Free Of Nothing; Full Of Nutrition

Posted on May 14, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I had a sobering thought on my run today. I hate “veganism”. “What? But I love all my vegan meals and recipes.” That was my next thought. But I kept going back and realizing I really do hate the label, “vegan”.

So then I asked myself “Why?”

Local Hereford Beef

Local Hereford Beef

*Note: I did not eat this today, or any meat. The only non-vegan things I had were a yogurt at breakfast and brownie made with eggs in the afternoon*

Frankly, I’ve known too many people going vegan or vegetarian to avoid certain things for “health”, things like cholesterol and animal fats. And then once a year–probably on their birthday–, they’d have a big juicy steak. “Once and a while won’t kill”. Well of course it’s not going to kill you; but no one can say the same for the cow.

I think there are a lot of ways you can be healthy without strapping on the vegetarian label and shunning things out of your life. That’s not why I eat vegan at the meals and times I do. Rather, it’s to bring certain nutrients in.

Black Beans, Daiya, Avocado, Salsa, And Spinach

Black Beans, Daiya, Avocado, Salsa, And Spinach

My lunch wasn’t healthy because of the absence of animal products; it was healthy because of the abundance of plant-based foods. That, to me, is what veganism is all about: The emphasis of a plant based diet. As much as I’d love to think that way 24/7, I’ll undoubtedly slip up sometime and look at something for being “dairy-free” or “free of animal by products”. What I really wish I could see 100% of the time is how something is free of nothing, but full of nutrition.

Gluten-Free Brownie With Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Gluten-Free Brownie With Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Of course, allergens play a role in this, too. But I would count those as a separate case. A lactose-intolerant person would eat coconut milk ice cream for a very different reason than a vegan. I’m–well–I’m neither. But I love how this tastes and feels, and do try to avoid dairy to some extent for better digestion.

Willoughby's Local Gluten-Free Brownie

Willoughby's Local Gluten-Free Brownie

And the brownie was likewise free of dairy and gluten(an allergen I do take care to avoid).

Vegan Tiger Fudge

Vegan Tiger Fudge

Desserts in general, though, I would say get a pass on ever being “healthy”. No matter how you cut it(a fudge joke), my microwave vegan chocolate fudge and microwave vegan peanut butter fudge are full of sugar. That doesn’t mean they aren’t full of flavor, either, or that you shouldn’t make them 😉

9 Miles

9 Miles

That fueled me to run around my neighborhood 8 times for a total of 9 miles. Perhaps my legume love isn’t such a terribly beneficial thing since I needed to make a pit stop into the bathroom after lap 6. At least I was close to home and didn’t go on a road run like I was thinking.

Organic Fuji Apple

Organic Fuji Apple

Organic Baby Carrots

Organic Baby Carrots

Afterwards I refueled with my lunch posted earlier, and when that wasn’t enough I added an apple. Later on, at the grocery store, I grabbed a bag of baby carrots to eat in the car(or the walk out of the store). If you went through a list of the allergens raw fruits and veggies are “free of”, we’d be here all day; it’s better to think of all the nutrition they’re “full of” in my mind. And tonight was “full of” recipes:

Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized sweet potato
  • 2 teaspoons EVOO
  • salt to taste

Cut the ends off of a sweet potato. Slice all the way through horizontally. With the cut side down, make strips 1/2-3/4 inch thick. Cut those again lengthwise to make into “fry” shapes. Repeat with the other 1/2. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Add the fries and EVOO to the pan and massage with your hands until completely covered. Preheat an oven to 350 and bake for 60 minutes. Season to taste.

Vegan BBQ Bean Poutine

Ingredients

  • 1 serving sweet potato fries
  • 1/2 cup vegan BBQ beans
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella style Daiya
  • 2 strips tempeh bacon(optional)
  • 3 pieces fresh basil

Cook the sweet potato fries according to directions. Pile on a plate, and add on top the BBQ beans. Heat in the microwave through for about 2 minutes. Add on the Daiya and heat another 30 seconds to melt. If using, cook the tempeh bacon through until crispy according to manufacturer’s directions. Cut into small pieces and crumble on top. Garnish with basil.

Organic Pickles

Organic Pickles

Served with a side of organic pickles. Such a simple and delicious meal for one(I’m the only one home tonight). What are you full of today? I would have to say that I’m full of beans!! and also joy that I got so much on my to-do list done. The only thing I hope for this weekend to be “free of” is stress before my last final, because that’s been giving me plenty of that.

If you enjoyed my What Would You Do moment, the actual show is on at 9pm tonight on ABC so watch that!

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Who Plucked Out My Sweet Tooth?

Posted on March 9, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

If I took you all in a room, and told you I didn’t like things sweet, I’d expect a roar of laughter(or at least some backwards glances). But today it’s like I’ve crave nothing sweet(that, for me, just meaning not a lot–not literally nothing). And the only reason I can think is that–save 1/8 teaspoon in my coffee at 6:15–I haven’t had any stevia. Today was not a hot drink type of day and I used agave in my yogurt this morning. I’ve never thought it before, but maybe there’s some truth to not craving sugars without low-cal sweeteners, even natural ones like stevia.

Red Delicious Apple

I can never make it between breakfast and a reasonably timed lunch on Tuesday/Thursday, so I had a naturally sweet apple. It was also quite naturally mealy and just naturally not-good, but it held me over so that I could make my favorite salad to eat in class.

Hemp Oil Dressing And Mulberries

I’d never thought I’d say that: “Favorite salad”. But I’m really digging the new flavor combination I struck on 2 weeks ago. I guess these are sort of sweet ingredients, but not too much. I used a good squirt of Foods Alive Hemp Oil Sweet & Sassy dressing and a handful of Navitas Naturals mulberries, mixed in with chickpeas and diced cheese.

Raw & Probiotic Chickpea Salad, Trilogy Synergy

Chickpea, Mulberry, And Garlic Parsley Cheddar Salad Over Dressed Spinach

Everytime I eat this, I swear it gets better; it just makes me feel so fresh! The garlic parsley cheddar raw & probiotic cheese from Next Generation Dairy really makes the flavors come together. And so much of this is raw, you know it must be good for you. On the side, I accompanied the meal with a raw and probiotic drink, namely the Trilogy flavor by Synergy. I talked about this more in the end, but it was quite the tastey juice. It tasted more just like a regular gingerade kombucha to me, but I didn’t mind because that’s most of the ingredients and a flavor I love. I would’n say this was sweet, though; It’s much more vinegary. And it finally made me feel full. Where was that when my stomach was on a war path yesterday?

Orange Chocolate Energy Bar

This afternoon, on top of my 3 hours of class I had another engagement that lasted about an hour. Therefore, a bar was a complete must. I grabbed this Nature’s Path Organic Chocolate Orange Energy Bar from my bag. Sweet? Definitely. I didn’t say my sweet tooth had wholly disappeared 😉

Broccoli With Salsa

When I got back to my dorm, it was the oddest thing: All I wanted was dinner foods, even though dinner was a good time away and I still had preparation to do. I scrapped around for something not sweet, and this was the best I could do; it totally hit the spot, too! Go figure. I just hope this doesn’t continue for long because I do not keep that much savory stuff around.

Forming Grass-Fed Beef Patties

It was that time of week again. I want to thank each and every one of you who comments on how well I eat for living in a dorm. I assure you, after a full day of classes, the last thing I want to do is form burgers, cut sweet potato fries, and cook it all, especially when I still have homework for the next day. To be honest, I just don’t feel like there’s much of a choice, though. To eat in the dining hall, I either need to compromise a lot of my food philosophy, or learn to be happy with the salad bar; I just don’t like raw vegetables that much. When you get right down to it, cooking is work(God, now I understand my mother all too much), but it’s work I’ll do.

Grass-Fed 1/4 Pounder, Sweet Potato Fries

This was worth the work, too. I do not know what was up with the beef; it was incredibly juicy but wouldn’t hold on to the juice. That’s OK because I ended up licking the plate clean(did I really just admit to that?) Happily, despite the lost prep time, I can be a fast eater and move on to my readings for tomorrow now. I’m sure today was just a fluke and that my sweet tooth will reappear soon for dessert(how could it not?).

There’s so much extra out there, I feel lie I have to mention a few before I give a product review summary. First up, there’s this article concerning fat as a new flavor. I’ve read this a couple places now, and I’m totally willing to jump aboard the flavor train if that’s the case. What’s interesting is reading how they want to take and utilize this knowledge. There’s also a funky monkey snack giveaway for you all to enter, not like those have much fat in them 😉 And check out the $50 shopping spree giveaway on Mary’s Weight Loss Blog! I can win an $50 Shopping Spree Giveaway from iHerb.com and so can you! Click here for contest details! Now, I’ll wrap this up with my Kombucha product review recap. I was able to sample 4 flavors to review for Synergy, and here’s my thoughts on those I tried. I think what I learned was, whichever you choose, you won’t be disappointed so long as you like Kombucha. You can also look at my Synergy review page to see what other flavors I’ve had and might have in the future. Enjoy!

Botanic No 9

8.5/10: A delicate blend of honeysuckle and flowers, this kombucha has an equally tame flavor. It wasn’t “blue” in a saddening way but rather very mellow. I almost missed the vinegar flavor of the kombucha which is pretty much rendered down to nothing here. This one wasn’t for me on account of its subtlety but would definitely be a mellow welcome to anyone looking for “down time” or simply new to kombucha.

Citrus

8/10: The vinegar flavor of kombucha is a lot to handle naturally. I’m afraid it just might be too much for citrus to handle, too. While I liked this as a drink, it didn’t scream citrus! or lemon! the way I was expecting; there was just some certain zest of life missing from the flavor. That being said, it was very good kombucha, and I’m glad nothing fought the natural vinegar punch but–if anything–enhanced it. And perhaps the citrus helped to boost my mood because I felt like an all star after drinking it.

Multi-Green

9/10: “Drinking your calories” often gets a bad wrap; but when you’re drinking greens, living enzymes, and a host of other nutritious things, how can anything be bad? I’ll admit that I was wary of the color for this. When I started sipping I was pleasantly surprised to find that the flavors here–vinegary kombucha and bitter greens–actually work and thrive together! And the algae and other add-ins give a welcome dose of protein. The only unpleasantry was the chalky remnants at the bottom of the bottle. Otherwise, this was a surprisingly joyful way to take in my greens!

Trilogy

8.5/10: Even when synergy dabbles with juices, they really can’t go wrong; so often, the typical juice drink is over-sugared and more of a dessert than a health drink. I like how synergy keeps the kombucha strong and the ingredients simple; in this was just kombucha, raspberry juice, citrus, and ginger. The “trilogy” of flavors work well, but perhaps a little too well; you can’t identify much more than a strong vinegar flavor with a sharp bitter tone that could come from any 1–or all–of the flavors. Still, this drink had me sipping more and feeling well,, and is one of the flavors I’d gladly grab again.

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Randomness

Posted on February 15, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

That pretty much is how today has felt, but all in a good way. I knew I’d have a lot to get done today, so I tried to organize things by making a list.

To-Do List

But then my typical randomness broke in…

Pressing Tofu

Doesn’t everyone press tofu with about 4lbs worth of chocolate? On the bright side, this meant that my plan to meal plan was a success! In fact, I planned parts if not all of 5 separate meals today; I should be quite on the ball through Wednesday.

Clean Laundry

Laundry is always random. I think that’s half the fun of going through everything and realizing none of the socks freaking match! Since when did I become such a sock-hoarder in life? I love having Monday’s off this semester since no one else is thinking of silly things like laundry on Monday mornings.

Foods Alive Maple Cinnamon Flax Crackers

A few things that aren’t random but rather well known are that a) I like trying new foods and b) I love chips and crackers. What is random is crackers made of flax! Foods Alive sent me some fun products to try including these. And I’m happy to report that these totally fit in the bill of trying to eat less carbs and more nutrient dense foods! These babies are full of healthy fats, protein, and fiber up the wazoo!(“Wazoo” equaling 8 grams per serving)

Maple Baked Tofu, Roasted Broccoli, Maple Cinnamon Flax Crackers, Hazelnut Cinnamon Decaf

Pairing lunch with a coffee flavor might be a little random for now but it’s definitely on the path to being a new tradition 😀 Of course, I made the tofu and broccoli with my favorite method of roasting; these broccolis came out so good and nutty! The Organic Maple & Cinnamon flax crackers unfortunately didn’t wow me with maple and cinnamon flavor. They actually tasted quite neutral :-/ On the bright side, the nutritional stats on them were out of the park.

Apple

I still felt a little hungry after all of that and went for an apple. I think this was my inner carb-lover trying to satisfy itself, which I figured an apple would be a nutritious way to curb, until I thought about how long this must have spent in the dining hall. Somethings are best left unthought.

It was a bit random to find out Days and a lot of NBC’s daytime shows are being covered by the Olympics, but not wholly displeasant. Did anybody else catch the cross-country skiers? Now that must be a workout. I half watched that and half Grey’s Anatomy from last Thursday. Alex and Lexie? Random.

Emmy's Organics Lemon-Ginger Raw Macaroons

Lemon and ginger are two classic flavors in my book.

Raw Chocolate Avocado Pudding With Raw Lemon Ginger Macaroon

Lemon, ginger, and chocolate? Well that’s a little random. But I love pairing raw with raw, so I added a lemon-ginger macaroon from Emmy’s Organics to my (almost) raw chocolate avocado pudding. That this would taste delish was not at all random; 2 good things make 1 great thing. And a nice high-fat snack was definitely a nutritious way to pump out a short history paper. I’m glad I got that out of the way before my computer started malfunctioning; I had to reboot it entirely 😦 While I was waiting, I got snacky.

Teriyaki Vegan Seitan Primal Strip

How is “vegan” and “jerky” for random? I would say very much, but the teriyaki seitan strip from Primal Spirit Foods was actually really good! It didn’t taste just like soy sauce, but also wasn’t super sweet–perfect teriyaki. And it’s a convenient snack with a lot more protein and fat than a granola bar would have, so I was all over that. I think the fact that this is high-gluten might have made my stomach feel a little funky, but it’s a lot more manageable than with peanut flour discomfort.

Another random part of my day was handling raw meat on my laptop desk. Do normal people do this in college? You all had great ideas for what to do with the beef. And I’d love to make a chili! I just wish I would have thought up to buy the right ingredients. When we bought this, I thought only 1/4-1/2 a pound would be mine, so that would be a burger or 2 tops. When I realized I had so much more to be creative with, I got a little confused as to how to make it interesting. Tonight, I tried something completely new and random:

Steamed Broccoli, Quickie Grass-Fed Beef "Chili"

Steamed Broccoli, Quickie "Chili" With Grass Fed Beef

I woudn’t quite call this a normal chili in any sense of the word, but I’m not sure what it is otherwise. In my pan, I browned the beef with some onions and diced tomato. Then I added about 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s salsa and reduced it all. At the end I spiked it with cinnamon, cocoa powder, and sea salt, and served over lettuce. I guess that’s sort of like taco filling? It actually came out a lot better than I was expecting. Like, I practically had eggs ready to be cooked in the event that this sucked. But it’s something I might consider making again.

I would like to say I have something funky and random planned for dessert, buuuut I’m guessing those 2 hours of sleep I lost are going to catch up with me at some point, and Tuesday’s an early rising day.

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2 Cuisines, 2 Times The Beans!

Posted on February 13, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Today I’ve been traveling the globe with my eats. My first stop was a (late) lunch in Me-hi-co

Black Beans With Salsa And Avocado, Broccoli, Lime Nachos

I had 1/2 a can(or more) of black beans from Tuesday’s lunch to use up, so I heated those with some salsa, the last of the broccoli I had, and mashed avocado(you mean this is edible not in pudding form?!). I don’t know why I buy unsalted beans; I then just have to add loads of salt to make them appealing. But the real reason I had this meal was for the chips.

Lime Food Should Taste Good Nachos

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating: chips are my kryptonite! They’re my Achilles’ heal, to use a Classics term. I have no problem with sweets, chocolate, etc. But chips–they get me. And there’s really no nutritional way to back them up; they’re just emptiness, but so delicious. I keep a few(4 or 5) bags on hand because I’m not in to depriving myself in anyway, but I also look for different ways to satisfy those cravings with more wholesome foods. This time I took myself about 2/3rds of a serving of these to satisfy my chip tooth. And since I remembered that I reviewed these for the company a while back, I knew that they, too, need a sprinkling more salt to dance.

I took a trip to Vancouver, of course, through the television while visiting Ancient Rome and Greece through my books and internet texts. This afternoon was the speed skating; I love speed skating. If I had any ability on the ice whatsoever that’s what I’d like to do with it. I also love the Netherland’s uniforms. Spandex and bright orange–now that’s how to roll.

Snickerdoodle Soy Ice Cream, Coconut Oil Chocolate

My afternoon snack was inspired at breakfast. I liked the idea of a “sundae on Saturday”, so I scooped out 3/4 of a cup Snickerdoodle ice cream by So Delicious and then added 1/2 of a coconut oil chocolate bar. If you haven’t tried this ice cream yet, you must! It’s one of my absolute favorites. And it’s technically not even “ice cream” but rather “soy milk cream”, though I don’t think that rolls of the tongue. It’s full of gluten-free snickerdoodle cookie dough balls–yum! I was tweeting about them with So Delicious on Twitter 😀 They’re so fun to tweet with. They also must think all I eat are milk alternatives; dare they learn of my greek yogurt obsession?

Speaking of the coconut oil chocolate bar, it now has a recipe page! I was getting so many requests for that that even though it was far done on my to-do list in terms of site maintenance I figured it had to be addressed. I tried to keep the recipe general, but it’s really something that benefits from owning a kitchen scale. That’s how you can control the flavor and get what you want.

Thai Red Curry Sauce

For dinner, I took a plane with Trader Joe-San to Thailand. The first time I used this sauce was absolutely months ago; I figured I needed to revisit it now that I have a coconutty obsession and this is coconut milk based! It also has a lot of other questionable ingredients I wouldn’t have thought to be Thai. Like egg yolks? And xanthan gum(which I own but can still give me the willies sometimes). Anyway, I steamed a good amount of organic tofu and then added steamed vegetables with the sauce and let that simmer for 5 minutes or so.

Tofu In Thai Curry Sauce, Mushrooms, Watercress, Snap Peas

Mmm, all this needed(besides natural light, but I don’t control the sun) was some salt and fresh basil(not like I had any) to pop. I love how much flavor store bought sauces can bring to dishes with minimal ingredients otherwise. And so often I forget that tofu is beans! The fact that it’s smooth and white makes me think it’s probably over processed, but I do love that funky tofu texture 😀 I usually buy the one labeled “soft” for the really great texture.

I should probably return to Greece via Plato’s Phaedo before I get sucked in to Vancouver. What country would decaf hazelnut coffee be in? Because I’m making a major pit stop there.

And wow would I love to win this blender for some raw goodness!

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Go On And Live Your Life

Posted on February 9, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Have you entered my yogurt contest yet? Or maybe my coconut oil giveaway? Both are still active!

Let’s just pretend that “funked-out” guy from this morning never happened 😀 The stress was good in that it motivated me to go 3 extra miles on the treadmill. But after thinking about it and realizing it’s one of those things that’s just out of my control at the moment, I realized it’s nothing worth fretting over. In the immortal words of Rhianna, “Go on and live your life”. OK–“immortals” an overstatement. But it’s a good song to run to 😀 I was certainly living my cravings at lunch!

Mexican Bowl

I needed something from South of the border in my life. I filled a bowl with lettuce, chopped tomatoes, green peppers, raw onions, and sprouts from the dining hall(underneath). On top I added cooked broccoli(I cannot do raw here), 1/2 a can of black beans, a little avocado mashed up, and TJ’s salsa. Muy bueno! I don’t remember the last time I ate Mexican, authentic or otherwise. Did you know Chipotle is a very eco-friendly chain? I’ve never eaten from there, but after seeing them on Oprah I want to now. Along with this, I had some raw goodies.

Gingerade Kombucha And Caribbean Cheddar Raw & Probiotic Cheese Stick

Kath wrote a good post a few days ago on getting nutritional bang for you buck; I think both of these products fit that bill! I loved this flavor of Next Generation Dairy‘s cheese; even though I don’t normally like cilantro, it really worked here. And would you believe this was my first Synergy Kombucha ever? The company sent me coupons to try and review their raw & probiotic beverages. Well where I bought this(a local cafe) couldn’t take the coupon, but I decided to pay for it anyway since I psyched myself up for it hoping I’d like it. Like it? I loved it! This was so deliciously ginger; and the fermented flavor was oddly nice! I loved the little “warning”.

Kombucha Warning Label

Perfect–I was drinking alcohol in class. That’s nothing that hasn’t happened at Brown 😉 I did almost fall asleep at one point during this Greek History class, though. Oops. It’s not that bad though, I swear! After that, the classes just kept coming, as did my hunger.

18 Rabbits Belle Banana Foster Bar

Taking pictures in class? Do I get the good blogger award for that? This bar from 18 Rabbits had such an enticing description–“banana foster” with “caramelized banana”. Yes, please! Unfortunately, the flavor was very heavily like banana chips. This wasn’t a bad thing, per say; on the contrary, I really liked the flavor! It just needs to not set up itself for such high expectations with a name like that.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

When I finally got back to my room for the evening, I whipped up some chocolate avocado pudding to relax a bit. My afternoon might have looked something like this: The Office, 30 Rock, 5-page paper on food processors. Yes, you read that last one right. Why? I have no idea; we need to have a rough draft on an object in our lives we can look at from an objective perspective by tomorrow at 3pm and it was what popped into my mind. Thankfully, it’s not really due to be graded for 2 weeks, so I can surely change the subject if nothing pops(or processes as the case would be).

Along with my “meal planning initiative”, I had a brilliant idea for dinner: Breakfast! It’s true that I most always have oatmeal and yogurt for breakfast. On the one hand, they’re cheap and tasty. But part of that is also because post-run it’s easy to whip together. Instead, I decided to make something with a little more complexity…

Coconut Flour Oatmeal Pancakes With NH Maple Syrup And Grass-Fed Butter

Goat Milk Yogurt With Xagave Raw Chocolate Sauce And Mulberries

Gluten-free, coconut flour oatmeal pancakes! Yum! It’s been far too long since I’ve had pancakes, and when I got this coconut flour from Bob’s Red Mill I knew this was one way I wanted to experiment with it. In the bowl went 1/4 cup oats, 2 tablespoons coconut flour, 1 egg white, 1/4 cup almond milk, stevia, and salt. I cooked them in a bit of coconut oil and topped them with pasture butter and local maple syrup. Can you say heaven? My favorite fat blogger(that would be, one who blogs about fat ;-)) has a longstanding tradition of pancake eating; I think I need to follow suit here, too, because I’ve been missing out! On the yogurt, I made some raw sauce with Xagave and added Navitas NaturalsMulberries; they may be a superfood but I was not that into them :-/ I’d rather have something like dried raspberries. Maybe they’ll give me superpowers? Here’s hoping 🙂

Go on, live your life, and enter this giveaway from a loyal reader for peanut butter!

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As Easy As Chocolate Making

Posted on January 18, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Welcome back to the week! Or, if you’re lucky enough, I hope you’re enjoying a long weekend. In case you missed it, here I posted embarrassing photos of myself and here was a great recap of at least 5 products and a restaurant Eastern Massachusetts should not miss!

Yesterday I tried my hand at something quite new and different(for me, at least).

Chocolate Ingredients

Crushed at having finished my last piece of NibMor original, I consulted Averie on how to make my own raw chocolate. It turns out I had everything I needed in my pantry! It only took 4 simple ingredients: cocoa powder, agave nectar, coconut oil, and vanilla powder(unpictured). In a small bowl, I whisked together 14 grams cocoa powder, 15 grams Artisana coconut oil, 21 grams agave nectar, and a pinch of vanilla powder. To my surprise, it all combined into a thick paste I was able to actually make into a bar.

Homemade Chocolate Bar

How fun! This was soft, so I threw it in the refrigerator to thicken while I finished off a pot of coffee(at 4pm. Aren’t I a class act? ;-)). While I was waiting for the chocolate to thicken, I thought I’d make some chocolate avocado pudding with our last avocado.

Moldy Avocado

That would be mold growing inside the avocado. How does that even happen? I didn’t question; I just tossed it in the trash. What a shame 😦 I didn’t think the chocolate would be quite a filling snack all its own but I broke off a square anyway to have.

Chunk Of Raw Chocolate

Sweet delicious this was good! It was just like a NibMor–dark but not bitter, with a sweet coconutty subtleness to it. It got soft really fast, so the last few bites were like putty. I ended up starting to read Cook This Not That as I was eating it. 2 chapters in and I can say this is a great book to buy; there’s plenty of tips and it does things like compare fats to other fats, meats to other meats, and dairy to other dairy. It’s very opinionated and offers a lot of reasoning which lets you accept the knowledge it has or question it–such a book for foodies. After 2 chapters, I started getting hungry again :-/ I was going to save the rest of my chocolate for my parents but…

The Rest Of The Raw Chocolate

…since they never knew it existed, they weren’t about to miss it, right? Really, this was so good I ended up eating the whole thing. I also did a lot of reading up on coconut oil(since I was chowing down on it) and how, even though it’s high in saturated fats, it’s definitely not a fat to be left out of our diets at all; I’m definitely considering picking up a big jar if anyone has any brand suggestions.

As my parents came home, stopping at a Market Basket(where I was sure to ask for avocadoes!), I wondered what  I had to throw together for dinner. I ended up steaming/roasting some brussels and roasting parsnips with parmesan cheese grated on top. we then pan-seared some mahi mahi they brought home in extra-virgin olive oil.

Mahi Mahi With Peach Salsa, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Sea Salt & Vinegar Pop Chips

I don’t know why but I didn’t particularly feel like the parsnips so I grabbed a back of sea salt & vinegar Pop Chips. They’ve been so hit or miss with me, and these were another “miss”. Honestly, I can’t say they didn’t taste like sea salt & vinegar: They did. But it wasn’t the same salt & vinegar I expect in chips. Then again, I grew up eating salt & vinegar chips that actually had no vinegar but plenty of artificial things that made one hell of a vinegar taste.

After dinner we ran out and back just in time for The Golden Globes. I thought Ricky Gervaise did a wonderful job hosting, and all of the presenters were funny. There weren’t any real controversial or “Oh my God!” moment but sometimes that’s a good thing. I had a few(or more) snacks while watching it.

Raspberry Agave Chocolate Avocado Pudding

With my new avocadoes I whipped up some pudding, this time adding 1/2 a tablespoon of Madhava’s raspberry agave syrup. It was really good and sweet, with a nice tone of raspberry I don’t think a jam could have recreated. I can’t really say why but after all these 15g of fats and 10g of fiber I was starving like I hadn’t even eaten dinner.

Sweet Potato Rounds With Salsa

I heated up sweet potato slices that had been in our fridge for longer than I’ll admit and added some really spicy salsa for flavor; these totally did the trick for a “unique” snack(though not too unique if you’re this blogger). Isn’t it weird when hunger just hits like that? And it was the kind of hunger that wanted real food(aka not chocolate). that did the trick until I wanted my ritual bowl of oatmeal.

Oatmeal/Oatbran With Smart Balance Peanut Butter

Funny thoughts while photographing this: “Darn it! I can’t get a good photo of this oatmeal through all the steam” followed by “Evan, you eat this every freaking night. You could just freakin’ reuse a photo if you need to”. I didn’t, but it’s comforting to think that my regularity is at least functional in that way 🙂 I think my favorite Golden Globe acceptance speech of the night was by Sandra Bullock when she thanked her husband and said it wasn’t until she met him that she knew what it meant for someone to truly have her back–such a sweet thought.

As much as I hate to admit it, I did not sleep well last night due to the most ridiculous “nightmare”. I dreamed that where I worked over the Summer was actually NBC’s studio for Conan O’Brien and that I was losing my job as Conan was going off the air. How was this a nightmare and had me tossing and turning? I had no clue, but I woke up like a bullet when my alarm went off and got an early start on working out. I did most of my core, but then decided I didn’t feel like doing push-ups and sit-ups. The solution? The count to ten cardio workout with 10 push-ups and 15 sit-ups per iteration. This was most definitely working up an appetite in me, but I decided to push through knowing I had this great breakfast in store:

Peanut Greek Yogurt With Tempeh bacon And Maple Syrup, Pumpkin Oatmeal With Mighty Maple And Tempeh Bacon

Yum! Oh how I love the combination of peanut butter, smoky, salty bacon, and sweet maple syrup. It feels good to just indulge in a little bit more when it’s all so healthy like this. For the yogurt, I mixed a plain Chobani with some full-fat voskos–oh how I love my full fat yogurt 😀 And all that was from 2 strips of tempeh bacon, which was all I had left from a pack I bought a loooong time ago. Thank God it wasn’t real meat or it would have gone bad by now.

On a different note, it snowed this morning! And a lot 😀 I hope it keeps on going.

Here’s a Simpsons giveaway(I know this show has plenty of fans)!

And here’s a giveaway for some Forze Bars!

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Buttercream Is Just Too Easy

Posted on January 10, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I am liking the whole meal planning thing. It’s soo good knowing how much food we really have and when it’s for. It’s interesting to find out things like, while it’s fun to have so many flavors of chips, they just don’t cut it for the entrees. Well I have things sorted out through Friday and it looks like we’ll be eating well 😀 For lunch, ironically, the first planned meal was “do what you want”. This let me eat some leftovers and my parents have their pasta.

Lightlife Savory Chicken Tenders, Microwaved Potato With Salsa, Garlic Broccoli

I’m the best at eating 1 serving of something and letting the rest sit around for far too long, so this time I decided to nip the Lightlife tenders before they went past savory and to funky. On the side I was craving some of the really spicy salsa we picked up at Market Basket, so I had a plain, starchy potato. So good! Seriously, this has some heat. Before we left to do errands I wanted to get all my food processor projects out of the way.

Banana Bread Balls

I made some of Jess‘ balls! her and Avery really know their balls(I’m sorry, but I just had to say it). We had leftover banana goodness bread sitting in the back of the fridge so I combined that with 4oz of cream cheese and made balls to get cold. After those hit the fridge, I threw out some of my less successful nut butters and whipped up a new one.

Organic, Raw Almond Butter With Fair Trade White Chocolate And Strawberries

This one was definitely a winner! I just used 7oz of raw, organic almonds and mixed that up with 1/2 of my favorite white chocolate bar ever, the Divine white chocolate with freeze dried strawberries. I haven’t tasted this yet but the aroma is incredible–just like the chocolate! And I bet the nutrition isn’t terrible for something that must be flavorful. I can’t wait to put these over oats. My mom wanted to go to the mall to look for clothes for herself, and I easily obliged, mostly on account of this:

Seat Heaters

While it was 30 degrees outside, my butt was getting 76 degrees of heated seats. Aww yeah. My dad dropped her off at Macy’s and we went somewhere far more entertaining: Target! I contimplated getting the newest Harry Potter film, but passed up until it’s cheaper. Hell, maybe I can befriend Emma this semester and get it as a gift from her? Well, I can dream 😉 I did pop a drink open while shopping.

Mango-Melon Sobe Lifewater

Walking around looking at things is tough work, you know! It was decent. I like the melony flavor because it reminded me of Summer, despite the fact that the weather oh so disagrees with me. I did end up getting a new pair of running shorts for 3.something on clearance 70% off. I’d say 90% of what I wear came from the Target discount rack or was a gift to me; I never buy expensive clothes. I’d rather eat well and wear the shopping bag, haha! Speaking of eating well, while we waited for my mom we went to the Framingham Whole Foods which is the only place so far I’ve been able to find the best protein bar I’ve ever had.

Cookie Dough Luna Protein

So good, and yet, not this afternoon. We picked up 2, and I thought I really wanted to eat one of them then, but I only got 2 or 3 bites in.

Cookie Dough Luna Protein

While these are tasty, they’re pretty much a candy bar unless you’re working out. And I knew I was hungry for food, so this would not do at the time. As much as I hate not finishing bars, I wrapped the rest back up for God knows when and waited until we got home to eat something real. I threw a really quick bowl of oatmeal together when I got in the door.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Barney Butter

That definitely hit the spot so much more than the rest of the bar would have. I like Barney Butter because it’s pretty much how I imagine Jif or Skippy would be if they made those in almonds. I was a lot happier after that and ready to keep working with Jess‘ balls. I melted together a mish-mosh of chocolate: a Dark Chocolate Newman’s Own Organics bar, a Super Dark Chocolate Newman’s Own Organics bar, and 4 Unsweetened Bakers square. Really, I was just using things up because we didn’t have a bag of chocolate chips I wanted to use, but I like the resulting bitter chocolate.

Chocolate Coated Banana Goodness Bread Balls

These came out great. And they were so much simpler than I would have imagined! I’m keeping these in the back of my head for something different to bring to a dessert party that no one else will have(now, anyone want to invite me to a dessert party ;-)). I had leftover melted chocolate, and for a moment thought “What am I going to do with this?”. Where was my mind?! I quickly figured out what to do with it.

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

See? I knew if I made them once I’d be making them again real soon. I filled these with some Earth Balance peanut butter since that’s agave sweetened and would work with the bitter chocolate. After that, I had one last thing to “whip” up.

Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread

Vegan Maple Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting On Maple Cupcakes

Remember those maple cupcakes I made a few days ago? Well, most of them hit the freezer, but I kept a few out for my parents’ anniversary. I made a simple, small batch of vegan buttercream frosting 1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter spread, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 6 tablespoons powdered sugar, and a dash of cinnamon. I always thought buttercream was something incredibly complex to make but this could not have been simpler! Mine might be a little lumpy, but that’s just because I was lazy. Knowing how easy it is to do is just a little dangerous. I mean, this is “healthy” in the sense that there’s no cholesterol, but it’s no superfood 😉 If you can believe it, cupcakes were not on the meal plan as dinner.

Grilled Steak, Green Beans, Nog Spiked Butternut Mash

This meal was so great; I can’t remember the last time I had something on the grill! It just has not been the right weather but we wiped off the snow and fired it up, and the meat came out nice and rare like I love it 😀 For sides, we steamed green beans and mashed butternut squash with 1/2 a cup Silk Nog. That last combination never gets old. I could practically eat a bowl for dessert. Now, I don’t think anyone has started picking at desserts yet. Then again, I haven’t been keeping a hawk eye on any of it, so who knows what’s left. I know there’s certainly no lack of things for me to eat up tonight.

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Soups And Raw Eating

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

I’m glad you guys found my format for the last post witty; I’d like to do stuff like that more often but it’s something that comes and goes(mostly goes). Maybe it was because I was watching sassy Sabrina, The Teenage Witch while working out? Maybe… For lunch my mom threw together for herself chicken noodle soup, which gave me a major craving for the stuff. After looking at what she made hers with, I actually had no clue what half the ingredients were(me, the person who has gone shopping for xanthan gum) and the ones I did recognize I was not willing to touch. Instead, I tried to supplement that with a replacement soup.

Amy's Lentil Vegetable Soup

Broccoli And Cornbread With Raw Cheddar And Vegan Organic Bac'Uns

Amy’s soup was only OK. I added dehydrated onions, pepper, and salt to it to boost the flavor(and it was already a sodium bomb). Really, though, it did not impress or feed my craving at all. On the side I had leftover killer cornbread and broccoli. Is microwaving raw cheddar cheese counterproductive? Something tells me that it is, but it was better melted. The Bac’Uns again were only OK; they had more of a general smokiness than a bacon flavor. By the way, I ate it along with this.

Looney Toons Utensils And A Scratch Ticket

Because if microwaving raw cheese isn’t hypocritical, maybe baby utensils and adult entertainment is–not a problem. After lunch it was still snowing but less so than it will be for the next few days, so we went to TJMaxx to return a sweater. Fun stuff, isn’t it? I was not so interested in the clothes shopping so I ran in to Sudbury Farms(a grocery store) right next door to grab a few things.

Full Circle Organic Chicken Noodle Soup

Such as this soup. Meat cravings cost money when you’re only willing to go free-range; good thing I don’t get them much. I was actually grabbing stock and whole wheat egg noodles first and then asked myself “Do I really want to actually buy a big chicken? And would I be motivated enough to make it all from scratch?”. Short answer: Buy the canned stuff. When we got home I could not wait to make an afternoon meal.

Organic Chicken Noodle Soup In A Parisian Soup Bowl

Chocolate Vitamuffin

With a muffin on the side, to make it a well-rounded meal 🙂 The soup definitely hit the spot, despite having like 2 pieces of chicken in it. Really, I probably could have drank chicken broth and been happy at that point. I picked up that bowl in Paris last year and thought it would be a fun time to use it. It fits, no? I don’t actually remember eating soup that trip… Anyway, afterwards I planned on making some roasted nuts, but realized if I did that I’d be all out! I hate running out of things which is why I usually have 2 cans of everything. Instead, I found another recipe I wanted to make.

Ingredients

I decided to go with Averie’s almost raw chocolate chip cookie dough balls. I think I was in love with this recipe when I saw it had 4 ingredients(5 with vanilla powder) and I could make it all in my food processor. I used 3oz cashews, 30g oats, 3 tablespoons maple syrup, and 2 tablespoons chocolate chips.

Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cookies

These came out the perfect consistency. I made mine into 10 90-calorie cookies rather than into balls because I just like them more that way(Oh, the things that could be said here…). Of course, I needed to taste them and spoil my appetite 😉

Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie

They were really good considering how simple they are. They kind of tasted simply like cashew butter; maybe next time I’ll add more vanilla and a touch of sea salt. Or I could put these in yogurt or ice cream like real cookie doughs. I’m liking the possibilities. While I was making(and eating) these, my mom made dinner for everybody.

Turbot With Smoked Salt, Baked White Potato With Habanero Salsa, Green Veggies With Nutritional Yeast

We picked up turbot at Whole Foods in Dedham even though we didn’t(still don’t) know that much about it. It tasted like any sort of white fish so I added some of my new, fancy shmancy salt to perk it up with smokiness. I’m liking the nutritional yeast more and more a as I eat it. And I don’t think I’ve had salsa on a white potato since Summer–long overdue. For dessert, I have wayyyy too many possibilities going around my mind. This should be fun…

By the way–I just looked around and asked if I was the last person not in my pajamas. My mom said “Yeah, I didn’t want to say anything because I thought it might be rude, but…” and my dad asked “Are you feeling alright?”.

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Christmas 2009

Posted on December 26, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Christmas Eve recap here.

I was definitely the kid who woke up early on Christmas morning and woke up everyone else around me so we could get to opening presents faster. I think I’ve grown since then because I let people sleep in until 8 now 🙂

Unwrapping Presents

We just did simple family presents between the 3 of us on Christmas morning. There was the obligatory scratch tickets.

Scratch Tickets

I won! But by now I forget how much… Oh well, the money is somewhere 🙂

Spreads And Spices

My parents know me so well. I’ve never tried Saratoga Peanut Butter before but my dad ordered some to try. The Catch Me If You Can flavor was invented by our very own Meagan! I’m glad I got it before it went off of the market.

Goji Cookies And Baking Pans

The Goji Gourmet cookies weren’t much of a surprise since I picked them out in NYC 🙂 But the vitatop pan will be fun to play with! Maybe I will rekindle my obsession with muffin tops but not bottoms.

Cuisinart Mini Prep

And I got a food processor! Sort of. Any one have experience with this model? I know Cuisinart is a good brand because I have some of their other appliances. But I might return this one and take some of the money I got from Christmas to buy a more expensive model. I think opening presents is way more fun than working out 7:30-9:00 😉 But afterwards I was ready for breakfast.

Eggnog Greek Yogurt With TRUwhip

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Butter Toffee PB, Gingerbread PB, And A Ginger Molasses Cookie

TRUwhip at breakfast is totally OK at breakfast on Christmas if it’s over a seasonal yogurt. The Catch Me If You Can peanut butter was really good! Go Meagan! I loved the way the ginger and the molasses played together–yum! At 11 we packed up to go to my dad’s family, who live in Concord, New Hampshire. It’s only a 90 minute ride and honestly it felt like we were there sooner than ever. When we walked in we were greeted, and with food.

Snack Spread

The spread was so good; there was even Kettle Chips and Food Should Taste Good chips! Rather than not fill up on chips, though, I chose some of the “healthier” food items.

Blackberries And Cantaloupe

I can not resist fresh, precut fruit. We never have it at home because it’s such a waste of money to buy, but then we’re also to lazy to cut our own–double whammy! Naturally I had about 3 times as much is pictured.

Tio Juan's Margarita Salsa Mild

There was also a plethora of celery dipped in this salsa. It has amazing flavor, except I much prefer the hot to the mild(and the hot one you know is hot because it burns your tongue when you hit a seed). My little cousins were quick to tell me what to do and where to go while I was eating.

The New Mario On The Wii

The big gift this year was a wii! I have to say, this was entirely a present for me, too. No more little cousins going crazy for mine when they come to my house! Haha. They wanted to show me it and their new Mario game. I have to say it was pretty fun, and they were in awe about how good I was. I don’t think they realize this game is 20+ years old and I’d been playing it since I was their age 😉 Once I peeled myself away from that, I was able to hang out with my grandparents and aunt and uncle. They told me stories about my great-grandfather who ate 3 raw eggs with milk and maple syrup every morning, walked 5 miles a day, and was tiny framed his whole life; well now I sound like a chip of the ol’ block! After much cooking, dinner was ready.

Dinner Table

So much food! And unlike Christmas Eve dinner, I could eat 90% of it! It was pure heaven. Usually, at holidays, I try to treat meals like every other one: make a balanced plate of 3 or 4 things and eat until you’re comfortably full. However, I really just wanted to pig out on good and natural food and feel for once like the holiday season was actually here!

Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Brie, Sweet Potatoes, Turnips, Cornish Hen

Such a good plate of food(though nothing in comparison to how much my grandfather put away 8-|). I also tried boiled onions for the first time and had seconds(and thirds) on the brussels and cauliflower. It was all really good. The cornish hens were naturally raised so I had no problem digging in to it. I ate the breast meat and my mom picked at probably the rest of it. Everyone pigged out on veggies so we even got to take home 3 hens!  Sweet deal. After all that amazingness, my cousins drove us to unwrap gifts.

Faux Christmas Tree

Scratch Tickets

Can you tell the type of family we are? 😉 This time I won 6 more dollars!

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

And I got the Mario game for myself 🙂 I have to admit, it was really fun when I played with my cousins so I was definitely looking forward to getting this(especially after hearing Lynn talk about how much she loved renting it). There was also clothes–some of which I’ll keep and some return–and gift cards. My aunt got me not 1 but 3 Target gift cards; apparently she couldn’t decide which one looked cute enough. After everything digested I was sooo ready for dessert.

Dessert Spread

Along with the two things I brought, there was Carvel birthday cake for my mom’s birthday and a chocolate pudding pie and apple pie from my grandmother. I think the apple pie was all-natural, but really I was not that hungry at all after the feast. I just opted for coffee(decaf, of course) and some tiny tasty treats.

Peanut Butter And Chocolate Biscotti, Chocolate Mint Gluten Free Brownie With TRUwhip

This was such a sweet ending to the whole thing. The gluten free brownies came out amazing! No one could guess there was anything funny about them, let alone having black beans! I’m definitely going to be posting the recipe soon(and maybe even making another batch). And these biscotti got rave reviews again. I don’t think I could possibly get tired of them. The secret is in the peanut butter, peanuts, and peanut flour. After dessert we gathered our gifts, said goodbye, and drove home. It was snowing slightly and looked sooo beautiful all the way home; what a perfect way to end Christmas. When we got home it was past dinner but I wasn’t really hungry from the feast anyway. Instead I had (another) sweet ending.

NibMor Original With Raspberry Jam

Yum! The NibMor raw chocolate is definitely a bit lighter on texture but the flavor is just as decadent as rich, dark chocolate. And I love that combo of dark chocolate and raspberry 🙂 I was actually thinking of making raspberry chocolate cups but this was way faster and more effecient at 8pm at night.

Oatmeal With Honey Cream Cheese Frosting, Adirondack Jack Butter, And French Toast Almonds

A little later I definitely reverted into my nutty habits and was hungry for dessert 🙂 The “frosting”, which had yogurt in it, was more to get a 2nd(albeit, lame) source of probiotics in for the day. The adirondack jack butter was new and really interesting; it’s a mix of peanuts, almond, flax, cranberries, sunflower seeds and honey. Not my favorite, but it definitely has its own flavor. I loooved the added roasted nuts. I took them to New Hampshire, too, and everyone seemed to enjoy them, so I’m thinking next Christmas I’ll roast a batch for each person individually.

Well, that was my Christmas. In writing this post, I think I’ve remembered one of my favorite things about this blog: I know have all these great memories in a place I can go to whenever I want. Being able to share it with you all and my family is just the cherry on top. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night 🙂

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