PTA: Present Tense Affirmation

In my last post I said I was EXPLODING with information. Well, some of that information I’m going to withhold… for right now. But I’ll start out with some things I’ve been enjoying this week.

Rode bikes in the city for the first time, along the Hudson River

It’s such a nice way to wind down from the day. After running through Central Park, I’ll head out with friends afterwards for long, leisurely bike rides. Then wash off, stretch for awhile, and do something very grounding afterwards. One thing I like to do is give my feet a nice massage with a peppermint foot lotion. I used to think to myself, “oh it would be nice to paint my nails… or give my tired muscles a massage” and not do it because I thought I didn’t have enough time. When really all it may take is just five minutes. How many people find themselves saying “I don’t have enough time“?

 

Actually, I hear that a lot with cooking. Recent things in my life though have gotten me to take a step back and just relax. To allow myself to just go with it, and not go into shallow breathing panic-mode if someone on the street stops me to talk about Matilda for 10 minutes. Before, I would stop, but I’d feel anxious the whole time. One of my recent mottos: whatever.

Here’s an interesting link I came across a few months ago that explains the title of the post: emotional freedom technique

Of course, there are times when I am rushed, but that’s another thing I’ve worked on… just saying it. I used to shy away from that because I didn’t want to offend anyone. I can reflect on the various causes of my feeling this way, but just behaving in a different way in the present helps the most. Just doing it. Everyone leads a different life, at times a life with demands.

So one day, while on a no-rush walk…

I stumbled upon a mulberry bush

I didn’t want to take too many, since I’m sure the other park animals also eat them.

A breakfast bowl with: diced cold apple, toasted hemp seeds, goat’s milk kefir, mulberries, and a sprinkle of cinnamon + nutmeg

A very Perricone friendly breakfast. Perri-who?

Some of you may have heard of renowned dermatologist, Dr. Perricone. Perhaps you’ve read his informative books and seen his skincare line. Or maybe you caught him taking away Larry King’s cup of coffee, for a cup of green tea instead. Anyway, here’s one part of the explosion!

I’ll be sharing recipes and nutritional insights on featured ingredients on a weekly basis over at the blog: the Daily Perricone. This has been in the works for awhile, and I’ve been biting my tongue the whole time.

This week was my first post on the blog, and I’m looking forward to sharing recipes on there.

The recipe can be found here, and for some interesting facts about peas click over here.

I’ll let you guys know about them, and if you follow me on my Facebook fan page then you’ll get more frequent updates as well. I also like to start discussions on there, share snapshots, and love to answer any questions anyone else may have! So check it out if you haven’t already.

My recipe for a simple summer soup.

Here’s a sneak peak look at some more upcoming news.

I’ll be featured in FIRST RUN magazine’s debut issue, which I’ll keep you posted on when it’s off the press. FIRST RUN is a quarterly running magazine, that is unlike any other running magazine out there. I’m truly excited to see it, and I think there will be lots of beautiful imagery and very interesting content to match. Also, keep tabs on what they’re up to through their Twitter.

Now on to the biggest news for me right now…

Continue reading

Giving Nature Credit

Hello everyone! So I survived the semester and I’m currently at the beach for the week with my ladies. First night was so much fun. I lost my Chat Roulette virginity. Let’s just say that we did our fair share if screaming in shock! I also may not be posting regularly since I’m at the beach and the day I get back is the day I fly to New York!

Anywho, there are a few beliefs I have and one of them is that I don’t think it should cost an arm and a leg to eat well. Especially when essentially most of the things I eat come straight from nature. I’d like to say that I eat well. When I say well I mean that I don’t sacrifice good taste just because something has nutritional value. Shots of wheat grass? No thank you. Maybe I’m a food snob, but I don’t care because I eat what I like and try new things as well. Sometimes I give things a second chance like my beloved brussels sprouts. And there are some things that I loved in my childhood that never get old. As a college student and a lover of food I’ve learned how to cook deliciously on a budget. I’ve learned that hummus is a cinch to make and usually ends up tasting better than what I get at the store–aside from Sabra’s miraculously creamy hummus. Some secrets are just too good to give out I guess. Oh well, I have a few of my own too!

I made my own creamy tomato sauce recipe!

And I am definitely sharing this one! Although I must warn you that the measurements aren’t precise because as usual when I cook, I just put in things by my taste. Mine turned out more like an arrabiata (spicy sauce) since I was generous with the black pepper. Oh! And it’s also vegan. Since I didn’t have any creamer on hand I opted to make a vegan alternative I’ve done many a time and have loved each time: cashew cream.

Vegan Creamy Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

Canola oil for cooking

3/4 cup onion, finely diced

1 bay leaf

1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

Sea salt

2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press

1 grated carrot stick

1 8 oz can tomato sauce

Sliced sun-dried tomatoes

A little less than 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes with juice

1/3 cup cashew cream

Fresh ground black pepper

Dried sweet basil and tarragon

1. Heat pan first then canola oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, bay leaf, pepper flakes, and salt and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until onion is soft and beginning to turn golden.

2. Add garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high, add tomato sauce, grated carrot, dried basil, tarragon, and sun-dried tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darkened, about 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add balsamic vinegar and cook, stirring often for about 2 minutes. Add can of crushed tomatoes and bring to the boil.

4. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, stirring often, until sauce reduces and is thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes.

5. When sauce has thickened, remove and discard bay leaf. Stir in the cashew cream, and cook until warmed through, about 1 minute. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Voila!

I served the sauce with sautéed garlic, yellow squash, onion, mushrooms, and cannellini beans over penne pasta.

Up next…

I also made another batch of granola!

Honey Cranberry-Almond Granola

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups oatmeal

1/4 cup chopped almonds

1/3 cup honey

1 1/2 tbl canola oil

1 tbl almond extract

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Shredded coconut

White chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients except the dried cranberries, shredded coconut, and white chocolate chips.

3. Spread out the granola on a nonstick baking sheet.

4. Bake the granola for about 30 minutes, stirring every 8 minutes or so. Halfway through sprinkle on the shredded coconut when stirring. Remove from oven, allow to cool.

5. Once cool mix in the dried cranberries and white chocolate chips

It’s so easy! I love coming up with combinations, and they’re perfect as yummy gifts. Just think of the flavors a loved one enjoys and make their very own mix. You can put it in a mason jar with a delightful tag, and I’m sure the lucky recipient will name their first-born after you.

Almonds, dried cranberries, and white chocolate chips is one of my favorite combinations.

And…

Homemade hummus too?!

Sun-dried Tomato Hummus

Ingredients

4 garlic cloves, minced and then mashed

2 15-oz cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed

1/4 cup avocado oil

Sun-dried tomatoes

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1. In a food processor, combine the mashed garlic, garbanzo beans, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice, 1/2 cup water. Process until smooth.

2. Slowly add in the avocado oil. Add salt, starting at a half a teaspoon, to taste.

Serve with anything your heart desires.

Gosh it feels good to share my own recipes with you all again! During the semester it’s hard for me to actually sit down and think about that. Even though I’m an only child, I love to share. So being able to share these recipes is awesome–from my kitchen to yours!

Off to a Good Start

I’ll start this post off the same way I start my day – with breakfast!

I baked some lemon poppyseed mini-muffins.
I baked some lemon poppyseed mini-muffins.

I tried some samples of the Artisana nut butters. I’m going to make a bold statement right now, but I’m just gonna go right ahead and put it out there. I haven’t tried all of the samples, but I feel that I can officially say that these nut butters are the bomb! If you’re a nut butter person, you will love these no questions asked. The nuts are all ground to perfection and have such a great consistency. I can actually taste each nuts’ unique flavor! I’m using the word “nuts” too much! So let’s move on, shall we?

A delicious bowl of Zoe's Honey Almond granola with extra almonds and mango over yogurt.
A delicious bowl of Zoe’s Honey Almond granola with extra almonds, coconut shreds, and mango over yogurt.

Next up is a recipe I got from a website called Culinary Competitor: Vegetarian Black Bean Chili with Bulgur.

The chili with a dollop of sour cream and cilantro, and a side of buttered peas and...
The chili with a dollop of sour cream and cilantro, and a side of buttered peas and…

I also got to try something new! A Vitalicious Golden Corn VitaTop. I’ve always wanted to try this flavor because I love cornbread and these VitaTops just look so dainty! This was really good, and went perfectly with my meal. Oh gosh, almost forgot to review the recipe for you guys. TRY IT! I loved the addition of bulgur, which made it heartier. Eat it with some cornbread, or if you’ve got one of these yummy Tops on hand. I’m getting bossy! But for real guys…

Since we’re on the topic of VitaTops, I’ve been able to try a couple more flavors out.

Double Chocolate Dream - those are white chocolate chips.
Double Chocolate Dream – those are white chocolate chips.

Doing it up photo collage style like Angharad! I admit that I was hestitant to try these because I read the words “double chocolate dream.” And for the most part, I’m not a big fan of double chocolate anything. However, I do love white chocolate and I think the addition of those chips really made it awesome. Not to mention this was warm, pillowy, moist, and gooey!

About to enjoy bite number two... after I put the camera down!
About to enjoy bite number two… after I put the camera down!
Decided to try another uber-chocolate flavor...
I decided to try another uber-chocolate flavor…

Deep Chocolate! I didn’t like this one as much as the one with white chocolate chips. But I did enjoy the melted chocolate! For some reason I look yellow in that picture (flash?). I’ve also tried the brownie, and I was happy that they were bigger than the VitaTops. The only complaint so far that I have about the VitaTops is that they’re just a few bites of goodness. I guess that’s the trade off? For myself, I enjoy these as part of a yummy snack, or an extra to my meal. If I were having these as part of a breakfast I would definitely have to have two. I’m not a calorie counter, but I do know that my breakfast carbs have to be over 100 calories… unless I want to be hungry again in an hour. I actually have a question regarding morning hunger, that I’ll get to on another post. Anywho, I’d imagine that these are wonderful for dieters because you don’t have to “splurge” to have a flavorful treat (they don’t skimp on flavor). You can have your cake, and eat it too! (Any cake really, whatever your little tastebuds desire!)

Let’s see… what else have I been eating lately? Oh! The other day I marinated some tempeh to make a “BLT”. If any of you guys have any awesome tempeh recipes, please, send them on over!

This meal just looks funky!
This meal just looks funky!
Close-up
Close-up

I just followed this recipe for the tempeh marinade.

This one I decided to glaze with maple syrup.
This one I decided to glaze with maple syrup.

First Friday was awhile ago over here in my corner of the world. First Friday is when the galleries around here show off the new works they have up, and tons of people walk around and take it all in. Sometimes you see some real characters – the area’s eccentrics. Love it! Anyway, as you all know Matilda is practically attached to my hip so of course she went to this event with me! No one at any of the galleries has ever objected. I think it’s because she’s so freaking cute. But here are some pictures after the art and a show.

He calls her "little bean"... "get back in your can."
My friend calls her “little bean”… “get back in your can.”
I spy a 40!
I spy a 40!
Another pet!

Another furry friend!

Matilda would be so jealous if she saw this picture up. I think Sophia looks funny with her bat wings and squinty eyes. This was the night my entire zipcode experienced a blackout, so I went to my friend’s house. When the power came back we watched this murder mystery called Brick. This movie was so classical in the way it was shot… don’t really see mystery films made this way anymore.

Back to some more eats! The other day I was at the bookstore browsing through magazines that I didn’t want to pay for. I had my handy dandy Moleskin and copied down an interesting recipe I saw in a Vegetarian Times issue: ginger-miso yam wraps. This was my first time trying collard greens, and I tried them RAW!

Look how pretty!
Look how pretty!

This was so nice to look at and prepare. Collard greens remind me of the Cabbage Patch Kids. I made a slight change to the recipe, and poured in some coconut milk.

Filled with so much goodness.
Filled with so much goodness.
- with a side of carrots sautéed in coconut oil and later toasted some coconut shreds.
with a side of carrots sautéed in coconut oil and later toasted some coconut shreds and cinnamon.
Some more mock tuna goodness.
Some more mock tuna goodness.

I decided to add some variety to my eats by getting a bag of tortilla chips. Yay! I wish I had a cheese grater so I could make nachos. Well, I kind of made some the other day by cutting squares to put on each chip haha. But I prefer a messy, melted, gooey explosiong when it comes to nachos.

Then I added some goat cheese after I started eating...

Then I added some goat cheese after I started eating...

I happened to be reading Janetha’s blog while I was eating this, and saw that she made a tuna melt sandwich with goat cheese. Awesome idea, girl!

An apple, cheddar, "bacon", and roasted onion sandwich.

An apple, cheddar, "bacon", and onion sandwich.

I also spread some pumpkin butter on this great bread. This spelt bread tastes really good – perfect for sandwiches. On the side I sautéed some yellow squash in coconut oil and toasted some coconut shreds. To melt the cheese I put my sandwich in the toaster oven since I don’t have a griller. The crispness from the apple and onions, the crunch from the bread, and the smoky “bacon” with cheddar were awesome all together!

A chocolate banana pop.

A chocolate banana pop.

Oops! It looks like I didn’t really clean the mold that well… there’s some OJ at the tip. For these pops I just added some chocolate sprinkles to the warm, melted banana + coconut milk/shreds mush. Naturally, the sprinkles melted and spread their love throughout. I love the creaminess of these pops, and the texture the coconut shreds add to them as well.

A cup of hot cocoa made with coconut milk and some cinnamon.

A cup of hot cocoa made with coconut milk and some cinnamon.

Do you love the foam? I use the chocolate tablets that you have to put in the blender with boiling milk. Nothing beats my grandma’s hot chocolate though. She does it the old-fashioned way by boiling the milk on the stove. Then she pours it into her old tin pitcher and gets to crackin’ with her over-sized pestle to crush the chocolate. Then she whirls it around to make it foamy. My grandma has such strong arms: hot cocoa to strength train = lots of great hugs for the granddaughter.

So now the moment you’ve all been waiting for! It’s time to announce the winner of the U.S. Mills giveaway. First off, I loved reading everyone’s ideas – most of you enjoy it with yogurt and fruits. If you haven’t tried it yet, I suggest you make peanut butter balls by just coating a blob of peanut butter in cereal. Example, if you guys have a cereal that tastes corny you can also add in some coconut shreds to the peanut butter blobs. Anyway, I’m like an annoying commercial right now when all you want is to get back to the show! Okay, okay, and the winner is…

Aileen!

Congrats girl! I’m going to send you an e-mail to notify you. Thank you all for participating. I hope you all enjoyed it, and maybe some of you with a gluten intolerance now know there are cereals for everybody! Moreover, I was able to stumble on to some blogs I haven’t read before – maybe I should have more giveaways?

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your Sunday, and don’t forget to give yourself some TLC.