a meal come together quickly, so I used that as my starting off point for a fast lunch. I added a tablespoon or two of avocado oil to a large skillet along with some stemmed and chopped curly kale, diced bell peppers, spiralized zucchini and carrot (sometimes I use this julienne peeler if I don’t want to pull out the spiralizer), my leftover cooked quinoa, as well as some drained and rinsed canned pinto beans. I stirred it all together and sautéed the mixture over medium heat while adding fresh lemon juice, salt, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and pepper, all to taste. Once the veggies were tender, I portioned it into bowls and topped it with sliced avocado, a generous dollop of hummus, and a handful of nuts and seeds (like hemp hearts, sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts, etc.). It was sooooo tasty and left us feeling energized without being weighed down.

Q6. Hi Angela, I’ve made your Enchilada recipes many times, but this time I want to free up my time just before serving so I have a chance to catch up with my guests. Can I make the Enchilada Sauce a few hours in advance (or even the day before)? How about the other enchilada sauces you drizzle on top, like the Avocado Cilantro Cream Sauce, or Cilantro-Lime-Garlic Cashew Cream? Love every recipe I have tried from both of your cookbooks!  

Hey Beth, Thank you so much for your kind words and support for my cookbooks…that means the world to me. You can definitely make the Enchilada Sauce in advance (it should keep in the fridge for several days). If you’re planning to whip up the Avocado Cilantro Cream Sauce from my Vegan Enchiladas, I’d say it’s probably best made fresh whenever possible as avocado spoils quite fast and this sauce contains over a cup of it. When it comes to advance prep, you might have a bit better luck using the Cilantro-Lime-Garlic Cashew Cream (from my Next Level Vegan Enchiladas) as that recipe contains much less avocado (only 2 tablespoons). If you do make the Avocado Cilantro Cream Sauce ahead of time, I’d suggest keeping the sauce in an airtight container and pressing a piece of plastic wrap on top of the sauce before sealing with the container’s lid—this should help prevent it coming into contact with air. You may need to scrape off and discard any discoloured avocado sauce on top just before using. I hope you have a great time hosting, and please let me know how things work out if you do make either of the sauces in advance!

“Angela, Thank you! You’ve done it again and make feeding my toddlers so much easier. Your Flourless Bite-Sized Breakfast  Muffins are perfect. Easy to make, delicious, nutritious, and plenty of ingredients that my three-year-old can help me measure. These will be in regular rotation here.”

Hey Melissa, Oh that’s great news!! I’m so glad to hear you and your toddlers love the muffins. Sounds like your three-year-old is already a baking pro. :) They’re a big hit over here too!

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Nutty Crusted Butternut Squash Bowl with 10-Spice Roasted Chickpeas

http://ohsheglows.com/2018/03/19/nutty-crusted-butternut-squash-bowl-with-10-spice-roasted-chickpeas/

I was recently asked by Terra (OSG’s editor extraordinaire) how I came up with this recipe and after explaining my process to her, we both agreed I should share my fun little kitchen story with you on the blog! I often think this stuff is going to be boring so I don’t tend to get into the behind-the-scenes details too often, but I’d love to hear what you think!

This recipe actually began as something totally different. I’d been working on a simplified butternut risotto and, despite a few attempts, it just wasn’t impressing me (okay, I totally have Shania Twain in my head right now). I had planned on trying that recipe one more time before moving on, but just couldn’t shake the feeling of DOOM I had about it. Whenever I’m clouded by this “feeling of doom” and try to force a recipe (ignoring the voices in my head screaming “noooo don’t do it!”), I find it usually winds up being a waste of time anyway. I have to say that the results are almost always still edible and often quite tasty…just not quite good enough to share!

So, putting the risotto aside, I brainstormed something in a totally new direction! I couldn’t get crusted butternut squash out of my head (#weirdo), and thought it would be absolutely amazing to create a nut-and-seed coating for one of my favourite sweet, hearty winter veggies. I thought about my popular eggplant parmesan recipe from Oh She Glows Every Day (page 173) and used that as a jumping off point to get the wheels turning.

But I didn’t want to share the crusted squash recipe on its own as I had a hunch many of you would ask me how to turn these crunchy beauties into a complete meal. I checked my fridge and saw that I had some kale on hand, so I decided to marinate the greens in a creamy dressing for a hearty base. Now what about adding more protein in addition to what the nuts and seeds provide? I’ve been wanting to make spicy roasted chickpeas using my 10-Spice Mix for a while, and thought the pop of heat they bring would be a nice contrast to the the sweet, nutty squash. Bingo!!

Let’s recap: crunchy crusted squash, marinated kale, and 10-Spice roasted chickpeas. Yes, this could be AMAZING!!! Soon enough, a meal was born! This is when I start to get really excited, if you can’t already tell. But then I realize that I have to write up that dang recipe…

After I come up with the complete recipe idea, I type the recipe out in its entirety, visualizing each step as I go along. (This is something I’ve gotten better at as the years have gone by, but I still think it’s probably the most difficult part of the process!) Then I use this detailed recipe draft as as a guide for my first test and any trials thereafter. Each time my recipe tester Nicole and I test the recipe, I make live edits into the working draft on my laptop. (Live editing sounds way more exciting than it is…hah.) Once we both approve of the recipe (Nicole owns her own daycare, so other testers often include children and parents too…score!), I make final recipe edits before Terra and I begin the back and forth of our editing process. I’ve been creating recipes for almost 10 years now, and I find this system helps me deliver consistent and high-quality recipes.

Okay, if you skip right over this and go straight to the recipe, I won’t blame you. It’s all about the food, after all! This recipe is a big one, so reading it over before you begin is especially important. Also, you’ll see it contains a few “mini” recipes within—nutty topping, 10-Spice Roasted Chickpeas, marinated kale, etc.—feel free to make individual components (like the roasted chickpeas or marinated kale) on their own when you’re not up for preparing the full dish. A little mix-and-match, if you will! I don’t want to gush too much, but I really hope you make the whole thing…everyone who tried this recipe RAVED about it (one tester even said it’s possibly her favourite OSG recipe ever!). I could eat it every day, personally. :)

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Nutty Crusted Butternut Squash Bowl
Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

This hearty dish is filled with so many amazing crunchy, chewy textures—the crispy roasted chickpeas and nutty butternut coating are a delightful contrast to the soft squash and chewy kale. The flavours are out of this world: there’s sweetness from the squash and pure maple syrup, pops of tangy lemon and savoury garlic, and smokiness from the spiced chickpeas. Because there are a few components, this recipe is perfect for the weekend when you have a bit of extra time on your hands. If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself dreaming about these nutty crusted butternut squash wedges and wanting to put them on just about everything!

Yield
4 generous servings

Prep time
25 Minutes

Cook time
50 Minutes

Total time
1 Hour, 15 Minutes

Ingredients:
For the nutty crust topping:1 large garlic clove6 tablespoons (53 g) hemp hearts6 tablespoons (50 g) raw hazelnuts3/4 cup (57 g) raw cashews3/4 cup (38 g) raw walnuts3 tablespoons (15 g) nutritional yeast1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea saltFor the butternut squash:1 small/medium (2 to 2 1/2 pound) butternut squash*1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot powder**6 tablespoons (90 mL) extra-virgin olive oilFor the 10-Spice Roasted Chickpeas:1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil1 tablespoon 10-Spice Mix***For the marinated kale:1 medium (300 to 350 g) bunch curly kale1 small garlic clove, finely grated on a microplane1 tablespoon (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure maple syrup, or to taste1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt3 tablespoons (45 mL) fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving1 tablespoon (15 mL) tahini, plus more for serving

Directions:
Position two oven racks near the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Prepare the nutty crust topping: Add the garlic clove to a food processor and process until minced. Now add the hemp hearts, hazelnuts (no need to remove skins!), cashews, walnuts, nutritional yeast, and salt to the processor and pulse the mixture until coarsely ground with some larger chunks of nuts (the mixture should be the texture of large-flake sea salt). Be careful not to overprocess the nuts as you want the topping to be crunchy. Spoon all of the mixture into a large shallow bowl. Peel the squash and halve it lengthwise. Use a spoon to remove and discard the seeds inside. Slice each half into thin 3/4-inch wedges. Now we’re going to coat the wedges in the nutty crust topping, and I’ll warn you in advance that this is a messy, imperfect process…but the result is delicious, so don’t sweat it! To start, in a shallow bowl, whisk the arrowroot powder and oil together until smooth. Use a pastry brush to generously brush the oil mixture onto a single squash wedge until it’s completely coated in oil (or simply dip the wedge into the oil and toss to coat). Immediately transfer the oil-coated wedge to the bowl of nutty crust topping. Using your fingers, heap the mixture onto the top and sides of the wedge until it’s covered completely. Be generous! Press the topping into the wedge so that there’s a thick coating. (And it’s totally normal for some topping to fall off in spots.) If you find your fingers covered in the topping, rinse and dry them as needed. Repeat this process for all of the wedges, placing each one gently on the baking sheet as you go and leaving about 2 inches of space between. If you run out of topping, you can reserve leftover wedges for another use or coat them in oil and roast them alongside the topping-coated wedges as directed. Prepare the 10-Spice Roasted Chickpeas: Place the drained and rinsed chickpeas onto a tea towel and roll the chickpeas around until they’re dry. Spread the chickpeas onto the second baking sheet and toss with the oil. Sprinkle on the 10-Spice Mix and toss the chickpeas again until coated evenly. Place both baking sheets into the oven. Roast the chickpeas for about 30 to 35 minutes until lightly golden and then remove them from the oven. Roast the squash for a total of 40 to 55 minutes (I bake for about 50 minutes), until fork tender and lightly golden. I suggest testing the squash around the 40-minute mark and keeping a close eye on it thereafter. While the chickpeas and squash are roasting, prepare the marinated kale. Rinse the kale leaves and use absorbent tea towels to pat dry. Separate the stems from the kale and discard. Tear the kale into bite-sized pieces and transfer to a very large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the garlic, olive oil, maple syrup, salt, lemon, and tahini until smooth. Pour the dressing over the kale and “massage” until fully coated. Feel free to enjoy the marinated kale raw or use a skillet to heat it up. (I like to sauté mine if I have time!) Set aside. For serving: Divide the marinated kale into 4 large shallow bowls and top each with a few squash wedges along with a large spoonful of roasted chickpeas. Drizzle a tablespoon of tahini onto each bowl and top with a few generous squeezes of lemon juice too. You can serve the bowls with lemon wedges on the side if preferred. Oh, and if there is nutty topping remaining on the baking sheet, feel free to sprinkle it over the bowls so nothing goes to waste.

Tips:

* I recommend using a butternut squash on the smaller side here because a large squash (2 1/2 pounds or more) won’t leave enough nutty crust topping to go around.

** Cornstarch should work as an alternative to arrowroot powder.

*** For the 10-Spice Mix, use this recipe from the blog or on page 284 of The Oh She Glows Cookbook. Feel free to omit the white pepper for a slightly less spicy version.

If you’re not including the roasted chickpeas, please note that the squash will bake more quickly in the oven alone.

Have leftover roasted squash? It’s great thrown into a wrap the next day!

As always, you can find this recipe in The Oh She Glows Recipe App as well! The app is available on iOS and Android.

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Ask Angela: A new spin on my Raw Chocolate Brownies, my DIY food styling tricks, and more

http://ohsheglows.com/2018/03/16/ask-angela-a-new-spin-on-my-raw-chocolate-brownies-my-diy-food-styling-tricks-and-more/

Hey everyone, I hope you’re enjoying a fun March break if you’re off this week! We finally decided to book a quick trip to Arizona to visit my parents…even though after our December holiday travel shenanigans I vowed I wouldn’t fly with Arlo again until he’s older and less squirmy…lol. Spoiler alert: he is at peak squirminess these days, but when you’re over winter, you’re over winter, am I right? I think we’re all counting down the days until we are soaking up the sun! 

Q1. Hi! My husband and I LOVE your Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup. Amazing. We were thinking of switching it up a tad and using white beans instead of lentils. Any thoughts? 

Hey Reagan, So happy you both love it so much! It’s on regular rotation over here. :) I recently tested a version with canned white beans (added at the end with the spinach) and reduced the broth to 1 cup since there were no red lentils soaking it up. To be honest, I didn’t like this alternative as much as the original—maybe because I reduced the liquid and that threw off the flavours, or maybe I’m just so used to the tried-and-true Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup recipe at this point! #changeishard, lol. I also used light coconut milk instead of full-fat and that could’ve made the soup less rich and tasty than usual. I’d probably suggest making the recipe as-is and then adding a drained can of beans at the end if you’re looking to add beans for texture. I’d love to hear how it goes if you try it out! 

Q2. Could I swap chia seeds for the hemp hearts in your Two-Layer Raw Chocolate Brownies?

Hey Katrina, Chia seeds are much crunchier than those soft and tender hemp hearts, so I probably wouldn’t opt for a 1:1 ratio swapping them here. I was curious about your question so I decided to try out a hemp heart-free version for you! I used 1 1/2 cups walnut pieces (this amount doesn’t include the 1/3 cup walnuts called for at the end of the recipe) and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds. It worked great! As I mentioned, chia seeds are pretty crunchy, so if you don’t mind the extra crunch factor, you could probably double up to 2 tablespoons of chia seeds based on preference. I found the cocoa powder’s flavour was a bit more intense in this version, so you may want to try adding a bit less than 1/2 cup cocoa powder to taste. 

Q3. Could I use date paste instead of pitted Medjool dates in your Triple Almond Energy Ball recipe? 

Hey Donna, I think date paste is a blend of pitted dates and water, so I can’t see why you wouldn’t be able to make it work with a bit of experimenting! My main concern is whether the date paste would bind the dough as well as the pitted date version. I would try starting with 3 to 4 tablespoons of date paste and going from there until the right dough consistency is achieved. If it’s still too dry (or simply not sweet enough), add a bit more date paste and process it again. You may also need to use a bit less water if the date paste contains some on its own.

Q4. Your Spicy Peanut Lime Sauce reminds me of the peanut sauce I used to get at Thai restaurants. Delish! However I am trying to reverse heart disease by avoiding oil in my diet, so I can’t make this sauce with the sesame oil called for. Any suggestions? 

Hey Rebecca, I’m so happy you love this peanut sauce so much! I tried a version swapping the sesame oil with an equal amount of water and it worked great. The peanut sauce might not be quite as rich-tasting, but since there’s 1/4 cup peanut butter in the sauce I found that it was still plenty creamy! 

Q5. Hi Angela, I love your books and am curious if you use a particular bottle for garnishing foods with chocolate drizzles, salad dressings, etc. My presentation could do with some improvement! 

Hey Arn, Oh can I relate to your struggle with food presentation! I’ve been wanting to pick up one of those cute lil’ squeeze bottles for decorating, but it keeps slipping my mind! Normally, I just use a small spoon or fork for drizzling or a baggie with the corner snipped off for “piping.” Nothing too fancy going down over here! 😅😂 In the photo of my Crispy Smashed Potatoes (above), I filled a small bag with the Avocado Garlic Aioli and snipped off a corner to create a little hole. Then I “piped” the sauce on my potatoes from there. Of course this isn’t necessary for the dish (I can tell you it tastes just as delicious with straight-up dollops of sauce!), but it sure looks pretty.

Q6. Do you find your Next Level Vegan Enchiladas get soggy on the bottom? I am dying to try them but really don’t like soggy enchiladas :-) 

Hey Trish, They can get a bit soggy depending on the type of tortilla that you use. I’d suggest using a heartier tortilla like the Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Tortillas. I like those ones because they’re thick and dense, and should hold up a bit better than traditional white flour tortillas in this recipe. 

“I’ve made your Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup so many times and my family loves it! Today my nine-year-old son asked specifically for this dish and I felt like I should comment how much we enjoy it! I have also made it with the tiny black lentils when I don’t have the red ones. The black lentils seemed to take longer to cook, but they had a great earthy flavor too. Thank you for the recipe!” 

Hey Jill, That’s so sweet your son specifically asked for this soup! A parent’s dream. ;) I love that you make it with black lentils on occasion…I’ll have to try that soon. A mix of lentil varieties might be fun too. Thanks for sharing!

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Things I’m Loving Lately: March 12, 2018

http://ohsheglows.com/2018/03/12/things-im-loving-lately-march-12-2018/

What’s this, I’m posting on a Monday?! ;) This post was ready to go last week, but since we had so much fun content already going out (Glow Getter, Ask Angela, and the next issue of In The Glow!), I decided to hold off until Monday for this one. Thanks for all the positive feedback about the reboot of Things I’m Loving Lately, by the way. It’s such a fun way for me to share the things I use and love in my everyday life, and I enjoy hearing about the new things you’re diggin’ too. So feel free to spill the beets, errr…deets, below!

As always, these posts are never sponsored, but I’ll occasionally have an affiliate link or two included in the roundup.

1. Hilary’s Broccoli Casserole Bites 

I discovered these frozen casserole bites when I was looking for super-fast dinner options for the kids. We definitely don’t have a made-from-scratch meal on the table every night, so I was delighted to find these mini veggie burger patties packed with awesome organic ingredients: cooked whole grain millet, broccoli, cooked white beans, expeller-pressed coconut oil, carrot, onion, garlic, apple cider vinegar, psyllium husk powder, salt, arrowroot, basil, and oregano. The kids love them dipped in ketchup, and I try to always have a bag in the freezer for those emergency don’t-know-what-to-cook situations! If you’re in a similar pinch, I recommend throwing some on a baking sheet with sweet potatoes fries and serving with a side of sliced avocado for an effortless weeknight dinner option. 

2. Instacart Canada

Let me preface this by saying that I’m someone who loves grocery shopping. It’s something I tend to look forward to, especially on those rare, heavenly occasions when I’m able to go shopping by myself. But sometimes I can’t leave the house to get groceries (like during nap time), and find myself stuck needing ingredients to test a recipe. That’s why I was so excited to hear that Instacart, an app-based grocery delivery service, is now available in my area. I simply add food to my virtual “cart” through the app and then my order magically arrives on our doorstep within an hour or two. I also love that I can text my “shopper” and make adjustments as they shop away. I only use Instacart when I’m in a pinch, but so far it’s been a huge help when I can’t leave the house to get groceries. More ingredients = more recipes! Can you say win-win? 

3. Hardbite Drop’N Mad Beets chips 

At first I wasn’t sure about these earthy-tasting beet chips (I initially described them as tasting like ketchup chips with a hint of dirt, lol), but then I found myself polishing off the bag and realized I’d fallen in love. Now they’re pretty much the only chips I buy when I want to splurge on something deep fried (which is often…#YOLO). I did say I didn’t see my beet chip phase ending anytime soon…

4. HURRAW! Black Cherry Tinted Lip Balm

I’ve been using HURRAW! lip balm for years, but this cherry flavour is new to me and it’s my favourite yet. The red hue leaves a subtle hint of colour, and when I don’t want to go all out with a bold lip colour this is my “no make-up” go-to. Best of all this moisturizing balm is vegan, organic, and made using cold-pressed oils. 

5. Love Grown Original Power O’s 

We’ve been buying Power O’s for a few years now, and it’s the only cereal we give the kids to munch on. Get this…these fun little O’s are made from BEANS! I buy the original unsweetened flavour, which I love for its short and simple ingredient list: navy beans, lentils, garbanzo beans, brown rice, salt, and tocopherols. My kids enjoy the cereal dry or with milk and sliced banana. I don’t know what Arlo loves more: snacking on this cereal or tossing it onto the floor, leaving crunchy little landmines scattered about for us to crush into smithereens. (Dang it, Arlo, with the food throwing!) *gets the vacuum out yet again…*

6. Sunshine Farms Organic Pickled Jalapeños (Foodland Ontario)

Pickled jalapeños are a fairly new-to-me food product. I originally picked these up a few years ago when I was developing my Chili Cheese Nachos recipe for Oh She Glows Every Day. They were great for the nacho recipe, and I quickly discovered they were just as good sprinkled on wraps, salads, and savoury oatmeal for a kick of heat. I love that the jar has a long shelf life, so I don’t have to worry about keeping a supply of fresh jalapeños in my crisper (which tend to spoil before I can use them up). And bonus points for buying local! Turns out these awesome jalapeños are made in Thamesville, Ontario. Maybe you should pickle some up? ;)

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