Archive / Behind the Scenes

Quick Breakfast Smoothies

Asulia blog quick breakfast smoothies

Photo Sarah Britton

Chances are your mornings are rushed like mine. Whether it’s not remembering if I’ve already shampooed my hair, stuffing last night’s leftovers into a mason jar, or frantically making coffee, there never seems to be enough time in the morning!

If you didn’t start your overnight steel-cut oatmeal  last night (I know I didn’t), you could try something that’s faster to prepare: a breakfast smoothie! Super nutritious, ridiculously easy, surprisingly filling, and requires only two things: a blender and a container you love – I like a glass mason jar.

All smoothies more or less follow the same basic formula (adapted).  You need liquid (i.e. water, juice, almond milk), a textured ‘base’ (i.e. banana, avocado, peanut butter), fruits and/or veggies (fresh or frozen), and extras (spices, oils, grains, sweetener).

Here are some smoothies we love!

Banana Avocado Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk

Place all the ingredients in a blender for about 30 seconds and adjust taste to your liking.

If you don’t have time to use a blender, mash the avocado and banana in a mason jar. You can also add in flaxseed, nuts or differnt seed butters, chia seeds or other.

Banana Bread Super Foods Smoothie

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • ⅓ cup cooked quinoa or buckwheat
  • 1 tablespoon raw walnuts or hemp seeds
  • 2 teaspoon cold-pressed flax oil
  • 1 medjool date, pitted
  • flesh from 1 vanilla bean or ½ teaspoon alcohol-free pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch allspice
  • extra walnuts and ground cinnamon for topping

Place all the ingredients in a blender for about 30 seconds and adjust taste to your liking. Pour into a mason jar and top with additional walnuts and ground cinnamon.

Mojito Smoothie

  • 1 ½ cups nut milk or coconut water
  • 3 Tbsp. hulled hemp seeds
  • ½-1 tsp. spirulina (whatever you can handle)
  • 4 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 dates, pitted
  • handful fresh mint leaves (20-25 leaves)

Place all the ingredients in a blender for about 30 seconds and adjust taste to your liking.

Avocado Kale Superfood Smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana, chopped in small chunks
  • 1/2 cup blueberry soy yogurt
  • 1 cup kale (or spinach) leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

Place all the ingredients in a blender for about 30 seconds and adjust taste to your liking.

Sue’s Kale-full Smoothie

  • 1 cup packed, chopped kale
  • 1/2 a banana
  • 1 wedge of lemon
  • 1/2  an apple
  • 1 scoop of original vega or pea protein
  • 1/4 cup mango juice or berries
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed

Burning hot dumpling demo

asulia blog burning hot benny dumpling demo

One of the fun things we get to do at Asulia is to demo and give out dumpling samples at stores and events. We meet people of all ages. We hear stories. Sometimes people give us things, like poems (true story). We also meet furry friends too, like Benny pictured here at Whole Foods Lynnfield. Isn’t he adorable? I can attest that he has a fluffy soft coat.

And sometimes, the unexpected happens.

The other week, we were at an outdoor summer block party at Whole Foods South Weymouth. As a vendor, we’re asked to bring everything we need to demo. This includes a table, table cloth, cooking equipment, samples, cooler to keep our handcrafted dumplings cool, and more. We were ready.

The sun was out, the grill was on, and all we needed was some electricity for our toaster oven to heat up our fusion dumplings. Simple, right? We’ve done this a hundred times. It’s usually fairly straight forward to run an extension cord, but for this setup, there wasn’t a power strip to divide the electric current for multiple vendors to use. We couldn’t use our toaster oven! Instead, the store kindly let us borrow a gas-powered cooktop. I love cooking with gas stoves!

asulia blog burning hot

Photo courtesy of HuffPost

Things were going great. But, as we were setting up, the gas cartridge slipped and all of a sudden, the cooktop, table, and tablecloth lit up blazing in flames! The store marketing team leader came dashing over with a fire extinguisher. He said he’d never run that fast before. We think he should try out for the Olympic sprint team! Gold all the way Wayne. Thankfully, the fire was put out immediately, and no one was hurt. Post flare up, we used the grill that had a better controlled heat source to continue our sampling.

A huge shout out to the team members at WF South Weymouth for handling the fire situation so well as we went up in smoke!

Just when we think we’ve seen it all at demos, something else surprises us!

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New digs at MassChallenge

Asulia blog new digs at masschallenge

We moved into our summer home at MassChallenge (MC) in the Innovation District a few weeks ago!  During the first week and a half at MC, we attended bootcamp sessions designed to fast track the learning process of this 4 month accelerator program, which is like a condensed version of business school.  We have the privilege of learning from some of the community’s most respected founders from companies such as Monster, Rue La La, Communispace, iRobot (Roomba, your pet’s BF), talented entrepreneurs on the MC staff, and many more.

Post bootcamp, we’ve been meeting more amazing people, hearing from speakers, and attending marketing, team culture, funding, workshops and more. There’s even happy hour once a week, but my favorite is the fizzy water we have on tap in the kitchen! Good thing we juice to keep energy levels up!  The support and community here is amazing. It’s an honor to come in each day and be surrounded by such awesome people. Although Asulia is one of only two food startups here, we all have something to contribute, despite our different industries.

We’ve also been busy redesigning the packaging for our kale, chickpea, and taro root fusion dumplings, expanding into more stores, and out in the community sharing lots of samples at events!

Details and info about free dumpling tastings and where we’ll be next are here.

Hope to see you soon!

 

 

 

Happy Malala Day 2014!

Asulia blog happy malala day

Today at Asulia, we’re celebrating Malala Day and the continued joint effort to send more girls to school. She’s an inspiration to not only me, but many of you too.  Young girls around the world face challenging circumstances just to get an education. This doesn’t have to be the case. Malala turned 17 on July 12th and finish another year of school. Let’s make sure more girls have access to an education. Together, we can make change happen.

In the words of Malala:
“Malala Day is not my day. It is the day of every girl and every boy. It is a day when we come together to raise our voices, so that those without a voice can be heard.”

HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP

1. Share   Show the world what you’re stronger than by sharing this #StrongerThan hashtag on social media now through the end of Malala Day, July 14th, 2014.  Invite your friends, family and community to participate. Here’s a tweet you can send out: I stand w/@Asuliafoods. Together we are #StrongerThan fear, hatred, violence & poverty.

2. Get Involved Visit Malala.org to learn more and, if you feel like it, make a donation to Malala’s organization so that we can create a world where every girl receives an education.

3. Pledge Pick a meaningful action to you and make a commitment to do it! At Asulia, we’ve pledged to donate a portion of proceeds to Room to Read.

With love and gratitude,

Sue

Free Yoga at Fan Pier Park

asulia blog free yoga at fan pier park

Join us for a free yoga class from 6-7pm on 7/24/14 at Fan Pier Park! Ellen Wells from Asana Boston will be leading the class over looking the harbor. 

Asulia Foods will be sponsoring the free event and providing free fusion dumplings. Our friends at Whole Foods Charles River Plaza and Motto will be on hand to help you replenish after class with free snacks and refreshments! 

Please bring your own mat. Class will take place on the grassy park across from Strega Restaurant at One Marina Park Drive (56 Northern Ave), Boston, MA

Donations will be accepted for Room to Read. Even if you can’t attend, you can still support the cause with a donation in any amount. To sign up for the free event, please visit our event page on Facebook.

We can’t wait to see you! Namaste friends : )

 

Redesigning our retail boxes

asulia blog redesigning our retail boxes

It’s time to get out the crayons and markers! We’re redesigning our current Asulia fusion dumpling boxes to fit freezer shelves better and to better catch your attention.

Well not really, since we are ogling at designs online at The Dieline, in grocery stores, and more. I like to sketch out ideas in my little red moleskin notebook and work collaboratively with our designer to come up with new ideas.

While giving out samples of our fusion kale, chickpea, and taro root dumplings at events, I’ve gotten useful feedback about how our retail boxes look, and also more importantly how they make you feel upon first look. This is that it reminded you of another brand, it looked healthy, and simple.

In our initial foray into the world of packaging design, we strived to create a look that was clean, modern, simple, and something that fit in at natural and organic food stores. We accomplished the later so much that we’ve learned that our boxes don’t stand out!

So it’s time for change.

It feels a bit daunting to embark yet again into the world of packaging. Our current packaging may look simple, but it was a long process to get it from concept, to draft, to print.  There are a number of factors to consider when designing a consumer packaged goods product. For example, what message you’d like convey, how certain colors make you feel. With only a few seconds to make a great impression on the shelf, understanding who you’re shoppers are, their needs, and a bit of marketing psychology comes in handy.

Being in the freezer is also different than a product that’s on the regular shelf. You’re looking through pane of glass that can accumulate a bit of condensation at times from the freezer door opening and closing. The use of colors and images need to be adapted to this type of environment.

The first time we printed our retail boxes, there were a number of issues we didn’t catch before going to print. To fix this, I hand stickered labels on ALL the boxes. In fact, some boxes I’ve stickered twice, after finding out about another issue. I’m thankful my fellow food entrepreneurs advised me not to print a large run. This go around, I’m implementing a checklist along with multiple editors to look over everything before we go to print!

We’d love your feedback on our ideas. Stay tuned!

 

MassChallenge Finalist

asulia blog 2014 MassChallenge Finalist

I’m beyond ecstatic to share that Asulia has been selected as one of 128 startups for the 2014 MassChallenge program! It’s an honor to be invited to be part of such an amazing community of startups and entrepreneurs.

Being a finalist means free office space for our marketing intern and I to work from, access to amazing resources, and, most importantly, the opportunity to work alongside fellow entrepreneurs who are just as crazy and in love with what they do as I am.

It’s so encouraging to be chosen to be a MassChallenge finalist. Startup life is a rollercoaster of the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. This milestone validates that my ideas for merging my obsession with vegetables (#vod) and desire to help girls is working, slowly but surely. MassChallenge will help us accelerate this process, so we can make a bigger impact quicker.

We’ve come a long way from the beginning, where I knew very little about the food industry, to selling our fusion vegan dumplings in Whole Foods, Formaggio Kitchen SE, Volante Farms and more today. And we’ve only just begun! Follow us on our journey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more news!

 

Jack of all fruit

What’s the largest tree fruit in the world, grows on branches and trucks, and can weigh up to 100 pounds? Jackfruit! Falling coconut danger seems to be of little hazard compared to these giant fruits that could drop. I better wear a helmet if I ever visit this fruit tree in person. Then again I might be safer learning about the fruit from the international jackfruit symposium, which really it does exist!

Jackfruits are healthy and nutrient-dense. It’s high in protein, potassium and vitamin B. At about 95 calories for a half cup, it’s a great alternative for anyone looking to eat less meat or eliminate it from their meals. People in India have been eating jackfruit for many years as a meat replacement. I’m always looking for new vegan sources of protein.

asulia blog jack of all fruit 2

When ripe, the fruit by itself tastes like a combination of juicy pineapple, mango, and banana flavors. After jackfruit is cooked, the texture is slightly chewy and reminiscent of mushrooms depending on how long you cook it.

asulia blog jack of all fruit 1

Smoky BBQ Pulled Jack Recipe
Makes 5-6 servings

  • 4 cups jackfruit, 0.79 lbs
  • 3 ½ cups water or no salt added vegetable stock
  • 6 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tsp dried garlic powder
  • 1 small julienned sweet onion
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • ½ Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
  • 1 dry chipotle chilli pepper
  • 1 dry ancho chilli pepper
  • 1 dry puya chili pepper

Now, before we start talking about how to cook it, shut the doors to the other rooms in your house! It’s gonna smell amazing, but unless you want your casa to smell like a pepper processing plant, remember to contain the aromas.

Ok, now place all the ingredients in a rice cooker and set it to cook. If you have an old fashioned model like I do, set your timer for 45 minutes. Depending on your rice cooker, you’re looking for the liquid to reduce down to a sauce like consistency. You can also place the ingredients in a large pan, bring to a boil then simmer for about 45-55 minutes. Once it’s done, make sure to take the stems of the peppers out before serving. You can make sandwiches, wraps, tacos, or top it on rice or quinoa. So many options!

asulia blog jack of all fruit 3

I always love trying new and interesting fruits and veggies. The next fruit I’d like to work with is breadfruit. Yes, fruit that tastes like bread! What a dream come true huh?