I’m The MacGyver Of Baking

Posted on May 16, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Yesterday, my parents went to see our relatives while I stayed home studying. My aunt, ever-thoughtful, sent back some cupcakes for me. It was really thoughtful; but there was something that worried us. If you asked her what they were, she’d say “organic, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, nut-free…” the list goes on. She did the same when I made my cousin these cupcakes. And they didn’t seem gluten-free. In fact, after a little investigating, it seemed likely they weren’t and she just got confused. Well I was OK with that and letting my family have them. Except then I wanted cake. I really wanted cake.

Simple Chocolate Cake

Simple Chocolate Cake

I broke out the Sweet Utopia cookbook sent to me by Book Publishing Co. and flipped open to the first recipe in the book: a simple chocolate cake. Perfect. I made a few alterations to the recipe(switching to gluten-free flours, almond milk for soy milk, and olive oil for canola oil), and 28 minutes later I brought life into this world.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Cake

Vegan, Gluten-Free Cake

Isn’t she a cutie? But I wanted cake fast so I cut a slice and stuck it in the fridge to cool quickly. While that was cooling, I made a 2-minute buttercream frosting by mixing earth balance, powdered sugar, and vanilla powder in a small dish with a fork. It was almost too easy.

Cake With Frosting

Cake With Frosting

I went from thinking I’d have a chocolate bar for dessert(but not really happy with that) to 1 hour later having a vegan, gluten-free chocolate cake with vegan buttercream frosting all with whatever ingredients I had on hand. I think that qualifies me to be the MacGyver of baking.

Organic Smooth Dark Chocolate

Organic Smooth Dark Chocolate

Vanilla Oikos With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Vanilla Oikos With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Organic Baby Carrots

Organic Baby Carrots

Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter

Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter

After that excitement, I just couldn’t sleep; this happens almost every Saturday night and it’s so annoying. I figure this last time just might be because of my last final. But I definitely needed more fuel than usual for the 2+ hours I was awake. I’m not even sure when I got to bed, but this morning I stumbled out of bed late and just hungry.

Pineapple Chobani, Oatmeal With Crunchy PB, Maple Syrup, And Maple Butter

Pineapple Chobani, Oatmeal With Crunchy PB, Maple Syrup, And Maple Butter

Oatmeal With Crunchy PB, Maple Syrup, And Maple Butter

Oatmeal With Crunchy PB, Maple Syrup, And Maple Butter

I’m still trying to find out the secret to making a really amazing maple peanut butter. It’s harder than you’d think! And the secret ingredient is not coconut oil as it turns out. Oh well. This bowl was still really good with crunchy maple butter. And now I’m eating a Chobani as if it were a parfait–not stirring the jam up first. It’s pretty good this way.

What do you hate most about restless nights? In the time I’m awake, all I can think about is the stuff I could have done with that time rather than lie in a dark room and toss and turn. And here’s a fun chocolate giveaway to enter.

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Feel Good Fueling Well

Posted on March 8, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I am so happy Monday is over; it’s amazing how much ended up getting done today and needing to be. And the prize? Kicking back with my feet up, scrapping to finish up work, trying not to think about the 6:15 alarm I have now. This week is packed! I have 6 engagements I wouldn’t otherwise have–some for fun, some having me looking for the exit–so I need to be fueling well all along(aka, there’s an interesting blurb from me at the end on fueling)

Gourmet Groceries

While I had tofu pressing and laundry spinning, I got an email to go pick up a package. Can’t it come to me? Well, I threw on clothes to go get it and it was the jungle peanuts I ordered. In fact, between shipments to home and here, I got a good number of fun foods in the past 48 hours. A little while ago I might have gone internet-shopping happy; all but the Tropical Traditions coconut creme were my own purchases, and the creme is to review. I can’t wait “playing” with all of these, though! Chia seeds sound so good and nutritious, and cacao butter will make some mighty chocolate if I can figure out how to use it.

Preparing A Burger

I had planned to have maple baked tofu for lunch(I even had it in the oven), but swinging by the dining hall for veggies on the way back to my dorm really had me craving meat. I believe my words were, “Screw tofu, this is burger weather.” I removed a frozen 90/10 burger I had from 2 weeks ago and cooked that from frozen. Really, for decent flavor and cooking, 85/15 is the better option.

90/10 Quarter Pounder With Ketchup, Roasted Broccoli And Sweet Potato Rounds With EVOO, Root Beer Zevia

Yep. It was definitely burger weather. The roasted vegetables with EVOO drizzled on top was just what I wanted. My only complaint would be that between this, Days Of Our Lives, and folding/putting away laundry, there wasn’t much sitting down and enjoying the meal :-/ Otherwise, I try to make it a point to eat slowly and savor each bite.

Wild Jungle Peanut Butter

With laundry done, I broke out the food processor to–you guessed it–make peanut butter with my wild jungle peanuts. I only used half the batch, and ground until a thick paste. I’m just glad no one dropped by to ask what the noise was 😉 As I was talking about with Gina, really, the greatest thing you can do for nutritional benefits in making your own peanut butter is keeping the skins on; I’ll be interested how “wild” these jungle peanuts taste.

Oikos Yogurt With Dark Chocolate Crunch Truffle

Like I mentioned, I didn’t sit down and savor much of that meal, so no surprise when I was hungry for a quick dessert. I added some NuNaturals alcohol free vanilla stevia(also included in the shopping spree) droplets to a plain Oikos and then broke up a ChocAlive! dark chocolate crunch truffle on top. Yum! I’m still not sure how I feel about stevia in yogurt instead of just sugar/when to use it, but whenever it is such I like the alcohol free vanilla flavor for a clean, pure sweetness. And the truffle was good because… well just when is chocolate not?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Amazing Grass Bar

I was hoping the dessert would hold me over through extracurricular appointment #1 and beyond. It did the first part but soon after getting back I grabbed this chocolate peanut protein Amazing Grass bars. I can not afford to keep these around because… well, I eat them. I think this was bought on sale, though. It was also my last one 😦 I would have thought all this protein throughout the day would have been more satisfying. I would have been wrong.

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

I’ve had this chocolate chia pudding gelling for a bit too long; I’d been avoiding eating it because… well, it scares me? But I was hungry enough that it didn’t even matter. I could only get through 1/3 to 1/2 of it before throwing it away; chocolate chia pudding is not for me. So then that wasn’t very substantial, which called for another bar.

Peanut Choco' Nature's Path Organic Bar

This time I went for a peanut-choco Nature’s Path bar. Sense a theme of flavors throughout today? Usually I reserve these for pre-run fueling, because they do have a good deal of sugar compared to other ingredients, but it was at hand and a tiny snack to hold me over while dinner was in the oven.

Roasted Indian Chickpeas And Broccoli

For tonight, I thought I’d try something Monica inspired. Would ya’ll believe I never have roasted chickpeas? I tossed these with EVOO and indian spice along with some broccoli. I know–this is the second time I ate roasted broccoli today. But while the oven’s on why not roast some broccoli? It’s that good. The chickpeas, on the other hand, will not be a new obsession; they just tasted… more stale? Oh well. They also felt more like finger food than any protein I know. I resisted eating them with my fingers, though, because I was at extracurricular #2. I try to have some manners.

Feel Good Fueling Well

Since I feel it’s my duty with a blog called Food Makes Fun Fuel to talk about fueling sometimes as opposed to just food, I will! Let me first assure you it’s easy for anyone in any walk of life to feel a little “blah” on days where they’re a bottomless pit. Today, I couldn’t help but get down on myself for how much random snacking I did.  I’d just rather I had sat down to a bigger, less-processed mid-day meal at some point(chocolate avocado pudding crossed my mind but non of my avocadoes are ripe :-(). But, regardless of snacking or meal-eating, you should always feel good fueling well.

Bottom line number 1: If you’re hungry for it, eat it. There’s no two ways about this one; if you’re hungry, even if it’s not within your “routine” schedule, it’s important to eat. Not doing so can actually throw you more off routine

How much is it really? Here, the key is thinking macro, not macro. Today I ran 12 miles this morning. OK, that accounts for some extra hunger. But also look at your workouts on a weekly schedule. I am running a lot more recently, and my body anticipates more running to come. It’s right! So it needs more fuel.

Want to avoid any guilt? Get away from knowledge–knowledge of calories that is. Depending your intent or method, this may not be for you. But personally I feel much better knowing as little about the exact nutrition content of my meals as I can, which also corresponds to eating whole foods. An apple doesn’t come with a calorie content! Today, I can pinpoint just how many calories/fat/protein/sugars were in my plain Chobani(100), oatmeal grains(105), Oikos(80), truffle(66), Amazing Grass bar(270), and Nature’s Path bar(140), and I can guestimate the 1/2 a cupcake(100). Beyond that, there’s plenty of foods I don’t know that much about, and I’m happier with those. Like I said, ideally this list would be even shorter, but today was an off day(ripen, avocadoes, ripen!).

I think that satisfies my “fueling” obligation for the week. Don’t forget to guess among my sea of lies! I’ll tell the truth tomorrow morning 🙂 But I’m loving the guesses, haha. And now, in honor of proper fueling, plenty of dishes are crossing my mind, not the least of which is this winner from breakfast 😉

Agave Sweetened Greek Yogurt With 1/2 Vanilla Cupcake And Jelly Beans

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Today Was Not S.A.D.

Posted on February 14, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Today has been a lot, but you know what it wasn’t? Singles Awareness Day. I must have been living under  rock, because I first heard the term driving up to my house this morning. I have to say–it made me laugh at loud! I love it 🙂 It’s totally a great attitude to have if you can “wear it”. I think I can defiitely wear it and proud; I will 100% celebrate V-Day single with a box of chocolates and not give one bit. If you’re single, would you embrace S.A.D., too?

Making Chocolate Cups

Today for me was not S.A.D. or V-day but B-day, or my Aunt Leslie’s B-day at least. We rushed home and got their at 12:30 after stopping at a few stores to get baking supplies. I always feel like I need to make a dessert. And while I know I don’t need to really, I think it’s fun 🙂 Today, I made simple milk chocolate peanut butter cups, and a new recipe for vegan coconut cherry dark chocolate cups! How good do those sound?

Next Generation Cheddar And Caribbean Cheddar Raw Cheese

I also was able to provide some appetizers for the crowd; Next Generation Dairy really did send me 2 moo’s worth of cheese to sample and review so I loved the chance to share. This later sparked some great conversation about raw cheese and Canada and “the old days”. Yes, 1/2 of me stems from cow-milking Canadians 🙂

Sour Cream & Onion Popchips, Cheddar Cheese

As we waited for the relatives I made a snack plate of sour cream & onion popchips and cheddar cheese. Yes, we found them! I’ve been looking for this flavor for so long since I loved them so much and now I have a brand new bag along with the cheddar flavor 😀 I do have yet to review this flavor of cheese, but I’d rather do it when I’m not rushed so will the next time I taste it. From what I could tell, it was very good! It didn’t have a strong tang like raw cheese tends to so I think it would be a great start for beginners.

Carved Chicken

It was my job to carve the chicken, as usual. First off, my dad had the sniffles all day, so we didn’t want to infect anyone. Besides that, I’m just better than anyone 😉 Not going to lie. And I totally stripped the 2 we have down to the bare bones. My mom made a point that the were Amish and from Whole Foods. Do you think that means they would have protested to being cooked in an electric oven?

Table Set Up

As always, there was an impressive spread of food, of which we could not begin to eat all of. Whenever there’s so many options in front of me, I like to keep it simple and just pick the 3 that look most appealing. Then I feel free to load my plate with those. I think that’s so much better than “sampling a little bit of everything” because it leaves you so much more satisfied with what you did it.

Golden Beets, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Dark Meat Chicken

I went with roasted brussels sprouts–a favorite, obviously–, golden beets which were a new find at Whole Foods, and the dark meat chicken. I love the dark meat, and since I only eat meat so rarely and in small amounts, it makes sense to go for dark in my opinion. And if you’re buying naturally fed animals, all the better for the fats in there. It all was delicious! I’m sure the same goes for what I didn’t taste. A good home cooked meal was a major perk for making the trip.

Blowing Out The Candles

A little later, we sang happy birthday to my aunt who turned 46, and then my cousins blew out the candles. They love Carvel cakes and I cannot begin to imagine how many they’ve eaten in their lives–100’s for sure. There was all-natural vanilla bean ice cream from Hannafords for me, but honestly this wasn’t 30 minutes after lunch so I couldn’t care less for dessert and passed.

PB And Coconut Cherry Cups

From what I could tell, everyone who had one of my cups found them delicious! I’m always worried trying out a new recipe, especially when I myself haven’t even tried it. I’m so glad they worked out. Most of the time, my cousins were playing my video games as we were eating. They couldn’t figure out how come I’d only gotten through so few worlds on Mario; I don’t think they quite understand what it means to not live at home. Oh to be young again 🙂

Acorn Squash With Maple Syrup, Cinnamon, And Sea Salt

While they were doing their 30 minute farewell tour(as anyone with young children understands), I totally got hungry for real food again. I heated up an acorn squash that was meant for lunch, and added maple syrup, cinnamon, and sea salt. It’s an unusual “snack” for sure but so good! This is absolutely the best combination of flavors, and was 100% necessary to suffer the parade of hugs.

Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream

After the relatives left, it was then time for my family to get back in the car and bring me back to campus. My grandmother even came “just for the ride”. Oh, am I jealous of having time like that. Right before we hit the dorm, we hit Whole Foods for this, which I was waiting for all afternoon. Seeing everyone else have ice cream really gave me a craving for some, but we didn’t have any flavors/types that would fit that craving. I knew I needed to give this one a shot if only to quench my curiosity.

Vegan Coconut Cherry Cup With Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream

This would be my dinner. Oh yes I did 😀 I figure–If I’m ever going to go all-out dessert for dinner, it might as well be on Singles Awareness Day, and might as well be vegan, right? The ice cream was a little bit of a let down because it tasted a bit too coconutty, but besides that was decent. The vegan coconut cherry cup was incredible! Oh my God, now I get why people were raving about them. I will get a recipe page up for them, but first I want to submit them in to Tropical Traditions and want to keep it under wraps until then.

Speaking of Tropical Traditions, I’m picking a coconut oil giveaway winner in the morning! Now’s your last chance to enter! Also in the morning, I have a long run of 10 miles planned! Yikes! I’m a bit nervous to go for double digits again, but I’ll give it a whirl. I also need to do my laundry, but that’s a bit less frightening, haha.

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Like Frosting

Posted on February 14, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Whenever the Olympics are on, I just feel such pride in being an American! I want to wear a flag wherever I go and pump my fist to the anthem; I think I’ve caught the Olympic fever! I’ve heard it lasts for two weeks and goes away and comes back every 2 years. Side effects include growing 5 lumps on your back, 3 on the top row and 2 on the bottom and all in bright, different colors. Have you caught this disease?

Last night involved finishing a reading on Socrates death(which coincidentally made me feel like I was dying a little inside), watching Apolo Ohno completely own the field in his first run, and making a big bowl of… frosting?!

Chocolate Avocado Frosting/Pudding

Pretty much. I tried merging the chocolate avocado pudding recipe with the frosting recipe from these brownies. I used 3oz avocado, 2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, a dash of vanilla powder,and 1 tablespoon Xagave(reviewed here). It only tasted “OK”; it didn’t really taste like the frosting because it only had 1/3 of the sugar. Then again, all the sugar would have been a bit ridiculous. I ended up adding vanilla stevia to it to turn up the sweetness and make it not taste like avocado. The texture was incredible, though; in that respect, it was just like frosting in a bowl. I think the key for the thickness was no coconut milk and a really ripe avocado–yum! Did I mention I advertise as a “healthy living blog”? Yeah, I’m an imaginative person.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter

I was still starving after that pudding and went straight for some volume oats! A full bowl of oatmeal plus what was left of a can of pudding plus a big spoonful butter toffee peanut butter by Naturally Nutty. Now that’s like frosting–deeeeelish. The women’s downhill was so much more entertaining than I would have gave it credit for; I felt bad a Canadian didn’t win because 2 of them were really impressive. I had to laugh that for all of them they announced their height and weight; I don’t know that much about women but from the bit I do I would think that wouldn’t be well appreciated? When a woman becomes president of the IOC, I’m sure that’ll be the first to go.

I had the oddest craving at 3am for chicken! If I had a rotisserie chicken in my fridge, it would have been in the oven in 5 minutes–I’m just saying. I didn’t though, so it was back to bed and sleeping in until 8:30. When I thought about all I had to do this morning–change, run, shower, eat, blog, and go–to be honest, I wasn’t sure how/if I’d do it.

5 Miles In 44:14

Clearly, I did it. My ultimate thought was “It doesn’t matter how it’s going to happen. If you go through the motions, and time passes, in 2 hours when you look back it will be done”. With that thought in mind, I laced up, put on a playlist, set the treadmill for 5 miles, and just ran. I tried not looking down as long as I could and instead just focus on Scooby Doo on TV. I tried guessing how long it must have been by the plot progression of Scooby Doo until I realized… “plot progression” and “Scooby Doo” just don’t go together.

Honest Foods Maple Almond Crunch Granola Plank, Vanilla 2% With Cinnamon

Having a quick breakfast in mind surely eased things a bit. I took the remaining 1/2 of a Vanilla chobani, added 2oz full fat Voskos, cinnamon, and NuNaturals vanilla stevia–Sweeeeet. This also gave me occasion to try a new product from Honest Foods, which I just made a review for here! In summary: large, maple, sugary, nice. Get the picture? If not…

Maple Almond Crunch Granola Plank With Cinnamon Yogurt Frosting

Now that’s like frosting. And now I’m throwing this post up about to head out the door to go home for the B-day bash! It’s going to be wall-to-wall work with picking up supplies on the way home, making a dessert as soon as I get in, and then playtime with the cousins throughout the afternoon, but it will be worth the hustle. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to take “real work” with me for the downtime in the car or something to blow my mind off like a magazine or DSi, but now I’m thinking I’ll need that time to nap!

Don’t forget I pick a winner for the coconut oil giveaway tomorrow morning!

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My, Oh, Brownie

Posted on February 10, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Some things words cannot describe.

The Wow Baking Company Chocolate Brownie

Like really big brownies. I was planning on saving this one from The Wow Baking Company for Cookie Friday, but I just couldn’t wait. Is it ironic that I was also watching The Biggest Loser at the time? I didn’t feel too bad because it was all about Olympic athletes and fueling! And I love chocolate fuel.

The Wow Baking Company Chocolate Brownie

Like the name says, “wow”. I popped this brownie in the microwave to get warm and melty. The texture was superb! So fudgy 🙂 I thought the sweetness was a bit “off”. It was definitely sweet(how could it not be with so much sugar?) but needed something to balance that sweetness. I really couldn’t complain…

Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownie

Check out that fudge factor! And, of course, being from Wow, it was gluten free. I fel like that’s not so much a problem with brownies, though, since the first ingredients are always chocolate, eggs, sugar, and butter. For homemade gluten free brownies, check out my recipe here.

Oatmeal With Smart Balance Peanut Butter

I thought all those generally empty calories would have left me starving, but I was actually more or less in a sugar coma and just wanted to get to bed early for my long run. Still, I figured I might want a little more so I wouldn’t be starving when I got up and made a bowl of oatmeal. There was a good blob of peanut butter but sticking it back in the microwave “enrobed” it with oats; doesn’t that sound tempting? 🙂

Running Stats

The oatmeal must have worked because this morning I woke up refreshed and ready to tackle my “long run” of the week. I wasn’t sure how it’d be after yesterday’s unplanned 8-miler. Well, for one, it certainly felt like a long run–difficult and painfully long at times. That being said, I enjoyed it and finished 9 miles in 80:53. And in that time I was able to catch to much of The Today Show on the Olympics! I can’t wait for them to really start! Breakfast was very “themed” 🙂

Tierra Farm's Organic Crystallized Ginger

I found this product from Tierra Farm I had yet to even open. I think yesterday’s Kombucha turned me on to a ginger kick!

Breakfast

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Walnut Butter And Crystallized Ginger

Vanilla Chobani With 2 Goji Ginger Walnut Cookies

Like I said, very themed. I topped the vanilla Chobani with 2 of the ginger walnut cookies from Goji Gourmet; gotta get my superfood in after a good run! Since I liked the idea of the ginger and walnut so much, I topped my pumpkin oats with Artisana brand walnut butter and the organic crystallized ginger. The ginger wasn’t quite as strong as I’d have liked; I’ve had some ginger in the past that’s just knocked my socks off and this wasn’t at that spice-level.

And on my way back from the gym it started snowing!! Obviously, the East is getting pummeled today, and it’s finally hitting New England; we’re supposed to get 6-10 inches! There’s also a great chance my only class will be cancelled, so I went ahead and put on lazy sweat pants, and now need to think of what to do for today. Obviously, there’s a little homework. Beyond that, I’ve just got an email about next year’s housing which has me thinking. I really lucked out this year. I got into the perfect dorm for me and got paired with a great roommate and we respect each other well. For higher years, however, it’s done a little more differently; there’s a bit of play involved. I could partner up with a group of 6–if I could find 6–and have us go into the “housing lottery” for a suite, go in completely solo and throw myself to chance, or a number of things in between.  My dream would probably be a solo in the dorm I live in now(Wayland). That’s not very likely, though, for a Sophomore. If anything, the top preference on my list would be to live in the same building at least as this year; I lived in one house my whole life so clearly, when I settle somewhere, I like to settle. There’s always hoping, right?

Editted to add:

I just got an email that class is back on, even though I can tell you right now it is not going to be pretty out at 3-6 in the afternoong. Ugh. And today was the class I volunteered to bring in snacks for(raw vegan brownies). I guess I know where my afternoon is going to. Aww, man, now I need to put on real pants!

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Not So Blissful

Posted on February 8, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

OK, the title is a bit of an exaggeration on my evening, but it’s punny as you’ll see 😉 First of all, way to go Saints! I wasn’t even watching the Superbowl and didn’t have a team, but after hearing it was their first time ever winning, that made me happy for them. Everyone deserves their 15 minutes 🙂 Instead of watching it, I was mostly glued to Fox and Modern Family, as well as my plate.

Emmy's Organics Raw Vegan Coconut + Vanilla Macaroons

Emmy’s Organics sent me some delicious sounding raw macaroons which I could not wait to try. Naturally, anything raw deserves a big ol’ raw platter to be served on.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding With A Coconut + Vanilla Macaroon

I only needed 1/2 of one of my 7 avocados to make this pudding; that means I’m going to have plenty of pudding I’m guessing 🙂 The Coconut + Vanilla Macaroon was simply remarkable. Normally, I’m skeptical whether vanilla things are going to be flavorful; the whole vanilla beans put my mind at ease but then the true vanilla flavor really wowed me! And I also tasted the rich hint of coconut oil. These cookies were definitely a winner. While I was on a roll, I thought why not try another new coconut product:

Artisana Cacao Bliss

From Artisana, I decided to eat this on some oatmeal. At first it was very clunky, but after sitting a while in the microwave it melted… sort of.

Oatmeal With Cacao Bliss

I’m not going to agave nectar sugar coat it: I had high expectations for this Cacao Bliss and was really let down. Another blogger has toted this as “like frosting” and plugged it like crazy recently, so I thought it must be amazing, right? It was actually a bit more like chalk than frosting and bitter than sweet. The nutrition was stellar, but I needed something really chocolaty to get over the disappointment.

Justin's Chocolate Almond Butter

Justin’s Chocolate Almond Butter to the rescue! Maybe the cacao bliss will be better in cold applications–I don’t know. I’m certainly up for ideas.

This morning it felt so good to get back up at 7 and hit the gym(didn’t think I’d be saying that any time soon). Surprisingly, all 3 of the working treadmills were already in use! I’m happy more people are working out, but a little sad how that pushes me aside. I biked a bit while I was waiting for a free one and snacked on this.

Nature's Path Organic Peanut Choco' Chewy Granola Bar

Mmm, yum! This was a Nature’s Path Organic product that I won off their Facebook contest. I just love these Peanut Choco’ Chewy Granola Bar because of the whole peanuts and how sweet they are! Then again, their first ingredient is sugar :-/ Oh well, a good workout warrants carbs anyway so then was definitely the time to enjoy it if ever.

Running Stats

I eventually got my ‘mill and ran the 8 miles scheduled in 71:30. If you’re wondering “Why does he take pictures of random lengths and times?”, I don’t really. I take a photo at the end after running 60 minutes. At that point, the treadmill turns off and resets itself. For example, today I ran 6.74 miles in the first hour, and then really finished after the last 1.26. Well after that, breakfast was a favorite of mine.

Vanilla Yogurt With Peanuts, Pumpkin Oatmeal With Chocolate Peanut Butter

Oikos With Vanilla Stevia And Peanuts

More Justin’s nut butter, this time the Chocolate Peanut Butter. I love it because I feel like I’m getting my chocolate peanut fix but not straying far from just average peanut butter nutrition(had to do it). I was going to use some store bought peanut granola for the oatmeal when I decided to go with an even better, nuttier, 1-ingredient, gluten free granola: peanuts! So much simpler and better, and definitely less processed–love it.

New things

Obviously, I love trying new things. At the end I recapped all the new reviews I did for this post(as always, the * means it was a sample from the company and the absence of them means I bought it or something along those lines). I also love hearing about others try new things. Ginger Jul recently tried my pumpkin bread and said she loved it. I hope she took pictures for her blog! If anybody else makes a recipe of mine, I’d love to hear it. I also thought it’d be fun to pick some new things I want to try but have no immediate plans to; right now, I want to eat jungle peanuts–never had these before and think they might be interesting–and I want to make almond milk from scratch! What about you? Anything new you want to put into your life?

Peanut Choco’ Chewy Granola Bar

*Coconut + Vanilla Macaroon*

*Cacao Bliss*

Chocolate Almond Butter

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Built In Dessert

Posted on February 2, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Routine, routine, routine! I feel like I’m settling in to my new weekday routine pretty well, but Tuesdays and Thursdays are going to be packed. I guess that’s a price I’m more than willing to pay, though. No complaints here 😀 Excuse me if I’m short on words because I’m short on time. Some things don’t need words, like how amazing this combo is:

So Delicious Soy Yogurt With Milk Chocolate Peanut Sunspires

Gah! I’m drooling thinking about it. I’ll admit: Like a vegetarian who misses meat, I’m an all-natural eater who misses some of the “silly things”, like colored M&M’s and Swedish Fish(*drool*). Sunspires mend my heart a bit, though they need to come in more colors! Still, I do get a kick about mixing them all in…

Yogurt Mixed Up

Pretty!…ish? If it were frozen, it would remind me of a McFlurry 🙂 Ahhh, I remember having way too many of those one vacation in Florida as a kid; that’s what vacations are for, right? Note to self: Bananawhip + Sunspires = McFlurry? It’s a possibility and something to try…

Heroes has me so lost at this point, I’d think I’m watching Lost! Claire’s father had another family? How old is he? Mostly I just waded through some homework while I was trying to figure that one out. I also realized I was putting off a chapter of a book that was only about 7 pages. I think I could deal with 7 pages 🙂

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Chunky PB, Agave Nectar, Sea Salt, And Nutritional Yeast

I didn’t want to have the “same ol’, same ol'” pumpkin, nutritional yeast, and Smart Balance agave peanut butter oatmeal before bed. Instead, I started with oatmeal and then added pumpkin. To top it, I threw on some Crazy Richard’s chunky peanut butter(which was basically a clump of whole peanuts–yum!) and squirted on some agave nectar. Then I added a little nutritional yeast and sea salt at the end. So… I ended up with the same ol’ same ol’ anyway, haha. I think you just can’t ignore perfection. Does anybody else though find agave nectar not that sweet? It’s supposed to be 1.7 times sweeter than sugar but I can hardly taste it 😦

This morning I was pumped to be up at 6:15!… Not really, but I was up at least. I hopped out of the room and into the gym. I’m surprised I was only the 2nd one there; someone really wanted to get their elliptical in I guess. I, of course, grabbed my treadmill and got going for 5 miles. I love that I’m building speed again! This way I’m not falling too behind in my morning rush 😉 I finished in a sweaty 44:54 and got right back into the dorms to throw together a breakfast and check emails.

Egg White Oats With Honey Maple Peanut Butter And Cinnamon

Raw Vegan Coconut Oil Chocolate

Holy protein, Batman! That’s what I was thinking over my oats. After cooking them, I beat in 2 servings of cage-free egg whites(from a carton), and cooked it until puffy. Then I topped it with high protein honey-maple peanut butter. Yum! It needed something, though, so I threw in some cinnamon. For something that has no sugar, does anybody else find egg whites surprisingly sweet? And not agave nectar? Maybe my taste buds are just all crossed. Breakfast had a built in dessert with the chocolate bar–I think I need to make this an every meal thing 😉 Actually, I packed it for Greek class, and by the time I got to it the agave nectar had seperated a lot from the cocoa powder and coconut oil. It still tasted good; I just needed to mix it up and eat it with a spoon. Now I see why every chocolate bar has soy lecithin(except Vivani)!

That was speedy. On the list: Make a replacement chocolate bar, Greek History reading, make lunch, Greek History, no Latin today because it was cancelled(sweeet), meeting with peer advisor, and then I’m free for the day! It’s going to be a long run one. Gooo!

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From Loser To Winner

Posted on January 25, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Self-sabotage is a funny thing: Do we do it on purpose? Do we do it subconsciously? Or does it just “happen”? I’m not quite sure, but I entirely sabotaged my workout this morning. I planned on doing the count-to-10 workout modified by 15 push-ups and 20 sit-ups. In anticipation, I drank. A lot. No, not beer–get your mind out of the gutter. But coffee, water, and black tea, and all this had me feeling like a hot mess when I got going.

It wasn’t pretty. I got through 1/4 of the workout and realized I was over-hydrated, overheated, and doing anything more would just be stupid; if you can hear “splish-splosh” when you do a sit-up, it wasn’t meant to be. I felt like a loser, but I just stopped and went to somewhere I’m always usually a winner: The kitchen.

Crunchy Sunflower Seed Butter

I must have gotten onto a sunflower seed kick after breakfast. First up, I made a sunflower seed butter that I’ll hopefully like more than Trader Joe’s(sorry, Joe, but you failed me there). I added sea salt and sunflower seeds at the end so this would be a crunchy seed butter. Who doesn’t love texture? Next up, I sought to make some new and improved raw brownies.

Raw Brownies

Avery led me to a recipe that I was able to modify to my own tastes. I most definitely wanted to use seeds as a binder, and just needed to adjust the cocoa/agave/date ratio. I think I ended up nailing them on the head. And while I usually don’t frost regular brownies(which I remember debated on Kalin’s blog once), these were just begging for something. The frosting was super simple, and by far the most fun thing to make.

Raw Vegan Brownies With Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 3/4 cup(120 grams) dates
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder

For the frosting:

  • 1oz avocado
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar

In a food processor, grind the sunflower seeds and flax seeds until mostly crumbs, but not to the point of becoming like butter. Add the dates and agave nectar and mix until a ball of dough forms. Add in the cocoa powder and continue mixing until well incorporated. Press into a square dish and cut.

For the frosting, mash the avocado until it reaches a smooth consistency. Add the cocoa powder and agave nectar and continue mixing until completely smooth. Spread over each of the brownies.

Raw Brownies With Frosting

Nailing this recipe really had me feeling like a winner. You know what else had me feeling like a winner? Actually winning Q.bel’s contest for a catchy and fun review on facebook! I can’t wait to get a big ol’ box of chocolate. I’ve already reviewed 5 of their products here but have yet to try the milk chocolate rolls or their 2 new flavors(vegan and mint). It was amazing how much my spirits had changed so much over the course of 1 hour. I was intensly ready for a winning lunch.

Steamed Broccoli, Lightlife Sausage With Cheddar Cheese And Green Pepper

Raw Vegan Chocolate Brownie With Raw Chocolate Frosting

I just love love love the Lightlife sausage(from a log, not pre-formed) heated up with some cheese; it’s like the perfect spice level for comfort. I usually make it with an onion but we’re all out so the pepper took that place(not too well). I don’t usually have dessert with my meal but I figured anything made mostly from seeds and dates wasn’t really a dessert(don’t you like the way I think ;-)). The brownie came out so good; it was actually just like the one I shelled out $5 for from Grezzo. I think it needs a little more chocolate flavor, but I don’t know how to do that without comprimising the texture, and the texture is amazing.

Work-Out Checklist

By 3 I was ready to retackle the workout. Over the last 4 hours, I had drank maybe half a cup of water and a cup of coffee(Hey, something needed to go with the brownie ;-)), and I felt overall better. I put the laptop near the stairs, played a movie, and got to work doing my count-to-1o series:

  • 10 flights of stairs
  • 15 push-ups
  • 10 flights of stairs
  • 20 sit-ups
  • Repeat for 10 iterations

To keep track while I’m doing this(and to make sure I really just need to count to 10), I use a checklist on the door to keep track of my progress. Obviously, once everything was checked off, I was done, and a sweaty mess at that. I quickly showered and then hopped to the kitchen for a refueling.

The Raw Bakery Chocolate Snackaroons

The Raw Bakery sent me these interesting snackaroons to try out, which I knew would go great on another one of my favorites:

Probiotic Chocolate Avocado Pudding With Chocolate Snackaroons

Chocolate avocado pudding. We picked up coconut milk kefir over the weekend so I was able to make this the way I love; it came out super creamy and coconut-licious. The chocolate snackaroons were just the perfect touch for some more coconut and healthy fats. Yum! They were perfectly raw-tasting, and held me over quite nicely until dinner.

Dill Salmon, Roasted Broccoli, Carrots With Maple And Soy Glaze

We had salmon we had to cook up, so I suggested throwing dill on top; dill is one of my favorite herbs ever, especially with fish–soo good! On the side was simple broccoli and carrots that needed another good 15 minutes in the oven. A little soy sauce(or wheat-free tamari for me) perks any vegetables up, though. I completely forgot to keep some in my dorm room all last semester; I won’t be making that mistake again.

Enter Holly’s amazing contest for a blender!

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So This Was Christmas

Posted on January 25, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Do you realize that 1 month ago today was Christmas? Isn’t that a funny thought? I remember the time leading up to it going by soooooo slow and now it’s like the time since has flown by. I’m still “discovering” some of my gifts.

Organic Raspberry Preserve

My mom picked out this organic preserve; it’s not one I’d buy for myself because sugar is higher on the ingredients than raspberries but as a gift it was sweet 🙂 And since it has all the seeds in their, you have to think there’s fiber, too, right? 😉 Raspberry. Perfect to go with some dark chocolate.

Greek Yogurt With Organic Raspberry Jam And Endangered Species Dark Chocolate

Yummm. And because it was organic preserve and endangered species organic 70% dark chocolate, I was totally saving the environment with this dessert. That has to be one of the best 70% out there, too; it just tastes perfectly unsweet without too much bitterness. Nothing was on TV last night so I ended up watching the 30 Rock I missed Thursday. If you’re at all familiar with New England, you have to see this episode. It was all about the gang coming to Boston and filled with inside jokes that had me laughing. That show entirely deserves all the awards it gets. After that, I had a killer craving.

Cornbread Oatmeal With Mighty Maple

For some killer cornbread, that is. Instead, I made some cornbread oatmeal which came out awesome. I substituted whole grain cornmeal for the whole oats, used almond milk instead of water, and added 1 teaspoon agave, a pinch of baking powder, and an egg white. I’m not going to lie and say it was “just like the real thing”, but short of making an entire batch, this was the bomb.

This morning, I just got up too late and didn’t really feel like working out first thing. 2 cups of coffee had my number, not the stairs 😉 Before breakfast, I ended up packing some things for the dorm, and making a favorite around here.

French Toast Roasted Almonds

We found raw organic almonds on sale yesterday so I figured I’d make 1 last batch for my mom(and myself) before I leave. This definitely had the house smelling like Christmas 😀 I used earth balance soy garden for consistency but I’d love to try this with grass-fed butter next time. I still had a little of the glaze left so I put it to good use…

Greek Yogurt With Pancake Syrup

Banana Oatmeal With Chocolate Sunflower Butter

Tastes like Christmas, too! It was also better because of some full fat yogurt mixed in for creaminess. The oatmeal–anything banana and chocolate will fly by me, these days 🙂 I think I’m getting more potassium through soft serve than anything else.

It’s going to rain today. Hard. I think someone mentioned 3 inches? Yikes! So far, it’s only been winding though. And it’s the kind of wind that makes you think somebody through their body against the front door. Joy. Maybe I’ll do a count-to-ten workout once those oats digest(the bowl is most definitely empty and licked clean so it shouldn’t be too long now).

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If I Ate Like This Every Day…

Posted on January 23, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Restaraunt Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

If I ate like this every day, I’d be

  • poor by the end of the week
  • happy as a clam
  • the “healthiest” me I could be(in my opinion, though this is completely relative)

Really, words cannot express my gratitude just for being alive today. To recap from my breakfast post, I kicked off the day with a full core and cardio, after convincing myself that a core wouldn’t be that bad if the promise of a raw vegan raspberry brownie was attached(I totally bribed myself with food here :-)). I followed that up with a bangin’ breakfast of greek yogurt and oatmeal with a couple of cage-free organic Eggland’s Best eggs. Have you heard that they now test higher in vitamins and minerals than supermarket eggs? Fascinating.

After breakfast, I was off to the city(which in my case means “Beantown”, or simply Boston) to meet with an old friend from high school. I suggested a cozy little restaurant I’ve been wanting to try.

Grezzo Restaurant

Grezzo is the only raw vegan restaurant around Boston that I know of and as I learn more and more about that cuisine, I’ve been dying to eat here. I arrived a bit early and got to look at the menu before my friend, Eury, arrived.

Grezzo Menu

Not like that extra 10 minutes helped me at all; I still had no clue what to order after reading all their good options. I wanted to ask the waitress about everything because the descriptions were all very brief and you know at a raw and vegan restaurant a “slider” is very different. I ended up just taking a leap of faith and choosing the burger(that’s a safe choice wherever you go, right?).

Seaweed And Wild Mushroom Bistro Burger With Guacamole

Sweet Potato Chips

The burger was made with seaweed and mushrooms, topped with guacamole, and served between cucumber “buns”. The burger had a great meaty texture, but it might have been a tad bit underseasoned. The guacamole was absolutely delicious and pure and I ate it by the spoonful. On the side came “sweet potato chips”; they were very thin slices of sweet potato dehydrated overnight. They were sooo good; they actually sort of reminded me of dry marshmallows, but in a delicious way. Maybe I need a dehydrator next Christmas?

Big House Salad

Eury got the big house salad. I had a lot of fun explaining my knowledge of raw food and explaining how the “cheese” was actually made of nut milk. You know you’ve been a blogger for too long when you are surprised that someone doesn’t know what a nut milk is. We had a great time catching up; I had yet to giver her her graduation present  8 months gone by and it was hilarious not remembering in the least what I wrote on the card.

We ended up walking around a bit afterwards down to South Station were we went our separate ways. On the way home my dad and I did weekly grocery shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Note to self: Saturday afternoon in the city is not the time to go grocery shopping; I’m surprised we got out with our limbs! There was a cute baby behind us in one of the register lines who kept on saying “Hi”. When we finally got home, I was so happy to put away the groceries, brew up some decaf coffee, and break out this baby:

Raw Vegan Hemp Seed Brownie With Chocolate Frosting

I took a dessert home from Grezzo, namely their hemp seed brownie with chocolate frosting. Another raw brownie? Sure, why not 😉 The raw frosting was simply amazing. I’m guessing it was agave nectar, cocoa powder, and avocado from my limited knowledge of raw foods and how they work together. The brownie was OK I thought. It had a nice chocolate flavor without any fruitiness; it might have been a bit too hard and dry for my taste, but seeing as how I can’t get my recipe to be hold together better I was very impressed that there’s is so firm.

If the day had just ended there, I would have been very content. To my blessing, it continued. For the past two weeks, I’ve been hearing about the dishes Tomasso has been making with 1/2 of a local, 100% grass-fed cow they received. Do you get where this is going? We wanted to go Thursday night, but then ended up closing for a private party. Thankfully, they still had the beef for a special tonight(though by far a pricier cut).

18oz Local Grass-Fed Sirloin Steak

Rather than eat there and all order entrees, we decided to simply get the special take-out along with an appetizer-size pizza, and cook our own vegetables as sides; we figured just the one entree should be enough for the 3 of us( I mean, we aren’t that big eaters).

Local Grass-Fed Beef

Steamed Broccoli With Sea Salt

Holy. Freaking. Yum. This was absolutely everything I could have hoped for. The meat was so tender that parts of it just melted away in my mouth. I had 3 big ol’ slices of the meat. I have no clue how much that totaled up to and quite frankly I don’t care; when the beef is grass-fed like this was, the quality is through the roof, the fat is omega-3 rich, and in my line of thinking it’s all “healthy”. Portioning out and only eating 3oz would have been a shame, so I didn’t bother. As a simple side, I steamed up some broccoli; just like the beef was grass-fed, so was I 😀

And now, with today as a memory, I will not at all mind returning to eating oatmeal and beans for every meal this week(and with me returning to school soon, that’s not that big an exaggeration). I’m stuffed. And I can hardly fathom(though I will) eating something for dessert(cheap, like a banana processed with cocoa powder). Perhaps I could add to the menu some Honest Food Granola Bars if I won this giveaway or some Zevia if I won this one.

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