Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Up and Running!

Hey there! 

Thanks for bearing with me as my technological issues were resolved. The bad news is my computer freaked out and I lost most of my new recipes. The good news is that my mom and I decided to switch computers so that this does not happen to me again. I have always admired her MacBook Air so I am sure I will get along just fine. ;) 

[Happy face oatmeal :D]

With my computer down, I did not take as many photos as usual. However, it was hard not to when I was eating such delicious things! 

I have especially enjoyed eating a muffin to start out my day. I am not always ready for oatmeal right when I wake up (not to mention I make it the looooong way for volume and creaminess), so muffin mashes have been perfect. 

Some people like coffee, I do muffins. They are definitely worth waking up for!

After one last mash with these, I said goodbye to my Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter Muffins with Banana and Blueberries (AKA Bliss Muffins). 

Bliss indeed.

Feeling an immediate muffin void, I decided to create a new recipe. 

Fudge-y, ooey-gooey, chocolate blueberry muffins? Yes, please! While these are similar to my other recipe (do not mess with perfection, friends!), I will be posting it soon. This was definitely bliss, too; but this time, it was chocolate bliss.

For some reason, I failed to capture many of the eats between these lovely treats and dinner. Maybe because they usually looked a little like this... 

[Breakfast oats]

[Snack-y lunches]

Dinner, however, was not overlooked. Armed with a block of tempeh, I got to cookin'. Of course, I always start with the tried-and-true.

[Asian-inspired tempeh bowl with zucchini, cauliflower, and broccoli

[In the mix: Braggs-marinated-and-baked tempeh cubes, millet (hiding below), carrots, and snow peas with Braggs, ginger, and garlic]

Venturing outside of my usual, I decided to go a sweeter route. 

I was inspired by this to create a tempeh salad with grated carrots, using fresh and ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice

Both the flavor and texture were very new to me. I am so used to having tempeh one way that this was a welcomed change. However, I soon returned to my savory roots again....

[Smokey tempeh strips served on a bed of millet and leaf lettuce, with cauliflower, broccoli, orange bell pepper, and avocado]

[Although it was messy, I ended up using the lettuce like a wrap. I suppose these were my version of tacos.]

I may experiment with new ideas, but I never stray too far from my love of legumes. 

Do not let this picture fool you; there were most definitely chickpeas in there. That lovely burger is actually my variation on Angela's In A Jiffy Curry Chickpea Burgers. A mound of Indian-spiced roasted veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, and zucchini), carrots, and a mini cucumber happily accompanied it to make this delicious meal. 

I also used beans as a stuffing to some of my favorite veggies. Veggies and beans? That is pretty much me in a nutshell. 

Oh boy, this plate is simply veggie-packed! First, I stuffed patty pan squash with adzuki beans. I also steamed kale, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and broccoli (which I then added to arame to make a sea-vegetable salad). As always,  kabocha (topped with avocado a la Gena) was the star of the show. I definitely think the squash beat it in cuteness, though. 

On a whim, I decided to make Mexican Black Bean Stuffed Zucchini and Red Pepper. Apparently I had a bit of a heavy hand with the cayenne I was feeling spicy, so avocado brought a welcomed creaminess to the dish.

And to end on a sweet note, I finally made this recipe. Or rather, I put my spin on it, thanks to the kind suggestions of miss Natalie herself. My version was basically vegan blueberry bread pudding with strawberries

I am now officially a big fan of coconut flour and coconut yogurt. Coconut flour gives baked goods such a dense texture and nutty flavor. And as for the coconut yogurt, its creaminess cannot be beat. Vegan greek yogurt perhaps? Welcome back, coconut, welcome back!

Whew! How is that for a monster post? Now that I have a new blogging headquarters, I am here to stay. And since I am obviously loving muffins lately, what is your favorite kind of muffin? Also, what ingredient or blogger recipe have you indulged in recently?

Have a lovely day! 


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Forced Technology Detox

Hey bloggies! 

I am sorry to report that my laptop crashed so I may not be able to blog for a few days. I hope it will be up and running soon (especially because I have lots of great things to show you&even some recipes, too.) It seems as though this is the universe's way of forcing me into a technology detox---let's see how it goes! 

Do you ever have take technology detoxs? What do you do when your computer does not work how you want it to? 

Have a lovely day! 


Sunday, July 18, 2010


Hey there! How is your weekend going? 

Mine has really been lovely. Really, truly, lovely. 

As with almost every other Saturday, I was lucky enough to go to the farmer's market with my mom. After last weekend's mishap, going to my favorite market was like a home-coming. Fearing yet another kale shortage, I immediately made my way to the far end of the market in search of my favorite farmer. We saw each other across the bustling crowd and locked eyes. It was just like a perfect love story with us smiling... except, of course, instead of two lovers, my story involved a veggie-loving girl and kale

[My pursuit of kale was fulfilled with 2 beautiful varieties, per the farmer's suggestion. More kale? Count me in! Also pictured are about 1/4 of my leaf lettuce and two bunches of red romaine lettuce for J and my mom.]  

Lucky for me, I was not the only one who was excited. My favorite farmer and I exchanged a few words, expressing our love for all things fresh, local, and organic

[Broccoli and giant cauliflower]

[Carrots, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, summer squash, and bell peppers

[Blackberries (x2), strawberries, and raspberries (x2).]

[Cantaloupe (the sweetest EVER) for my grandmother and for my mom, peaches and bananas.]

[Seriously, this cantaloupe was amazing, and I burned out on cantaloupe a while ago. Thank goodness for samples!]

That is when it all started. I was clearly extremely happy to be there and it seemed the other farmer's were, too. As I strolled around more, my other usual farmers also greeted me with more-than-usual chipper welcomes. 

[This bowl of oatmeal welcomed me back from the market in true style. Any guesses as to what it is? I am fairly predictable when it comes to weekend oats...]

I am a big believer that positive attitudes are contagious, but it still seemed like there was something more. And what is that? It is love, my friends. I would even venture to say farmers love produce more than me, and that is definitely a lot. 

[When veggies become the main course and beans are just a side, you can truly call yourself a veg-head. Even my black beans were upstaged by the pumpkin in my delicious black bean pumpkin patties.] 

Amazing is really the only word I can come up with to describe these farmers. Day after day, they work at the mercy of Mother Nature for what they hope will be a good harvest. And organic farmers have it harder still, wrestling with weeds and unwanted pests without aid. Most farmers do not make very much money, but from what I see, they are rich in many other things. 

[This dinner actually did not take very much work. Sure, preparing polenta takes time, but it is mostly just spent waiting.]

[Preparing it with broccoli and nooch made it all the better.]

Farmers' dedication made me reflect on the little things in my life that fill me with joy. Today, for example, I was lucky enough to spend time with my grandmother. Now that I have moved, we no longer live together. She has been a strong presence in my life for as long as I can remember; accordingly, I miss her very much and cherish our (now more sparse) moments together even more.

[One little thing that made me very happy last night was this Plain Coconut Milk Yogurt. Such a simple thing, but not to me. After a few years of excluding coconut and pumpkin from my diet because of a supposed allergy, I am happy to report that I am now symptom-free.] 

[As a final test of my allergy, I decided to try this yogurt. Even though it was the plain flavor, it tasted sweet to my sensitive taste buds; it was still very enjoyable. When it did not seem to bother me, I went all out in celebration. Chocolate coconut pudding with raspberries? Yes, please!] 

After my yoga practice, we made our way to Whole Foods for a little shopping trip. While this may seem like a strange place to spend time together, it was perfect for these two foodies. (Like grandmother, like granddaughter, right?) It used to be a tradition of ours to go to the gourmet market by our house on Friday nights before closing; the store was our personal paradise to explore. 

[My grandmother mentioned to me today how much she enjoys thin crust pizza. Clearly, it is like grandmother, like granddaughter again because I do have a special place in my heart for my Ezekiel "pizzas".] 

[Enter the Indecision Tortilla Pizza: one half covered with a pumpkin-hummus spread, the other with fresh basil and spiced tomato sauce.] 

While today's journey was a little different, it was no less special. We took our time walking down the isles, chatting and laughing all the way. We talked about everything from how to soak dried beans to my grandmother's new love of yoga (!!!). Actually, we had so much fun that we decided to go to the gourmet market, too. A little nostalgia as a way to buy time together never hurts. 

[In honor of my grandmother's decision to make fresh beans, I decided to have a black bean-millet bowl with yellow squash, broccoli, and cauliflower for dinner.] 

[In the bowl: millet, black beans, carrots, and avocado.] 

[I proceeded to mix it up with with salsa, chili powder, and cumin. For a girl who is really trying to like avocados, I think I might have finally succeeded with this dish. More avocado-ing followed.]

When it was finally time for us to part, I was sad to say goodbye to my grandmother, but still felt happiness radiating from inside. It is truly amazing what just a little time with our loved ones can do. 

[Before we parted, I shared a bit of my new Raspberry Lime Hint (bought while in the store from extreme thirst) with my grandmother. Our response: lovely! For some reason, "lovely" just seemed to sum up this water perfectly. There was definitely a "hint" of raspberry and lime, but nothing overpowering. It was refreshing and delicious; I would buy it again as a treat!]

All in all, today was an amazing day. I truly feel blessed for everything in my life. To all the farmers out there, and everyone else, too, thank you for doing what you do; sometimes you do not know how much it really means. 

Who and what are you thankful for in your life? 

Have a lovely day! 


P.S. As a simple thanks for shining your light in the world, I posted the recipe for my Bliss Muffins. I hope you enjoy!

Bliss Muffins

Bliss Muffins 
Makes 5 Muffins 

I call these bliss muffins because my first bite into them taste of the batter was pure bliss. Not to mention, "Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter Banana Blueberry Muffins" just does not really roll off the tongue. These muffins are vegan, gluten-free, wheat-free, and do not contain any refined ingredients. Although they may look small, one of these muffins is quite filling thanks to the nutritional punch they pack. Whole grains, healthy fats, and fruit? Count me in!

1 tsp flax meal (ground flax)
1 small ripe banana, mashed (93 g)
2 TBS unsweetened applesauce
2 TBS unsweetened almond milk, plus more if necessary
1 TBS + 1 tsp Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter (CVSB) *see note
1 packet NuNatural's stevia
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 

2/3 cup rolled oats, ground into flour using food processor (or about 1/2 oat flour)
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt

1/3 cup blueberries
1 strawberry (for topping)

First, mix flax meal with 1 TBS hot water (just under boiling is good) and let sit until it becomes thick. Quickly mix with a fork to incorporate until it resembles the consistency of an egg.

Next, combine flax seed mixture, mashed banana, applesauce, almond milk, CVSB, stevia, and vanilla extract in a bowl. In another bowl, mix oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until combined. If the batter seems to stiff, add more almond milk. Stir in blueberries. Equally divide the mixture between 5 spots in the muffin tin (lined or greased), making sure to fill the empty spaces with water to ensure even baking (a 6-muffin tin works best for this). Place a slice of strawberry on top.

Bake at 350*F for 15-20 minutes. Immediately remove muffins from tin and place on a cooling rack (if you can wait).

Enjoy by itself or crumbled and warmed with almond milk and strawberries.

*Note: Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter can be bought at Naturally Nutty's website here or at select Whole Foods (or maybe even your local health foods store). Of course, you could just substitute your favorite nut butter for it, but CVSB really takes this recipe over the edge. Not only is it packed with nutrional powerhouses (hemp and flax), but it even tastes like frosting! Trust me, you will be very happy if you can find it (especially if you make these muffins *wink).

P.S. My mom quite enjoyed Naturally Nutty's Honey Roasted Cinnamon Peanut Butter, too; the empty jar is proof.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Berry Simple

Heya, Sweet Peas, and happy Bastille Day!

Thank you all so much for your outpouring support on my new format in recent posts. I have really enjoyed writing about what is on my mind (i.e. freedom and spontaneity) and see many posts like that in my future. However, in the past few days I have been surrounded by so much thought-provoking information that I do not even know where to begin.

With all the yoga work I have been doing (both on and off the matt), getting settled in my new home, and dealing with a few foodie crises (my refrigerator is on the fritz and the new one I ordered will not be delivered until August 3---why, Samsung, why?), eats have been random at best. Luckily, I know that when things get crazy, simple but delicious is the way to go. I cannot say that enough: simple can be and is delicious!

Since I have 3 feedbacks (written assessments of yoga classes that I take) and the Ashtanga Primary Series to write, I will let simplicity speak for itself. 

Oats are the epitome of simplicity. Mine have three components: fruit + golden flax seed meal + flavoring. 

Blueberry muffin oats = blueberries + golden flax seed meal + cinnamon

The fresh blueberries imparted such a beautiful color and fresh flavor. Somehow these oats were also fluffier and creamier than usual. No complaints here.

Checkerboard oats = strawberries + blackberries + golden flax seed meal + cinnamon

The super sweet strawberries and slightly tart blackberries complemented each other beautifully. The different textures and unlikely pairing made for a unique combination that made my taste buds sing. 

Chocolate fountain oats = blueberries + strawberries + golden flax seed + extreme dark cocoa powder + a sprinkle of cinnamon

Fun fact: my mom and I actually own a chocolate fountain. Though we never use it when it is just us (even though every child out there probably wishes they had one for that reason), it is great to bring to parties. It is not really my thing anymore but the memory of how excited I was for my first chocolate fountain experience still makes me smile. 

I remember reaching for tons of fruit that night, letting both flavors come through without being sickeningly sweet. To recreate this memory, I made my favorite chocolate brownie oats, this time with the addition of blueberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I am not sure what took an absolutely amazing bowl of oats to mind-blowing, but the impossible happened. You could even eat it like fondue if your heart desires. 

Have you had a chocolate fountain or fondue before? What would you most want to dip in?  

Although these may not look like oats, I can assure you, these muffins used 100% ground up oats instead of flour. Vegan, gluten-free, wheat-free, and completely delicious. 

May I introduce you to Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter Muffins. Or more simply, bliss. 

Snack plates are so simple to make and fun to eat. I love getting little tastes of everything. Why turn to unhealthy snacks that will only leave you feeling sick and craving more when you can whip up a satisfying snack (or snack-like meal) of whole food ingredients in the same amount of time? 

Are you a fan of snack plates? What do you include?

Millet + baked tofu + cauliflower + broccoli + zucchini + zephyr squash

After the photo shoot, I mixed this all together and added minced garlic, a little swish of Braggs, and shakes of ground ginger. I guess this is my version of a quick stir-fry; whatever it was, the flavor was pungent and oh so wonderful. Garlic and ginger are true super foods; their anti-inflammatory (and anti-viral) properties are always welcome for this busy yogi.  

I am a huge fan of kale chips. I never really liked potato chips (I do not like the taste of white potatoes but sweet potatoes = love), but one of my favorite veggies in crispy form sounds like a genius idea to me! I like to add a little pinch of sea salt (I rarely add salt to anything, but I think it brings out the flavor in these nicely), some nooch, and a sprinkle of Parma to bring these alive. 

A little unpictured cheezy dipping sauce (hummus + nooch + water to thin) amps up the flavor even more.

The possibilities between two pieces of bread are endless. While I am a big believer in the importance of a good bread (Ezekiel sprouted grain, of course), the filling in this baby definitely stole the show.

This was no ordinary sandwich. Roasted kabocha + avocado + summer squash may just change your life.  

What is your favorite kind of bread, savory or otherwise? What is the best sandwich you have ever had?

Today I will be one busy bee with all the work I have to do in preparation for my meeting with my yoga teacher tonight. Thanks to all of your comments on happiness (here and here), though, I will be able to keep it simple. 

What are the simple pleasures in your life? 

I love listening to the rain and falling asleep to the sound of the waves at my cottage. Nature is so beautiful in its simplicity. 

Have a lovely day!