April 03, 2014 April 03, 2014/ Morgan
I recently broke down and bought myself a brand new “big girl” blender – a Blendtec! Now there are different high speed blenders I could have picked but this is about why I chose this one over a Vitamix or Ninja Blender.
The Blendtec and Vitamix both have tons of power, blend beautifully and make one heck of a smoothie or nut butter. I also looked at getting a Ninja as an alternative but everything I read told me that it just wasn’t going to do what I wanted so I turned to the “big girl” contenders. I know that the Ninja does work great for a lot of people, but it just wasn’t going to cut it for the jobs I was planning on putting a high speed blender though.
So since the Blendtec and Vitamix did what I wanted equally why did I choose one over the other? Well first of all the Blendtec has a great warranty for their refurbished models (which is what I initially was looking to purchase.) They have the same great 7 year warranty as their other blenders (Vitamix has a 5 year warranty for their refurbished models.) Refurbished models go through high standard inspections for both companies, so if you’re looking for a great deal on a high speed blender but you don’t just HAVE to have a brand new one I suggest looking at refurbished! (You can buy a refurbished Blendtec for $279.95 with free shipping here!)
Another reason I ended up choosing a Blendtec is that it is super easy to clean on the base. I am kind of picky when it comes to buying new small appliances because my food processor has a ton of nooks and crannies that get food stuck in them. I don’t have time to deal with that! I’m a busy mom and I don’t want to have to clean my stuff with a tooth brush every time I use it. The Blendtec has a flat surface with no places for food or smoothies to get stuck in. The model I ended up buying (The Designer Series with Wildside Jar) has a totally solid touch screen surface that I can clean with a quick swipe of a rag.
Here is the Vitamix Blades for comparison. Sharp and harder to clean everything out of the bottom because of the design.
The biggest perk for me though is the blade design. It is a super strong blunt blade that is ultra easy to clean around. I can get every last drop of nut butter or smoothie out without a hassle. (No tearing up your favorite rubber spatulas because of sharp blades and tiny spaces!) Food just doesn’t get stuck under it like the competitors blade. Also, if I want to stick my hand in there (with the jar completely off the base and SAFE of course….) to you know.. get the last drop of brownie batter smoothie and lick it off my fingers? Well guess what – I won’t get cut at all! That’s good for a clumsy woman like me! Especially when cleaning it!
Won’t cut yourself while cleaning it! Woop!
Speaking of cleaning – the jar and lids can go in the dishwasher. A Vitamix cannot. A perk every now and then! I usually just clean the jar and lids right after I use them but there has been a time or two that I left it and was happy to be able to throw it in with the rest of my dishes for a quick wash.
It also fits under my counter! Awesome!
It has a pulse button which is handy!
And they also have a nifty 3 Payment Plan for blenders over $350 with no finance charges (just a small convenience fee) if you want to spread your payments out over 3 months!
So yeah, that’s why I chose the Blendtec. I’m so happy I finally made the decision so I could make even more fun recipes for you guys!
Here are a few recipes I wanted to share with you that I’ve made so far with my Blendtec Blender!
Creamy Dreamy Horchata
I can hardly think of a more refreshing drink than horchata! The almonds make it ultra creamy and extra yummy!!
- 1 cup white rice (you can also use brown rice if you want)
- 1/4 cup raw almonds
- 1 6″ stick cinnamon
- 1/2 cup sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
- 8 cups water
Blend the rice, almonds, cinnamon, sweetener and 4 cups of water together in your blender until chopped up pretty fine (I used the Whole Juice program for this.) Add the remaining 4 cups of water and soak the mixture for 3-4 hours in the refrigerator (alternately you could soak everything together first and then blend. It works both ways!) Strain through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. Serve over ice. It’s especially great with Mexican food (or by the pool. Throw in a shot of vodka and you’re good to go!)
Green Hippie Smoothie
Kale smoothies are amazingly delicious and it blows my mind how the blender totally obliterates all traces of the kale in smoothies! Really, there’s not a single speck of leaves to get stuck in your teeth – just all totally smooth and delicious.
- 1 large orange
- 2 cups kale
- 1 cup frozen mango
- juice 1 lime
- 1 cup ice
- 3 Tablespoons hemp seeds
- 1/2 cup almond milk (or water)
- 1 cup water
Blend using the Whole Juice program button on your Blendtec (or until totally smooth on whatever blender you are using!)
Brownie Batter Smoothie
This makes an ultra smooth delicious chocolate smoothie that you MIGHT just get addicted to. Just had to warn you!
Blend using the Smoothie program button on your Blendtec (or until totally smooth on whatever blender you are using!)
note: After deciding which blender I ultimately wanted, I chose to become an affiliate for Blendtec. They did not pay me for this review or opinion. I do make a small commission if you buy through any of the affiliate links on this page. Doing so helps support forealslife.com so that I can continue posting recipes for you! I really appreciate your support! Much love, Morgan!
I love fries! Well, I love homemade baked fries the most. I eat them several times a week (okay most days..) and I can’t imagine how sad my plate would be without a big side of fries! I love russet potato fries, red potato wedges, yellow potato fries and of course sweet potato fries!!
And while I LOVE just plain fries with a bit of salt, I love to sometimes jazz them up with a bit of something. This something is some awesomely delicious oil free vegan pesto made with cilantro and pepitas (if you haven’t had them they are hulled pumpkin seeds!)
If you hate cilantro you can use basil instead, I won’t judge!
Oh and by the way – my family loves these fry baskets that I picked up at the store! So fun for sandwiches and fries outside or at home sitting on the couch! We just line them with parchment paper and throw our meals into them. Easy clean up!
makes 4-6 servings
- 2-3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into fries
- 2 cups loosely packed cilantro
- 1/2 cup toasted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 jalapeno, optional
- juice of 1 lime
- big pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup water
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick silicon baking mat.
Lay the sweet potato fries on the baking sheets in a single layer and bake for 15 minutes. Flip the fries and then bake for another 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
Meanwhile blend the cilantro, pepitas, garlic, jalapeno, lime juice, salt and water together until smooth (I used my awesome new Blendtec for a really smooth sauce but a food processor would work as well!) Taste and add any additional salt as necessary.
Toss the fries with as much of the pesto as you like! Any leftover pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
March 31, 2014 March 31, 2014/ Morgan
Ever get a craving that you just can’t shake? (Story of my life!) I wanted some yummy Sloppy Joe’s that tasted like the stuff I grew up with – the stuff, yes friends, in a can! Of course I wasn’t going to just grab a can of that stuff and go so I had to make my own. It was silly easy, delicious and I must say the very dang best vegan Sloppy Joes i’ve ever had!
I call them Sloppy Mo’s because, well, 1.) my name is Morgan and 2.) I also go by “mom” a lot. A LOT. I’m thinking about changing my name. And not telling my child what my new name is! Hahah! Just kidding of course.
But really, if you miss that beefy delicious mess on a bun you have got to try this out. The Mr. even requested that I make it again for him to have while I’m out of town! Since it’s so incredibly easy to make I just had to oblige.
- 1 (14oz) can chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 Tablespoon molasses
- 2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 Tablespoons vinegar (malt or rice vinegar work great!)
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 lb (16 oz) crumbled tempeh
- salt and pepper to taste
Blend the chopped tomatoes, ketchup, sugar, molasses, yellow mustard, garlic and vinegar together until totally smooth and set aside (I used my Blendtec but you could totally use an immersion blender!)
Cook the chopped onion, pepper and tempeh in a nonstick pan over medium high heat until the onions are translucent and the tempeh is slightly browned. Add a bit of water as necessary to prevent sticking.
Pour in the sauce and turn the heat down to medium low. Cook until it becomes thick and delicious!
March 31, 2014/ Morgan/
Need a big bowl of awesome today? You’ve got to try this! If you’re a fan of Pho (“fu”) you will no doubt be excited to dive in to a bowl as soon as you can. NOW, just a little caveat: I do not claim that this is authentic in any way. There, now that’s out of the way let’s focus on making (but mostly EATING) a delicious veggie and tofu noodle soup!!
This pho starts with a very fragrant broth and then you add in tons of different fixin’s! It’s a great soup for a group of people that all like things a little different. You can make your own bowl extra spicy, extra brothy, with more Baked Ginger Tofu, tons of cilantro, or however you desire! I like lots and lots of herbs, lime juice and chili garlic paste – yummmy!!
Oh and with tons of the Baked Ginger Tofu. It is, by far, my favorite baked tofu recipe to date!
Vegan pho is a much lighter soup than a traditional meat pho but I really prefer it like this! (Lighter just means that I don’t feel so heavy and gross after eating a huge bowl.)
Oh and I had to throw in a picture below of what it looks like once you start devouring it. It’s still gorgeous and tempting once you stir everything together.
- 4 large shallots, cut in half lengthwise
- 2 large thumb size pieces of ginger, cut in half lengthwise
- 6 carrots, roughly cut into chunks
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, tops and bottoms trimmed off and sliced into 1/2″ pieces
- 1 whole bulb of garlic, peeled and smashed
- 3 whole star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 10 cups of water
- reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce to taste (I used a bit more than 1/4 cup. You may want more or less.)
- juice of 2 small limes
Preheat your broiler and place the shallots and ginger, cut side up on a baking sheet. Cook until they are charred and blackened in spots along the top.
Throw the shallots, ginger and everything else into a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat to low and simmer for 90 minutes (You can also do this in your pressure cooker the same as you would make any broth.) Strain through a fine mesh strainer and discard the stuff left in the strainer.
You can make this broth ahead of time and refrigerate it or freeze it if you like. We freeze soup broths in large wide mouth mason jars (leave around an inch of headspace to prevent breaking your jars!)
Baked Ginger Tofu
This is my FAVORITE baked tofu recipe ever. I could eat it every day. It is super delicious in this soup!
After you have pressed your tofu and sliced it up place it in a zip top bag. Add in all of the remaining ingredients, close the bag and press all of the air out. Let the tofu marinate in the bag for half an hour or longer.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat baking mat. Place the tofu on the lined baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake for 20 minutes and then take out and flip. Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned.
Vegan Pho Soup
- Vegan Pho Broth (recipe above!)
- 3/4-1 lb wide rice noodles
- lime wedges
- mung bean sprouts
- reduced sodium tamari
- sriracha or chili garlic paste
- minced jalapenos or serrano peppers
- baby bok choi or sliced cabbage, blanched in boiling water for 30 seconds
- basil (thai basil if you can find it!)
- shredded carrots
- sliced green onions
- thinly sliced red onion or shallots
- sliced Baked Ginger Tofu (recipe above!)
I’m not kidding when I say that the herbs (cilantro, basil and mint) are NOT optional! Neither is the lime juice. Those just make this soup what it is. Beyond that, feel free to use what you like and leave out what you don’t. Adding every one of these things will result in a super amazing soup that is very refreshing and satisfying!
Boil the noodles in water until they are cooked according to the package directions. Drain them and add them to each bowl. Ladle some soup broth on top.
I like to set up the table with all of the fixings laid out so that everyone can add what they want in the amounts that they want.
This soup has all of the qualities and ingredients to balance out a great mix of salty, sweet, sour and spicy so add extra tamari, lime juice and hot sauce as needed!
March 25, 2014/ Morgan/
Some days only a simple meal will do. I do love fancy complicated dishes but don’t forget that I’m also a mother who is too dang busy to cook a lot of the time. I have to throw stuff together real fast but that doesn’t mean that I have to skimp out on health and flavors.
I’ve been getting asparagus on sale this week (I’m buying it compulsively because it’s so cheap!) so what better thing to do than throw together a soup that cooks in 20 minutes! It’s simple, creamy (but still vegan!) and super low calorie (you know, so you can eat doughnuts later!!)
Since it is very simple you can look at is like a primed canvas to build upon. Add extra vegetables, fresh herbs, different spices, or just leave it simple because simple doesn’t mean bland. Spring asparagus is so incredibly flavorful that you may not want to add a single thing!
- 2 lbs asparagus, wood ends trimmed off
- 2 cups chopped cauliflower
- 4 cups vegetable broth (low sodium is best!)
- 3 shallots or 1 small onion, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
Cook the onions in a nonstick pan over medium high heat until they become translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute or so, or until fragrant.
Add the broth to the pan along with the cauliflower. Chop your asparagus into 1-2 inch pieces and add to the pot as well.
Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes
Blend up with your immersion blender, high speed blender or whatever you’ve got until it is silky smooth. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste! You could also add any fresh herbs that you enjoy here such as dill, parsley, basil or thyme.
To make the fancy asparagus tip garnish cut the tips off before adding to the soup and set aside. Blanch them in a separate pot of boiling water for 60 seconds and then dunk into ice water to stop the cooking process. Garnish your soup with them and feel ultra fancy-pantsed!