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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I Wanna Be “That Guy”

Posted on January 21, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I’ve decided that I want to be “that guy”. Not “that guy on the bus”,

Or “that guy who got screwed by NBC”,

I want to be “that guy” who, when he’s 80 and grey, his grand kids can recite all the rituals he did every day. I want to be “that guy” whose routine you can set a clock to. Basically, I want to be boring. But I don’t see it as boring. Other people see it as boring and tell me I should want to switch it up and try new things. Great. Fine. But here I am knowing what I want to do; and last I checked, when somebody knows what they really want, that’s something to celebrate, right? So rather than fight my routine, I’ve decided to start embracing it. For instance,

The Raw Bakery Cacao Brownie

The Raw Bakery Cacao Brownie

I want to be “that guy” who has something chocolate every night after dinner. That seems to be the theme, as of late. I’ve had raw things after dinner. I’ve had yogurt after dinner. But, in the end, they’re all chocolate. Does anyone want to argue with me that that’s a bad thing? Didn’t think so. Last night’s treat was a raw cacao brownie from The Raw Bakery. I definitely didn’t need something composed of dates and agave right before bed but c’est la vie. This was OK, but it tasted oddly figgy and not chocolate enough. It had a great texture–better than most cooked brownies I’ve ever had. I’d definitely have it again, but, in all honesty, I could probably make a recipe for these or find a better brand.

I want to be “that guy” who has his shows and is always up to date on them. How could I ever show my face at the water cooler if I didn’t know how hilarious Modern Family was last night(seriously, wasn’t that good?).

Oatmeal With Organic Chocolate Peanut Butter

I want to be “that guy” who has oatmeal with nut butter every night before going to bed. I’ve fought this one before and it’s just not worth it; I love it, it’s good for me, and I’m going to do it. Last night, I even got to try a brand new nut butter: Justin’s chocolate peanut butter. I bought this with my Christmas money, skeptical of how it’d be since I haven’t had a chocolate peanut butter I like before. My verdict? YUM-O! This is seriously one of the best peanut butters I’ve ever had, and the first chocolate peanut butter one I’ve liked. You can taste both flavors, and they aren’t mixed into one; it’s simply perfect. I can’t wait until these are in every Whole Foods, at which time PLEASE get yourself a jar. And it’s organic–my heart be still.

I want to be “that guy” who sleeps 11-7, so long as he can help it. Sure, once and a while I’ll be up later than that, or have to hit the snooze button. But I’m not letting anyone convince me that I shouldn’t be asleep that early at my age. It’s just how I am.

I want to be “that guy” who gets up and exercises! To be honest, I’ve fought myself on this one. I mean, really, who’s thinking anything difficult is “fun” 10 minutes after waking up? But you know what? After I do it, I feel energized and ready to tackle the day, and sooo much better than when I don’t or put it off. Sometimes, we may need to tell ourselves what we want, but that’s just how it is. This morning, I told myself I wanted to do  full core and 200 flights, and that’s what I did. And I felt so good afterwards.

Justin's Chocolate Peanut Butter And Suzanne's Ricemellow Creme

I want to be “that guy” who sets the record straight. For months now, I’ve been calling the all-natural Fluff I’ve been using vegan. Well, a little while back I double checked the ingredients and saw egg whites top the list. Oops. Turns out it wasn’t vegan, just all-natural. Because it wasn’t breaking news, I didn’t think to make a point of it. Recently, Suzanne’s sent me some of their goodies to review. And their ricemellow creme is vegan. There. Record straight.

4 Parts 0% Greek Yogurt : 1 Part Full Fat Greek Yogurt

Bananamon Oats With Justin's Chocolate Peanut Butter, Suzanne's Ricemellow Creme And NOO's Cinnamon Grahams

I want to be “that guy” who has yogurt and oatmeal at breakfast everyday. Predictable? Definitely. But what’s wrong with that when you’re getting protein, fiber, probiotics, whole grains, and healthy fats? Nothing. And occasionally things do change, like trying out my new vegan ricemellow creme. Honestly–I loved it. Fluff who? This was an identical match. It was airy and gooey and sweet. I only wish it had improved on the vanilla flavor of Fluff rather than match it. Definitely not a disappointment by any means, though.

I want to be “that guy” who watches gets his news from Regis & Kelly and The Today show every morning. It’s pretty much how I stay on top of things. I think it’s a lot more reliable than The Jay Leno Show these days, don’t you?

I want to be “that guy” who tries new things from time to time, too. On today’s plate(literally): seitan. I had had seitan jerky but never seitan as a main part of a dish. I bought pre-prepared seitan and just heated it up.

Prepared Seitan, Smoky Soy Brussels Sprouts, Honey Barbeque Baked Potato Chips

Smoky Soy Brussels Sprouts

I want to be “that guy” who brings you fun flavor ideas, like wheat-free tamari and liquid smoke brussels sprouts. Seriously, every time I hear a commenter say that putting certain flavors together was a great idea or that they tried it and loved it, it warms my heart. Really, I don’t think too much about things. I just throw them together if they sound good, and thankfully these came out amazing with the honey barbeque chips and seitan. But also sometimes they don’t work out; that’s one of the benefits of having a dog 😉

I want to be “that guy” who’s a hoot to watch shop, moving slowly and picking up and feeling every product. Yes. I shop like an Italian grandmother, which was ironic today because it was my Italian grandmother who drove me to the natural food store down the road. But I totally encourage shopping like this, because how else would you know if a fruit is ripe? Or nut properly roasted?

NuNaturals Pure White Stevia Extract 1oz

I want to be “that guy” who people trust for good recommendations. I’m kind of hoping to be that already, and I’m hoping you’ll trust me when I say this is the best stevia I’ve had to date. I was sent this along with other NuNatural products over the Summer to sample and review. I’ve boughten 2 or 3 of this particular product because it is truly the purest, least bitter stevia I’ve found. If you think it’s pricey($14 for 1 ounce), know that you get at least 200+ servings out of it so it’s not so outrageous.

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

I want to be “that guy” who raises his family right but never deprives. I like to take cues from Mama Pea. She’s so popular, I’m sure I don’t need to plug her. But if you haven’t heard of her, you must check her blog out; she’s raising her two girls so well, giving them wholesome snacks that they truly enjoy(like chocolate banana ice cream), and if I raise kids half that well one day I’ll be happy.

I don’t want to be “that guy” who calls his dad in a whiny voice complaining how we have no dinner for tonight and our back-up restaurant randomly completely closed due to a private engagement(seriously, how often does this happen?), but I was that tonight. I’m just trying to keep us all fed, people.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Organic Pistachio Butter

I want to be “that guy” who has all the crazy cool nut and seed butters. Can I be that guy already, with this organic pistachio seed butter I ground with Tierra Farm‘s organic salted pistachio meat? There’s something kind of fun looking at a bowl of what should be oatmeal and peanut butter and seeing all orange and green–just saying.

I want to be “that guy” who wins this giveaway for Chobani, so don’t enter.

So there it is. That’s just the kind of guy I want to be, day in and day out. Why the word “want”? Who’s stopping me? That’s the guy I am.

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Some Light Rawflections

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

Last night, I took the plunge:

Homemade Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup

I went from the only person in blogworld not to make these to just the last! Boy that felt good 🙂 I heated up Newman’s Own Organics’ milk chocolate and filled that with 365 salted in a muffin liner. I did not realize how much chocolate these call for! So instead of two I only ended up making 1 :-/ Oh well. I know me and here’s how I am: I will have a recipe on my “to-make” list for months and keep putting it off because I think it will be difficult. Then I’ll do it once, fall in love, and keep doing it for 2 weeks. Now that I’ve done these, I’m sure I’ll be pumping them out like Reeses. Of course, I ate this like I eat all my peanut butter cups.

Soy Yogurt With Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup And Peanut Butter

Over soy yogurt. Oh, how I swim in the irony of topping soy yogurt with milk chocolate 😀 I threw in a little extra peanut butter because this was feeling chocolate heavy, but the result was awesome. I love the touch of salt–gotta have my sodium. After that I watched Leno and am so confused on the controversy here. Is he getting cancelled? Is he moving time slots? I hope not because having a consistent, reliable program on at 10 night after night is the best thing that’s happened to TV in a long time, I think. Right before bed I made a snackeroo.

Oatmeal With Smart Balance Peanut Butter

I think I really wanted more milk chocolate, but could convince myself into this because my tongue associates smart balance peanut butter with milk chocolate from all those advent calender treats I had pre-Christmas! Do you think anyone makes an advent calender that counts down to Christmas starting from January 1st? I could definitely get on board with that 🙂

This morning I definitely felt like a cardio workout, but not-so-much strength. I wanted to want both, but it just wasn’t happening. But when I thought about not working out, I knew that wasn’t the answer either. Instead, I decided a plain and simple 200 flights would be a good settlement. Just a note: I do not run these. It’s more like power-walking than running. Running would be… Oh God, I don’t want to think how my legs would feel after that. After an hour of that, I showered up(because this really makes you sweat) and thought of what I wanted for breakfast. Funnily enough, I wanted eggs and avocado. Those are “normal” breakfast foods on their own, right? Well I wanted them a little differently.

French Toast Oats

Probiotic Chocolate Avocado Pudding With Vanilla Snackaroons

Can you believe it? NO peanut butter OR greek yogurt? And I’m not even feeling sick, too. Go figure. For some hot protein I made a big bowl of oatbran and oatmeal and cracked an egg right in there. So delicious, simple, and satisfying(especially when you add the maple syrup and cinnamon but you can do that to anything and it’ll be satisfying). With the avocado, I made my almost raw chocolate avocado pudding with 1/2 a leftover avocado, cocoa powder, vanilla powder, stevia, and coconut milk kefir, and topped them with The Raw Bakery‘s Vanilla Snackeroons. This was so good! I loved how it all worked together. The coconut from the snackeroons with the creamy avocado made a great mingling of two foods I don’t eat enough. And the Vanilla Snackeroons were great! Nothing makes me happier than looking at a food and seeing real vanilla bean specks.

Rawflection: Today I got a great bunch of products from Blue Mountain Organics and their companies of raw products to sample and review, which I’m excited to bring you over time. One of my resolutions as of late has been to try new foods like raw dishes into my diet. I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job, too, so long as we’re counting banana whip and chocolate avocado pudding 😉 And I have to say that I have not felt better or more “regular” than I have in the past 2 weeks of eating. Being so in control of my eats with wholesome, clean foods has had great side effects for me. Some of that’s been raw, which I hope to continue, and some of that has just been simple and pure foods like pan-seared ahi tuna, which I also hope to continue. If you’re looking to purify your diet or change things up for wellness, then mark my words when I say you do not need to go on some steadfast, total cleanse for a week. Just slowly but surely and raw and simple foods into your diet. Nothing needs to be 100%; a little at a time can go a long way 🙂

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