I love being in my kitchen. Food prepping for the week is actually relaxing for me. I love the smell of granola baking or fresh cookies or a glorious dinner just minutes from being ready to eat.
The problem is that I’m not the greatest cook. I try different things with moderate success but for the most part, I haven’t nailed down the art of recipe creation just yet. I rely heavily on other people to do that work for me. There are no shortage of cookbooks out there but it’s hard to find ones that meet your dietary wishes, taste good and are easy to make. I don’t have the time or energy to find obscure, expensive ingredients that I’ve never heard of.
Being that I’m a big, big, BIG fan of Vega and it’s fantastic product-line, stance on sustainability and lovely selection of recipes on their blog, I was beyond excited to learn that Vega founder, Brendan Brazier was coming out with a cookbook, Thrive Energy. I have a casual working relationship with Vega so I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of Thrive Energy for my humble kitchen.
Before I get into the recipes, let me just say: this book is BEAUTIFUL!! The first thing I noticed when I opened it up was the absolutely stunning photography. It goes beyond your typically, bright, over-saturated food photography and instead is raw, dark, almost moody. It’s absolutely gorgeous and original.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this book. There are so many amazing recipes that are not only easy to make, they are full of flavor, filling and make me feel great, inside and out. One of my favorite recipes from the book is the Cranberry Almond Museli Cereal (pg. 46). It is so filling, so tasty and comically easy and fast to make. I make a pan every week or two and enjoy daily. So good.
My two other favorites that are now a staple in my kitchen are the artichoke tapenade and the black bean veggies burgers. Oh my word, the deliciousness is endless! Plus, both are so quick and easy to make, it’s really win-win.
One thing I really appreciate about this book is that it gives you storing instructions as well as a guideline as to how long each recipe will stay good for. It gives me a good gage when meal planning and also on the best ways to store each recipe to ensure maximum freshness.
The only downside for me with the book is that a lot of the recipes for dips and burger toppings (which look/sound amazing!!!) have an ingredient that I absolutely cannot find anywhere!! I cannot find Aioli. The brand listed in the book is not sold locally. I have been on the hunt but so far, have had no luck. It’s certainly not a deal-breaker but I would like to be able to find it as it does make an appearance in many recipes. Alternatives are abundant so don’t feel that you can’t make anything in the book without it.
All in all, I am enjoying this book and the new, delicious vegan foods it’s bringing into my household. It never ceases to amaze me when people assume that a vegetarian or vegan diet is bland and restricted. This book is proof positive that vegan food can be made sustainably, deliciously and easily in the comfort of your own home.
As a special thank you, I’ve got a recipe from the book that I’ve been given permission to share on the blog for you guys to enjoy. I love my smoothies and I love being fit and active. One of my main recovery snacks is a protein smoothie. Though I can’t use the Vega Sport product currently on account of Fit Baby 3.0 (who is currently kicking like crazy!), I do rely on the product during my harder training cycles and workouts. Here is one that makes my mouth water every time I see it. Feel free to sub in any protein powder you use.
Cookies & Cream Recovery Smoothie
Serves 1 / Makes 2 1/4 cups (550 mL)
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Special Equipment: high-speed blender
Ideal for strength athletes in pursuit of building lean mass, this recovery smoothie is a delicious way to feed your fatigued muscles while reducing inflammation and oxidative damage to your cells. Popularized at the Thrive Energy Lab by those who just spent themselves at the gym.
2 tbsp (30 mL) raw cashews
2 tbsp (30 mL) vegan dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp (15 mL) cacao nibs
1 tbsp (15 mL) raw cashew butter
1 tbsp (15 mL) pitted and chopped Medjool dates
1 scoop vanilla Vega Sport Performance Protein
1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened almond milk (or homemade, page 23)
¼ cup (60 mL) agave nectar or maple syrup (optional)
*the optional agave is recommended if your workout has exceeded 90 minutes
About 2 cups (500 mL) ice cubes
In a blender, combine all the ingredients except the ice. Add ice to about 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the liquid line. Blend on high speed until smooth and creamy.
Thrive Energy Cookbook by Brendan Brazier
Publisher: Penguin Canada