Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fueled by Veggies

Hey there! Have you ever had those days where you wake up and simply know it's going to be a good day? Today was one of those days.

My body felt absolutely amazing all day long and I know it showed. I chatted it up with many fellow students and even engaged in discussions with my teachers. Unfortunately, I had pop quiz in math today. Although that wasn't so hot, nothing could bring me down.

What made today so good? I'm inclined to think that part of it was just meant to be, but the other was due to my eating this past week, and most notably yesterday. How could I not talk about the food that made me feel this great? This is a food blog, afterall.

If any of you have seen Peta2's Libby Awards, you may have noticed that last year's most animal friendly record label was Fuled by Ramen. Sure, Ramen fuels some pretty awesome artists, but I'm sticking with my veggies. Let's just say I overdosed on almond butter (<3)>

In honor of that, here are some highlights of my meals this week. Sticking with my challenge, I've kept processed foods out and said hello to cooking. Home-made meals beat packaged any day.

Breakfast has been the usual, of course. I'm still experimenting with new combinations (and old favorites!) so I haven't taken many pictures. Either way, they've been lovely.

[Copious amounts of fruit not pictured. You can imagine, fruit makes it to my mouth wayy to quickly to be captured by film some days. ]

Yesterday, I made my favorite meal, a veggie and chickpea wrap, but you've seen that before. It looked a little something like this (sorry for the recycled photo but I was so excited I didn't have time to take a picture.)

Naturally, I also made one of the most comforting meals known to man since it's been snowing like crazy here.

Hello, good friend, Brown Rice and Bean's Jumble-Aya...

Meet my new friends, wheat berries. What a lovely substitute for brown rice (personally, I'm not a rice fan)!

Oh, and where would I be without black bean cutlets? I honestly have the chickpea cutlet recipe from V'con committed to memory. It's the perfect base recipe for any kind of beans I have on hand and is versatile because all I have to do is change the spices. Hello, millions of delicious combinations!

Let me just mention how much I love natural lighting. Obviously these were the only photos where I was graced by the sun's beauty (I apologize for the rest where unfortunately I was not). The snow keeps reminding me that it's winter and the lighting follows suit. Oh, how I miss sunlight!

It's no secret that I love lentils. Although you all don't see it on my blog, lentils are a daily affair. I know, I know, I shouldn't get in a food rut. But, you see, they're simply too good. I even had lentils twice in one day. Call me crazy, but I call it delicious.

Lentils in burger form (recipe here, which I cut in 6 to serve just me)... maybe I can pretend they're not lentils then ;)? I don't know what's up with me and the condiments on this one. Honestly, I'm not a condiment person and liked the plain bits better. Oh well, it still looks pretty.

Of course, I saved best for last. I've been experimenting with new raw love recipes. When I saw that we had a bag of lemons in the fridge, I was inspired.

Enter Lemon Bar Loves. My uncle saw this picture and said my love looked like meat. Oh dearie, please tell me otherwise! I was not amused.

I'm still working on the right ratios of wet and dry (a little too wet and sticky this time, but hey, I'm not complaining) but will post the recipe when I work it out. The cinnamon nicely accented the sweetness of somewhat sour lemons without overpowering the flavor. Yum.

Naturally I'm off to do yoga soon. My magnificent feeling is going to make this yoga practice rock more than normal, and that's saying something. Oh, and speaking of yoga, I finally had my formal interview for teacher training this week. Since I'm not yet 16, the instructor has to check with the founder of my yoga studio, who is in town this week for a special bootcamp, to make sure it's alright. Other than that, he thinks I am mentally much more mature than my age so I'm good to go! I can't even explain how excited I am.

Have a lovely day in every way, my friends :)


P.S. Check out these goodies J (my mom's fiancee) brought me today. Walnut&&cocoa powder... I see raw loves, vegan mousse pies, and brownie oatmeal in my future :D. Oh, and a shout out to J for being so inspiring on his road to good health. Keep up the great work, J, and all of you who are truly trying to make a commitment to yourself to do your body good!

P.P.S. Giveaway time:
Love Newman's Own? I know I do! Click here for an awesome giveaway :).
Also, Jocelyn's giveing away an amazingly generous box full of goodies in this giveaway.
Cook books, anyway? Click, click!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Stick it to the Can

Where have I been? School, at home studying, or doing yoga, of course. Let me just say, this week has been crazy. Although I had Monday off, I had 4 tests on one day, then 3 the next. Luckily, Friday was a lots of fun since it was "World Affairs Seminar". Basically, all classes were canceled and we enjoyed seminars held by experts and even fellow classmates instead.

This year's topic was food: an edible economy. Now that's something we can all relate to. The day kicked off with a screening of Food Inc. I think it really opened everyone's eyes on the food industry. I know some people ignored it or treated it as a joke, but hey, at least some people got something out of it. Not to mention it's a plus my choice to be vegan might make more sense to my classmates. A lot of them actually asked me questions about it afterwards and started to consider vegetarianism. I hope I can be a helpful source of information and support to them.

Anyway, sticking with the theme of food, here were some of my eats from this week. With my busy schedule, my food was mostly favorites you've seen before. Below are some new recipes (and a new product) I've been trying. Enjoy :)!

Chai Tea Oatmeal with Golden Flax Seeds and Strawberries

Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza...

With No Salt Added Tomato Sauce, Gobs of Garlic and Spices, and Nooch

+ Tomatoes, Steamed Zucchini, Yellow Squash, and Brussel Sprouts (please excuse the odd pictures but I had a pizza stone incident)

of the Gingerbread Variety

Sarah's Chili Con Bulgar

From La Dolce Vegan

Evol Vegan Veggie Fajita

Have any of you seen Food Inc.? This was my second time seeing it, and honestly I'm happy it was. I was able to absorb more and started to consider a few things more deeply. First, processed foods.

I've decided to start a grocery store challenge. The challenge is to buy only produce and things from the bulk bins (with the exclusion of canned beans and tomato products, almond butter, or certain products I can't get elsewhere, such as flax seed, vital wheat gluten, soy yogurt, etc.). I'm thinking of calling it the Stick it to the Can challenge, or SIC. I like that it sounds like "sick" if you try to say it because I'm sick of being a victim of the system, not to mention a few other corny (ha! corny! like all the corn in our foods. ah, jokes, jokes ;) ) reasons that I'll let you use your imagination on. How does the SIC challenge sound to you?

Although I've mostly moved towards this kind of shopping anyway, I've noticed myself eating a lot of cereals and such to satisfy calorie needs. Unfortunately, I have also noticed a difference in the way I feel. Seeing Food Inc. again reminded me of the ingredients in processed foods (organics and naturals are not always excluded, though they are usually better) and the control the food industry has over us. Now, instead of panicking and turing to processed foods (even if it's just cereals), I've decided to make more snacks from my cookbooks, such as dips with veggies or pita and others so I can snack on whole foods.

Are you ready to take a stand against the controlling food industry? Are you ready to say no to High Fructose Corn Syrup, corn and soy in everything, and needless GMOs? Do you want to eat better and feel amazing because of it? If so, join me in this challenge. Maybe it seems a little hard at first, but starting small never hurt. Simply cutting down on processed foods is a huge improvement.

So, who's with me?

Have a lovely day!


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love is in the Kitchen

Sure, love is in the air on Valentine's Day, but what is in the kitchen?

In my house, it is definitely love. The love of food (usually healthy and delicious at that) is a common thread in my family. It is passed down through generations, and although we all have different preferences, sharing a family meal has always been important.

Being the only vegan can have its difficulties, but one of my favorite things to do is share my vegan goodies with my family. I absolutely love when they say, "What is that? It's vegan? It smells delicious!"

A common question I get at school is wether or not chocolate is vegan. Of course it is! (Well, if you do your research, that is.) Valentine's Day and chocolate seem to go hand in hand. Why is that? I'm not sure but I'm definitely not complaining. So, in honor of today, here are my chocolatey eats.

Today started out with Girl Scout Thin Mint Oatmeal. I think I finally found the secret into making it minty. Take a guess...

If you guessed peppermint tea, you're right! Some people pour milk (hopefully dairy-free ;) ) over their oatmeal, so why not tea? I'm a tea personal allll the way, so I didn't hesitate. I know it sounds weird, but it really makes it nice if done by the spoonful.

I also finally made my own Larabars. Now this is what I call love <3! Thanks to Katie, Katie, Averie, Michal, and sooo many more for inspiration.

  • 30 grams raw almonds
  • 57.5 grams dates
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs extra dark unsweetened cocoa powder

  • blend, Baby, blend!
Molded into hearts and shared with my mom and Nan (grandmother), these were the perfect end to a love-y day.

I'm not really one for sweets, but give me some of these and I'm a happy camper. Healthy fats + nature's candy + antioxidants = yes please!

Continuing with the theme of love, I showed myself some love by making my favorites.

Roasted Chickpea&&Veggie Sun-Dried Tomato Wrap

and Roasted Kabocha (probably my favorite food, no joke) with Raw Almond Butter (for Kabocha Skin Dippage)

I also made a new recipe, using my favorite kind of bean, Cannellini.

Enter a Cheezy White Bean Quesadilla with Spinach (recipe here)

Smokey, gooey, yummm...

Well the Valentine's Day is almost over but I still have a date with Mr. Kabocha and Mr. Almond Butter tonight. Playaa ;)

How did you celebrate Valentine's Day? Do you have a special tradition or are you in the process of creating new ones? My boyfriends (above) may not be cuddely or able to give me presents, but they sure are hot (roasted, that is). What's your favorite food?

Have a lovely day!


P.S. Stay tuned this week for my special Valentine's Day goodies and gadgets (thanks Mom!) that are going to arrive in the mail. I used one to make the Larabars and the other is for my veggie loving. Any guesses?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Learning from Cookies

What better way to celebrate a snow day than by making pancakes and baking cookies?

First, the pancakes. I celebrated National Blueberry Pancake Day a little late, but better late than never, right? Oh, how I have missed my vegan pancakes...

Because of the immense stress that has been on me lately, my mom and I decided it would be best for me to stay home today, too. In all of my yoga classes, we are told that if we need to take a child's pose while everyone else is flowing, that is the true yoga because we are honoring our bodies. Since what we do on the mat reflects our life and just like in yoga, I needed to take a child's pose of sorts today. I am actually very proud of myself for this because it is hard for me to take a break from school. I admit to being a perfectionist and usually getting stressed out if I have to miss even a little bit. Now I feel like I am back to normal and am ready to handle whatever life has to throw at me.

Pancakes were on the menu again after a glorious 12-hour sleep.

As mentioned above, I made cookies yesterday, too. I decided to make cookies while flipping through Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and eating breakfast. J is serious about his coffee so I immediately thought of him upon seeing a recipe for chocolate chip expresso cookies. I am so thankful that he always looks out for me so it was natural to want to do something nice for him, too. I decided to make them as a welcome home surprise after his business trip to Chicago.

In the process, I was reminded of a very important lesson.

Some cookies are small...

Some are big...

Some are fat, and some are thin,

But all in all, they still get along,

and taste delicious, too!

Humans are no different. We live in a diverse world, but our differences do not make us superior or inferior. Actually, our differences are what make us unique and interesting. After all, there is not just one good kind of cookie out there. Some people prefer thin and crunchy while others like soft and doughy. So let us embrace our inner cookie and how we were "baked".

If you were a cookie what kind would you be? Is gooey your thing or are do you like to hear a crunch?

Stay warm and healthy, my dears! If you need to take a 'child's pose', do not be afraid to take it.

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee <3