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Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Challenge……don’t you just love that word? The very sound of it makes you feel a little stronger. I can can get in such a rut with the things I eat that I bore myself to tears 🙂 There is such an abundance of beautiful fruits and veggies that I know are out there but because of my rut I give them the cold shoulder. In return my body starts telling me in subtle and not so subtle ways that it lacks certain nutrients and vitamins. For the past week I have been battling this awful cold thing and have felt so tired and lethargic. I have had to put my half marathon training plans on hold because I’m trying to allow my body to heal. I feel like I’m finally turning the corner and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel 😀

During my resting time it has giving me the time to reflect upon what I have been putting into my body. Sure I focus on eating a vegetarian/vegan diet but what I realize is that in my attempt to veganize a lot of my holiday goodies that I have done this overload on sugar. I have become this mad chef turning my holiday cookies and cakes into the vegan variety. I have had quite a bit of success because you know that you have to taste test things 😀 My belief is that no food is the enemy but it’s how we eat these foods that become the enemy. Moderation is always the key. As much baking as I do around the holidays I am challenging myself to cut back on the baked goods for 14 days as kind of a cleanse.

I don’t like being sick and this is the sickest I have been in a long while 😦 I start today with paying closer attention to what I’m putting in my body. I will focus on eating more of a variety of fruits and veggies. I want to share this with for the next 14 days to keep me accountable. I feel like my body so needs this right now.I can’t wait to get back to my training and just to get back on track.

Do you ever get into eating ruts? Do you find it difficult sometimes to take rest days when you are not feeling your best? I know that ever since I started running that it’s sometimes difficult to take needed rest days because I love it so much.I am always curious how other people deal with these issues.

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Until recently the only time I believe I had ever eaten a fig was when it was in a Fig Newton 😆 I had never tried them just on their own. I have always seen recipes where people had baked them so that’s what inspired me to pair them up with some roasted beets awhile back. I fell in love (swoon). I love their sweetness and chewy texture and their overall presentantion when baked up to golden goodness.

I believe figs are one of those fruits that are often misunderstood and very much looked over. If you asked most people what a fig was they would refer to the newton or the line in the Christmas song “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” 😀 That was me just up until a few weeks ago 😳 but now I am prepared to get Figgy with it.

Figgy Delights

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup spelt flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 cup sucanat or light brown sugar

1/4 cup organic granulated sugar

3/4 cup Earth Balance (softened)

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

2 chia eggs ( 1 Tbsp chia ground chia seeds to 1/4 cup water per egg)

Pre- heat oven to 375

Beat Earth Balance,sugars.vanilla and chia eggs until well combined.

Whisk together flours, salt and baking powder.

Add wet ingredients into dry and mix well.

Scoop out into mounds and try to create an indention in each cookie and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

When cookies have cooled fill centers with fig filling.

Fig Filling

About 1 1/4 cup dried figs

1/4 cup orange juice

1 Tbsp pre maple syrup

Process in a blender or processor until smooth texture forms.

Next time I make these I will probably make them more bite size but these are so good 😀 It makes a great Christmas time cookie. Don’t you wish they had a smell app for your computer ?

Have a good one ! 😀

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I have been eating a vegan diet now for about 6 months and I have to say I have not missed eating meat that much at all. I do have to be honest and confess that there have been times when I have been in the presence of my mothers fried chicken that I want to cave but I don’t 🙂  I think the biggest thing for me  to give up has been cheese. I miss its creamy texture when melted and added to pasta or to have it grilled into a sandwich. Trying to substitute that has been difficult 😦 I know there are cheese alternatives out there but in my research you have to read labels carefully because not all non dairy cheese is vegan. They can be tricky with the ingredients so I do my investigating and I’m always plotting and thinking about what I can use to create the perfect cheesy sauce.

As I was sitting at my desk at work today I had a brainstorm from out of no where 💡 I came home and started scurrying around my kitchen to gather my ingredients. I felt like a mad scientist going from the fridge to the pantry and grabbing my spices 😆 Those hamsters were really spinning that wheel up there in my head.

Thus I introduce to you …….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Red Pepper & Walnut Alfredo Sauce

1 Roasted red bell pepper * See note at bottom of recipe

3/4 cup toasted walnuts

1 1/2 cup almond milk

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper or more if you like a lot of spice

Warm Almond milk and add yeast and spices while peppers are roasting. Place all ingredients into a blender or processor and blend.

Once blended place into sauce pan and add in 1 Tbsp flour mixed with 1 Tbsp water to thicken sauce. Heat until thickened a bit and serve over your favorite pasta 🙂

* To roast pepper cut in half, remove seeds and ly in a broiler pan or cast iron skillet. Rub with olive oil and broil until outer skin is blackened. When done remove blackened skin.

I have to say not too many of my brainstorms turn out to be great the first time around but this was very delicious. It was warm and toasty and hit the spot for a cheesy sauce craving 😉 It’s not even got out of the 30 degree temps here today but this sauce warmed me all the way down to my toes 😳

 I served my sauce over whole wheat angel hair pasta with brocoli florets. Yum Yum Yum!

Happy Hump Day Everybody 😀

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Lemon Tea Cookies

Nothing goes to together better than cookies and tea. Ok so maybe everything goes better with cookies 😀 I used to be so intimidated by baking until I became vegan. I think being vegan has given me more inspiration to bake. I am still quite intrigued that you can bake yummy tasting baked goods without butter and eggs. I think I have fallen in love with chia seeds and the fact you can use them as an egg substitute. When I present my vegan goodies to my family and friends and I let them in on my secret ingredients I get a lot of confused looks and grimaces like I’m speaking in some foreign language but I  am proud to present these goodies to anyone and even prouder to proclaim them vegan 😀

Being vegan has opened my taste buds to so many different things and I love coming up with new ideas to share with others. When I used to hear the word vegan I thought the same things that most people think….Tastless food….nothing could be farther from the truth. It’s a world of some the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten 😀

LEMON TEA COOKIES

Pre-heat oven to 425

Mix together

1 cup Earth Balance

1/2 cup sugar

1 Chia egg ( 1 Tbsp ground chia seeds to 1/4 cup water)

 Stir In….

3 tsp. lemon extract

Sift together and stir in….

3 cups all – purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

Roll out onto floured area and cut into shapes if desired. Bake for 10 minutes. Brush with Lemon Glaze and enjoy with your favorite cup of tea or anything that makes you happy 😀

Lemon Glaze

Mix together…..

3/4 cup powdered sugar

11/2  Tbsp almond milk

1 Tbsp Lemon Extract

The perfect pick me up on this cold rainy day. Being from the south I have always enjoyed my sweet iced tea in the summer time months but I have absolutely fallen for hot tea this season. I am enjoying this very yummy peach tea and I also have a peppermint tea that is delish.So if you will excuse me I’m going to go enjoy my tea and cookies 🙂

Enjoy your day 😀

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Just Beet It !

It’s no secret to those who know me that I love beets. I always have even as a child. Up until this year though the only way I have ever tried them was pickled .  Don’t get me wrong they are delicious pickled. My grandmother always grew them herself and then canned them. My mom has carried on that tradition and I am planning on learning a lot more about canning for myself. If you have ever seen a raw beet fresh from the garden they are quite ugly. They look like something from a horror movie. You have heard the expression though about not judging a book by its cover haven’t you? Underneath that ugly skin is in my opinion the most beautiful root vegetable there is. The vibrant fuchsia color is phenomenal!

Did you know that both beet root and greens are very powerful builders and cleansers of the blood? They are also loaded with vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and vitamin C. Beets are also excellent sources of calcium, magnesium, copper, and iron. It’s amazing the benefits you get from eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Today I wanted to experiment with the beet. My first dish is a dish you could use as a side dish. I took 2 beets washed and peeled them I then sliced them and layered in a shallow baking dish I had a few ripe figs and halved them and placed them alongside the beets. I drizzled about 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil over them with some balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of salt then shoved them into a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

The end result surprised even me 🙂 They were warm and toasty and oh so sweet 🙂 I think these would be a great accompaniment to any dish or just enjoy alone. The balsamic vinegar really made their sweetness come out.

That was experiment number 1 for today.

I think I mentioned before that one of the great challenges of eating a vegan diet is eating out. Oh sure there is always salad but even with salads you have to specially order most of them. I think the one food I could fill up on everyday is mexican. I love all those energetic spicy flavors that just explode in your mouth and I do miss burritos 😦 This inspired me to my next experiment in the kitchen today. I took 4 carrots and 1 beet and shredded them then processed for a few pulses in my food processor and this is what I got.

Pretty isn’t it? I just love the color. From here I added a little olive oil, cumin, chili powder, sea salt, and garlic powder  not garlic salt) and smoked paprika  I didn’t measure I just seasoned to taste. Everybody’s taste buds are different. I warmed in the microwave until warm and spooned it into a corn tortilla.

It was rather tasty and cured my craving for a taco meat. You could even scop a little on a bed of greens and enjoy as a taco salad. You get all those amazing benefits of the beet and carrots as well.

Well that was my experimentation in the kitchen today. You just can’t beat a beet 🙂 There are so many more vegetables I want to take for a test drive. That’s the fun of a vegan diet 🙂 I feel cleaner and I am full of more energy due to my new vegan adventures.

I hope you realize you are special just the way you are. There is only one you and you are the one who does being you the best 😀 Have a beautiful day!

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Ahh the chickpea. The versatile little bean that can be cooked, puree into a dip , put beautifully in a salad, baked and sprinkled to be sweet and nutritious and good for you to boot. I think I could eat them everyday and every way and sometimes straight out of the can 🙂 I plan on experimenting more in future with this versatile little bean. I woke up this morning wondering what today’s menu would consist of.Hmmmmm

Breakfast consisted of a yummy banana, apple and some walnuts drizzled every so slightly with some honey. I could dedicate a whole  blog to honey and will someday. Until now let’s focus…. focus here.

And Let me just say it was divine!

I work a pretty physically demanding job which I love but I am usually starving by lunch time. I couldn’t wait for my ….get this….Peazza Chick style Salad. If you are a pizza lover then I assure you will love this salad. So easy and so delish! There really is no recipe only start with chickpeas and add anything you would normally have on your pizza. Mine consisted of chickpeas, chopped spinach,  black olives, a little red onion(which I adore),green pepper,tomato, a sprinkle of some vegan cheese and about 2 Tbsp of pizza sauce. Season to taste and you have a fantastic, filling salad.

I displayed it on my pizza stone for the effect 🙂  Serve with some yummy sprouted grain bread or crackers and enjoy. You could even have this warmed a bit but I love it cold.

What I am learning more and more is how fun being a vegan really is. My favorite thing to do is taking the meat,butter,and cheese laden dishes I grew up on and taking them and veganizing them 🙂 It can be challenging but that’s what I love.

If you are vegan has it been a challenge for you ? What are you greatest challenges? I know mine comes from eating out. That can pose some problems but it’s all a learning process.

I’m off for a run. I hope you have a great evening. I have no idea  whats for dinner. Until then …… 🙂

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