Friday, April 29, 2011

A Royal Tingle

So because everyone else is blogging about the royal wedding today, I thought I'd start out with the way cooler version:

The title of my post actually comes from the pudding like substance I'm eating right now. I think every single one of my hairs are standing on end right now because of it! Weehee. Oh, and it's royal because it's the colour of things British people eat... like mint jelly? Sure, to some of you this recipe might be as tasty (or... untasty?) as the culinary arts of the British Isles, but this weird taste sensation was too weird not to mention. I give you:

A Royal Kiwi Tingle
4 kiwis
12-ish basil leaves
1 heaping spoonful of soy yogurt
(I'm sure any yogurt would do)
Directions: Blend away!

Oh, and blogger tip of the day: If you have a curious kitty and you take food photos on your floor, he will:
  1. Get in the way of the photo, causing it to be blurry and obstructed
  2. Taste it...
  3. Remind you why he's the cutest thing ever!!!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Would you like Green Eggs and Ham?

This was the last thing I thought I would post about today, but the lesson I learned this week is that there is always a way to veganize your life. On Monday, I decided to revamp my workout and food by starting Tracy Anderson's 30 Day Method. It's only been three days so far but as of right now I LOVE it. Despite what a lot of people say, it's a lot of fun, isn't that time-consuming, and after three days I'm feeling fantastic.

While I was totally game for the workout portion (except that I won't be in a gym for 30 days, which is beyond weird), I was a little nervous about the diet portion. But not to fear! I was sold on this program as soon as I saw that her food component actually has both an omnivore and a vegetarian (which is mostly vegan) option. Even better is that it's all whole foods, and is mostly raw, very vegan, and everything that isn't is very easily convertible. In fact, I've only had to make two substitutions over the past twelve meals.

My biggest concern was that Tracy's method has the vegetarians eat eggs every couple days. I've always believed that when you start a plan you should start it 100%. The reason people don't get optimal (or any) results is that even before they begin something, they start negotiating, they start cutting some things out and adding others in, they skip a portion of the workout and figure they can do something else later. No, no, no. That's not following a plan, that's just doing more of "whatever." So the answer? Just do it.

That being said, I couldn't bring myself to eat those darned eggs. As much as I mulled over the decision, I just couldn't get myself to eat eggs again. I have to be honest, I did seriously consider it. I've been a little desperate (as you can probably tell) to recapture the health and energy I felt when I first started on the raw diet, and at this point I've been willing to consider anything. However, I had a long conversation with Andrew about what it would mean to bring eggs into our house. As of yet, we've never had any animal product in this house (except honey I guess), and I came to the conclusion that I couldn't bring that kind of energy (or lack thereof) in here. There's something about the high vibe of a raw vegan kitchen that I just don't want to mess with. I know this might sound a little drastic to some of you, and I can understand, but I just can't justify it in our space nor in my body.

So what's a girl to do when Meal 1 of Day 1 is an omelet? Why, find the nutritional equivalent of an egg of course. It was impossible to find helpful online because Google assumes that any combination of the words "vegan," "egg," and "replacement" must have something to do with baking or direct you to a lovely tofu scamble, which might look like eggs but have a very different nutritional profile. After some research I found that a comparable serving of spirulina has almost the same protein-to-carb ratio as the three egg whites I'm suppose to be eating. Sure there are marginally more carbs in the spirulina, but my green powder of yumminess also contains a host of vitamins and minerals that eggs just can't beat. My trick? For every egg I have to eat, I came up with the following recipe:

Green Eggs and... okay, it's Spirulina
4 teaspoons of spirulina powder
1 teaspoon of mesquite powder
1/2 teaspoon of maca powder
(1 teaspoon of carob, optional)
water, to mush into a paste/pudding

Just mix all those things together and you've got an almost egg. So it looks like a giant glob of ogre poo. Because I love spirulina, I thought it tasted fantastic, and I actually now look forward to the moment where I have to replace an egg with this fantastic snot ball of a recipe. Sure, if you're not a dark green algae fan you might think it's nasty. I warn you, this is not for the faint of heart, but if like me, you could live on a deserted island with spirulina, it'll definitely satisfy you every need, and keep you fueled and protein-afied for the day ahead!

Oh, and while I probably won't be using this for another 27-some days, Averie is having a fabulous coconut oil giveaway which is definitely worth checking out!

(screaming egg photo courtesy of here)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Carbo-loading: Do not try this at Home

Happy Easter, everyone!

Oh the joys of Easter Sunday, when kids hunt chocolate eggs, women were fabulous spring hats, and the post-Lent crowd pigs out on all they've missed out on for 40 days. We decided to be the too-cool for "post-Church brunch" kids and had brunch BEFORE Church. After being woken up at 6:45am by a kitten on my head (I have never been more tolerant of being woken up that early in my life), we started off our day with the (never)homemakers' vegan French toast recipe. The only difference between that recipe and my tweaking was that I used a little bit more soymilk, didn't double dip, and used 6 slices of kamut bread instead of English muffins. I layered the slices with bananas, and topped it off with blueberries and some good ol' Canadian maple syrup. It was amazing.

After Church, we wanted to check out this weekend's Ottawa Eco-Expo, but got distracted on our way by the Trillium Bakery on Bank Street in Old Ottawa South. Thanks to them, we proceeded to destroy two gluten-free lemon cookies about the size of my head, and one maple flax spelt cookie. Best lunch ever.

Just because I could, I had some fruit and half a pan-fried peanut butter and jam sandwich for dinner. Awesome. No really, grilling your PB&J is so much better than using toasted bread. Sure I was starting to feel totally full and sick by that point, mainly because I don't think I've had that many carbs since going raw a couple years back, so we proceeded to opt for a post-carbo-loading day digestif: an Easter bunny with popcorn. (The Easter Bunny was from my latest favourite Ottawa find: Truffle Treasures, a beautiful chocolaterie and gelato shop on Bank Street in the Glebe, which also happens to have the best vegan hot chocolates ever. Thanks Kristen for finally making me discover this place!)

There's a reason this day only comes once a year... It also makes me appreciate clean eating SO much more. Hope you're having a fantastic Easter Monday!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Link Love: Raw Vegan Yummies

Is it a total cop out that I haven't blogged in a week and now am just posting a bunch of pictures of other people's food? Okay... maybe. I think I may be taking this "being on a total mental vacation before I have to study for my comprehensive exams in August" thing a little too seriously. However, I do have a distraction for you... I just got the BEST Easter present ever:

I just got my first kitten!
Meet Massachusetts.
He's 8 weeks old and he has my heart.

Some of you might already know that we already technically have a kitty, Fox:

But I suppose he's "technically" Andrew's cat. (Yes, the human love of my life also came with the feline love of my life... lucky girl, I know! Is that what you call a twofer? Heh...) Anyway, I've wanted a kitten since the day I knew what a kitten was. Strangely enough, today was only the second (or third) time in my life that I've been exposed to kittens as young as Mass. For a girl, that seems unheard of, I agree! Long story short, I couldn't not take him home. The original idea was to get Fox a girlfriend, but I fell in love with Massachusetts, and he happened to be a boy... so Fox gets a boy friend, we're non-judgmental that way.

Anyway, on to the food. Since I haven't made anything too exciting this week... Wait, I did remake the cauliflower w/ mushroom sauce dish I created a little back, and it was as great as the first time. I used white button mushrooms this time and that worked even better! I also made a tofu pie with the most fabulous raw brownie crust EVER but didn't write the recipe down... I present you with a selection of the best of the raw desserts I've seen out there over the last little while:

Rawdorable's Raw Girl Scout Cookies

The Samoas were always my favourite, and I promise the raw version tastes just like the real deal! Andrew was a huge fan of Thin Mints, but all of them were definite wins! (I also just found out that Girl Scout Cookies apparently know have an iPhone app...) The second half of Shannon's recipes can be found directly on her blog, here.

Rawxy's Tasty Turtles

I haven't made these yet, but if you saw these, wouldn't they be on your to-eat to-do list?

Veggie Wedgie's Raw Ice Cream Bars

I love Nina so much for having created these!

How could I not pay tribute to one of my raw favourite cheesecake recipes? I've definitely tweaked this one since I met it, but for those who like to follow directions, definitely go with Meredith's recipe because it's AMAZING! It'll convert any non-raw foodie to our delicious ways!

Love Veggies and Yoga's Kale Chips

This is a pretty standard kale chip recipe, but Averie gives the best step-by-step on how to get these little bundles of addiction into your tummy, pronto.

Chocolate-Covered Katie's Raw Fudge Babies

Because anyone in the food blog world who hasn't tried these yet just hasn't been paying attention!

Hope you're having a fantastic Easter weekend! I promise to be back in full-swing next week!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Link Love: Baked Vegan Yummies

Every weekend, I really look forward to reading Angela's Recipe Link Love. Once a week, she delights all her readers with absolutely yummy looking pictures of others people's food. It's fantastic, and really gives me new ideas on how to be creative in the kitchen. Because it's Lent and since we've established I'm psychotic already, I decided I'd start by sharing the yummiest vegan baked goods I've found online. These have often been used as my go-to potluck recipes, you know the ones to impress your non-vegan friends with vegan dessert recipes.

(In my attempt to share the yummy-ness in its full unadultarated glory, I did use the photos they had up on their blog. Since they are directly linked, I figured it would be okay! For those involved, please let me know if it's not.)

In the fall, I used to make this cake for my dad all the time when I was in DC because he loooves chocolate, and this recipe was so warm and comforting. (The (never)homemakers are on a blogging break right now, but it's still a fantastic resource!)

Can you really go wrong? Everything else he makes is to die for as well, but more about that later...

aka. the best f***ing vegan brownies ever, seriously... (I don't use the coffee)

Vegan Visitor's Chocolate Raspberry Torte

This recipe is amazing, it's gluten-free, easy on the sugar, and because it uses almond flour, you don't have to add any extra oils or anything... and it tastes like heaven.

Oh She Glow's Chick Cupcakes

I've never made these before, but how can I not post these! They're the cutest thing ever!

Love Veggie and Yoga's No Bake Peanut Butter Protein Bars

I have mentioned these before, because I used to make the all the time for the man's post-workout snack. Haven't done that in a while, and I miss eating half the batter making them for him.

The Fitnessista's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Best no-fail cookies ever. Like those ultimate brownies, this is my go to chocolate chip cookie recipe (though I use a lot less oil and sugar). Their texture is fantastic though and they make huge lovely cookies!

So bake away! Hope you're salivating like I am :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Coconut Curry Tempeh w/ Pineapple

As you can probably tell by now, I'll admit it: I'm officially obsessed with Turtle Island Foods' Marinated Tempeh Strips. When I first went raw, tempeh was one of the very few non-raw foods I kept on the menu. Why? Mostly because I believe in the power of a healthy and moderate amount of fermented foods.

Another lunch, another clever combo of fruits, veggies and protein:

Coconut Curry Tempeh w/ Pineapple
1 1/2 C romaine lettuce
1/2 C pineapple, chopped
slices of green peppers, chopped
1/4 tomato, chopped
pepper, sprinkled over top

Just toss the pineapple and lettuce so the lettuce gets kind of dressing-y, and put everything else on top. I'm sure this could be salted to taste, but I didn't really feel the need. Enjoy!

Oh, and if you're a running aficionado, definitely check out Jen's awesome giveaway! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sesame Garlic Tempeh Salad w/ Pear Ginger Dressing

So I only realized now that it's really easy to want to eat veggies for lunch if you put them together in the most delicious way possible. Last post, I mentioned that I've been eating fruit for lunch for the past year or so and I don't plan on stopping any time soon. However, I've cleverly tricked myself by eating salads with fruit dressings. Monday's mango cilantro dressing was such a hit that I wanted to try a similar recipe.

This is what I came up with as I was salivating in the pool over the thought of lunch (sometimes, it's not the best idea to work out hungry):

Tempeh Salad w/ Pear Ginger Dressing
1 1/2 C romaine lettuce, chopped
3 slices of Turtle Island Foods' sesame garlic tempeh
1 pear
1/2 teaspoon of Bragg's Liquid Aminos
small chunk of ginger (about 1/2''), chopped
sesame seeds, for garnish

Puree the pear, Bragg's, and ginger in a blender, toss with romaine lettuce, and top with tempeh and sesame seeds. I think this one is even better than monday's lunch, and I may eat it again, tomorrow, and the day after...

I also came up with a wicked fava bean recipe earlier this week, but it being me, I didn't write it down. I think I may be trying it again soon, so I'll make sure to immortalize it. What I do have for you is one of the surviving beans...
Actually, that's a lie, I ended up putting him in the pot with all his other siblings, and I kind of did feel awful. I could see his little quinoa eyes pleading up at me. Tip of the day: Don't put a face on your food (or name it) you'll create personal attachment to it and you'll feel guilty when/if you eat it later. I've heard a lot of vegans describe their diet as "they don't eat anything with a face on it." Maybe this habit of putting eyes on my veggies just makes me a psychotic vegan...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Coconut Curry Tempeh Salad w/ Mango Cilantro Salsa

I almost always eat fruit for lunch (and breakfast too for that matter), and I find it really weird to go any other way. However, I'm trying to increase my veggies to fruit ratio, and lunch seems the perfect opportunity to switch that up. In response to my concerns, the heavens opened up and this amazing recipe was born. There is no need for words, it's super simple and delicious.

Tempeh Salad w/ Mango Cilantro Salsa
1 1/2 C of romaine lettuce
3 slices of Turtle Island Foods' coconut curry tempeh
1/2 mango
large handful of cilantro
pinch of salt

All I did was chop up the lettuce, throw the mango, cilantro, salt, and a splash of water in the Vitamix for a couple swirls to make a chunky salsa-ish dressing, toss that all together, and top it with 3 slices of that delicious tempeh. Best lunch ever.
On another note, I kind of recipe swapped with Laury this weekend when her hubby's birthday came up and I suggested she make him Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World's Golden Vanilla Cupcakes. After I made that suggestion, I went off to make a personalized variation of her Chocolate Banana Pudding Pie that I'd been eyeing for a while for my own other half. All I changed was that I turned it into a chocolate & vanilla swirl pie, and used a different crust and sweetener. The result seemed successful since half of it is already gone!

Hope you're having a happy monday!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Why You Should Eat Papayas

The wonderful thing about getting into a food routine is that it makes your life simple and yummy. You find a few foods that you love and you can eat them until you get sick of them and move onto something else. The problem? I've mentioned it before. When you're primarily a food blogger, what then do you have much to blog about? I've pretty much been doing the blueberry smoothie breakfast, apple sauce lunch, and big salad dinner thing for a week or so now, and it's been suiting me just fine. This morning though, I chose to go crazy and make a non-blueberry smoothie... wild, I know. Having been a year back in Canada, I forgot how slowly springs starts around here, and it's still so freaking cold. Today, I may have just culinarily snapped for more warm sandy beach, tropical island type foods. Though it was definitely miles away from being a locally-grown smoothie, it turned out pretty dang good! So here's the latest:

Wish-It Were Warm Here Smoothie
1 C papaya
1/2 mango
1 banana, frozen
1/4 C water
chunk of ginger
(optional: 1 tsp of maca and/or mesquite)

As you know, I always go with my food cravings when it comes to healthy options. When I have a sudden urge for Brazil nuts, I eat them, who knows, my selenium levels might be slightly off. If I'm craving carrots, my body may be asking me for more beta-carotene. The same happened yesterday when I had to buy a papaya, so what did I need? Who knows, here's a hunch:

All the nutrients found in papayas promote three major things: 1. cardiovascular health, in part by helping with cholesterol levels; 2. a healthy digestive system aka. a clean colon; 3. fitness levels and injury recovery, by reducing inflammation, healing wounds, helping with arthritis, and strengthening your immune system . Papayas contain an enzyme called papain, which helps digest proteins (perhaps another tip for all you fitness enthusiasts?). It's also really high in Vitamin C, as well as folate and potassium (Vitamins A, E, and K are pretty strong seconds).

A ripe papaya should taste like a sunset. It's true. I've had so many gross under-ripe acidic papaya in my day to know that you have to pick these ripe. Once you find that perfect papaya, eat (or sip) away!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Post-Workout Protein Smoothies

For starters, avid running followers might have noticed that I've taken out the Daily Mile widget from my blog because it was depressing me. I committed to increasing my mileage and running at least three times a week a couple weeks ago, only to find that I've developed some serious knee pain that has forced me to lay off the treadmill for who knows how long. It's often surprisingly been frustrating to the point of tears, but c'est la vie. I realize I'd rather take it easy on my knee that not be able to walk in my old age, so I guess I'll take it for now and I can get back to focusing on swimming! For now, my short lived running career is already on pause.

Anyway, I thought I'd follow up my last post about protein powders with a couple recipe example. While I have a couple recipes under my belt, I asked Andrew to jot down the second recipe he's been using a lot recently because it tastes fantastic. I know I already covered workout recovery foods here, but here are a few new recipes to play around with (the first one is amazing and tastes like Marshmallow goodness):

Post-Workout "Marshmallow" Smoothie
1 banana
1 nectarine
1 date
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder

Post-Workout Smoothie #3
1 banana
1/2 pear
1 medjool date
1 tablespoon of cacao powder
1 scoop of protein powder

Post-Workout Smoothie #4
1 banana
1/3 C blueberries
1 heaping teaspoon of Peanut Butter
1/2 C home-made almond milk (or 1/4 C almond milk + 1/4 C water)
1 handful of spinach
1 tsp. spirulina and chlorella powder
1/2 tsp of maca powder
1/2 tsp of mesquite powder
1 scoop of protein powder

These really help with muscle recovery (and general post-workout recovery). A lot of really great information on how to fuel your workouts can be found in Brendan Brazier's Thrive. In short, he gives the very handy tip that any post-recovery meal should have a 4:1 carb to protein ratio (with some healthy fats). As I always say though, eat intuitively, because without having ever officially "read" that, Andrew has been following that 4:1 + healthy fat ratio by just listening to what his body needs for years now. The healthy fat is usually in the form of 1/4-1/2 an avocado he adds to whatever his smoothie mix is.

On a completely different note, also do check out Rawxy's First Giveaway. It's featuring awesome t-shirts and yummy raw cookies galore! (Plus, her blog is awesome!)

Have a good workout!