Monday, January 31, 2011

STaVE is Moving...

I'm excited to announce my new blog, Kabochavore, is now up and running. Wonder what a "kabochavore" is? Simply pop on over to my new site by clicking here to find out.

Sweet Treats and Vegan Eats will be dormant after this post (except for maybe a few reminders of the move) so please update your Google Readers/feeds/bookmarks with the new site (you can always access it by going to

Thank you all for being such wonderful readers, commenters, and blends (blogger friends :D) alike. I really appreciate everything you do and for taking the time to make this switch with me. I hope to see you all over at Kabochavore very soon!

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Just Breathe

Hi there! I have some bad news and good news to share today, but more on that in a minute. First, I wanted to talk about an important reminder given to me today.

As usual, I made my way to my yoga studio to unwind after school. I am lucky enough that my yoga studio has 2 locations so I can practice with my favorite teacher on Wednesday at the studio that is just a bit farther.

From the moment I started taking Wednesday night class at that location, I noticed a difference. I can't explain it, but there was definitely something special about my practice there. The people. The cozy space. The energy. The only word I can think to use is "sweet"...the kind of sweet that is like a big hug from a loved one or a cozy blanket being wrapped around you.

Today's practice was all of that and more. It just felt right.

When my teacher noticed there were only a few students (I'm talking less than 10... probably because it's at a weird time) that she knew quite well, she asked us if we could please form a circle with our mats. She then proceeded to tell us about the tragic thing that had happened just a few hours earlier: one of her best friends had been killed suddenly in an accident.

Rather than look for pity, she asked us if we could dedicate our practice to her friend's life and life in general. Instead of mourn her death, we planned to celebrate her beautiful life with our ujjayi pranama, or "life force." I immediately knew from that moment on that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I lived in the moment and was engaged in everything I did by working at my edge. I kept my breath strong and my mind clear. I was celebrating life.

I celebrated my compassionate heart, strong body, and sharp mind. I was thankful for every deep and full breath that created support for those around me, as they had done for me. More than anything, I was thankful for life. I marveled and the beauty of every stage of life, from newborn to elderly. Life is precious at every age. It is a beautiful gift that those around you receive.

There is so much power is just a simple breath. So many kind words and gestures that it can produce. With every breath I take, I hope to be mindful of the wonderful world I am fortunate to live in. I want to celebrate the beauty and blessing in even the hardest of things. And sometimes, I just want to enjoy the moment, giving myself over freely to my breath rather than worrying about what is to come. It all starts with a breath...

How do you celebrate your life? What was the last beautiful thing that you saw?

Speaking of breath, I definitely needed to reminded myself to "just breathe" about some blog issues. I'm surprised a full moon isn't near because the issues I've been having are definitely unlikely. Not only was blogspot not allowing me to post, now that it will, I can't upload and post my pictures. On top of that, the work I did on my new blog was all lost, and I can no longer access it. Basically now neither my "old" (aka current) or new blog work. Go figure.

So what did I do? Well, I definitely started by taking a few breaths. I then decided that stressing about it really wasn't worth it. Instead, I have come to see this as a sort of blessing in disguise. I feel like the name "Sweet Treats and Vegan Eats" doesn't really define me well anymore since my culinary point of view, as well as myself in general, has changed quite a bit since STAVE's beginning.

Now that I've accepted the problem, I've come up with a solution. I decided the best thing to do is just start a new blog, this time with Wordpress. Sure, it won't be self-hosted for now, but maybe one day it will be up to par with where my "new" one was. For now, though, I'm just going to enjoy it as it is. I'm still thinking of a name, but I definitely want to create it soon. These issues sure haven't made my memory card any lighter (especially since I've been on an experimentation kick)! Please look out for the switch coming up!

Do you have any ideas for a new blog name for me? And do any of my Wordpress friends have any tips for the switch?

I challenge you to celebrate life in at least one way today! Nameste!

Have a lovely day!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Beatles Know What's Up

Heya! How's your week been? Mine was an absolute whirl-wind! I feel like I've learned so much in just a few days, both through the experience of mid-terms and some family stuff. I could probably go on an on about it, but instead I'll summarize so we can get to the food that I want to share with you. I really don't like going this long without blogging; so much to share, so little time...

  • First of all, my grades in school do not determine my worth or how much people love me. I have always been a self-motivated perfectionist in school, but now I am learning that there is much more to life than just succeeding in school. I always try my hardest but it's easy to slip into self-doubt when I don't get exactly the grades I want. I'm taking a lot of Advanced Placement and Honors courses that have really contributed to my high stress level because of this. However, this week I've started to realize that my best really is good enough. I'm not just a letter on a report card; I have so much more to offer! It's who I am, not a number, that is loved. 

  • All you need is love! [Clearly the Beatles knew what's up.] I am so amazed by the immense amount of love that surrounds us every day, sometimes without us even noticing it. It seems as though everyone in my family has been experiencing some bumps in their road lately so to speak. I think it is in these trying times that I've seen the power of family more than ever. Even though we've all struggled with our own problems, there's never been a moment where we've felt alone or like we can't get through it. My family is truly my support system, and I am happy to be apart of theirs, too. I am so thankful for all of the love that surrounds me from the amazing people I am lucky enough to call my family and friends. 

I felt so free after finishing mid-terms, that I knew I had to do something that would make me feel like, well, me! Naturally baking came to mind. Since my mom had a very stressful week, I decided to bake for her. Over the summer she fell in love with Tahini Lime Cookies that I made on a whim. She doesn't like to bother me by asking me to bake her favorites (though I love requests more than anything), but I knew they would be the perfect thing to perk her up. 

One of the ways I show love most is through baking. It seems as though every time I want to show my appreciation or that I care, I immediately wonder what I could bake for them. I was so over come by love yesterday that I am convinced it actually overflowed into the cookies. I suppose love is my secret ingredient ;). 

Last night I also made delicious Mini Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers. I've been tossing around the idea of recreating Dr. Praeger's Bombay Curry Burgers for a while now so I was intrigued when I saw Emily post a recipe for her recreation of Trader Joe's Masala Burgers. They are veggie burgers made out of just vegetables, which is exactly what I was looking for. (I swear bloggers have some kind of special telepathy!) Don't get me wrong; I love bean burgers, but sometimes I just want a hearty mix of vegetables instead. Last night was one of those nights. 

Mini Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers 
Makes 1 large burger or 4 small bites 

  • 1/4 cup sweet potato (59.85g), diced 
  • 1/2 large carrot (36g), chopped 
  • 2 TBS red or yellow bell pepper, chopped (17.5 g)
  • 2 TBS shelled edamame (25 g) 
  • 2 TBS peas or 3 TBS frozen peas and carrots
  • 2 TBS rolled oats/oatmeal
  • 2 tsp canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 tsp ginger 
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala 
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric 
  • 1/8 tsp ground mustard powder 
  • Herbamare, or salt and pepper to taste

Chop sweet potato and carrot into small, even pieces. Saute in a non-stick pan (with oil or cooking spray) over medium high heat for about 10 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Next, add the bell pepper, shelled edamame, and frozen peas. Add a little bit of water or vegetable stock to soften the veggies. Cook until the peppers are soft and warmed through, about 5 minutes.

Grind rolled oats into a coarse meal using a (mini) food processor or spice grinder. Add cooked veggies, pumpkin, and spices. Pulse until the veggies are finely chopped and bind together (you may need to add a tsp or so of water at this point to make it stick better).

Form mixture into desired amount of burgers or patties with hands. Cook over medium heat on each side until lightly browned.

All I can say is yum :D. I really like the vegetable base so I look forward to experimenting with it by changing up the spices. Also, I think these would make a great veggie burger to freeze to have on hand for busy days. And even when I'm short on time, I like that this recipe comes together rather quickly if I use almost all frozen veggies. These definitely get high marks for versatility and overall taste!

With that, I'm off to finish making dinner for our girl's night. My grandmother, mom, and I just got our nails done so now we're just planning to relax and enjoy each other's company. I'm a bit tired after this week, but I know some quality time with the fam will leave me feeling refreshed. After all, all you need is love!

What makes you who you are? What is something you are thankful for in your everyday life? 

Remember, you are special and loved just the way you are. You are not a grade on a report care, a dollar amount on a pay check, or even a number on a scale. And as one of the teachers at school told us, if you ever doubt that you are loved, just know that I love you.

Have a lovely day!


P.S. Blogger officially hates me. The proof is in the pudding hours I've spent trying to get this post up. I hope to switch over to my new blog this weekend. Please stay tuned!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

If Only It Were Wednesday...

If only it were Wednesday, I could finally say...

Happy Waffle Wednesday! 

Except it's not. Regardless, waffles are coming to be a mainstay in my breakfast rotation and deserve to be celebrated. I know you're probably thinking, "Wait, no oats? Who is this girl and were is Mandiee?" I was a little skeptical at first, too, but never fear, I have something up my sleeve. 

Anyway, I have specifically been enjoying my new found love as a Saturday treat. Waffle Saturday, perhaps? I think Waffle Wednesday has a better ring to it but that is neither here nor there. 

What is here, though, is a picture of complete deliciousness. Could breakfast get any better than eating a fluffy warm waffle fresh out of the iron? 

Oh yes, yes it could. If you have ever dreamed of eating Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for breakfast then dream no more! Once I decided to make peanut butter waffles, I knew I had to go that extra step and add chocolate somehow. After all, where would peanut butter be without chocolate? I was only too happy to oblige destiny with a warm chocolate fudge sauce drizzled on top of my waffles. 

But enough talk, let's get to the recipe so you can be closer to peanut butter chocolate bliss even sooner. The waffle recipe is actually my adaptation of the Non-dairy Queen's genius peanut flour creation. I'lll admit I'm not a huge peanut fan so I wasn't completely sold on the idea of peanut flour at first. However, my waffle was love at first bite so now I am definitely converted. 

With a lovely peanut flavor that melded oh so perfectly with the nuttiness of the oats, I couldn't help but fall in love. Using rolled oats that I ground in my food processor instead of flour was such a great idea. Oats are so much more nutritious and delicious than flour so I tend to use them as a substitute when I can (pumpkin pie pancakes anyone?). The whole grain goodness and fiber from the oats + the protein (8g!) from the peanut flour made these waffles really keep me satisfied for a long time without a weighed down feeling. They were great pre-workout fuel for my new weekend routine. Basically, with this recipe, you can have your cake chocolate fudge reese's Peanut Butter Cup waffles and eat it, too! 

Peanut Butter Cup Waffles (Peanut Flour Waffles with Chocolate Sauce)
Makes 1 
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats 
  • 2 TBS peanut flour (I use Trader Joe's) 
  • 1 tsp NuNaturals Stevia Baking Blend, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder 
  • pinch of salt (it really makes the flavor come out, so try to use it if you can) 
  • 6-8 TBS water 
  • 1 TBS pumpkin puree (I use Libby's) 
  • 1.5 tsp cocoa powder 
  • 3 drops vanilla stevia, or to taste
  • 3+ TBS water
  • dash of cinnamon 
Grind rolled oats in a food processor. They should be finer than quick oats but coarser than oat flour. 

Mix ground oats, peanut flour, stevia, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. 

Add in 6 TBS of water to start, adding more if the batter gets thick. (The oats will absorb the liquid as they sit so make sure to test the viscosity as you go.) 

Pour batter on a waffle iron and cook until golden brown. 

Meanwhile, prepare chocolate sauce by combining pumpkin puree, cocoa powder, stevia, water, and cinnamon. Add more water if you would like your sauce warm. 

Microwave sauce for ~30 seconds. If you added too much, simply microwave it for longer until you reach your desired consistency. Mine got so thick and luscious; it was wonderful! (Also, please note that it will thicken as it cools on your waffle.) Drizzle till your hearts content!

Devour as all your dreams come true... or at least your peanut buttery chocolate ones. One thing at a time, right? 

*Note: my sweetener measurements are only recommendations. I tend not to like things very sweet so please adjust the recipe accordingly. 

While these waffles were definitely the kind of breakfast that's waking up for, I'm sure they would be lovely as dessert to. (Vegan) ice cream waffle sandwiches, perhaps? Yumm....

[*Edited to add: these waffles can also be made into pancakes. Wahoo for versatility!] 

Have you recreated any of your favorite desserts or childhood sweets? What was your favorite candy growing up?

Have a lovely day! 

P.S. I haven't been able to post because of mid-term studying (they're next week---eek!) and blogger issues. Luckily midterms will be over before I know it, and hopefully I can get the blog issues worked out. If not, my new blog will be launched asap. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My [Not So] Dirty Little Secret

Hiya, Sugar Pies!

Thanks for your support on my yoga dilemma. From reading your comments I got the sense that most people have a passion for something, so usually that kind of attachment is  Today is my first day without practicing, and while I do feel quite a bit disappointed, I'm going to try to make the best of what I have by going to the gym. It's literally been a year since I steeped in a gym. Can you believe that? I suppose this inconvenience is quite good for me considering I've been curious about cross training anyway. While I do believe yoga is a wonderful full body workout that includes both cardio and strength training, certain areas just aren't worked as much as others. I see an elliptical machine in my future... if I can remember how to use one, that is haha.

Now that you know my little secret about the gym, it's time for my real confession: I'm obsessed with root vegetables. And when I say obsessed, I mean "I've eaten them every day in some form or another, not to mention root veggie fries at least 3 times this week" kind of obsessed. For some reason, it's the only thing that sounds good to me. Sure, other foods sound alright, but once I even consider having root vegetables, my mind simply can't be changed.

Must. Eat. Root. Veggies.

Cave man like? Perhaps, but I can't help it because they're just too good! Never fear, though, bloggies; I wouldn't go on this rant without sharing something with you. In an attempt to change things up from my root veggie fries, I decided to give sweet potatoes a little love. Lately I've become so caught up in foods that are new to me that I've neglected the classics. Well, not anymore...

Nutritionally speaking, sweet potatoes are powerhouses. They are one of the best sources of beta-carotein (which gets converted by our body into Vitamin A), have more fiber than oatmeal, and even protect blood sugar crashes because they digest slowly. And did you know that they are an excellent source of Vitamin E (even though they are virtually fat-free)? Sounds like a winner to me!

But let's be honest: the real reason why we love sweet potatoes is because of their amazing taste. Their natural sweetness is almost unsurpassed. Adding sweet potatoes to your diet can even reduce sugar cravings because they provide our bodies with more natural and nutritionally beneficial forms of sugar.

Sweetness aside, though, these little potatoes are wonderful in more savory dishes as well. My new favorite includes mashing the flesh with Indian spices and peas, then stuffing back in the skin to bake. I actually got this idea from seeing two different recipes as of late, twice-baked potatoes and samosas, floating around. I'm not really a huge fan of white potatoes (except when I get a craving like this), so I thought why not replace it with sweet potatoes? Also, I didn't really feel like making dumplings, but definitely wanted that delicious Indian flavor of samosas. My solution? Samosa-Style Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes.

Truth be told, I was so excited for my sweet potato that I tore the skin a bit and couldn't even get a good photo. Don't be fooled, though, these sweet potatoes are a delicious flavor adventure regardless of their visage. If my [not so] dirty little secret of root vegetable love is wrong, I don't ever want to be right.

Samosa-Style Twice Baked Sweet Potato/Yam
Serves 1

  • 1 sweet potato or yam (chances are they are the same, unless you shop at an Asian market) 
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas, defrosted 
  • 3 TBS non-dairy milk (original flavor---I used unsweetened original almond milk), plus more to thin
  • 1/4 tsp ginger (increase to 1/2 tsp if you are like me and really enjoy ginger) 
  • 1/4 tsp coriander 
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 garam masala  
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric 
  • Herbamare or salt&pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400*F. 
  2. Wash sweet potato or yam (I used a jewel yam, which is actually a sweet potato) very well, making sure to scrub the skin. 
  3. Place sweet potato in a small casserole dish with a little water and cover with aluminum foil. (The water + covering will slightly steam the sweet potato to make the flesh more mash-able). Bake for about 45 minutes, or until tender. 
  4. Remove from the oven and let cool until safe to the touch. (Note: you can do steps 1-4 in advance, making it more convenient for both time & oven usage.) 
  5. Cut sweet potato down the center and scoop out flesh, being careful to keep the skin in tact. 
  6. Mash sweet potato flesh with a fork, adding almond milk until desired consistency is reached. Remember, a thicker mash will be easier to put back in the skin. 
  7. Stir in defrosted (or even warmed) peas and spices. Feel free to adapt the measurements to your liking. Season with Herbamare (or salt&pepper) to taste. 
  8. Place the mixture back in the sweet potato skin. 
  9. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the mixture starts to lightly brown. 
  10. Dig in! 
What is your favorite root vegetable? And do you prefer a sweet or savory route with your sweet potatoes? I think parsnips are my favorite of the roots right now, but sweet potatoes will always have a special place in my heart. While I thought I only liked them sweet, this recipe has definitely changed my mind!

So tell me, do you have a [not so] dirty little secret? Do share! 

Have a lovely day! 

P.S. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a sweet potato and a "yam"? After asking as many people and doing some research of my own, I think I finally have the answer. If you are interested, please tell me as I'd be glad to share. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Attachment Paradox

Hey y'all! Welcome to my new readers and as always, thank you to my loyal readers for keep coming back!

My yoga practice just a few hours ago really inspired me to write tonight's post on attachment. Some crazy things happened before class (such as shifting many times to make room and eventually just opening the other room despite the fact there were workmen painting), but it was actually the start of the practice that really stood out. For some reason or another, the stereo system would not cooperate so we had no other choice than to practice without music. Instead, we led ourselves through a few sun salutation A's and B's with only the sound of our breath as a beat.

To be quite honest, I didn't even notice the music wasn't playing until my teacher mentioned it; Afterall, I was extremely focused on the wave-like sound of our communal ujjayi pranayama. I could tell I was definitely in the minority with this view because all the students let out a groan when she desperately explained that the playlist she had spent 2 hours working probably would no longer be able to be heard. Long story short, the receptionist was able to fix the sound system. After about 20 minutes of internal music, familiar voices and a deep beat finally cut through the gentle breath.

Throughout the rest of the class, my teacher reflected on her dependance on the music. She admitted that she was extremely worried when it would not play but felt huge relief once it was back. She related it to how we can become so attached to things in our lives, such as schedules, ideas, material objects, and even people, that when something changes, we feel very anxious. She also reminded us that yoga can teach us to become less attached so that we might live more freely. I found this extremely ironic for myself because I realized that the thing I am most attached to right now is yoga itself.

You see, my yoga studio recently changed their system so I've had to cut back on how many times a week I can practice there. A change from unlimited (meaning 7 days a week for me) to 5 classes a week may not seem like much, but for some reason it has changed me completely. In every class I cannot help but think about how each passing second means one less second of beautiful practice for the week. It's probably silly to say, but I just wish time would stop when I'm there. My practice and the community at my studio have really become apart of me. Yoga has helped me change myself so much mentally and physically that it almost feels like I'm losing a bit of me. Now, though, I am able to recognize this as most attachment. So the question is: is attachment positive and "okay" in this situation? Or is it just apart of me?

Have you ever become so attached to something that it actually becomes apart of you? What was/is it?

Since I'll probably be spending my Saturdays and Sundays at the gym now instead of the studio, I'm pretty confused as to what to do. Do you have any tips for interesting workouts/treadmilling/ellipticaling/strength moves? What are your favorite things to do? I'm definitely a newbie to all of this and would appreciate any tips I can get!


Anyway, let's get onto the food. I'll admit that I do get quite attached to my favorite combos, especially root veggie fries as of late.

 However, t's nice to change it up, too. On the non-attachment front, last night I decided to make myself some polenta after seeing Gabriella's delicious looking polenta lasagna. I will definitely be making this soon as it looks so delicious!

Yesterday, though, my broccoli polenta with marinara was a lovely stand-in. The little polenta x's, o's, and hearts were crunchy on the outside with a soft interior speckled with broccoli. It was so comforting and everything I hoped for.

While you can buy it pre-made in your grocery store (usually in tube form), polenta is so easy to make that you can just whip it up yourself. Not only will it be fresher, but more fun, too because you can customize it with whatever add-ins and spices you would like. I highly recommend broccoli and nutritional yeast like I did here.

Simple Cheezy Broccoli Polenta for One 

  • 1/4 cup polenta 
  • 1-1/4 cups water (plus more, if needed) 
  • 1 cup broccoli (or your favorite frozen veggie), finely chopped 
  • 1 TBS nutritional yeast, or to taste
  • salt&pepper, to taste
Bring water to a boil in a sauce pan. Once boiling, whisk in polenta in a steady stream. Add chopped broccoli, a pinch of salt, and nutritional yeast. The mixture should start to thicken. At this point, lower the heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Add additional (hot) water if needed to keep the polenta moist but still thick. Turn off the heat but leave the lid on for 10 more minutes. Transfer polenta mixture to a personal sized ramekin or other small dish (or mold) that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray or oil. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (I like an hour or so) to set. Remove from dish and bake a 400*F oven for about 40 minutes, flipping half way through. The cook time will vary depending on the shape used to mold and how crispy you like your polenta. Top with marinara sauce and nooch. Enjoy! 

Have you tried polenta before? If not, what are you waiting for?! My simple polenta is so easy to prepare. It might even motivate you to clean the house while you wait. Or do yoga. I'll go with the latter :). 

Have a lovely day! 


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Quick Zucchini, Brussels Sprout, and Chickpea Stir-Fry

Happy 2011! How was your New Year's celebration? I basically just kicked back in my PJ's and fuzzy socks with a big ol' piece of kabocha while watching the concerts on TV. Clearly I'm quite the party animal. Watching the ball drop is a family tradition, but other than that, my night was low key. Do you have any New Year traditions? 

I definitely started 2011 out on the right foot thanks to all of your kind blogiversary wishes. I feel like I can't say it enough, but honestly, the blogsphere means so much to me that I just can't help but thank you again. Each and every one of you (bloggers, readers, and behind-the-scenes helpers) make this community as amazing as it is so keep doing what you do!

Although I could go on and on, I really popped in tonight to thank you (check!) and a give you a little quick-y recipe (almost check). You see, tomorrow I go back to school after a 2 week break so I have lots of stuff to do (not to mention some mental preparation). With so much on my mind, I could hardly decide what I wanted for dinner! However, since I had some zucchini and brussels sprouts in my produce drawer that were in need of a little love, my decision was simple.

Two words, my friends: Stir. Fry.

Stir-fries are so simple and adaptable. Change the ingredients&spices and you already have a completely different meal! Not to mention the few dishes they produce are a total bonus. I'm pretty sure I came up with this combination on a whim, but it has proved to be a favorite ever since. I can honestly say I ate it at least once a week for a few months straight. Somehow, though, it got out of rotation. Now that I finally decided to approximate my "pinch of this, pinch of that," I'm sure it's not going away any time soon.

Quick Zucchini, Brussels Sprout, and Chickpea Stir-Fry
Serves 1

  • minced garlic (I use A TON so I'll leave this up to you) 
  • 1 zucchini (or 1/2 zucchini and 1/2 yellow squash) 
  • 6 brussels sprouts
  • 1/2-3/4 cup chickpeas 
  • 1/2 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika 
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary 
  • 1/8 tsp thyme 
  • Braggs Liquid Aminos, to taste (I use about 1-1/2 tsp) 
  1. Steam zucchini and brussels sprouts until just tender (they will continue to cook in the stir-fry). 
  2. Meanwhile, sautee minced garlic in a non-stick pan until brown. 
  3. Add steamed vegetables, chickpeas, and spices. 
  4. Stir in Braggs, using it to deglaze the pan, if necessary. 
  5. Heat through and serve. 
Do you have a favorite stir-fry combination? I'm pretty convinced that Braggs, ginger, and garlic were meant to be together.

Well, I have some bag organizing and soup-making to attend to... 

Oh mirepoix, I love you. 

Have a lovely day! And to all my fellow students heading back tomorrow, good luck!