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Archive for the ‘clean eating.’ Category

Because I’m still working diligently on the new site, I figured I’d share a post that could last you all week. And not just any post. The post including one of our most favorite recipes, the best vegan buffalo dip in town!

I know what’s going to happen after you read this and see the corresponding photographs. You are going to run out and grab all of the necessary ingredients that you don’t already have and make it tonight for dinner. And then, because you are going to love it so much, you are going to make it again this weekend for your Superbowl party. Don’t feel guilty at all. I don’t, even after devouring almost half a pan of this stuff! You think I’m kidding?

Vegan Buffalo Dip serves two very hungry people or can be shared at a gathering like any other dip

  • 1 15 oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup raw cashews (they don’t have to be soaked overnight if you have a Vitamix)
  • 3/4 cup Frank’s original Red Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 cup unflavored, unsweetened non-dairy milk (we always use coconut)
  • 2 tsp of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 heaping tbsp of nutritional yeast (don’t skimp- this adds a cheesy flavor)
  • 1/2 tsp of both onion and garlic powder
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained*
  • 1 cup of shredded vegan cheese**
  • fresh chives or scallions for garnish (optional)

*We’ve experimented with baked tofu instead of chickpeas. Just as delicious, but preparation will take longer if you are baking the tofu yourself. You can purchase small blocks of baked tofu at your local market, including Trader Joe’s, just diced it up finely. We personally prefer the chickpeas for a heartier bite.

**We’ve always used Daiya cheddar-style cheese but found that it didn’t melt like regular dairy cheese. Go Veggie! Mexican style shreds melt and have a great texture. This is now our “cheese” of choice and you can find this brand at both Hannaford and Price Chopper.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Add the white beans and cashews into your food processor/blender.  Pulse several times to break them up a bit.  Add the hot sauce, non-dairy milk, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, and a pinch of black pepper.  Process until the mixture is entirely smooth (this time will vary depending on what machine you are using), stopping to scrape down the bowl as necessary.

Scrape the mixture into a 9×9-inch square baking dish. Stir in the chickpeas and 3/4 cup of the shredded vegan cheese.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese on top. (Note: Dip can be made up to this point a day or two ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to heat and serve.)  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until warmed through. Garnish with thinly sliced chives or scallions and serve with tortilla chips or veggies for dipping.

You’re welcome.

Recipe adapted from here.

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With kitty’s diagnosis, the beau and I have had to make some changes in our daily routine. He needs to have his shots twelve hours apart, which can seem impossible for two people who rarely seem to be home. Six o’clock is the magic time and in result, I (we) are now forced to become morning people. I really don’t mind the mornings, I just don’t care for the darkness. And because I’ve found myself in a great routine of working out on lunch, I now cook in the early morning.

While the beau is in bed reading and sipping on tea, I’ve been in the kitchen either making lunch or prepping for that night’s dinner. We’ve both admitted that my meal planning has been great for saving on cash and inhibiting us from eating out too frequently. This morning I made a big batch of hummus and a chickpea salad. Lot’s of  beans protein for my post-workout meal.

Roasted Carrot Hummus adapted from The Gouda Life

  • Three monster carrots (from FG), washed and cut into 4 inch sticks
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • splash of EVOO
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • tahini to taste (I prefer only about 1-1.5 tablespoons)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the carrots and garlic in the EVOO and season with the salt, pepper and cumin. Wrap in foil and bake until the carrots are soft, about 35-40 minutes. Pour  the foil contents into a blender, along with the lemon juice, tahini and chickpeas. Blend until creamy and season with more salt to taste. I added a tiny extra splash of EVOO to make it smoother.

Chickpea Salad 

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • vegan mayo
  • finely diced red onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • crushed reed pepper flakes (if your heart desires)
  • few pinches of dill

Using a fork, mash the chickpeas but don’t puree them. They should be chunky with a few whole ones included in the mix. Add in a spoonful of vegan mayo and mix in your seasonings. If you have scallions, throw ’em in! If you have celery in the fridge, dice it up and throw ’em in! Really, anything goes. Well, except for gummy bears. Those wouldn’t taste good with chickpeas. But raw red peppers would!

I sliced open a pita, spread on some of the roasted chickpea hummus, stuffed in some raw spinach and filled it with the chickpea salad. Lunch was delicious! I don’t know why I haven’t made this within the last year; it really fulfilled my craving for tuna.

Be prepared for some more vegan recipes this year as I cook my way through the sunrise!

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It’s not all that often that the beau and I get more than ten hours together; eight of those hours spent sleeping. But with New Year’s Day being yesterday and the blizzard blowing into town today, we’ve been side by side for hours. And I kind of like love it.

No set plans. Records playing in the background. Little birds on the back porch feeding, chirping and hopping away. Good reads. Even better food ready to be prepared. Plenty of vodka and orange juice and winter ale on hand. 

We will have to venture out to pick up our Field Goods delivery but I’m happy to strap on my snowshoes and frolic in the snow.

For those of you that will have to shovel at some point over the next three days, I’ve got a dish that will fuel you for hours. Or if you’re crazy like myself and will attempt to *run* in this nonsense, this dish will fill your belly after you thaw out. Either way, it’s tasty, hearty and packed with nutrition.

Snow Day Scramble feeds two very hungry people or four with less of an appetite (thanks to the mimosas)

  • 1/2 red pepper
  • two big handfuls of swiss chard, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • nutritional yeast
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • turmeric (gives it that yellow egg-like color)

Saute your veggies in either EVOO, stock or water. Once the onions are translucent, crumble in the tofu and add your spices to taste. Sometimes we also add: curry, cumin, paprika and mustard. Also throw in a big handful of nutritional yeast and about a quarter cup of water/stock. We learned this trick from Sarah over at X’s to O’s Bakery (recognize anyone in their cover photograph?!) at the Albany Veg Fest this fall. If you add the water/stock, then the tofu will stay moist like eggs instead of drying out. Turn up the heat to let the liquid absorb/burn off, and then stir in another big handful of nutritional yeast. I’m telling you, don’t hold back!

Serve with homefries, Ezekiel toast, “sausage” and/or hot sauce and you’ve got yourself one kick-ass breakfy.

Next up in our kitchen: buffalo chickpea dip! Oh, it’s gonna be a good day!

 

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Here are three small changes that I’ve decided to make/have already begun to implement and love. ‘Tis the season for setting new goals and health(ier) habits!

  1. Duolingo Did you know that this app was named app of the year? Either did I until the beau brought it to my attention. I only use a handful of apps each day and now Duolingo is part of the mix. Bet you didn’t expect me to recommend an app for a new goal, did you? Well, I’m obsessed. See, this app will teach you a new language. It’s fun, easy and best of all, free. I spoke Spanish in high school and decided to try learning French this time around. Verdict: hooked. Each morning I get up and before I can check any other app, I sit in the living room and complete two French lessons. The first lesson is a repeat of the previous day’s and then I move on to the next new one. You don’t have to repeat lessons, it’s just easier for me to retain information that way. These two lessons take less than ten minutes a day and honestly, I could keep going. You speak the language, translate, and write it. Check the app out and let me know if you decided to give it a try.
  2. Planning our weekly dinners. The beau and I are very good at throwing a meal together last minute but sometimes these meals take longer than we’d prefer. Combine that with getting home after seven or eight o’clock at night and I come down with a case of being hangry. Solution: meal and/or prepare our meals ahead of time. This concept of planning meals is new to me and I love it because it let’s the inner organizer in me out! I use what we already have on hand and take into account what will be delivered via Field Goods on Thursday. I’ve been physically writing down the meals in my planner and making a list of what needs to be purchased per each meal (if anything) and what evening I plan on serving them. It’s been making dinner a breeze! And even if dinner will take 45 minutes to cook when we arrive home late, we’ve both had something to look forward to and know what to do when we walk in the door. Another perk: we’ve been trying new recipes. This upcoming holiday week will have us thrown off a little but I’m going to try and work in meals that the beau loves to cook (i.e. his homemade sauce).
  3. Since the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day, I haven’t ran a single mile. I haven’t set a new goal and now because of scheduling, I won’t have access to my regular treadmill situation until mid-January. (p.s… I woke up this morning at seven a.m. and it was still dark out! THAT is what is causing this funk!) So, because I’ve used the excuses of it being too cold, too dark, or too lonely outside in the morning, I’ve decided to give at-home workouts a try. Confession: I don’t like at-home workouts. I find that it’s hard to stay motivated and give it your 100% when there isn’t a room full of people to hold you accountable. I also feel funny about jumping around and potentially disturbing the downstairs neighbor. But I’m going to throw those excuses out the third floor window and give T25 a try. Don’t know what T25 is? Google it. I’ve had this program for a while now and have worked out to the cardio disk a couple of times and it is intense. The program is typically 10 weeks long, however, I’m going to aim for 21 days. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, right? Follow along on Instagram (my only form of photographs these days) and I’ll post a photograph after each day to hold myself accountable to you all.

Have you started making any changes this holiday season? Thought about getting a head start before the new calendar year?

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… attended my first cookie swap. And have successfully eaten more cookies in the past two days than I have over the past two years.

… played my first game of Cards Against Humanity. It was vulgar and I liked it.

… successfully dodged the bullet of having to dig my car out of twelve inches of snow. Apparently the garage down the street is free nights and weekends soooooo into the garage it went.

… made the most epic “cheesy” broccoli soup.

… cooked a “meaty” chili in the Crockpot, baked up a bunch of veggies with wild rice for lunches this week, devoured a hearty dish of homemade mushroom stroganoff, annnnnd finished a pan of buffalo chickpea dip with a spoon. Hey, we ran out of chips/pretzels/chex mix.

… watched the entire 15th season of The Biggest Loser. Can I just say these two things? Number one: where did the nutrition aspect of the show disappear to? It’s now just sponsor after sponsor of processed, unhealthy junk. Number two: the season finale is Tuesday and there are like ten people left- how is this going to happen in an hour?! And when by the way did it switch to 43 minutes? They spend so much time on the scale, I wish it was spent in the kitchen instead. End rant.

… also had the pleasure of watching Planes, Trains and Automobiles with the beau. I didn’t love it very much because it was a Thanksgiving film and I’m in the Christmas kind of mood. Sooooo the beau will now have to sit through Prancer; a favorite of mine.

… drank out of my new Santa mugs that my sister gave me. She’s the best. And speaking of her, she ran a half-marathon on Saturday (yes, in the snow and freezing cold) and PR’d by six minutes! Holy smokes! The crazy must be in our blood.

… got the sh*t scared out of me Saturday night. Story time: this is our first winter in the new apartment. Apparently we have a guy that shovels for us. Apparently he shovels your porch off at 1:30am (p.s… I’m on the third floor). Imagine waking up to the sound of someone on your back porch (that’s off your bedroom btw) that late. Thankfully it was pretty bright out because of the snowfall so I could easily figure it out fast enough and watch him climb back down the fire escape.

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Tonight was one of those nights that I realized many things:

  • that our pantry, cupboards and fridge are pretty empty
  • I need to get back into the habit of running again in the early mornings, and
  • the dishes must be washed every single night.

I quickly washed two sinks worth of dishes after work and decided that I needed a healthy meal to ease my unexercised mind. Because of the craziness from this past weekend at the shop, we still had all of our veggies from last week’s delivery still on hand. I wasn’t in the mood for rice (again) and didn’t think quinoa would taste good paired with the veggies I thought about sautéing. I dug around and found some leftover lasagna noodles; and immediately put on a pot of water.

Random Veggie Roundup serves two hungry people

  • three or four  stalks of fresh curly kale (FG) [broccoli, brussels sprouts and zucchini would all work too]
  • EVOO
  • about three cups of sliced mushrooms (FG)
  • about two cups of sliced red cabbage (FG)
  • two cloves of garlic (FG)
  • about a cup of corn, fresh or frozen (FG)
  • veggie stock (my mom made this delicious batch!)
  • sriracha
  • Braggs liquid aminos
  • tiny splash of apple cider vinegar
  • optional: udon noodles, rice noodles, or any pasta on hand

Super easy: Cook choice of noodles as directed. I had four leftover lasagna noodles that I crumbled into bite-sized pieces.

Saute kale in a little EVOO until it is bright green, add a splash of stock if dry. Add mushrooms and cabbage and cook for just a few minutes until the cabbage becomes softer, but still snappy. Stir in corn and cook until warm.

Push the veggies to one side of the pan and cook the diced garlic in a little EVOO. It would also be delicious to add some fresh ginger (we didn’t have any on hand). Once it smells delicious, stir in with the veggies. Now add a generous splash of stock, about 2-3 tablespoons of Braggs, the tiniest splash of ACV and about two teaspoons of sriracha (less if you aren’t a fan of spice). Stir and let that start to simmer. Add in the noodles, stir and serve. Top with scallions if you have any- we didn’t, sadly.

Meals like this make me happy: they are simple and full of flavor. They also inspire me to make a shopping list!

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This is a very long overdue post that I was hesitant to write about because I can’t share any photographs, but decided to go for it regardless. The post covers the span of four days so I’ve decided to break it up into three posts.

This post is about my hiking trip I took the weekend before I finished up my 46. Paula and I set out the Columbus Day weekend, on Saturday, and didn’t return home until late Tuesday night after hiking five mountains. You read that correctly, five of the 46.

Saturday we drove up around noon to Upper Works after I finished my morning shift at the store and decided to park at the first parking lot because we knew that would be the lot we’d come out at on Monday. We had a short walk on the dirt road to the second (furthest) lot, logged in, took note of all of the cars parked for the holiday weekend and started on the Calamity Brook trail to the flowed lands. One special thing that I remember from this walk in was that we stumbled upon the monument for David Henderson who died near the trail in 1845. I still haven’t researched who he was or his significance to the Adirondacks, but it was a gorgeous location and quick break (our packs were heavy!). All of the lean-tos we passed were full, so Paula and I continued on and ended up at Livingston Point. It was very secluded but right on the Flowed Lands; my new favorite spot in the whole park to date. If you are friends with me on Facebook, my cover photograph was taken our second evening on the water. We unpacked, ate a hot meal then settled into our sleeping bags around seven. I was passed out within ten minutes.

Sunday morning we woke as the sun was just rising and Paula mentioned that two men had passed by the previous night in the dark. When I went down by the water I couldn’t find them and because the trail ended at our location, I was confused as to where they had gone. I decided to walk along the water’s edge and found a trail that cut across the bog. I told Paula about it while I ate my big bowl of hot soup for breakfast and we decided to try and cross the bog. On our way over, we found the two men; they had camped out on a little “island”. They were curious to see if we could get across because they too had to get over on that side of the bog and cutting across would shave off miles from their trip too. Well, we made it! It was wet in some places and the brush was thick (especially because I was in shorts) but we were all smiles and high-fives on the other side. This put us at the base of the Uphill Brook, and we followed the trail to the Uphill lean-to where the intersection for Cliff and Redfield were.

It was uphill but a very scenic route with plenty of waterfalls and gorges in the rocks. Oh, and the privy at the Uphill lean-to was clean and a great stop before (and after) climbing Cliff Mountain. The trails to these two peaks were unmarked but very easy to follow. The number one thing I remember about Redfield was the mud. The number one thing I hated about Cliff were the cliffs! I can’t imagine hiking to that summit in the winter- yikes! Gotta do one thing a day that scares you, right? The day was absolutely gorgeous and we did get views along the trails and on the peak of Redfield.

On the way down the Uphill Brook trail, it was like a highway. Tons of people were either looking for a lean-to or heading out to their vehicles to head home. Once again, we cut across the bog and were happy to see that no one else decided to camp out at our spot. Because we cut off almost four miles of our anticipated trip, we finished in the daylight and I decided to sit down by the water. It was beyond gorgeous; I took my boots off, soaked my feet in the freezing water and just thought about how grateful I was to be experiencing that day. As the stars starting to show, I walked back up to camp and cooked up a warm meal.

So many people have asked me what I eat on the trail, especially now that I’m vegan. And while that’ll be a separate post, I will share with you now what I eat for dinner. When I was preparing for my first overnight, I knew I’d want something quick, healthy, warm and substantial enough to fuel my body after a long day of hiking and before another day of hiking. I stumbled upon Tasty Bites at my local health food store, but I only had one option that was vegan; the channa masala. I tried it and was hooked! Paired with rice, I was stuffed and satisfied. Once I got back from that overnight, I immediately reached out to Tasty Bites to see if they’d like to sponsor any other overnights that I would encounter while finishing up- and they agreed!

I was beyond thrilled when they sent me seven packets of food to try! There was a great mix of noodles and classic Indian meals. For the two overnights mentioned above, I brought the lemongrass ginger Asian noodles and the Bombay potatoes respectively. Although the noodles weren’t as soft as I would have preferred, they weren’t mushy and had a great flavor. I was a little nervous that it wasn’t going to be enough, but it was and I even had room for dessert (a fig newton or two). The Bombay potatoes I saved for the second night because I knew I’d be hungrier after a longer day, and I was right! It was the perfect mix of potatoes and chickpeas with a wonderful flavor that most aren’t expecting in a camping situation.

What I love most about Tasty Bite products is that on all seven packages of food, I recognized every single ingredient. Better yet, I have almost every ingredient in my own kitchen. Each packet costs just over $3 and doesn’t take up much space in my bear canister. They simmer well over a small canister flame and can also be reheated by simply placing into boiling water. I could have saved the remaining packets for future hikes but was too curious to taste them; they made a great meal at my desk when I didn’t have the time to step out and dinners, when I didn’t want to make something from scratch. Some of my other favorite options are the pad thai (!), aloo palak and spinach dal.

Back to the hike… I washed up my dinner dishes, bundled up and stood under the stars listening to the animals moving around in the bog. It surely was a peaceful night. Again, Paula and I were tucked into our bags early and although it was cold when we fell asleep, it was much warmer in the morning. Warmer weather typically means one thing: cloud cover. And it was cloudy alright, with rain falling…

{The Tasty Bite samples were provided to me at no cost however, all opinions are my own. I will continue to be a big fan of theirs and will continue to pack their meals in my bear canister for each overnight.}

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