Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Raining in the City

Hey there, bloggies! How's your week been so far? 

This week I was able to start community service projects with my favorite organization. Their mission is to enrich our sometimes neglected big city by involving teens from the surrounding areas. I worked with them last year and had a great time so naturally I was excited. 

To fuel me for my first day, I had high expectations for my breakfast of sorbet overnight oats. It had to be both delicious (duh) and filling (we work from 9am-2pm, without a break). 

Although I was originally a skeptic, I'm happy to say I can now call myself a fan. Not only are overnight oats a breeze to prepare for this girl who refuses to wake up any earlier than she already is, but they also leave my tummy feeling fine. Angela once mentioned a weird feeling similar to mine after eating warm oats. I never thought anything of it until now. Happy tummy = happy & ready-to-work Mandie. Perfect. 

Yesterday kicked off with a painting project. Many buildings in the city are either abandoned, falling apart, or in need of sprucing up. Because of this, one of the many things the organization seeks to do is beautify the city one building at a time by painting murals. However, before we could get down to the artistic painting on our first project, we had to chip/scrape off the old paint coats and prime the brick. It was a long day of work but totally worth it. (Let's just say primer doesn't come off easily.) When we left, the walls became a blank canvas for our imaginations to explore. 

I was so tired after my first day working that I barely noticed the time. I kicked back for a little while before finally making a late lunch. I've had these Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Tortillas in my fridge, waiting for an inspiration moment. I'll admit I've been curious about them for awhile, but I finally took the plunge after seeing them multiple times on Claire of A Fresh Dille's blog (I love everything she eats) and realizing they were on sale at Whole Foods. What can I say, I'm a sucker for sales. 


I love Food For Life products but apparently these tortillas are not unanimously loved. They've definitely received their faire share of mixed reviews. I guess you love 'em or you hate 'em. Well I'm definitely on the love side! Most of the complaints about them were that they were too hard and broke when folding because of it. I can see where that comes from, after all they are tougher than most tortillas, but personally I think that gives them their characteristic flair. If I'm eating lots of natural sprouted whole grains that are dense and filling, then why not show it? Oh, and for those of you who are still skeptical about the folding issue, just pop your tortilla in the microwave for a few seconds and they become more pliable. Problem solved. 

Speaking of problems solved, my hunger was solved by this combination. I made a wrap (or maybe it was more like a taco or something else because it didn't exactly wrap) with hummus, spinach, carrots, yellow squash, and mini cucumbers. On the side, I had a bit of romaine lettuce with the yellow squash and carrots that didn't fit in the wrap. 

Crunch. Munch. Yumm. Repeat

 Oh, and I might have had some chickpeas, too. And when I say some, I mean a lot. It's no secret that I love these things. 

While the chickpeas were perfectly what I wanted, they did me fuller a little longer than expected. After yoga, I still wasn't hungry. Whoops. As is usually the case following yoga, after an hour or so I went from not-hungry-at-all to hungry beast in a matter of seconds. Luckily, I was already preparing veggies for a mexican stir fry.  

One thing I love about stir-fries is how easily they come together. While cooking a grain, chop & steam/sauté veggies + add protein + spice it up + make it pretty (or not, if the sun goes down and you lack natural lighting like me) --> done! 

Grain = millet

Veggies = yellow bell pepper + carrots + zucchini + yellow squash + cauliflower + broccoli + Brussels sprouts

Protein = homemade black beans (homemade is the way to go, my friends!) 

Flavaah = chili powder + cumin + lime juice + salsa

This was definitely a spic-ayy mix! It was bursting with flavor and oh so satisfying. In case you were wondering, multiple glasses of water had to be consumed with this. 

After experiencing savory for dinner, my taste buds decided they wanted a sweet break for snack. A fresh, homemade graham cracker (recipe to come) that I warmed up and sprinkled with cinnamon plus a bowl of fresh fruit was perfectly what I needed. Comforting and naturally sweet, what else could a girl want? 

On the fruit, I sprinkled a little cocoa powder a la Gabriela of Une Vie Saine. After eating the berries that were dusted with cocoa on the top, I decided to add a little lot of cinnamon (do I really need to explain why?) I worried about the indecision but was SO glad I went for it. Try this. Cinnamon and cocoa powder is a whole new flavor. The fact that these two could be combined was too good to be true. This will definitely be repeated. 


Today was the fun reward after our hard work in the city yesterday. Opening the surprisingly broad rainbow of paint colors was like opening presents on Christmas day. Okay, maybe not quite, but it was beautiful in the morning. 

My overnight oats had a little color of their own thanks to raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. 

A little early morning inspiration perhaps? 

Anyway, the rainbow of paint colors was a quite appropriate term because not only did one of my new friends observe that our mural looked "like a rainbow threw up on the walls" (joking, of course), but because there was a thunderstorm warning in effect for the day (not to mention the risk of extremely high winds--you know, no big when you're outside or anything). I think you can see how it went down from there. In a place where saying the weather is unpredictable is an understatement, the weather people were finally right. Go figure. I was bummed, but at least we finished the project. Oh, and a wrap (?) similar to yesterday's wouldn't hurt in cheering me up either.

Kale chips were involved as well this time. I bought this kale from an extremely local farmer this weekend. He was young and sweet, with the charming appearance of happy farmer that's been kissed by the sun multiple times. 

Oh, and I even found out that he goes to my yoga studio and sometimes brings in treats for my friends there. Funny, because I would totally be fine with being best friends with him. Beautiful kale and spinach? Count me in! 

After the delicious lunch (and maybe some more chickpeas, black beans, and a few Mary's Crackers), I made my way to my teacher's house for another Ashtanga practice. Even though it was only my second time with the group, I feel like I've been with them for ages. Why is it so much easier for me to get along with adults? Do you ever find that it's easier for you to talk to people older or younger than you? Do you think age matters? 

While I was practicing, my mom and grandmother enjoyed some of the brownies I made them. This is my mom's favorite brownie recipe that includes tofu the secret ingredient. For a woman who doesn't like too many sweets (like mother like daughter, right?), these are her little treat. In true Mandie fashion, they're also perfect when I need to use up silken tofu from another recipe. No wasting here!

When I got home, I wasn't hungry AT ALL. I think it was because I practiced Ashtanga instead of Vinyasa before dinner. Vinyassa is typically more cario-y so that probably gets my appetite jumping. Well, I wasn't going to let my temporarily lost appetite get in the way of the dinner I was dreaming about. I promptly cooked up some green lentils and veggies to make an Indian stir-fry. I'm alllll about the stir-fries lately. 

Although my veggies (basically the usual) weren't exactly theme oriented, the spices I used made my intention clear. I added curry powder, garam masala, cinnamon, ground ginger and even some freshly grated ginger for good measure. 

I love how these spices are pungent and warming without being too spicy. Cinnamon was definitely the flavor that brought it all together because it's sweetness balanced everything out.  

On that note, I'm off to check on my snack. This girl can't get enough veggies, even at snack-time! Are you a fan of stir-fries? Do you have any favorite combos / What are your favorite spices to change it up with? 

Have a lovely day! 



  1. haha at first i thought it said 'sober overnight oats' haha i was thinking what the alcoholic version would have been like ;)

    i find it easier to talk to younger people.. hmm im not sure why tho.... but im usually good with any age

    oh u know i love stir-fries!! MMMMMMMM <3 love black beans in mine.. or chick peas. k any bean really. lots of veggies and mustard. and i dont mind tempeh. usually i have chicken in it too tho. any stir fry is good to me! wanna try adding some squash to it next time :)

    xoxo <3

  2. Sorbet overnight oats?! Sounds delish! I LOVE stirfries. I make them at least once or twice a week for dinner! Those tofu brownies look soo yummy :)

  3. I looooove stir-fries! They never get old because there is so much that you can do with them.

    As for those Ezekial wraps.. I like them. :) Sure, they aren't as soft and pliable as other wraps but they still taste good and are packed full of delicious nutrients!

  4. Mm..your stir-fries sound great..I like the Mexican inspired one..never thought about that!! I love stir-fries!!! the wraps look yummy too!! I love those tortillas..I made one the other day with avocado and hummus...wowza. :) and I think it is easier to talk to older or younger people

  5. Thanks again for mentioning me on your are the sweetest! I am glad you liked the wraps too because I know some don't but me and my family really like the sprouted taste and my mom loves them as quesadillas. I want to make a daiya one soon...

    Oh, and to answer your questions from my bloggie (can't get the comments to reply via email!!)...I go to a few farmer's market but the one I was talking about was the tiny B'ham market which limits me to pretty much one organic farmer. It happens on sunday and I missed the saturday markets last week. My boyfriend lives right by Eastern Market (and soon me too) but I have only been once or twice so I will have to check it out more. I went in the early months and was surprised to find so much non-organic and even non-local produce...maybe it is better now! In the past I have loved the Royal Oak and even Pontiac though...I am sure I will head to both at least a few times this summer!

    Yoga-wise, I have seen Yoga shelter but have yet to go...that needs to change obviously. I may have to go to the grosse pointe since that is closest to detroit (right? I am so bad with this area...I was gone for years after high school). If I am at my parents though, I will definitely check out the bham one! It sounds like you are having a wonderful experience lady!

    Oh, and Indian food...we have a tiny lil hole in the wall type place near my moms store in Ferndale called Star of India. Some things can be a tad oily but not always. The naan is great and there are some tasty veggie dishes. Check out the menu here:

    And I definitely always got along really well with older people than myself. I was the kid who talked to their friends parents a lot, etc. We must have old souls...

    Yes, I love stir fries and just bought some thai curry paste to make a coconut milk and veggie stir fry soon!

  6. I have been the Tofu scramble stri fry queen lately...

    I either do a spicy version (chili flakes, chili sauce, beef broth concentrate, garlic) or asian version (oyster sauce, soya sauce, salt, sugar if I use seafood, garlic, ginger)
    I really want to try that mexican stir-fry mix :D

    Your eats are so colourful and yummy!! I love the ezekiel wraps too, but I only tried them once because they are quite expensive. Until the next sale, I'm sticking with my flat rolls.


  7. How awesome that you're doing community service! I love charity work so much. It makes me feel good, and it's wonderful to help other people.

    I am SO glad you tried overnight oats! As you can tell by my blog, I am quite a fan of them. How'd you make them with sorbet? That sounds intriguing. :) Also, that spoon is adorable!

    Mmm, wraps are the best. Yours looks so good. I've never tried the Ezekiel wraps but I've wanted to for quite some time. They do like kinda hard... I prefer my wraps soft, but maybe I will try them sometime. If they're on sale, that is. :)

    Yayy for chickpeas! They're seriously the best. <3

    Ahh that stir-fry looks great! I love them too, all though they don't frequently occur in my kitchen. Perhaps that will change in the near future. :)

    There are few things in this world that make me as happy as a bowl of fresh berries does. It's one of those simple pleasures in life, if you ask me. I can't wait for the recipe for that graham cracker! It looks delicious. :)

  8. Good for you for participating in community service! I used to work in a soup kitchen every Saturday and really loved it.

    I also love Food for Life! The English muffins are SO GOOD.

  9. That service project you're doing sounds so neat! I really want to get back into doing volunteer work when I go back to school.

    I could seriously eat stir fries every night! I love how there are so many combinations and so they never get boring. My favourite combo is brown rice + veggies + tofu + a sauce made of soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic.