My Thing Right Now Is Chewing

Hi everyone! I’ve got some exciting things to share with you.

First off, at the beginning of August I’ll be teaching a workshop in South Florida. So if there are any readers who are in the area or know somebody who’d be interested, I encourage you to check out the event. Since I’ve been collaborating with Perricone MD on their Summer Beauty Foods, I thought it would be a great idea to share these concepts and recipes in person. For more information click over here.

Also, I was contacted by a journalist for the Voice of Russia asking if they could talk to me about being a flexitarian. It was interesting to receive that e-mail because I didn’t consider myself one. Since I started to consume fish, I dropped the “vegetarian” label, and didn’t seek to grab another one. It was an interesting thought to ponder though since technically I fall under the definition of “flexitarian”. It got me to reflect on my heightened sense of intuition. Whether I am eating by raw vegan or flexitarian standards, since breaking a mold I made for myself (with good intentions albeit) I’ve become more in tune with how to balance my body. This changes throughout the day. In fact, for dinner I was going to eat asparagus with a sauce I had made, but I was leaning more towards a simple squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some sea salt. With that, it was an absolute pleasure talking with the journalist, and here’s the article she wrote on the notion of this dietary path: Flexitarians: new meat-eating vegetarians healthy life style

A series of events

Speaking of rebalancing myself, two weekends ago a bout of food poisoning struck me and I happened to document it through different phases.

  • Exhibit a) before I knew what was going to happen… my stomach was feeling upset, but I didn’t know to what degree. So I had made a puree of papaya, fresh limejuice and ginger, a bit of honey, and salt. Note: it’s still a brilliant pink even when it’s thrown up.
  • Exhibit b) not breakfast the next day because breakfast the next day definitely did not happen. Apple sauce to test the waters when I could stand to eat anything.
  • Exhibit c) I had an appetite, but was still feeling sensitive towards certain foods so I made a mild healing soup with kombu.
So now I’m also making more of an effort to chew my food well.

And now, more link love! I wish I could do more formal updates on my blog with what I’m up to, but I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Facebook to read some of my articles and recipes that are showing up around the internet. I’m very excited to be collaborating in this way! Okay, okay so here are some links that you can click on for recipes and tidbits of information!

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Making Up For Not Having a White Christmas

So my friends and I decided it would be safer not to drive out to Charlottesville for the weekend. I’m glad we didn’t go because they predicted 3 ft of snow for that area. I’m not sure how much they ended up getting though.

Winning combination!

I have never tried any of the PB&Co flavors but I’d imagine it would taste similar to this. In the bowl I cooked some oatmeal with the last of my chocolate protein powder + cinnamon + coconut oil. Then I added in some diced apples, white chocolate chips, and crunchy peanut butter. So delicious!

Look at the snow!

My friend was looking pretty in the snow and then we were on mission to drive through it.

So beautiful!

BFD

I made a bowl of chocolate oats with a banana bruleed in + coconut oil + peanut butter + white chocolate chips. Obviously I loved the peanut butter and white chocolate chip combo from earlier that day.

A yummy platter.

Steamed kale later massaged in olive oil; To go with the brie I made a caramelized onion-cranberry compote + pine nuts for crunch and earthiness, then I baked some leftover Italian semolina bread. Even the kale with the brie and compote tasted delicious together.

When a friend of mine slept over, we opened up my box of Kashi GoLean Crunch that had been sitting in my pantry for ages--this became part of my snack pictured above.

This snack bowl consisted of Kashi GoLean Crunch + a crumbled Cinnamon Raisin gnufoods bars + almond milk + coconut oil (all warmed up).

Then it was crafting time for me!

I tried another flavor of the 3400 Phinney bars.

It had a delicious bold bitterness to it at the end and a nice crunch from the nibs.

Another new flavor I tried!

I tried the breakfast Sunshine burger. It was yummy but I don’t think I’ll be buying it again. It’s not horrible by any means, there are just other flavors I prefer; like the Southwest and Original (m’mm good). In the bowl is a recipe I got from a Mambo Sprouts newsletter: sweet and tangy mashed butternut squash. I just realized that I forgot the chives! Oh well.

While I was snowed in I took a detox bath and quenched my thirst with something I spotted at the store--mango flavored coconut water!

A recipe I wrote down ages ago and found the other day--smudges and all.

This was suppose to be a Jamaican inspired oatmeal recipe actually, but since I ran out of oats the day before (GASP) I did the next best thing–granola! I opted for Udi’s Au Naturel flavor over yogurt. They were topped with pineapple bits, a sliced banana, coconut shreds, almonds, and maple syrup (the one my friend got for me on her trip to Canada–peeking in on the left side). I loved every tropical bite of this; especially because I am ready for warm weather!

On that same page I wrote down some other recipes and decided to make another one for lunch.

Chickpeas in coconut milk + steamed kale + coconut & cinnamon rice (with coconut oil)

Chickpeas in Coconut Milk: serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup water

10 oz potato, cubed

14 oz cooked chickpeas

1 generous cup coconut milk

1 tsp salt

2 tbl sunflower oil

4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2-1 tsp chili

lemon juice

Suggestions for serving: naan or rice

1. Pour water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add cubed potatoes, reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 6-7 minutes. Add chickpeas and cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes. Add coconut milk and salt and slow simmer.

2. Heat oil, low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently. Add coriander, turmeric, chili, and cook 25-30 seconds.

3. Mix into chickpea mixture. Stir in lemon juice.

Quick dinner after a long day of errands.

After spending the afternoon with my roommate stocking up on goods at Target, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods I was ready for dinner despite my snacks and yummy sampling! I bought some buns so I could enjoy Angharad’s spicy black bean burgers in burger form. These keep getting better and better! I topped it with vegan mayo, pepper jelly, melted manchego, yellow onions, cilantro, and ketchup. Holy delcious. I also had some steamed kale massaged in olive oil + cashews for crunch. I highly recommend making these burgers. Not only are they delicious, but they are so convenient for when you’re in a time crunch or don’t have the energy to prepare something. Actually, they’re wonderful for any occassion!

Comfort food with a twist...

This was such a great nighttime snack! Now what exactly was this snack? Well I cooked some cream of wheat in almond milk (I used Almond Breeze Original), and topped it with chopped dates, Artisana’s Cacao Bliss, and my favorite peanut butter. All of this melted together. So soothing and perfect for a Sunday night and some reading.

If all Mondays started like this... well then no one would be complaining!

Liz sent me a recipe that I knew I had to make ASAP! I had some leftover coconut milk from the soup I made the day before; Purrrfect for Indian spiced oats with coconut milk. Early classes on Monday = quick breakfasts so I used a packet of Uncle Sam Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal + Soymilk. I threw in a handful more of oats in there + extra spices. For the finishing touches I swirled in some coconut oil + raisins + sliced almonds + coconut milk.

Creamy deliciousness

Can't get enough of the spicy black bean burgers!

I prepped it the same way as Sunday night only this time I had it with barbeque Popchips (better the second time around), and a Bugs Bunny carrot + my favorite peanut butter. Once again, this was quick enough for me to put together without eating my own arm off. For some reason I didn’t realize that my Seminar on Hinduism class ended at 6:40–not 5:40. It didn’t help that my afternoon snack sadly only held me over about an hour and I hadn’t anticipated being hungry that quickly. Apparently today was one of those bottomless pit days and the only thing I had packed was the 3400 Phinney Nib Brittle bar and that didn’t do much except please my tastebuds. Note to self: always keep something substantial packed. I’m usually good about this is if I know I’m going to be on the go, but today I had the leisure of snacking at home. Oh well, lesson learned.

Last but not least... in my next post I'll be revealing a muffin recipe I concocted while I was snowed in.

Anybody want to take any guesses? How was everyone else’s weekend; any exciting plans for the week?

p.s. check out the Glass Dharma straw giveaway Audrey is having! Also, Averie is having an amazing giveaway as well (hint: the prize is one of my favorite add-ins)

It’s Really Not That Bad

Maggie started this thing called “truth week”, and each day she’s tagged somebody to tell the truth. Well she had tagged Mitri and then the Queen of Oats tagged me! So here goes.

The truth is that this week has been hard and I’ve done some reevaluating. I’d say my relationship with food now is a pretty healthy one, but I think this week has been a challenge for me. I’d say… my lack of funds led me to panic for a hot second. I’m use to being able to buy fresh foods and cooking each day. Well, I haven’t been able to spend money for over a week now and I didn’t mind at first because I hadn’t run out of produce. All my frozen produce is gone as well now. And that’s what got me thinking. I have plenty of things in my pantry, I just got so antsy about the fact that – oh my gosh – I have no fresh food. Fresh foods are the only things I really crave too. Weird, I know. I always have a bag of carrots on hand because they’re refreshing, tasty, and I’ve loved carrots ever since I was little. I might’ve said it before but when I was little I swore I was part bunny. I mean… I’ve got raisins and other dried fruits at least and this is only temporary. I’m hoping to get money in a couple of days and I’ll be buying some vegetables and fruits again. It got me to thinking how fortunate and picky I actually am. There are people that live off rice and beans every day. I am so fortunate to have a wide variety of things to choose from. I’ve got grains like rice and oats, nut butters, canned legumes, the package of Sunshine Burgers, Tofurky, and other yummy things. I was also able to use my soymilk maker to make some almond milk this morning. But I guess I got upset because I couldn’t have something. And when you can’t have something… you want it even more, and it almost seems like nothing else matters. So, that is my truth for today. And lots of things I have are simply luxuries, and now I really see what the necessities are. I just had to get that out of my system. Hmm… the bright side? Hey Janetha, I’m also taking part in your “clean out the pantry” challenge!

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Hooray for seasonal items.

I heated up the Iced Gingerbread Clif bar and enjoyed every bite with sips of a cup of ZenSoy chocolate soymilk I warmed up. The people over at ZenSoy sent me a gracious sampler package not too long ago. I’m going to do a full review on them soon.

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More Nishiki rice!

Last week I used my batch of okara (the pulp leftover when I made soy milk) to make a vegetarian meatloaf based on this recipe. I didn’t have any vegetarian “ground beef” on hand so I used a can of beans instead. I just melted some mozzarella on top and went a little crazy with the ketchup.

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Quinoa pasta

I finished off my can of chickpeas and frozen spinach. Actually, a little ray of sunshine inspired me for last night’s dinner. Maya is quite the chef! The things her and her sister, Eliza, whip up make me so hungry! I saw she had a recipe for Spinach Ricotta Pine Nut Pasta. I didn’t have ricotta, but I pretty much had everything else. I just grated some parmesan on top and sprinkled on some pine nuts. Now I feel so silly for freaking out.

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Breakfast this morning

I had a bowl of Farina with a ton of raisins and some cinnamons. I also decided to mix in a Banana ZenSoy pudding cup and a glob of cashew butter. Afterwards I attempted to make some almond milk for the first time.

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Too watery, but I'll get it down next time.

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Now I've just got to look up what I can do with almond pulp.

I went to the UPS station to pick up some packages that were sent to me, but too large to fit in my apartment complex’s box. Seriously, once I got home and opened these packages up, I counted my blessings again. On the topic of being grateful, check out Operation Chocolate-Covered Kindness!

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Exploding package!

The folks from Newman’s Own Organics sent me an incredibly generous package for me to sample and review on here. Wow!

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I was even more excited to see that Matilda had some treats for her as well!!!!

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Matilda sampled the Peanut Butter flavored treats and she gave it two paws way up!

IMG_0528Awhile ago I had used my last freebie coupon Tofurky sent to me. What’d I choose to get? The beer brat “sausages”! I tried it with beer mustard, ketchup, and sweet relish, and by itself! Yum yum yum. I’ve read that some of you didn’t like the other flavors except for the beer brats. I, however, do like the other sausage flavors and this one as well!

So there’s really been no cooking for me but I have been munching my way through tasty snacks! I hope you are all enjoying your Wednesday aka “hump day”.

Oh, and before I forget, I’d like to tag Holly to partake in “truth week”!

Adventure is Worthwhile

This Friday night I came up with a challenge for myself. I had actually been thinking about using these ingredients awhile ago, but I finally had the motivation to do it. I don’t have much patience when it comes to baking and recipes that require multiple steps. However, my excitement took over and I frankly didn’t care about time and how many dirty dishes I would have to clean afterward. This is what kitchen experiments are all about.

Now enter my… laboratory, shall we? Mwahahaha!

I should probably tell you what I was up to though, right? Well, folks, I had a kabocha on hand and I was thinking about ravioli and ricotta. What if I made something like that? So I decided to make lasagna out of polenta (which is so simple to make), and then I would layer the kabocha and ricotta mix.

What is this girl up to?

Focus people, ignore the carton of Almond Breeze!

First I made the polenta and spread it out on a sheet and let it cool until I was ready to layer and bake. Then I baked the kabocha with cinnamon, sage, and brown sugar until it was soft. If you’d like, you can peel the kabocha, but I just kept the skin on mine. Once that was done baking I mashed it and mixed in the ricotta. You can also add more salt, or anything else you’d like to the mix – perhaps nutmeg? I pulled the polenta out of the fridge and cut 4 strips, since the recipe I followed for the polenta made 2 servings.

IMG_8131So the temperature and baking time will vary for this because I used a toaster oven. I baked this at 350° F for about 35 minutes. I probably should’ve baked it at a higher temperature because the following day I re-heated it at 400° F and it turned it much crispier and better. My advice is to just keep an eye on it!

Voila!

Voila!

I served it with the cute little cherry tomatoes Brittany gave to me, and a glass of white sangria.

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

Here are my leftovers:

Mid-bite it occurred to me that I should top it with maple syrup and almonds.

Mid-bite it occurred to me that I should top it with maple syrup and almonds.

So you can see the layers.

So you can see the layers.

This was very yummy, and I can say that this experiment was a winner! However, I do want to play around with the herbs in this recipe; I felt that sage wasn’t quite right. What should I call this recipe? Anyone have any suggestions?

A cup of almond milk with coffee ice cubes anyone?

A cup of almond milk with coffee ice cubes anyone?

I’ll show you guys what I did with the rest of the kabocha. I think I may turn orange soon… just a warning.

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I busted out one of my favorites dishes!

I mashed the kabocha and stirred in soy creamer, butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. I also topped it with steamed edamame and black currant Crofter’s Superfruit spread.

Get in my belly.

Get in my belly.

Spelt bread, tomato, sharp cheddar, red onion, Naturenaise “mayo”, Trader Joe’s sweet relish, and pepper. I toasted this all together (I spread the “mayo” on afterwards) till the cheese was gooey and melted.

This burned my tongue like no other - ouch!

This burned my tongue like no other - ouch!

Then I did this.

Then I did this, and learned my lesson.

Kabocha soup leftovers

Kabocha soup leftovers

Since I used up my goat cheese in my first bowl, improvisation kicked in. I roasted some tomatoes and made a beautiful mess with toasted seeds and soy creamer. Gosh, sometimes I get so into the color of food! It’s like I forget that I’m going to be eating this and not hanging it on a wall.

Just for the heck of it, I’m going to throw in my favorite grilled cheese sandwich.

On Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl bread with a side of cherry tomatoes, cauliflower baked with s&p + nutritional yeast

On Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl bread with a side of cherry tomatoes, cauliflower baked with s&p + nutritional yeast

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend – it’s not over yet! Yesterday I made a beautiful, green, mushy mess. Can anyone guess what I whipped up?

Finally, thank you all for the well wishes for my critique. Most importantly, your comments reminded me that we’re not alone! I think in someway or another, we can all relate to each other and we go through similar things – afterall, we’re human. This weekend I tested myself in the kitchen, and it got me thinking about challenges in our lives:

“Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

p.s. did anyone notice I didn’t post a breakfast in this post? Oh my dears, just wait till the next one!

My Fourth of July

Detail shot.
Detail shot.

What’s a girl to wear to a low-key Fourth of July gathering? Maintaining true to my style I decided to keep it simple with a touch of elegance. One of my roommates, Kim, gave me this beautiful vintage blouse on a whim. It’s one of my favorite tops ever! It’s so sheer and delicate, light enough to wear even on hot days. You know when you’re wearing something that’s so perfect you just want to go to a million different places because you feel on top of the world? That’s what this blouse is to me!

Tucked in my new favorite shorts!
Tucked in my new favorite shorts!
I put on a light lipstick and I was ready to go.
I put on a little lipstick and I was ready.
We had a late lunch.

We had a late lunch.

Provolone on top of the carrot cornbread, a colorful salad, and a cold glass of almond milk. I love the original flavor because it’s creamy and almond-y.

Mom's getting excited!!!
Mom’s getting excited!!!

On the way down I decided to bring the book I’m currently reading, Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt.

What my view will be during breakfast after my vacation! Maybe the vacation never dies?
What my view will be during breakfast after my vacation! Maybe the vacation never ends?

The beginning of one of many debates.
The beginning of one of many debates.
Reading an interesting article from the newspaper on the lack of customer service now during recession times.
Reading an interesting article from the newspaper on the lack of customer service now during recession times.

The ladies of the night managed to keep the atmosphere light-hearted.

Sandra, Mom, and myself
Sandra, Mom, and myself
The sun is down, but the moon is shining.
The sun is down, but the moon is shining.
Sandra's super cute baby!!!
Sandra’s super cute baby, Tabby!!!
Tabby in motion.
Tabby in motion.

Grown men up to no good.
Grown men up to no good.

They set off some fireworks and ran!

There were fireworks to my left and right. They were nice to watch.
There were fireworks to my left and right.

Sandra is a wonderful cook and baker! I’m excited to stay with her and make some tasty eats.

A delicious pasta salad with super fresh ingredients.
A delicious pasta salad she made with super fresh ingredients.

I definitely got myself another plate of this salad. Then again that was the only vegetarian friendly thing, besides the desserts. But I didn’t care, this was delicious.

She also baked some sort of moist chocolate cake with a whiskey custard sauce and an upside down cherry cake.

She also baked some sort of fluffy chocolate cake with a whiskey custard sauce and an upside down cherry cake.

The cake was not too chocolaty, and nothing was overly sweet. The flavors were able to shine through in every bite.

I also made a sangria with the delicious Muscato white wine.

I also made a sangria with the delicious Muscato D'Asti wine.

I hope you all enjoyed your long weekend and had a pleasant day despite it being Monday!

p.s. I added a recipe page, but it’s still under construction. I’ll be adding pictures to it soon. Are there any other things you guys would like to see more of?