Friday, March 25, 2016

Hemp Protein Smoothie Mixes are Here!

Last week, I received an amazing package at my door from Manitoba Harvest. A few times per year, I put through a mega-order of about 50lbs of hemp hearts and hemp protein. If you wonder why, you probably don't normally read my blog! Although that wouldn't be too shocking, as I don't update it frequently enough!

I've been using hemp seeds for over ten years. But it's really been over the last five years that I have found almost every possible use for their hemp hearts. I did a whole month for Vegan MoFo a few years ago with just some ideas, and since then, I've tried countless more, but sadly, have little time to blog about them. But I always tweet!

In a nutshell, or should I say, hemp seed shell, they are amazing because each 30g gram serving of hemp hearts has 10g of complete protein, and 10g omega 3 and 6. As a vegan, that's pretty important, but also as a mom of an allergic kid, they are an easy substitute for nuts. Also as a mom of three, two of which are picky, I love that I can toss them into baking, on salads, in smoothies, etc. without too much fanfare.

I have also loved their protein powders - I keep meaning to write up my 'Bran' Muffin recipe that uses their Hemp Pro Fibre hemp protein powder, I loved to throw in Hemp Pro 70 into smoothies and really loved making truffles and protein balls out of their Chocolate and Vanilla Hemp Pro 70 flavours. So when, over the last year, I was seeing their Hemp Protein Smoothie in Mixed Berry flavour at Costco without seeing much on Manitoba Harvest's Facebook and Twitter about it, I have to admit my curiosity was piqued.

And then this lovely box arrived:

And when I opened it, I let out a little squeal:

Mixed Berry! Vanilla Chai! Chocolate! Oh boy! I was EXCITED. Plus a super cool Blender Bottle and measuring spoons. I was all set! 

Like the other hemp protein powders from Manitoba Harvest, these ones are chock full of protein - a whopping 15g per 30g serving! But the really sneaky thing that I like is that there are greens included! Spinach, kale and broccoli! It's like a little added bonus.

So to honour my favourite and most versatile 'health' food, I decided to go to town making some stuff with it. I hope you like what you see! Please note that I have no fancy photography - just an iPhone with no editing...ghetto!

Given that this is a 'smoothie' product, I thought, let's not go too far off the beaten path. I made this Mixed Berry Smoothie (above) first to give this flavour a try. I have to say, adding this protein powder not only gave my smoothie a great protein boost, but the Mixed Berry mix added an extra fruity flavour boost. I have to admit, this smoothie tasted exactly like something I'd order from Jamba Juice/Booster Juice (which is meant as a compliment). Really fruity!

Mixed Berry Smoothie
Gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, can be made oil-free (depending on milk used)

1 cup non-dairy milk (I used rice milk)
1 banana, sliced and frozen
1/2 cup frozen sliced strawberries
1/4 cup frozen wild blueberries
2 tbsp Hemp Protein Smoothie - Mixed Berry flavour

Toss all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Makes 2 servings.

Ok, so still on the smoothie front...decided to crack open the chocolate. I made Dreena Burton's Chunky Monkey Smoothie, using hemp seeds instead of almond butter, and my new Chocolate Hemp Protein Smoothie Mix (see pic below). Delicious!

Then decided I wanted to go beyond smoothies when it came to the Vanilla Chai Hemp Protein Smoothie mix. I decided to throw it into my favourite muffin recipe based on one from DIY Vegan. They are gluten-free, oil-free, nut-free and all over just plain awesome. But the boost from the Vanilla Chai Hemp Protein Smoothie mix put them over the top!

Banana-Hemp Muffins
Gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free
Based on recipe from DIY Vegan

3 overripe bananas
3/4 cup hemp milk (I use homemade)
1 cup oat flour
2/3 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup Vanilla Chai Hemp Protein Smoothie mix
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup Hemp Hearts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a couple of muffin trays with 14 liners.

In a large bowl, use an immersion blender to mix bananas and hemp milk. Add in dry ingredients (except hemp hearts) and mix just until smooth. Sprinkle in hemp hearts, and toss just to combine. Evenly distribute batter between 14 prepared muffins cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Makes 14 muffins.

Then I got to thinking about other ways to use my Vanilla Chai mix...I remember trying a 'healthier' Monkey Mix/Puppy Chow Mix and thinking it would be a good fit. Not sure if you are familiar with this Crispix/Chex-based concoction, but the original format involves melted chocolate chips, peanut butter and a lot of icing sugar mixed with cereal. I shudder thinking how I could actually munch on that back in the day. Now that I'm very careful about my sugar intake, the original recipe is a no-go, nor do I have any desire to eat it that way. Anyways, I came across a recipe somewhere that called for using protein powder as a coating for a similar mix instead of icing sugar. Perfect! So here's my version:

Chai Crispix/Chex Mix
Nut-free, oil-free, can be made gluten-free with GF Chex

6 cups Crispix or Chex cereal
1/3 cup melted coconut butter* 
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2-3 tbsp Vanilla Chai Hemp Protein Smoothie mix

Toss cereal into a large bowl. In a small measuring cup, mix together coconut butter and spice. Pour over cereal and toss until cereal is coated. Either keep the cereal mixture in a bowl, or dump it into a large Ziploc bag. Add Vanilla Chai Hemp Protein Smoothie mix and stir or shake until cereal is coated. Makes about 6 cups.

* Note: This is not the same as coconut oil. I make this by dumping a bag of Let's Do Organic shredded coconut in my Vitamix blender and letting it run on full-speed for three minutes...makes 1 cup.

Stepping away from the Vanilla Chai flavour, and back to Chocolate. I thought this stuff would make a pretty damn good fudgy frosting...and I was right! It's pretty thick for cupcakes (seen here) but I think it would be PERFECT for spreading on some black bean brownies. I like this frosting because you don't need any sickening icing sugar nor vegan margarine. 

Chocolate Hemp Protein Frosting
Gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free, can be made oil-free (depending on milk used)

3/4 cup melted coconut butter
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup Chocolate Hemp Protein Smoothie mix
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Use immediately, as frosting sets quickly as coconut butter cools. Makes just over 2 cups.

* Note: This is not the same as coconut oil. I make this by dumping a bag of Let's Do Organic shredded coconut in my Vitamix blender and letting it run on full-speed for three minutes...makes 1 cup.

Since I didn't have too many cupcakes kicking around, I decided to reformat the frosting into an energy bite. Easy peasy! These cute little balls are like milk chocolate bites of heaven. Super easy to pack in my bag or my kids' lunches as a better-for-you treat.

'Milk' Chocolate Energy Bites
Gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free

3/4 cup melted coconut butter*
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup Chocolate Hemp Protein Smoothie mix
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups oat flour
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)

Mix first five ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Add in oats and mix until a soft dough forms. Add in chocolate chips. If dough is too soft to roll, chill in fridge for 15 minutes. Take teaspoonful amounts and roll into balls. Place on a lined cookie sheet. Chill for at least one hour. Keep refrigerated. Makes around 40 bites, depending on amount being rolled.

* Note: This is not the same as coconut oil. I make this by dumping a bag of Let's Do Organic shredded coconut in my Vitamix blender and letting it run on full-speed for three minutes...makes 1 cup.

And if there weren't enough recipes crammed into this post, here's one last one for you! A rich chocolate chia pudding that is ridiculously easy to make. Based on a recipe I found on the Internet but cannot locate, but let's be real - there are so many chia puddings out there anyways...they all can't be that original!

Chocolate Chia Pudding with Hemp Protein
Gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free

1 can full-fat coconut milk
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 cup Chocolate Hemp Protein Smoothie mix, to taste

Add all ingredients except smoothie mix to a 1L mason jar. Stir, then shake vigorously. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, stirring halfway through. When ready to serve, scoop out a serving into a bowl, and add about 1-2 tbsp of Chocolate Hemp Protein Smoothie mix per cup of pudding and stir. Serve immediately. Makes 6-8 servings.

I would love to hear what ideas you might have for me to try with what remains of my smoothie mixes - let me know in the comments! Manitoba Harvest was generous enough to provide a 15% off coupon code when you checkout through their website - hempsmoothielaunch16 - which is good until April 30, 2016. Let me know what flavours/recipes you try! If you post a picture to social media using the hashtag #hempproteinsmoothie and tag +Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods, you have a chance to win a case of your favourite flavour! This contest runs until April 15, 2016, so be sure to try some soon!

* Full disclosure - I was sent this package from Manitoba Harvest and I decided to do a review with some recipes :) I love all of their stuff!

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