Month: September 2013

The No Meat Athlete Perfect Smoothie Formula

Do you love a good smoothie? Do you love how good a smoothie is for you? Either way, you are going to love this recipe and helpful suggestions from Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete.

“No Meat Athlete was founded in 2009 by Matt Frazier, at about the same time he went vegetarian. Six months later, Matt qualified for the Boston Marathon with a time of 3:09:59 at the Wineglass Marathon, over 100 minutes faster than his first marathon time seven years prior.”

How amazing is that? Matt is a shining example that knowing what you’re eating and eating the right things can make a huge difference in your life.

The Perfect Smoothie Formula
Excerpted from No Meat Athlete by Matt Frazier

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

When I first discovered smoothies as the perfect, high-energy, plant-based breakfast, I found a recipe I liked and drank that smoothie every single day. As you can guess, I got tired of that smoothie, and I realized I needed a better way, so I came up with The Perfect Smoothie Formula—just one recipe to remember and a different smoothie every day of your life.

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In addition to being composed almost entirely of raw fruits and vegetables, smoothies are great for serving as a vehicle for other nutritious ingredients. An example follows this recipe, or you can choose an ingredient from each category listed below (or feel free to use an ingredient
we haven’t listed).

1 soft fruit
2 small handfuls frozen or fresh fruit
2 to 4 tablespoons (16 to 32 g) protein powder
2 tablespoons binder
1 1⁄2 tablespoons (23 ml) oil (optional)
1 1⁄2 cups (355 ml) liquid
1 tablespoon sweetener, to taste
Superfood add-ins
6 ice cubes (omit if soft fruit is frozen)

Select one or more ingredients of each type and add to the blender in specified proportions. Blend until smooth. You may find that you need to use more or less water to get the consistency you like.

Yield: 2 smoothies (16 ounces [475 ml] each)

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 390 Calories; 25 g Fat (53.1% calories from fat); 17 g Protein; 32 g Carbohydrate; 8 g Dietary Fiber; 25 mg Cholesterol; 65 mg Sodium

Recipe Note
If you have a high-speed blender that can purée, say, a whole apple or carrot without leaving any chunks behind, then the purée of almost any fruit or vegetable can act as your soft fruit in this recipe.

Suggestions to Create Your Own Smoothie

For each component of the Perfect Smoothie Formula, choose one or a combination of suggested ingredients below (or try one I haven’t thought of!).

Recommended soft fruits (choose 1)
Recommended fresh or frozen fruits (2 small handfuls)
Strawberries (you can leave the greens on if you have a powerful blender)

Recommended protein powders (2 to 4 tablespoons [16 to 36 g], a blend of all three is recommended)
Sprouted brown rice (it tastes chalkier than hemp,but packs more protein per dollar)

Recommended binders (2 tablespoons)
Ground flaxseed (14 g)
Almond butter or any nut butter (32 g)
Soaked raw almonds (soak for several hours and rinse before using) (18 g pre-soaked)
Rolled oats, whole or ground (10 g)
Udo’s Wholesome Fast Food (16 g)
Raw Walnuts (13 g)

Recommended oils (optional, 1½ tablespoons)
Flaxseed oil (23 ml)
Udo’s Blend or other essential fatty acid blend (23 ml)
Hemp oil (23 ml)
Virgin coconut oil (21 g)
Coconut butter (also called coconut manna, includes coconut flesh so is more a whole food than oil) (21 g)
Recommended liquids (1½ cups [355 ml])
Water (my favorite)
Almond milk or other nut milk
Hemp milk
Brewed tea
Brewed coffee

Recommended sweeteners (optional, 1 tablespoon, or to taste)
Agave nectar (it’s high in fructose, so choose this only before workouts) (20 g)
Stevia (the amount needed will vary by brand)
Lucuma powder (12 g)
Medjool dates, pitted (2 to 3 dates)
Maple syrup (20 g)
Superfood add-ins (optional, amounts vary)
Cacao nibs (1 to 2 tablespoons [8 to 16 g])
Carob chips (1 to 2 tablespoons [11 to 22 g])
Ground organic cinnamon (1 to 2 teaspoons [2.3 to 4.6 g])
Chia seeds, whole or ground (1 to 2 tablespoons [14 to 28 g])
Greens powder (1 to 2 teaspoons [2.6 to 5.3 g])
Whole spinach leaves (1 to 2 handfuls)
Maca powder (1 to 2 teaspoons [2.6 to 5.3 g])
Jalapeno pepper, seeds and stem removed (one small pepper)
Ground cayenne pepper (small pinch)
Sea salt (pinch)
Lemon or lime juice (1 tablespoon [15 ml])
Miso paste (1 teaspoon)
Raw pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, shells removed (1 to 2 tablespoons [9 to 18 g])

Combining the winning elements of proven training approaches, motivational stories, and innovative recipes, No Meat Athlete is a unique guidebook, healthy-living cookbook, and nutrition primer for the beginner, every day, and serious athlete who wants to live a meatless lifestyle. Author and popular blogger, Matt Frazier, will show you that there are many benefits to embracing a meat-free athletic lifestyle, including:

– Weight loss, which often leads to increased speed
– Easier digestion and faster recovery after workouts
– Improved energy levels to help with not just athletic performance but your day-to-day life
– Reduced impact on the planet

Whatever your motivation for choosing a meat-free lifestyle, this book will take you through everything you need to know to apply your lifestyle to your training. Matt Frazier provides practical advice and tips on how to transition to a plant-based diet while getting all the nutrition you need; uses the power of habit to make those changes last; and offers up menu plans for high performance, endurance, and recovery. Once you’ve mastered the basics, Matt delivers a training manual of his own design for runners of all abilities and ambitions. The manual provides training plans for common race distances and shows runners how to create healthy habits, improve performance, and avoid injuries.

No Meat Athlete will take you from the start to finish line, giving you encouraging tips, tricks, and advice along the way.

Slow Cooking Week: Breakfast Apple Crunch

Don’t forget to enter our Slow Cooking Week giveaway. You could win eight amazing slow cooker cookbooks!

Breakfast Apple Crunch

Excerpted from 3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Recipes by Suzanne Bonet

Cooking time: 5 to 6 hours on LOW, 2 to 3 hours on HIGH

Attention: Minimal

Apple Crunch for breakfast is appealing when the weather turns cold. The crunchy topping makes it all the more satisfying.

One 21-ounce (595-g) can cinnamon-and-spice apple pie filling
2 cups (244 g) Basic Granola (recipe below) plus a smidge more for garnish
1/2 cup (60 ml) water
4 tablespoons (56 g) lightly salted butter, cut into pieces
Spray the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray.Put the pie filling, granola, water, and butter in the slow cooker and mix well. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours or on HIGH for 2 to 3 hours.

To serve, divide the oatmeal among 5 cereal bowls. Sprinkle each serving with extra granola for added crunch.YIELD: 5 generous servings

ADD IT! Serve Breakfast Apple Crunch with milk or a dollop of whipped cream.

NOTE: The Golden Delicious apple is one of the best apples for cooking and baking. Interestingly enough, it’s not related to the Red Delicious, which is the best apple for snacking. Other common cooking and baking apples are the Jonathan, Granny Smith, and Rome.

NUTRITIONAL ANALYSIS: One serving of the basic recipe contains 397 calories; 16 g fat; 5 g protein; 62 g carbohydrate; and 5 g dietary fiber.

Basic Granola
Cooking time: 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours Attention: Stir every 30 minutes
Basic granola—or designer granola! Keep this recipe simple for a plain but delicious granola, or pump it up with antioxidants by tossing in your favorite combination of dried fruits, nuts, and seeds.
4 cups (300 g) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup (113 g) honey or maple syrup
3 tablespoons (45 ml) vegetable oil, enriched with vitamin E, if desired
Spray the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray.
Put the rolled oats, honey, and vegetable oil in the slow cooker and mix well. Partially cover, propping the lid open with a twist of foil or a wooden skewer to allow the moisture to escape, and cook on LOW for 21/2 to 31/2 hours, or until the oat morsels are roasted dry and golden brown, stirring every 30 minutes.
Allow the granola to cool, then transfer it to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator.
YIELD: 5 servings
NUTRITIONAL ANALYSIS: One serving of the basic recipe contains 390 calories; 12 g fat; 10 g protein; 62 g carbohydrate; and 7 g dietary fiber.

People love the convenience of their slow cookers. What could be better than walking in the door after a hard day’s work to the smell of beef stew, ready and waiting? A beef stew that only requires three ingredients, that’s what!

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The problem with most slow cooker recipes is that they require lots of ingredients and steps before you actually “fix it and forget it.” Not this book-these are truly simple recipes, and best of all, they are memorable, not mushy!

You’ll find recipes like:
*Rosemary Lamb Stew
*Chicken Curry
*Three-Alarm Chili
*Spicy Pot Roast with Onions
*Coq au Vin
*Pork Roast with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Plus, you’ll find recipes for desserts like cheesecake and custard and appetizers like chicken wings and artichoke dip!

Slow Cooking Week: Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Don’t forget to enter our Slow Cooking Week giveaway. You could win eight amazing slow cooker cookbooks!
Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes


Excerpted from Paleo Slow Cooker by Arsy Vartanian
The already intense flavor of sun-dried tomatoes allows you to make a tasty, yet quick, dish, without having to add too many ingredients. Recipes like this are a must in our house since we both work full-time, have very busy schedules, but love to enjoy delicious homemade meals.Ingredients
½ onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons (28 g) ghee
1 jar (8 ounces or 225 g) sun dried tomatoes
3 pounds (1.36 kg) skinless chicken breast
½ cup (120 ml) chicken broth
2 teaspoons dried oregano
½ teaspoons basil
Salt and pepper to taste just before serving

Cooking Instructions
In a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut a big pocket in each chicken breast.

Spoon the onion and garlic into each pocket and follow with two to three dried tomatoes. Carefully transfer stuffed breast into the slow cooker.

Add the broth and sprinkle the herbs over the chicken and broth.

Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Salt and pepper to taste, then serve.


Note: This is a revised and updated edition.

The Paleo diet has been the latest health movement, taking the low carb diet a step further by eliminating grains and legumes and eating only lean, grass-fed meat. In short they consume only what was available to ancient humans or cavemen.

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The theory says that by eating what human bodies were designed to eat, people will be healthier, have fewer illnesses, and lose weight. In many cases, Paleo diet consumers are also fueling their P90X or Cross Fit exercise routines, the two most popular fitness regimes in the country. The health benefits have been supported by major studies. This is a popular trend much like the low carb diet. It is combined with the great bookselling topic of slow cooking. While the cavemen didn’t have slow cookers, they certainly used slow cooking techniques over fires which make the meals in this book one step closer to the origins and theory behind the diet. The delicious dishes are as homey as they are healthy—and ready when you are.

Slow Cooking Week: Cheezy Butternut Squash Macaroni

Welcome to Slow Cooking Week here at SPOON! We’re cooking up all sorts of amazing things using our slow cookers here in the office. Did you know you can bake cookies, make drinks, create snacks, and mains and sides all in your slow cooker? Pretty awesome stuff, actually.

We thought there was no better way to start off Slow Cooker Week than with a recipe from the amazing, Kathy Hester. After all, she is our slow cooker queen. And, it’s also Meatless Monday here (a nod to our friends celebrating Vegan MoFo), so even if you’re not vegan, why not try this recipe as-is to see what you think.

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Enter our slow cooking week giveaway for a chance to take home prize pack that includes eight amazing slow cooker cookbooks!

If you want to cook along with us, send in pictures of your slow cooked creations to We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Cheezy Butternut Squash Macaroni
Excerpted from Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just For You by Kathy Hester(with photography by Kate Lewis)



This is mac ‘n’ cheez that’s all grown up. It’s covered with a rich butternut squash and nutritional yeast sauce that’s as nutritious as it is delicious.

1½ cups (210 g) cubed butternut squash or other winter squash
½ cup (90 g) chopped tomatoes
1½ cups (355 ml) water
2 cloves garlic, minced
Three 3-inch (7.5 cm) sprigs fresh thyme or 1½ teaspoons (1.5 g) dried thyme
One 2-inch (5 cm) sprig fresh rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary

¼ cup (24 g) nutritional yeast flakes
½ to 1 cup (120 to 235 ml) unsweetened nondairy milk
1½ cups (158 g) uncooked whole-wheat macaroni (*use gluten-free)
Salt and pepper, to taste

In the morning: Add the morning ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 7 to 9 hours.

Thirty to 45 minutes before serving: Purée the contents of the slow cooker in a blender with the nutritional yeast and ½ cup (120 ml) of the nondairy milk. Add the mixture back into the slow cooker and turn it up to high. Stir in the macaroni, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.

Stir well and add more milk if the sauce is getting too thick. Cook for 15 to 25 minutes more or until the pasta is al dente. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Make sure to check on the pasta every 10 minutes or so until you get good at gauging how fast it will cook in your slow cooker. It cooks faster in the smaller slow cooker.

YIELD: about 5 cups (700 g)

PER 1-CUP (140 G) SERVING: 168.2 calories; 1.1 g total fat; 0.1 g saturated fat; 6.9 g protein; 33.7 g carbohydrate; 5.9 g dietary fiber; 0 mg cholesterol

PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOKING TIME: 7½ to 9¾ hours

Make this dish even healthier by adding in some chopped greens or fresh broccoli. You can’t have too much of this good thing.

If you have a small family or are looking for better-portioned vegan meals (that don’t force you to eat chili for a week straight!), Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just for You is the perfect resource for you. Featuring recipes geared specifically for use with a 1.5- to 2-quart slow cooker, you’ll find endless meal ideas that you can make with minimal effort and maximum taste. Just prep a few items the night before or morning of, and come home to a hot meal—or side, or dessert—the moment you walk in the door!

The little slow cooker is so easy to use that it makes cooking everyday a snap, so you can have a healthy variety of foods at a fraction of the cost of eating out. Inside, you’ll find a whole new world of food to fall in love with, from breakfast-y Pumpkin Polenta to comforting White Bean Quinoa Gumbo to luscious Blueberry Lemon Cake. You’ll be amazed at what your little slow cooker can do!