Açaí Bowl

I adore açaí bowls. So yummy that I decided to figure out more on what it means to make and eat one.

Açaí is similar to other berries in that it has lots of antioxidants. But if really wanting high antioxidants, go for the wild blueberry. Açaí can be found in a powder or as a pulp in the freezer section.

The other thing I learned is that many bowls have quite a bit of sweetener added. It makes the experience taste like ice cream, but be mindful of the sweetener. An açaí bowl that is more true to the flavor of the açaí fruit will be more tart.

I picked a tart approach and this is what you will need:

2 sleeves of frozen açaí pulp

1 ripe banana divided in half

1/4 cup milk alternative, I used soy

Toppings, I used a 1/2 Tablespoon of chia and 1/4 cup of my oil free granola

Blend half the banana with the açaí from 2 sleeves of frozen pulp and 1/4 cup soy milk until smooth. Pour blended açaí into bowl and slice the other half of banana onto the top. I made a row of banana slices down the middle of the bowl. To one side of the banana I added a row of chia and the opposite side got a 1/4 cup of oil free granola.

There is lots of room to be creative with the toppings of an açaí bowl. All kinds of fresh and dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate can be added to the top. Have some fun with it. Yummers!

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Oil Free Blueberry Chia Granola

I’m trying to cut oil out of my diet to see what happens. It gets me closer to a Whole Foods Plant Based diet and has so far been a fun journey. I’m not an extremes person, so it’s just a fun personal challenge.

Hubby really enjoys granola for breakfast and I adore it on an açaí bowl. But most granola has oil and the few I have tried that didn’t, were not very tasty. I thought maybe I could figure this out myself. It’s yummers!

What you need:

1 and 3/4 to two cups rolled oats, uncooked

1 cup puffed rice cereal

1 Tablespoon chia seeds

1/4 cup freeze dried blueberries, any dried fruit will work

1/2 cup quality dark maple syrup

If you want cinnamon, I didn’t, then a 1/2 teaspoon will work

Preheat oven to 375. Mix everything together in a large bowl so there is plenty of room to get maple syrup on everything.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and pile on the granola. Try to get about a 1/4 inch layer. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Until the edges begin to brown.

Remove from oven and let cool completely. Break up everything with fingers and move to an airtight container.

As with most things, the longer you take to eat it, the more stale it will get. Especially since there are no preservatives or oil.

Yummers!

Julia’s in South Haven, Michigan

I have wonderful family in South Haven, Michigan and visited briefly in January. South Haven, right on Lake Michigan, is a vacation town and thus has much less hustle in the winter. But funerals happen all year round and I got to be there in the snow.

One afternoon my brother and I were hungry for lunch and Happy Cow indicated Julia’s had vegan options. My aunt had shared it was one of her favorite places in all the other seasons, but had not been in winter. So we tried it and I’m glad we did.

Upon entering I quickly noticed that vegan chili was the soup du jour. Hallelujah! A cold day needed warm chili.

In addition, there were several clearly labeled vegan bakery items.

I was so happy. It can be very challenging to eat out in small towns and previous visits to South Haven had not had as much to choose from.

I got the vegan chili and a blueberry almond power cookie.

Yummers! My brother also got something he enjoyed, but it wasn’t vegan and so I don’t remember the details.

The space was clean and I was so thankful during a cold and sad day. I probably came off as a weirdo to the staff, but they took it in stride and just smiled at my enthusiasm. Julia’s gets four out of five vegan cupcakes for being there when I needed them. If ever in South Haven, Michigan, a very cute town, stop by Julia’s and experience for yourself.

Delicieux in Montreal

Our last day in Montreal we headed to the Mile End neighborhood to explore. It is not known as a tourist area and we wanted to experience a bit of what life in Montreal is like for residents. In addition to a coffeehouse that has live music almost every hour, we stopped at Delicieux for lunch.

I hadn’t done any research to know what we were in for, but the food was wonderful. Everyone orders inside and then the food is brought to you if the place is slow or you pick up from a counter when busy. It was slow during our visit and we sat outside.

We decided to begin with elaborate smoothies.

They were yummers! Next we each picked out a signature bowl.

Again, yummers! We were very pleasantly surprised by the food, which was our consistent response to the food in Montreal. Everything was incredible.

Delicieux gets four out of five vegan cupcakes. The food was wonderful, if a bit challenging to know what we were ordering. For example, the “smoothies” are not exactly smoothies, so we were not sure what we were getting. They are more like bowls in elaborate glasses. But the place is worth visiting if ever in Mile End Montreal.

Philly Vegan Pop Flea and Announcement

A Power of Color Market happened in Philadelphia yesterday. It was great fun!

There were so many fun things to try and talk about.

This was my first Pop Flea and I was not disappointed. They happen about once a month is different locations through Philadelphia and the suburbs. I came home with all these fun things:

There were fewer food vendors compared to the Vegan Shop-ups in NYC, but I got nachos, mac n cheese, and a cookie from Soy Cafe and brought home some of the nacho nut cheese.

Now for the announcement… hubby and I have moved to Philly! More fun stuff from Philly forthcoming. Woo hoo!

Here are closeups of the fun things I picked up at the Pop Flea from Fili Kale, Soap by Alana, Empress Wholistics, and Live Decent.

Sophie Sucree Bakery in Montreal

There are croissants all over Montreal, but not many vegan ones. As soon as I figured out there was a vegan bakery, I had to figure out how to fit it into our itinerary. The yumminess was not disappointing!

Sophie Sucree is adorable and the person helping me was incredibly patient while I figured out what I wanted right before closing.

How could I pick between so many yummy options?!? I couldn’t and got several things. I picked out two truffles, a croissant, and a spanakopita. Hubby picked out a chocolate chip cookie, a peanut butter cookie, and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

Everything was yummers! When in Montreal, definitely make your way to Sophie Sucree. It will be worth the planning.

Invitation V in Montreal

Our first night in Montreal we wanted to eat at Invitation V recently moved to Old Town. We could have too, but it was a prix fixe menu as a fundraiser for Sea Shepherd. I adore the work of Sea Shepherd, but we really wanted to explore the menu and decided to make a reservation for a different night.

The place is open and airy with a cafe-like area upstairs that is adorable.

The waitstaff was very kind and offered to move our table to one with a window as soon as it opened. We didn’t even ask for that!

I decided to try the Katsudon bowl and Hubby picked the Cesar salad and minestrone soup. All was yummers.

We also picked out the chocolate cake for dessert.

I wasn’t crazy about the cake, but it was beautiful.

The food was beautifully presented and we had such a nice experience. Invitation V gets five out of five vegan cupcakes and I very much recommend a visit to this restaurant when in Old Town Montreal. Yummers!

Vegano in Montreal

We just had to try the restaurant called Vegano! Loud and proud, with that name, about being vegan.

The space could use a spruce up and deep clean, but we took a table at the window to get more light.

French menus arrive on clipboards and are covered in plastic. Luckily the owner was happy to translate for us and the waitress was great at helping make sure we got what we wanted.

I picked the chickpea omelet with sweet potatoes and greens. Hubby picked a pizza and asked for a spinach salad to be made special.

It was so much food! My omelet was tasty, but a bit dry. This may be normal with chickpea omelets, I had never had one before. The pizza was good. A typical vegan cheese pizza.

We could not finish our meals with so much food, but enjoyed everything.

Vegano gets three out of four vegan cupcakes. The food is tasty, but not amazing and the space is not as clean as other vegan restaurants close by. The staff is wonderful.

Lola Rosa in Montreal

One night while in Montreal we decided we were not ready to go back to the hotel and that we wanted dessert. A quick search led us to Lola Rosa.

The menu includes things like poutine and quesadillas, but we headed straight for the dessert case and picked out a slice of lemon custard pie with meringue and raspberry sauce and a slice of chocolate and banana cream pie. Yummers!

Hubby was excited to try vegan custard and meringue. The lemon custard was really delicious. The chocolate and banana was also yummers, but a poor second to the lemon.

The space is cute with a few small tables and each has drawers with notes of gratitude to the restaurant in them.

Lola Rosa gets three out of five vegan cupcakes. The desserts were nice, but the space dirty and the staff rude. I was surprised by all the gratitude notes based on our experience. But I would go back for the dessert.

LOV in Montreal

I fell in love with Montreal, in part because there is so much great vegan food!

We stayed near Old Town, so most nights we explored a restaurant in that area. Hubby’s favorite was LOV.

It has a sweet and quirky dining room. For example, two tables have swing chairs hanging from the ceiling rather than traditional chairs. I’m glad we didn’t have those because I am certain my clumsy self would have put most of dinner in my lap.

We started with the cheese plate and kale mac’n’cheese.

Both were yummers! I had the lasagna that comes with a Cesar salad and hubby got gnocchi de casa.

Seriously yummers! Hubby even enjoyed my lasagna that was only layers of vegetables. He feels real lasagna has pasta in it, so this means a bunch.

LOV gets five out of five vegan cupcakes. We really enjoyed it. Make sure you have a reservation to make certain you get to try it when in Montreal.