Today I decided to skake things up for lunch, using my lunch break to make a stock-up trip to Target. Instead of one big meal, I had a snack before and a Sun Warrior smoothie after. The snack was a Kind bar and the first time I’ve tried one – Kind Plus Cranberry Almond.
Usually I’m not a snack bar person because a lot of bars I’ve tried weren’t really satisfying for the calorie count and disappeared way too fast. But I couldn’t resist this bar at Trader Joe’s, it seemed considerably bigger than a Larabar with less calories.
And just beautiful packed with so many visible whole ingredients. Anything with this many macadamia nuts can’t be bad, right?
Eating it was an interesting, but positive experience. The bar is very chewy, satisfyingly chewy taking a decent amount of time to savor and taste all the nutty goodness. It also had a strong cranberry flavor with a nice tangy tartness, not over sweetened. I’m a fan of fresh cranberries and have been known to throw them raw into my smoothies, so the tartness was a plus for me.
The large amount of macadamia nuts also contributed to the crunchy texture and rich flavor, another plus for me since they’re one of my favorite nuts.
The only draw back was the bar is sticky being coated in honey, it will turn fingers gooey and probably something you don’t want to feed to a traveling toddler. Hardly an issue if you’re taking bites from the package, but I often break bars into pieces to eat because that’s just one of my many strange habits.
I ate it at the beginning of my lunch with a completely empty and growling stomach to see how long this bar could satisfy the hunger monster. It was for about 1 and a half before my stomach started growling for my packed protein smoothie too – not too shabby. Overall, I would buy this again.
After my day of light grazing in our chilly weather, I was craving a creamy, hearty stew for dinner. My non-vegan husband has been making a cream-loaded spinach sauteed dish frequently that looks very good, minus the loads of cream and butter. I challenged myself to create a vegan version that’s also a one-pot meal. And since I had a soaked jar of chickpeas ready and waiting in the fridge, I got busy.
Creamy Chickpeas Chowder
- 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked at least overnight (Or 1 can of chickpeas)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups chopped broccoli
- 1 cup frozen, chopped spinach
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. tahini
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. coriander
- 4 cups veggie broth
- dash of cayenne pepper
- salt to taste
– Caramelize onions in olive oil in a large soup pot and add garlic.
– Place veggie broth, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, tahini, cumin and coriander in a high speed blender and thoroughly blend.
– Pour mixture into the soup pot and add chickpeas, spinach and broccoli, then bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes.
– Add cayenne pepper and salt to taste and serve. Makes 4 large servings or 6-8 side servings.
For variation, you can use cashews in place of the hemp seeds and up the amount to a cup if you want the sauce thicker. I found the texture was rich and creamy enough for me and really hit the spot, it actually reminded me of creamy clam chowder mixed with a creamy spinach dip. The seasonings blended nicely, it hardly needed any salt and I put in a considerable amount of cayenne pepper because I like a little kick. Craving a hot, creamy chowder? Give this a try.