Thursday, December 29, 2011

Holiday Review

Due to the snow day last week, our travel plans were delayed by a day.  Thus, Friday morning we began the 14 hour drive (all in one day - four people and two dogs) to central Texas.  Southeast Colorado was particularly difficult to maneuver (read: 20 mph instead of 55 mph), but it did allow me to snap a few pictures of the large wind farms:

Below, Oklahoma panhandle looks suspiciously similar to eastern Colorado, but with less snow. . .
 We arrived after midnight, and the next four days allowed for all 13 of us to catch up.  I'm not particularly close to this branch of the family tree, and due to that - there was a large shortage of vegan-friendly foods.  I spent most meals with broccoli, plain pasta, and bread.  There was the occasional salad (and to my shock and excitement - kale!), but this is a butter and meat loving group (even the green beans included ham).  I did earn a lot of puzzled looks, and off hand remarks.

On to the most important attendants:
 Terra (female Sheba Inu), 11 years old.
 My boy Remy (exhausted from all the attention and play), 3 and 1/2 years old.
Wesley the Westie (West Highland Terrier), aged 6 years. 

In addition to the animal snuggles, I enjoyed the 60 degree weather and beautiful sunsets. 
All day yesterday, we made the drive back to the snow and cold (again, in at midnight).  While family can be frustrating, I'm glad to have them and to have spent the holidays with them.  
Now, I'm going to unpack and go grocery shopping - the joys of being home!  And since I don't have much on hand, I had Sarah's biscotti with my coffee this morning.  That's right - cookies for breakfast! (Who am I kidding - I could've had oatmeal.)  You have permission to be jealous!  :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Snow Day & Treats!

Yesterday, being the darkest day of the year and the ushering in of winter, a large snow storm was bestowed upon us .  My accumulation on the back deck this morning:
And it has continued to snow.  While this has put a kink in some travel plans, Colorado has a reputation for recovering from storms pretty quickly, so all will be fine! That being said, I was left with a lazy morning that ended up with a buckwheat waffle (rice milk, Ener-G, Earth Balance assisted):
If you think that looks good - just wait, it gets EVEN BETTER!!

Earlier this month, I won Sarah's cookie giveaway - and this morning, the parcel arrived!  Good thing I was still full from the waffle, as I could have done some serious damage.  Plenty of more posts to include these cookies, I'm certain!  Thank you, Sarah!!

After a little shoveling, Remy and I (suited up in my thermals) headed out for a walk.  

Remy is very busy, can't be bothered to pose for a photo.
The sun is almost peeking through the clouds. . .

Now I've returned, warmed up - and eaten two Almond Joy Cookies. YUM!  Oh dear, restraint is in order!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Food & Fitness Tuesday

I love being on winter vacation.  Breakfast was a leisurely two hours after I woke, and at a reasonable hour (read: not 6:15am).  Ages ago, Sarah mentioned baked oatmeal - it might have even been this one!  I referenced Chocolate Covered Katie for this baked pumpkin oatmeal:
It looks like a small mountain, as I only have half cup ramekins, and not the required one cup.  WOW!! So delicious!!

Lunch: my third helping of the Roasted Tofu & Green Beans from Sunday.
Afternoon workout: sitting at Starbucks, lots of mouth and hand movements due to animated talking, with a great friend.

Dinner:  my first attempt at replicating the kale and avocado salad from Whole Foods.  Maud gave me the suggestion of using olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper.  Once the salad rested for a couple hours, I added one small avocado, mashed.  To accompany the kale, I boiled a couple of baby red potatoes  seasoned with herbs.
Dessert: 'tis the season.
I believe the proper proportion is 1 part rum to 1 part rice nog.  Or maybe it's 2:1.  :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Roasted Tofu & Green Beans

This recipe is from Terry Walter's Clean Food.

As mentioned in my previous post, her cookbook is organized into seasons.  While we are a couple days away from the Winter Solstice, I'm already cooking winter-esque meals!  I cut this recipe in half, and used what I had on hand.  14 oz. firm tofu cubed, 5 garlic gloves (peeled and pressed - my garlic was a little "young"), 1 and 1/4 lbs of fresh green beans (ends trimmed), 8 ounces of baby portabello mushrooms (didn't have cremini). 
I placed the above items into a 9x13 baking pan, and chopped one leek into 1/4 slices (which was then added to pan).  I created the "marinade / dressing": 1 1/2 tbsp of grapeseed oil (it calls for EVOO), 2 tbsp of  tamari (I don't have Bragg's), and as I don't have all purpose seasoning - I added sea salt, ground pepper, and herbs de provence.

Stir mixture to evenly coat, and into a 375 degree oven for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.  The final result:
Between the leek, garlic and marinade, the flavors created a savory yet not overwhelming dish.  I was worried about the tofu being slimy, and it was not - it just the right amount of tender.   I'm also really glad I cut this in half - and it will definitely serve me three or four times (the cookbook said the full recipe serves four!?!).

Coming up: Food & Fitness Tuesday

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Whole Foods to the Rescue!

Tonight's menu originally included a new recipe from:
I love everything I've tried from this cookbook.  Eating seasonally has been part of my lifestyle for a few years, and this cookbook is organized by season (as well as being vegan).  I highly recommend it! 

However, this week has been super busy and while the recipe I intend to share, is not labor intensive - it requires an hour and 20 minutes in the oven.  Enter plan b:
Courtesy of Whole Foods:  kale & avocado salad (really, really delicious - I must learn how to make this at home!), spicy roasted cauliflower (my sinuses are now clear), and almond curry quinoa (mild sweetness to balance the savory salad and spicy florets).

Check back this weekend for the recipe and photos from Clean Food!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Food & Fitness Tuesday

As previously mentioned, for the month of December I am going to log my food intake and exercise on Tuesdays.  My long term plan includes doing the same on a regular (4-5 times a week) basis.

For breakfast:  banana, peanut butter, coffee
For lunch: Spicy Lentil Vegetable soup (frozen the same day I made it back in October, the Soup-a-thon Sunday post).  I set it in the fridge to thaw over the weekend, and it tasted super delicious!
Afternoon snack: baby carrots and garlic hummus.

Workout:  I really wanted to run outside, but it was 33 degrees and seemed too chilly.  Or maybe I'm a wuss, who's not hard core at all.  So, I went to gym for a stint on the treadmill.

1.5 miles (21:10)
15 minutes on the elliptical

On the way home, I saw two people jogging.

Dinner: a friend had a BOGO to Chipotle, so I had a bowl with the following items - brown rice, black beans, corn, tomatoes, guacamole, lettuce, and the red hot sauce (that's right - I like it hot).  Unfortunately, I was really self-conscious about snapping a photo in front of her, so you'll have to take my word: it was SO GOOD!

On my way back from dinner, I saw another person jogging.

The universe is sending me a sign: run outside.

Coming up: new recipe

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wish List

Here are a few things at the top of my wish list this year!
The Happy Herbivore Cookbook: Over 175 Delicious Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes

The Happy Herbivore  I've peeked at a friend's copy, and decided that it should join my collection of cookbooks.  Speaking of cookbooks. . .
Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook

Veganomicon  I know, I know - I should already have it!  Only good things can come from me owning this book.

On the naughtier cooking side, I've drooled over this one a few times:
Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine

Vegan Soul Kitchen   A vegan co-worker lent me this cookbook for a week.  I had trouble giving it back! Decadent recipes, for those moments when I'm not fretting over my pant size.

Since I do fret over pant size, I'd also like the following:
 Vedante Super Reflective Pop Bands (Pair) in Sustainable Packaging
Vedante Reflective bands, for running outdoors during the darker hours.

Gaiam Hooded Eco Top (made from sustainable bamboo)  Although, this looks so comfy - it may never see a workout!

And of course, iTunes gift cards - more music for the run!  

What's on your wish list?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Food & Fitness Tuesday

Every Tuesday for the month of December, I am going to detail my food intake and workout routine.  It's kind of a warm up for my long term goal - documenting (and keeping myself accountable) nutrition and exercise on a regular basis.

Breakfast - Angela's Pumpkin and Gingerbread Smoothie
Lunch - Spinach, pear, dried cranberries, walnuts, Annie's Lite Raspberry Dressing,
Snack (not pictured) - celery, baby carrots, and hummus. 

Afternoon workout  - at home, as it was 29 degrees outside and I didn't want to bundle up yet again (read: too lazy to go to the gym).  

3 Rounds of 15 each

Plie Squats
Stationary Lunges
Push-ups from the knee
Plank (hold for 15 seconds)
Side Plank (hold for 15 seconds)
High knees

Dinner - also from Angela, Creamy Avocado Pasta.  Holy guacamole! So good! For comedic purposes, I took a picture of my teeny, tiny food processor (used for making the avocado sauce).  Shown next to my blender (average size) for scale.
 The final result, with whole wheat linguine (oh, pasta - how I've missed you!) and freshly ground black pepper -

Coming up: a few items from my holiday wish list (as related to food and health!)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cuban Black Beans

I've had this image in my head of "lettuce tacos" filled with black beans, avocado, and pico de gallo.  I was successful on two out of the three - no pico!  I based my recipe on this, with a few changes here and there, mostly based on my own black bean preparation experience.  It's super easy (especially when you skip the whole bean-soaking-overnight step).  After sauteing garlic, onion, and chiles (instead of bell peppers), add spices and beans (additional water and "bean juice" necessary).
As I used pre-cooked beans, it reduced to it's final consistency in less than 15 minutes.
The plate:
The bite:
Yup.  It was delicious.  For tomorrow's lunch, I'll probably turn it into a salad.

Coming up:  Food & Fitness Tuesday

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Photo Food Journal

It's a busy weekend starting tomorrow evening, so I thought I'd better take care of the food today!  Breakfast was super quick (it started snowing overnight, and continued through today - thus, needed extra commute time in the morning).  Oatmeal with peanut butter and ground flax seed, big cup of black coffee.

Mid-morning, a quarter cup pulled out of the tamari- roasted pepitas bag:
Lunch was courtesy of Whole Foods, purchased last night:
Afternoon snack:
I also had some pretzels once I got home.  For dinner, I realized I needed to use up some baby potatoes, cremini mushrooms, and broccoli.  Trying to find a way to "glue" it all together, I realized that I've yet to sample this:
At first, I followed the directions by only adding a 1/2 cup of liquid, but decided to make it thinner - so 1/3 cup more of water.  Due to me adding sauteed shallots and mushrooms to the mix, it looks more like a gravy  than alfredo sauce.  
There are two baby potatoes underneath the "cheesy gravy".  The sauce itself was light, yet definitely cheese-flavored.  

There is a 100% chance of me drinking some heated WestSoy Chocolate Peppermint Stick later on this evening.  December + 8 inches of snow +  14 degrees = hot chocolate.

Coming up: trying a new recipe