Monday, February 28, 2011

Mac and Trees and Buffalo Tempeh

Here's my latest Appetite for Reduction meal.  I used brown rice pasta, which I'm really loving lately, and the suggested vegan cheese sauce.  I topped off the Mac and Trees with the super spicy Buffalo Tempeh.  I didn't quite follow the recipe for the wings exactly.  I didn't have a cayenne based hot sauce so I used Sriracha instead.  Holy hotness!  It was almost too hot, but still really fun on top of the mild Mac and Trees.  Adding broccoli to the standard macaroni was a really good idea.  It just goes well.  The only part that I didn't love was the cheese.  I replaced the all purpose flour in the recipe with whole wheat pastry flour, so that might be the reason.  It's supposed to be low fat, and I suspect that might be another reason why it didn't quite work out as well as I'd hoped.  

As far as vegan cheese sauces go, I love a similar flour-based cheese sauce from How it all Vegan.  It only has one tablespoon of oil, no granulated garlic or onion flakes, and less flour.  The only time I usually make this version of cheese sauce is when I make the accompanying Faux Eggs Benny recipe, but I might use this recipe the next time I make mac and trees.  Come to think of it, it's been a while so I think I might bring it back the Faux Eggs Benny into the breakfast rotation.

My old standby mac and cheese recipe is also from a Sarah Kramer book, this time The Garden of Vegan.  It's a bit tangy from a bit of apple cider vingar (which I love), it's got protein from the tofu, and I think it's pretty low in fat besides.  Next time I make mac and trees, I'll try another cheese sauce to go with it.  I think it might be worth finding a cayenne based hot sauce for the next time I want to make tempeh wings too.

Next post, a fast and yummy all green pasta dinner.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Peanut Butter Waffles

The other day I wrote about the return of pancakes to my breakfast plate.  Today, it's all about the waffles.  Peanut butter waffles from Vegan Brunch, that is.  I haven't eaten cakey, dessert like breakfasts in months.  I was a little worried that I'd get a blood sugar spike and then crash after eating like this, but that so didn't happen.  This recipe is easy and the resulting waffles are perfect if you're a peanut butter fan like me.  I topped this bad boy with some Earth Balance and a little drizzle of maple syrup.  It filled me up for hours and I felt great!  This won't be an every morning type of breakfast for me, but it sure will make an appearance more often on the weekends. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Orange and Red for Breakfast

It's been a while since I've had pancakes for breakfast.  I've mostly been having smoothies for breakfast during the week and oatmeal on the weekends.  I was flipping through Vegan Brunch the other day and decided I needed more pancakes in my life.  I went with the delicious pumpkin pancakes.  I subbed whole wheat pastry flour for all-purpose flour.  They took a while to firm up on the pan, but once they did...oh, man.  So worth the wait.  I slathered on some Earth Balance and drizzled a bit of maple syrup on top for a dessert-worthy breakfast.  To health it up a bit, a had some bright red and organic beet, apple, carrot, and ginger juice on the side.  
Next post, Vegan Brunch peanut butter waffles!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A (Mostly) Good Run

A view from my run.
We had some fantastically warm days last week, and I took advantage fully by running on the boardwalk.  Finally, after months of snow and ice covering my favorite running spot, it's clear!  The sky was overcast, which I sort of like.  There was practically no one around, mostly just me and the sea gulls.  I was perfectly warm in shorts, a long sleeve shirt, and a windbreaker.  It's been so long since I ran this route, it felt amazing!  In fact, I pushed myself a little too far to cover my usual route too quickly.  Weirdly, my hip started to get a little pinch to it when I was almost home.  I didn't really think too much of it, because I was almost done and it wasn't too bad.  The thing is, it got worse as the day went on.  I've never experienced a hip injury, and as you can imagine, it sucks.  I've been icing and resting it, and I keep hoping it will heal up so I can get back out there.  There is nothing quite like the soft ocean breeze, the sound of the waves and the boards, and the feeling that warm spring weather is coming soon.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Green Bean Cafe

A selection of vegan and raw treats from the Green Bean Cafe
I rarely ever have a reason to venture to the Upper East Side of Manhattan, but I did end up there last weekend.  Totally by chance, I happened to walk by a great little vegan cafe on York Ave between 75th and 76th.  I had an amazing coconut smoothie made with fresh coconuts and a raw tiramisu.  The smoothie selection is amazing, I grabbed a take out menu so that I could replicate some of these at home.  If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend checking out the Green Bean Cafe!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Starting the Day with Sun Salutations

As soon as I wake up, I like to start the day with a few Astanga yoga sun salutations. They stretch and strengthen, get the blood flowin', and help me wake up. There's a specific kind of breathing you do in Astanga that sort of sounds like waves at the beach.  I did a LOT of these before I learned how to surf to build core and arm strength.  Here's a great demonstration of Surya Namaskara A and B (Sun Salutation A and B) I found on YouTube.  

The person in this video does some amazing transitions that sort of look like she's almost doing a handstand.  My transitions don't look quite like this, but it is actually easier than it looks.  Traditionally, you do Sun Salutation A about 5 times, then move onto about 5 Sun Salutation B's.  Once completed, you move onto the Primary Series of Astanga Yoga.  Since I'm often pressed for time in the morning, I usually just do a few A's and B's, then some of my favorite postures from the Primary Series.

I love Astanga!  I've been practicing it for years, but the biggest challenge for me is finding the time for my practice.  Waking up to sun salutations is my way of fitting some Astanga in every day.  Do you practice yoga?  Do you have a morning practice?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Photo: Oceania Island Living
There's a tiny part of the gigantic Great Barrier Reef where the coral polyps have shaped themselves into a heart. The only way to see it is by air.  I am lucky enough to have gone diving and snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, and I can say it was one of the coolest things I've ever done.  For more information about seeing this reef, which I didn't actually see when I was there, check out this website:  Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Finally Running Outside Again

Though I love living where I do, winter is definitely not my favorite season.  I'm super jealous of those of you that have been running in 75 degree sunny bliss.  Here's what the sidewalks look like by me:

The snow and ice starting melting into slush, the streets were wet but not icy.  I had a small window of opportunity for an outside run.  I kept a gloriously slow but steady pace on wet streets in the rain.  It was 34 degrees, but I was warm and the rain felt great!
My usual running spot is on the boardwalk, but as you can see it still has some melting to do.  As long as we don't get more snow and ice, I'll keep to the empty beach parking spots by the boardwalk.  I can't wait to be back on the boards!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tofu Chimichurri, Cauliflower Chickpea Soup, and Baked Onion Rings

Last week, I tried the Tofu Chimichurri and Caulipots recipes from Appetite for Reduction.  Caulipots are basically healthier mashed potatoes.  There's some boiled cauliflower mashed in with the potatoes.  I didn't totally follow the recipe since I prepared it with unsweetened almond milk and Earth Balance.  It was really good!  I wouldn't know there was cauliflower in this meal at all if I didn't make it.  The Tofu Chimichurri wasn't quite what I was expecting, but it was still good and I'll make it again.
This is blended cauliflower, veggie broth, and chickpea soup with some nutritional yeast generously sprinkled on top.  This recipe is based on something I saw in a magazine, it ended up being a winner!  The nutritional yeast brought it to the next level.
The OMG Oven Baked Onion Rings from Appetite for Reduction were really fun!  I haven't had onion rings in a while, I generally don't like the deep-fried greasiness.  These bad boys were pretty easy to prepare with a fast cooking time.  They weren't oily at all, just soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.

I'll be trying out more from Appetite this week, I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

I'm copying Shellyfish's Meal Plan Monday blogging idea.  I plan out most of my meals every weekend.  When I go food shopping, I mostly stick to the list.  It makes grocery shopping and dinner making so much easier when it's all planned out ahead of time.  I pretty much use up everything I buy by the end of the week, so there's not a lot that goes to waste.  The time I spend planning on the weekend really helps me eat well during my hectic and busy work week.

This week, I plan on making:

Breakfast smoothies- I'm feeling organic frozen strawberries and coconut milk this week.  There's also a pear ginger smoothie recipe in Thrive that I want to try.  I have hemp protein, flax seeds, and chia seeds on hand, so no need to buy my smoothie staples.

Salad for lunch-I'm on a Romaine kick lately.  I have some brown rice, quinoa, and some beans I can add to it.  I will be buying random veggies that catch my eye to spice it up a bit, and I already have dressing.

Monday-Clean Mac and Cheese with Kale Chips
I made this last week and loved it!  Really, it's just brown rice pasta with kale, kale chips following this recipe, and tahini dressing from Vegan with a Vengeance.  I call it Clean Mac and Cheese because it's something I could eat during the Clean detox and it has a mac and cheese consistency.  The balsamic and garlic tahini paired with the crispy, nutritional yeast covered kale chips are amazing.

Tuesday-Apple Miso Tofu with Scallion Potato Pancakes from Appetite for Reduction (most of this week's dinners will be from this book)

Wednesday-Hummus and Curry Lentil Crackers from Thrive

Thursday-Spinach Linguine with Edamame Pesto from Appetite for Reduction

Friday- Buffalo Tempeh with Mac and Trees from Appetite for Reduction

Appetite for Reduction and Thrive are my newest cookbooks, I'm having some fun trying out new recipes!  Most of them have been amazing so far.  I'll share some of my favorites on Wednesday.

Friday, February 4, 2011

My New Weekday Morning Routine

Coffee Update, four hours after last post:
Ugh...crashing...hard.  Hard to concentrate.  Tired, fuzzy brain.  Thoughts are scattered, bad mood, cranky, snippy.  I didn't expect such a strong reaction, and I don't like it at all.

Reflection, today:
Though I couldn't wait to go back to coffee during Clean, this reaction left me feeling the worst I've felt in a month.  I could go back to my old ways, but why would I when it makes me feel like this?  The effect of caffeine was so strong!  I'm not saying I'll never drink coffee again, but I've definitely experienced a shift.  I felt horrible! As a former coffee junkie, I can see that I'm officially rehabbed.  What?!  Yes!  I'm no longer a coffee fanatic.  

Instead of the coffee maker, my new kitchen appliance of choice in the morning has become my blender.  During Clean, I made sure to add a full scoop of hemp protein to each smoothie.  It has a taste that can be a little overpowering.  Since I mostly avoided any sweetener during Clean, I decided to try a new smoothie recipe with bananas and dates to see if it would make the hemp taste mellow out a bit.

The chocolate almond smoothie from Thrive was a great inspiration.  I mostly followed the recipe.  I didn't use quite as much water, added a little almond milk, and used cocoa, not carob.  I think I used more than the tablespoon he recommended too.  This smoothie is sweetened with a banana and two organic dates, I used a little less hemp than I used on Clean, and it was perfect.  It gave me a sustained energy and left me full all the way 'til lunch.

I love the taste of coffee, so I will definitely have it again (probably on the weekends, and in moderation).  During the week, it looks like it will be protein smoothies for me.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Coffee, Straight Up

Wow, my first cup in like a month (no caffeine on the Clean Program)!

Can you just smell those beans?

Starting small, don't want to be a crazed maniac.

Oh yeah...there it is.  That's the good stuff.  Straight up, no sweetener, no milk.

How does it feel?  Fantastic!  Though my thoughts are a little scattered and I keep shaking my foot.  Woo hoo!  Coffee!!!