Archive for January, 2010

Slightly Sunny (leftovers) Sunday.

As one may have surmised, we have a few food day routines in this house apartment. For example: Pasta Thursday and Pizza Friday. Pasta day is simply for convenience, whereas pizza day is an indulgence D looks forward to weekly. He chooses our carb-heavy days, I choose the rest.

Bagel Sunday is another food-day tradition that I indulge in for D’s pleasure more than my own.  For a few months last year I didn’t participate and stuck to my regular breakfast foods of oatmeal/cereal or even pancakes and french toast.  You’d think having homemade breakfast would seem more appealing than a bagel, but having D eat these for breakfast with me was almost torturous. Those months weighed heavily on D and finally I realized how much he really did enjoy bagel weekends (at that point).  Last year, these mornings were also associated with eating our breakfast in bed and lounging together before the day started.  So we restarted this again  much to D’s delight. This morning we did enjoy our bagels which are not pictured.  I always top my wheat bagel with tofutti cream cheese, yum!

Lunch was one of my freezer selections – from my personal collection of leftovers.  Currently, these include: Ridiculously Easy Lentil Soup, Sweet Potato Lentil Soup, and an unknown third vegetable medley. Today I enjoyed the Sweet Potato Lentil Soup, from Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan.

I made this about 3-weeks ago, and have to say it is quite delicious even after it has been frozen. The flavors blend in such a way that the sweet potato and the spices balance out so nicely.  I ate a nice warm bowl of this, and followed it up with a doughnut or two.  Absolutely comforting meal on a chilly day.

Fitness

Today it was about 32 degrees outside.  What made it more pleasant, was of course the fact the sun was peeking out for a few prime hours.  I took that as a sign and decided to lace up my sneakers and go for a run in the sunny prime.  I geared up with my fleece and some mittens, and of course my iPod Shuffle to follow my usual weekend run route, approximately 3.75 miles. The run was fantastic, my knee didn’t start to ache until about mile 3, and I had sufficient energy to probably run another 3 miles (due to D’s carb-heavy choices most likely). However, the cold was a bit painful on my ears and lungs, and so I stuck to my plan and headed in.  This is where I wish I had a Garmin.  I think, depending on whether we take a vacay or not, I may end up buying one this spring.  Maybe.

I tallied up all my runs for January, which were approximately 2-per week (how sad) and between 3-4 miles each. Overall, I’ve run exactly 26.2 miles in one month.  I laughed out loud when I saw that.  People run this amount in one day. And this is all I ran in a month?? How pathetic!

My goal this month is to try to obviously run more, and do yoga more.  Back in my hey-day I did run about 25-miles a week, but that led to injury.  So perhaps slow and steady, with a 10% per week increase, is what I should stick to.  If that’s true, next week I should get close to 10 miles in, which really isn’t too much to ask for.

Hope your weekends were good to you. And be sure to check out SnackFace’s Giveaway!  It’s a good one for us veggies!

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January 31, 2010 at 7:07 pm 3 comments

Desserts Day.

Yesterday and today went undocumented due to last minute decisions and busy days.  I did enjoy a delicious thai/malaysian dinner at a thai fusion restaurant last night for dinner last night. And although my fitness has been lacking and my pants are fitting tight, I cannot resist me some just desserts.

Cake class was today, and we weren’t required to bring anything but a ton of royal icing.  We basically spent 2 hours prepping bags and learning how to use the lily nail.  We made: poinsettas, lilies, petunias, and one more that I really wasn’t interested in and didn’t even attempt.

We only had time to make one or two of each flower before moving on to the next.  I like the lily best, and I think I may make a bunch this week to cover my Course 3 Final cake in next weekend.

Today was a dreary, gray day, and we didn’t have much on our plates. I needed to pick up some supplies for my cake for next year, and a little past the store is a vegan cupcakery that I had visited last year during their Cupcake Festival.  Since I recently have been attempting mostly vegan meals, I decided it may be a good day to revisit the bakery and try some goodies.  Of particular interest were their hard to acquire doughnuts!

So, D and I headed over to Rutherford, where Sweet Avenue Bakeshop resides. Unfortunately they did not have any doughnuts today, so a cupcake it was (oh, darn). As they only take cash, we were limited to the $7 in my wallet, therefore we had to make a choice of one cupcake each, which really was quite delicious.  Every cupcake on display is very cute, fluffy, and appealing.  I was in the mood to try something new, and went with “The Knickerbocker”, D with the “Carrot Cake”.

Pardon my iPhone shot, but I had to take a picture in the car.  I was going to wait until we got home, but the smells emanating from these boxes were intoxicating. I had thought I’d take one bite, but really that turned into one more, and one more. I demolished every bite in the car and didn’t even share.  Pretty much the moist moist cupcake I’ve ever eaten. NO LIE. SO delicious.  It was filled with some chocolate ganache and cherry. I really cannot rave enough about it and am kicking myself for haven’t returned here in the past year.

D’s carrot cake cupcake really wasn’t quite as moist or decadent as mine.  It was far more traditional, a bit more cake-like, and had (SHOCK) real carrot shreds inside.  Pretty good, but the other blew it out of the wind.  we def. will be returning here.

I picked up some fondant, we came home, and pretty much crashed all afternoon mindlessly. Had some pizza (cheeseless for me, and that fiasco is a story in itself). Mid-evening lounging D called me out on my promises from earlier in the week: to make homemade (vegan) doughnuts.  Now, remember this was my purpose for going to the cupcake shop today.

For christmas, I asked for many baking items, which are not limited to but include: a Breville juicer, an immersion blender, a second Kitchen Aid mixing bowl, the tofu press, various vegan cookbooks, and doughnut pans. Really I asked for one, but my mom bought me both a mini and full-sized pan.  They really have been collecting dust until today, and it just so happen that the recipe I was going to use called for all items I have.

After some browsing, I ended up at the urban housewife’s post about a Vegan Yum Yum recipe.  Both made this recipe appear incredibly simple and delicious. I followed the cake recipe to a T, and aside from a few sticky doughnuts in the second batch they popped right out of the tin.

I then attempted three different “toppings”.  Although I would have liked to try chocolate frosting, I simply didn’t have the patience tonight. I went with:

  • Vanilla glaze
  • Raspberry glaze
  • Sugar (rolled in sugar)

Glazing: I followed the initial suggestion to ice with a knife, however it was too thin and drippy. I ended up switching to a half-dip which covered the top of the doughnuts wonderfully.

The vanilla glaze I followed the recipe with a 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract.

For the raspberry glaze I added a few drops of pure raspberry extract to the glaze (wish I had strawberry).

I tend to have a few baking cabinets over flowing with baking gear (flavors, dyes, sprinkles, cupcake wrappers).  Unfortunately my sprinkles have been used up mostly, aside from christmas and halloween theme. These are what I could scrape up. D was practically frothing at the mouth as I was decorating and pawning him off.

Review? These were fantastic! D said they reminded him EXACTLY of Dunkin Donuts (of which he visits daily). They are light and fluffy and perfect to munch on in their mini state. I like the raspberry ones the best – and next time I will be making strawberry, as I think they will be the beez-kneez.  I’ll also get off my lazy bum and make chocolate ones as well.

Off to read a few blogs and decide whether or not to head into the city tomorrow to visit the Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti.

January 30, 2010 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment

treacherous day

This morning we got slammed with a mini snow storm that was not forecasted, and therefore led to treacherous driving conditions.  Six of the last 7 1/2 years I have lived in either Manhattan (where I walked everywhere) or San Diego (where the worst weather was the wildfire). When snow hits, I hit the panic button.  But I did manage to suck down some java in a Halloween mug.

Last year in a bad storm my brakes locked on an onramp to the highway, imagine my panic when I realized I was in a rental car and had NO idea where the emergency break was. Yea.  Scare #1.  Scare #2? Today.  Going down a hill, to a stop light at the BOTTOM of the hill.  Pump breaks, pump breaks, SPIN. Upon near-crashing into the curb (happened in slow-motion I swear), I was so lucky the car behind me was really keeping their distance or else he would have smashed RIGHT into me as I was immobile for a good minute.  Just shaking.

My 20 minute commute turned into a 50-minute commute, with a downhill spinout.  PERFECT. Anyhow, point being is my whole morning started out all whirlwind like.  Most teachers were almost an hour late, students didn’t get picked up by buses, you get the drill.

I had photographed my breakfast and lunch, only to have not eaten my oatmeal and smoothie and grabbed a bagel instead as I ran around the school. Then I was informed my work friends were all going out to lunch.  So I forewent my pre-packed leftovers lunch and joined the in crowd for a falafel sandwich (divine).

I WILL say that I am saving all of my pre-packed food for breakfast/lunch tomorrow.

I also will say I drank at least half of this smoothie as my afternoon snack and ignored all unhealthy meeting snacks. GO ME!

My afternoon client canceled last minute, so I got to come home and attempt to cook a new (for me) vegetable, as posited by Michelle and her dark green challenge! Thursdays are generally “pasta” night, as I work late and D can be successful with making dinner.  I decided to keep with the plan and use the opportunity to try out kale chips.  I scoured a few only recipes which were all more or less the same.

I rinsed and tore about 2/3 of this bunch of organic kale.

I then thoroughly kicked myself for not owning one kitchen gadget, a salad spinner.  I tore the kale to bite size pieces and threw them in a pasta strainer and rinsed away.  I then grudgingly pat each piece dry, individually.  I’m OCD like that at times.

Oven at 375 degrees, I covered a cookie sheet with parchment paper, spread out the kale, then sprayed with olive oil from my Misto and sprinkled with garlic salt.  Generously.

I then set off the high screech smoke detector, that seemed to stop whenever I stood under it, and pulled my kale chips out after 10-minutes.

I think they could have went for 11-minutes, but they were pretty crispy and quite delicious!  I would make these again, and I think my generous pouring of garlic salt helped quite a bit. D took a bite, followed with “Oh, they’re not bad. They taste like salt.”  I may have been too generous, but good nonetheless!  I piled a side plate up with the chips.

Coupled with my carb-load of rotini pasta, marinara sauce, and TJ’s meatless meatballs. So simple but oh so comforting. I do enjoy me some pasta night.

Fitness

I waited for dinner to digest 90-minutes and then suited up for the gym.  While I had energy I pumped out some intervals and ran 35-minutes for 3.5 miles.  It was nothing spectacular but considering my inconsistent runs recently, I’m happy to have finally not taken a walk break in a 30+ minute period, and even ramp up some intervals to 8:13. Slow and steady is better than fast and injured, right?

As a side note, my hamstrings and arms are just aching from yoga yesterday, in a good way.  We did so many forward folds, which I needed so badly.  I think I need to do at least 10 a day on my own so that I can reap the benefits daily.

On tonite’s agenda: Planning a mini-college reunion for Prez Day weekend in . . . DC! Too bad it’s not a warmer destination, but friends are worth it!



January 28, 2010 at 10:46 pm 4 comments

… and running running, and running running…

Finally I can sit down tonight.  It’s only 9:25pm and I get to upload photos and write this up.  Only took 5 hours to get here!  Last night I couldn’t fall asleep (blame terrible sleep habits) and woke up exhausted and anxious today.  Mostly anxious that I would again be too exhausted to pull myself over to do some hot yoga loving, I haven’t gone all 2010!!!!

Amazingly, I think I’m RUNNING on overdrive.  Since I haven’t “stopped” moving all day, I have gotten many things accomplished and am positive I’ll crash tonight once I crawl into bed.

Let’s start with . . . BREAKFAST.  Today I brewed up my unpictured pot of java, and actually drank the whole pot.  I know. I also knew I needed “real” energy, and turned to some fresh baby spinach. I usually go with the frozen variety as it keeps longer. Two handfuls (plus a little more) with 3/4 cup almond milk:

Produced a superbly greeny more JUICE like consistency smoothie!  I LOVED the color!!

I then added 1/2 a banana, 1/2 cup of frozen berry medley, and a drizzle of agave.  Remember in preschool when you would mix: green, red, yellow, and blue?  You get brown.

Still, VERY yummy and went down much easier than my traditional SUPER frozen smoothie.  I can’t wait to use the rest of this fresh spinach this week, and I may officially have to change over to fresh!

I never would have thought I’d go green. Deskside breakfast included unpictured oatmeal.  I’m so starving by the time I reach work (8:40) I just ZAP and eat!

LUNCH also goes without photo – due to 3-minute eating time.  Rest assured it is the exact same lunch as yesterday. Quinoa salad heated up with some garlic cubed tofu! YUMSIES! Don’t be fooled, I ate a handful of preschool style animal crackers too.

My afternoon sped by and before I knew it, it was time to go do me some HOT YOGA baby. I ate about half of this Gala apple an hour before class.

Only problem?  I was running late and pretty much was an anxiety ridden stress ball the whole ride to the studio, and clambered in with probably a Pigsty sized (via Charlie Brown) energy ball of chaos emanating from me. Absolutely not the way I wanted to start class.

Once I hit the mat I relinquished myself to the practice. That’s what I love so much about yoga, it channels my mind and body to the present and I get to shake whatever it is that is plaguing me.  No lie – during savasana I thought I was going to burst into tears.  I’ve heard of this happening to people before, but never me.  It was the strangest thing, but I guess all of this stress I’ve been carrying around finally got some relief. Thank goodness. Also, today was my first attempt at birds of paradise, I actually sort of love it even though I need to devote a lot more time to practice this and other poses.

Feeling like I was floating on air, I drove home where D had actually arrived before me.  In my sweaty, natural high state, I started prepping a simple comforting meal.  Roasted Vegetables.

  • Oven 475 degrees
  • 3 small potatoes cubed
  • 4 mini sweet potatoes/yams cubed
  • 1/2 large onion sliced
  • 1/4 butternut squash cubed
  • 3 large carrots sliced diagonally
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons E.V.O.O.
  • To taste: dried oregano, rosemary, salt

Mix all together!  I roasted for 20 minutes, pulled them out & mixed together, then let bake another 20 minutes.

I served mine with my favorite veggie burger ever, Amy’s California Veggie Burger. SO simple, delicious and fulfilling.

D ate his with some grilled balsamic chicken, and thoroughly thanked me for dinner, state that the butternut squash was “actually pretty good”. Duh!!  I’ll be throwing those leftover veggies in tomorrow’s lunch.   This meal was completely satisfying and worth the 45-minute wait!

As I write this I’m snacking on some vegan semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies and mini pretzels.  This is pretty much my new go-to snack and I’ll have to snap a shot tomorrow, love the sweet/salty combo!

Before I end this, I just want to share a quote I red on Vegetarian Star about Ginnifer Goodwin’s switch to veganism.  It totally resonated with me and my state of mind:

“… one day a year and a half ago, it hit me over the head while I was making a hearty breakfast that it wasn’t, in the grand scheme of earthly things, intended for me. What would happen to my body, to my soul, if I did not consume an animal or anything taken from an animal? So I educated myself. I relinquished the safety blanket of my ignorance.”

The statement about relinquishing the safety blanket of ignorance – that is totally how I feel about where I am now and how I got here.  You can read more about Ginnifer’s choice at Oprah.com.

Now off to enjoy some quality R&R with my sassy friend, nite!

January 27, 2010 at 9:59 pm 2 comments

Rice & Beans – Italiano Style

I don’t suppose I ever posted my dinner plan for the week:

  • Monday (was): Quick Fix Vegetarian‘s Potato & Onion Pierogies with Walnut & Broccoli
  • Tuesday (tonight): Vegan Yum Yum’s Italian Rice & Beans
  • Wednesday: Roasted Vegetables with Baked Tofu and Kale
  • Thursday: Pasta night (probably leftover vegetables for me)
  • Friday: Pizza night

and on to TODAY!


Breakfast started with my usual cup of joy.

I whipped up my desk-side smoothie to go with some unpictured oatmeal.

I only used 1/2 a banana and as a result, the remaining combo didn’t quite cut my need for sweet: 1 cup frozen spinach, frozen strawberries & blueberries, 1/2 banana, 1 cup almond milk, drizzle agave.

Dressed & ready to go:

I enjoyed my breakfast at my desk alongside a my multivitamin (whoops been slacking) and a B12 vitamin.  I keep them at work so I can try to remember to take them each morning.

Lunch was leftover quinoa salad & fried garlic/braggs tofu. Even more delicious warmed up!

I’m not going to lie.  I def. followed that up with a slice of Vegan Coconut Cake. I actually brought 1/4 of the cake to work and everyone loved it – regardless of the fact that it was vegan.  Even some old-school italians with pretty high standards loved it, and marveled at how moist it was.  Success!

At the end of the day I snacked on some of these sesame rice crackers, they are a good afternoon snack choice to let me munch without too many calories.

I saw my after-work client, who wasn’t in the best mood, then stopped at the local grocery store to pick up pine nuts for tonight’s dinner recipe.  Now, originally I had decided to opt out of this ingredient, as a small bag of pine nuts would $6.99 and I only needed 1/4 cup.  However, upon further speculation I decided if I stopped at a different food store and they had the fill-your-own style grains/nuts, I would fill up just with what I needed.

GREAT decision, $2.00 for 1/4 cup, and that was all I needed.

Dinner was Vegan Yum Yum‘s Italian Rice & Beans.  I had seen it previewed earlier this week and knew I needed to give it a go.  D is very picky with all my ethnic meals and I figured an Italian-style dish would pique his interest.

I followed the recipe to the T, aside for 1 thing: I didn’t buy sundried tomatoes in olive oil as they were also pricey for the amount I needed, at $7.99 a small jar!  I bought unpacked sundried tomatoes for $2.99 (3x the amount in the jar) and jarred them in olive oil myself.  However, they did not quite reach the soft texture I’m sure this recipe was calling for.  None the less, good enough.

Can I just say?? What a FOOL I would have been to not include the pine nuts! They were the element that tied the entire meal together!  Golden brown and toasty, the pine nuts MADE this dish.  So please, if you are going to try this (which I do think you should), INCLUDE THE PRICEY PINE NUTS! And probably go with the pre-jarred tomatoes.

I LOVED this.  D barely tried it, only because he was “starving”.  He had an issue with the texture, let me just say: he has texture issues. He’s so darn picky, and said it was “obvious leaf eater food”, however I think it was near perfection, especially steaming hot!  ABSOLUTELY will re-make again.  Thanks YumYum!!

I just stole a bite of cake and will be off to the gym to most-likely run through a food-induced/digestion cramp.  Hey, better lat then never right?

At least I’ll have Biggest Loser to return to later.

Tomorrow? HOT POWER VINYASA YOGA OR BUST.



January 26, 2010 at 8:04 pm 4 comments

Quick-fix meals

Dinner was a selection from Robin Robinson’s Quick-fix Vegetarian, where I have overtime compiled a list of favorites and go-to meals. Tonight’s menu: Potato-Onion Pierogis with Broccoli, Onions, and Walnuts.

I followed the recipe exactly, even including the walnuts – which I was a bit apprehensive about, however I do trust Robinson and so I proceeded.

Tonight I realized red flag – I need a bigger skillet. The pierogies (which were in fact vegan – no dairy or egg), wouldn’t crisp up as much as I would have liked, they really couldn’t all cover the bottom of the pan.

Regardless, the meal was ultimately the best choice for a very rainy, dreary day.  I consider this a happy medium comfort food – warm, gooey potatoes, with some vegetables sauteed up on the side.  I even enjoyed the walnuts (probably because I used diced and could barely notice they were there).

Even D enjoyed this – and went back to clean up the leftovers.  SUCCESS!

After dinner, I was munching on some vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (HOLLA my local grocery store’s version of these just happen to be vegan – SCORE!). Meanwhile, D was chomping on pretzels, when…. (after poo-pooing my non-milk chocolate chips):

D: HEY!  Can we make chocolate covered pretzels??

He’s so lucky I love to mess around in the kitchen.

D happened to find a pouch of milk-chocolate discs that his mother had given us with a fondue kit for Christmas, so I agreed to zap them in the microwave and dip the pretzels, really this is the most non-labor intensive dessert ever.

They may not be the prettiest pretzels, I admit to haphazardly dunking and dropping (mostly due to the fact that I was not going to be eating them), however I think D is satisfied!

With that idea, my dessert was a handful of semi-sweet chips and a handful of pretzels.

Now that’s a night. Until tomorrow!

January 25, 2010 at 8:23 pm Leave a comment

Quinoa Attempt & Tofu Express Part2

It’s been a bit of an overwhelming weekend, and today I woke up not feeling very well.  So no morning photos, but you can rest your minds knowing that I did make a big pot of this:

Breakfast ended up being carb-load:  a repeat of Saturday’s Kashi/Almond Milk/Banana combo.  I followed that up an hour later with a piece of Ezekiel Sesame toast and Tofutti French Onion  “Better than Cream Cheese”.  Honestly, this flavor tofutti has become a staple in my refrigerator for the weekend bagel run.  I am completely in love with it’s texture and flavor.

After some relaxing, I pulled out a creation I whipped together last nite.  Behold:

Black Bean Tomato Lime Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup organic canned black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (more/less to taste)
  • 1 tomato, chopped/diced
  • 1-2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons Bragg’s Amino Acid
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Cook quinoa with 2-cups of water until boiling, bring down to simmer, and cover until absorbed (10-15 minutes).  Meanwhile, prep remaining ingredients.  Soak tomatoes in lime juice. When quinoa is finished cooking, let cool before mixing in all remaining ingredients. Refrigerate. Tada!

This is a VERY satisfying, and easy dish to pull together.  I ate it for lunch today and whipped out my new best friend, Mr. TofuXpress.  I pressed some Lite Firm Tofu for 2 1/2 hours.

Pre-pressing (above).

Post-pressing. It cut like cheese and kept it’s shape! Not wet at all!

I sprayed my frying pan with a mist of oil using my Mr. Misto.

Let the pan heat up then toss in the cubes. Sprayed them with some Braggs, and sprinkled on  some garlic powder.

And wait for them to get all crispy and browned. YUMM!

LUNCH, ALL TOGETHER:

It’s quite filling, and my first success with quinoa. I will absolutely be returning to this for lunch this week, as my recipe made a HUGE batch, and it isn’t quite freezer material!

Of course, I have to share with you a 3-day old slice of my Coconut Cake. Surprisingly, it hasn’t lost much moistness at all!  This recipe (from ED&BV) is quite moist, and I love the slight crunch from the shredded coconut.  Topping it all off is the almond taste, which is above all my favorite cookie/cake flavoring.  This cake was a success – and I think it may end up becoming a go-to fallback recipe in the future.

Until later, happy eating! 🙂


January 25, 2010 at 3:03 pm 1 comment

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