mish mosh of things and the week in review of foodie photos (albeit a day late!)

Yesterday there was no post because I was so tired! I had to get up really early and go to an event at the school I plan to go to for Culinary Arts and hopefully nutrition! I got to try out working in a culinary classroom for three hours. I made the quinoa salad that was on the menu, which was nice. I was really scared/nervous and struggled a bit due to that, but I am so excited to learn more, and I learned so much in that short amount of time! It was so enjoyable and went by really fast, there was no time to spare!

I am looking forward to starting in the Fall!

I have decided to try to only use my banana ratings system for vegan products and companies that I try now. The reason for this is because I want to be supportive of people like me or my vegan chef role models even if I don’t love a recipe as much as I would like to. I will still make suggestions and tips and maybe some constructive criticism when necessary, but will try to be more positive from now on. I think that’s fair because I would like the same types of things said about me and my recipes.

I made some really good food this week!

Here are some pictures/descriptions/links to them!

Buffalo Cauliflower (Made without hot sauce!) with dill cashew dip

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This recipe was amazing! I ate so much of it! I love that it does not use bottled hot sauce and instead uses herbs and spices to make your own. This way, I could control the sodium content and it was not ridiculous in that regard. It was extremely tasty, too. I put a little more cayenne in it and it was the perfect hotness. The dip blew me away though! It tastes exactly like blue cheese somehow!! I liked it so much that I am going to make it again this week!

Tempeh Sloppy Joe’s

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My picture definitely lives up to the “sloppy” title. Oops. I found this recipe here.. It was quite tasty and I loved that it had so many servings of vegetables in it! The cooked cherry tomatoes were a great idea. I added black olives (although I did not like how they tasted in it really), chopped scallions, and tofutti sour cream into half a pita. I did mix the tempeh with the sauce.

I think that was it, I had lots of salads and was eating leftovers from last week too!

This upcoming week you should get some really great ideas/inspiration from the recipes I will be cooking from! Or at least, have to wipe up your watering mouth. Hopefully I’ll be able to post at least on Friday, but it depends on my schedule and school stuff!

Baked Vegan Mac ‘N Cheese Bun Sliders–I am sharing the recipe!

I have so much I want to say about what went into creating this recipe. I have broken them up into sections so that if you do not want to read a ton of text before you get to the recipe, but some of my ideas and advice may be of interest to you, you will be more apt to read the pertinent ones.

My Inspiration

First of all, this was an attempt to recreate and veganize this recipe that I was originally alerted to on Pinterest. I had been saving it for a long time, waiting for the right moment in time to do it, and I decided the other day to try.

Nutrition Information

I was recently doing poorly with my B-12 intake food-wise (I take a vegan B complex vitamin but typically also try to get enough from nutritional yeast added to my food as well. As vegans the food we eat does not naturally have this essential vitamin in it, so it is crucial that we take a supplement and/or eat fortified foods in order to be able to do the awesome work we vegans do for our health, animals, the environment, etc. Not doing so can cause many health issues, such as Anemia.) and my nutrient tracking showed me I needed to improve on that (I use sparkpeople.com to track my food and other health/wellness/goal related things). So I decided to make this, because I knew it’d have a lot of nutritional yeast in it, and it definitely does. It helps me meet that goal exceedingly well!

I also did not want to further bread with flour and breadcrumbs and then deep fry the mac and cheese buns for my recipe. If you want to, go ahead! But I feel this fits with more with what I wanted and that step is unnecessary. It is still sinfully delicious (albeit maybe a bit less crispy and might not stay together as well).

The calories (if that concerns you) can vary a lot. I definitely don’t recommend attempting to fry the mac and cheese buns if you are concerned about them. I used a calculator to determine and tweak the amount of servings and such, but it will vary a lot most likely for everyone depending on how big you choose to make the burgers, the mac and cheese buns, etc. The way I made it, though, It comes out to be approximately 465 calories.

Making it gluten free

It has the potential to be gluten free if you use certain substitutions. I think a whole grain gluten free elbow pasta would work fantastically, as I think it might lend itself to being a bit more thick and sticky which will be pretty helpful in the long run for getting the buns to stay together more. Use a gluten free flour instead of the whole wheat pastry flour that I used. I think the rest of the ingredients I used should be gluten free, but please make sure you check further with people more knowledgeable than I am about gluten free ingredients if making it for yourself or others who have sensitivities or allergies.

This recipe is really kid friendly (not just because of the taste!)

I had a lot of fun making this recipe, not just to create conceptually, but also to prepare. When I was setting up the mac and cheese buns, and making the burgers, I felt like a kid again. It is ooey and gooey in certain parts, you can use your hands a lot to touch slimy and fun textures, can make some funny noises, and get dirty. When I was a kid, these were all qualities that made me interested in helping my mom with cooking, as well as the characteristics of a task that made me want to do it (my earliest “culinary” experience involved me making “mud cookies,” putting them in my outdoors “oven” and then proceeding to convince my younger brother they were actually edible…) so you may really want to have your kids help at certain parts of the preparation! I would recommend having them help you especially while making the mac and cheese and laying it out in the pan, and also making the burger mix! Unless they’re much older, I would say that setting up the mac and cheese buns after they have set and need to be shaped into the buns will be much safer, and less frustrating and wasteful if an adult does that part. It takes a bit of finagling, craftiness, dexterity, and a lot of patience to do that part.

Some other helpful tips:

Do not make this at the last minute. You will need to make the macaroni and cheese at least the night before so it sits for awhile and sets really well in order for the buns to stay together. I probably let it sit in the fridge for more than 24 hours though.

Adjust the burger servings to the amount of buns you make. This may require making the burgers bigger or reducing the ingredients, or just plan to have lots of leftover burgers!

Making them into the buns requires a bit of patience and skill, don’t get frustrated, it will still taste just as delicious with falling apart buns or even just as a side to the burgers with some ketchup on it.

My non-vegan brother was a bit thrown off by the taste of the Mac ‘N Cheese. If this is something you want to make for someone who is not vegan, and is unfamiliar with vegan cheesy tastes, it may not go over so well. I thought it was delicious because I love vegan Mac ‘N Cheese, and I haven’t had real cheese in ages.

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The recipe!!!!

(Makes anywhere from 5-10 complete burgers, depending on how large you want to make the veggie burger piece, you will have leftovers. I made 18 veggie burgers for a small slider size and it worked really well. I recommend saving the leftovers, maybe even freezing them for later, and putting them in other types of buns, or doing this again! Or you could just half the recipe for the burgers…)

Ingredients:

For the Mac ‘N Cheese (it’s great as a stand-a-lone or typical baked Mac ‘N Cheese if you want to eat it by itself and not make it into the buns!)

  • 2 tbsp vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or substitute gluten free flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups nutritional yeast
  • 2 slices Daiya cheddar cheese (what I used) or 1/4 cup Daiya cheddar shreds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 box elbow macaroni (you can substitute it with gluten free or whole wheat elbows if desired)

For the Burger sliders:

  • 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unflavored veggie-based protein powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke (if you can’t find a gluten free brand, maybe use extra smoked paprika and use gluten free tamari or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos instead)
  • 1 tbsp ketchup or chili sauce (the kind that’s sort of like ketchup, I used it and think it tastes a bit better than ketchup)
  • 1 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (or regular if not available…I buy my smoked paprika at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tsp salt-free italian herb blend
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Salt, to taste (optional…I try to cook with no added salt lately)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 cup whole wheat (or gluten free) bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds (can omit if necessary)

Directions:

For the Mac ‘N Cheese buns:

  1. Prepare the elbow macaroni according to the directions on the package. Note: I would suggest you don’t drain it immediately, and let it sit a bit to get a bit stickier, but don’t wait horribly long. You can definitely start the cheese sauce while you are cooking the pasta, and then let it sit until you are almost done with the sauce.
  2. Prepare the cheese sauce by pouring the almond milk into a large sauce pan.
  3. Place the margarine  into the pan, and turn the heat to medium.
  4. Stir somewhat frequently until the margarine is melted, and the almond milk is hot but not fully boiling.
  5. Add in the flour, and stir with a whisk until smooth.
  6. Stir the nutritional yeast until combined.
  7. Add the cheese, stir until melted.
  8. Continue to stir if possible, and fold in the salt, onion powder, paprika, turmeric, and mustard.
  9. Pour the drained elbow macaroni into the sauce, mix until every bit of pasta is completely covered.
  10. Spray a large casserole dish or baking sheet (it needs to have sides, though…) with a small amount of oil.
  11. Place the mac and cheese on top. If you are working with kids (see my note about kid friendliness up top) I would say it would be really  fun to use your bare (clean) hands. But if you do not like making funny squishy noises and getting your hands really messy, then take a piece of plastic wrap that covers the pan completely, and squish down, making it as compact as you can.
  12. Place in the fridge to set, at least 6 hours, preferably overnight or longer.
  13. When set, preferably after you have cooked the burgers (see below for instructions), preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  14. There are several ways to make the bun shape. I used a drinking glass. But you could also use a biscuit cutter, or a ramekin, or whatever else you think may work like that.
  15. In my case with the drinking glass, I pressed the opening lip into the mac and cheese, wiggled it in a circular motion a bit, and pulled up. It might (and did for me) get stuck inside the glass (that is actually a good thing for the final product, I believe!) What I did to correct this is to take a knife and un-wedge the pasta circle by sliding the knife around the edge between the glass lip. Work slowly and carefully, and be ready to place it down onto another baking sheet sprayed with a small amount of oil before you get it unstuck.
  16. Repeat until you are out of Mac ‘N Cheese to make into buns. Or you can save some of it to eat on it’s own, along with the potential mangled reject mac buns which are very likely to end up existing.
  17. Place in the oven until crispy. This takes about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your buns and also your oven.

For the slider burgers:

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil along with the chopped veggies until soft, somewhere around 5 minutes in a large frying pan. Let sit for a bit to cool before placing into a food processor. Do not discard the pan as it will be used for cooking the burgers.
  2. In the food processor, blend the beans along with the condiments, spices (except for mustard seeds), and protein powder until they are no longer resembling whole beans, and the other ingredients are uniformly mixed.
  3. Add in the veggies, blend until combined, but not to the point where they are complete mush.
  4. Take out the mixture and place in a large bowl.
  5. Add the bread crumbs and brown rice, and combine with a spoon or (better yet) use your hands to mix it really well.
  6. Add the mustard seeds and follow the same procedure as the last step, making sure they’re spread evenly throughout.
  7. Spray the frying pan with a lot of oil so it is heavily coated. Heat on medium.
  8. Place the burgers into the pan carefully, in batches if necessary.
  9. Heat each side about 3 minutes, or until completely cooked and lightly browned.

To assemble the whole burger:

  1. Take one Mac ‘N Cheese bun, place the smooth side up.
  2. Place the burger on that side.
  3. Add any desired condiments, it tastes delicious with just some chili sauce or ketchup on top, and some salad on the side.
  4. Carefully place the other bun on top,  smooth side down. You may want to use a toothpick in the middle to help it stick together.
  5. It’s going to be a bit difficult to eat the whole way through in tact, but definitely take a few bites out of the Mac ‘N Cheese Bun burger before it falls apart!
  6. Eat, enjoy, and have fun!

 

 

 

 

My own version of raw vegan pad thai!

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My friend Kian invited me over last night, and we made a really yummy recipe up together! Whenever I have tried to cook pre-created recipes with friends or other people, I have had a challenge doing so for some reason. But this time not following a specific recipe worked really well, and Kian and I made a really good team! Lucky for you all (my blog readers!) I did write what we did down so you can make it too!

Thank you Kian (if you are reading this!) for helping me figure out this delicious dish, and for making the (un)cooking extra fun with awesome conversation!

First of all, to make this recipe work well, you will either need a spiralizer, or some kind of a spiral cutter. I recently got this device from amazon, and that is what we used. It took a few tries to figure out exactly since it does not come with directions. Basically, you just push it into the middle and spin it around. It’s kind of like a veggie pencil sharpener!

Okay, so here is the recipe:

Laura and Kian’s Raw Vegan Pad Thai!

Serves 8-10, would be the perfect size for a picnic, potluck, or party too if you eat smaller portions

 Ingredients: 

  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • about 5 large zucchinis (we actually used ten mini ones) spiralized into a thick spaghetti type shape, but it’s okay if some pieces aren’t very long. We even used the parts that we could not get to spiral and just chopped them up into rounds to add some different textures in
  • 3 medium sized carrots
  • Mung bean sprouts (we used a large bag, probably about 4 cups, adjust to your liking/desired level of crunchy-ness!)
  • 1 bunch chopped scallions
  • 14 tbsp raw cashew butter (I made my own…I would say you could process 2 cups raw cashews  into a powder, then add 2 tbsp oil and some water as needed until it becomes pasty…or use store bought)
  • 8 tbsp coconut milk
  • Juice of one lime
  • 4 to 5 (or to your liking) tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ginger (grated into a pulp)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (or less to your liking, it gets very strong when it’s raw)
  • about 1/3-1/2 cup chopped raw cashews (to place on top as garnish)1 bunch (or less)
  • Chopped cilantro (optional-I just put a tbsp of it on top after I served myself)

Directions:

  1. Chop the red peppers, spiralize the zucchini into noodle shapes, spiralize or peel the carrots in strips with a peeler, chop the scallions. Place in a large serving bowl, add the mung bean sprouts, and toss together.
  2. Now to make the sauce. In a medium bowl, place the cashew butter into it. Add the coconut milk, lime juice, and water. Whisk or stir with a spoon until combined. Add more water, a tbsp at a time, if necessary to reach your desired consistency (it’s really good thick, though! plus the veggies have water in them!)
  3. Mix in the garlic, ginger, and curry powder into the sauce.
  4. Mix the sauce into the veggies, making sure every part of it is coated.
  5. Add the cilantro if desired.
  6. Place the chopped cashews on top!
  7. Eat!

Superbowl Snack Recipe? You got it! *drum roll* Veganized Scallops wrapped in Bacon!

Super Bowl Sunday is nearing, and I wanted to veganize a recipe my parents used to serve at their Super Bowl Parties. Scallops wrapped in bacon! I’ve been seeing hearts of palm used as all kinds of seafood substitutes lately, and I love them, so I decided to try it. And I am so excited that I thought to experiment and create this recipe! It came out so amazingly delicious and is pretty looking too.

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Not much else to say except that I am so excited to share this recipe!

So without further ado,

Vegan “scallops” wrapped in “bacon” or as I prefer to call it, “Hearts of Palm Wrapped in Tempeh Bacon”

Servings 8-12 depending on how thin you slice the tempeh and other various factors

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke
  • ½ tsp hot sauce
  • ½ tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional if you can’t find it)
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar or brown sugar (I used coconut palm sugar because I had some and it’s healthier for you…but brown sugar will work just as well if not better…)
  • About 3 stalks of canned hearts of palm
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • ½ tsp kelp granules (if you can’t get your hands on this, double the Old Bay)
  • 1 tbsp oil

You will also need some toothpicks, a small shallow bowl, a small frying pan, a cookie sheet, cooking spray, and some extra Old Bay…(I love to make rhymes…but it is true)

Directions:

  1. Slice tempeh with a long knife into 10-12 thin pieces.
  2. Place in a Ziploc type bag
  3. Pour all ingredients in order ending with the smoked paprika into the bag.
  4. Seal bag and gently toss to coat the tempeh. Place in the refrigerator.
  5. You probably want to marinate the tempeh bacon for about an hour, shaking the bag lightly every 15 minutes or so and placing back into the fridge.
  6. In the meantime while the tempeh is marinating, take about 3 hearts of palm stalks from a can.
  7. Slice them to be about 1.5 inches tall or so. Maybe 2.
  8. Place them into a shallow bowl and pour 2 tbsp of lemon juice over them.
  9. Then sprinkle the Old Bay Seasoning over the tops, making sure each piece has some on it.
  10. Repeat with the kelp granules.
  11. Place some plastic wrap over them and also place them into the fridge like you did with the tempeh bacon. Turn over every time you shake the bacon. The idea is to let the hearts of palm soak up the flavors a bit and marinate.
  12. Around halfway through marinating both items, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  13. When the bacon is done marinating, spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and place the tempeh in a single layer. Do not put any extra marinade or liquid into the pan. Just the marinated tempeh.
  14. Take the coconut palm sugar or brown sugar and sprinkle onto the pieces of tempeh. Rub it a bit into the tempeh with your fingers. This will make the tempeh bacon more like actual bacon in my opinion. It ends up getting crispy, sticky and extra delicious when done.
  15. Heat in the oven for 15 minutes.
  16. When there’s about 5 minutes left for the tempeh bacon to cook, take out the hearts of palm.
  17. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a smallish frying pan.
  18. Place the hearts of palm without the marinade liquid into the pan and sprinkle with some extra Old Bay, maybe some salt if you desire too. Be very careful as it may splatter a bit.
  19. Heat on each side until it begins to brown, 1-2 minutes each side.
  20. Take out the bacon at 15 minutes and let it cool while you finish the hearts of palm.
  21. Place the hearts of palm on a plate.
  22. When you can handle the tempeh bacon with your hands, take one heart of palm piece and one slice of tempeh bacon. Wrap the bacon around the circle…if it breaks it’s ok, just finagle the toothpick into it so that it sticks on as well as you can. It’s all going into the same place anyhow. It’s kind of difficult to explain the procedure though. If you look at the pictures of the recipe it might give you a better idea of a strategy for handling it.
  23. Serve as soon as possible afterward. They’ll be best when still warm. You can try reheating them in a toaster oven on broil if you have that capacity later…microwave may work too but no guarantees it’ll taste the same when reheated. I’m pretty sure if you have a lot of people over or even just you, they’ll be tasty enough to polish off quickly
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the hearts of palm marinating

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the hearts of palm after they’ve been cooked

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all asembled!

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One more picture for good measure!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

First of all, I have a confession to make. You know my original brownie recipe I made awhile ago? When I wrote it down and published it on the blog, I forgot to include the amount of flour I used! I just updated my error now in that blog entry. So if you don’t want something as fancy as these delectable treats, or are not a big fan of pumpkin (like my parents…I do not understand them…but oh well) try those.

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Here is the recipe:

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Ingredients:

for the Brownie layer:

  • 1 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegan white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp flaxmeal
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp) Earth Balance Vegan margarine, melted
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup non dairy milk (I use almond milk)

for the cheesecake layer:

  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (I used canned)
  • 1/2 container (4 oz) vegan cream cheesed (I used daiya cream cheese-I feel it’s the best vegan cream cheese brand out there)
  • 1 tsp ener-g egg replacer powder
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients (except flaxmeal) in a bowl together.
  3. Make 2 flaxmeal “eggs” by whisking the flaxmeal with the water. Let sit until it’s thick.
  4. Mix in the flaxmeal “eggs” and the rest of the wet ingredients into the dry ones.
  5. Place all the batter, minus 1/2 cup into a greased square baking pan (mine was probably 9″ x 9″?)
  6. Now make the pumpkin cheesecake mix by blending in a food processor the pumpkin and cream cheese. Set aside for a moment.
  7. In a measuring cup, whisk together the egg replacer and water until frothy.
  8. Add corn flour, maple syrup, and spice and whisk again.
  9. Add this mixture into the cream cheese and pumpkin and pulse the food processor a bit until fully incorporated.
  10. Cover the brownie layer with the cheesecake layer.
  11. Take the half cup of brownie batter you reserved, and spoon little dollops set apart from each other on top of the cheesecake layer.
  12. Take a fork and swirl the brownie batter and cheesecake to make a pretty design.
  13. Put into your oven for at least 30 minutes, you want a toothpick to be inserted and come up mostly clean with a bit of the wet cheesecake layer. It took my oven about 48 minutes, so I’d say a good range of baking time depending on your oven would be 40-50 minutes, but please be aware of what’s going on in your kitchen and start checking it when you start to smell it cooking occasionally.
  14. Take out of the oven and allow to cool fully, slice, and enjoy!

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My culinary Christmas!

Hey everyone! Hope you enjoyed the holiday!

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I know I certainly did.

First matter of business: I need to share pictures of all the delicious food I ate. You can access the links to the recipes if you want them in the post directly before this about my menu!

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Vegan Raw Cheeseball!

Uh, this was the best. It was addictingly good. I’m pretty sure I’m never going to make this again without being able to give it to someone else…because I seriously devoured most of it wayyyy too fast and now I am slightly mad at myself about that. But happy it’s gone because…it is…way too good. This recipe deserves the best rating, by far!

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Om. NOM.

ImageMy dinner. Thanksgiving Veggie Burgers and Brussels Sprouts.

Really good but the burger recipe was slightly over-hyped. I think it’d be better with more dried or fresh cranberries in it. Still pretty amazing though. And for the Brussels Sprouts, that’s seriously my favorite recipe for them. Even my Dad who has been afraid to eat Brussels Sprouts since he was a kid ate and enjoyed them!

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Dessert! Truffles! So rich and tasty!

On to the presents!

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As you can sort of see here, I got some cooking and workout stuff! I got the new Isa Does It cookbook which I immediately opened and started to drool over. I was surprised with Canoe pans and a way to insert the cream filling so I can make vegan twinkie like desserts! A spiralizer device for making all kinds of interesting raw veggie pastas, and such! I also got headphones I can run with without them falling out of my ears, an iPod sport armband for the same purposes. 2 pairs of leggings, the Hyperbole and a Half comic book, and some stocking items, like Urban Decay eyeliner, 2 canisters of my favorite nutritional yeast (Red Star), super cute socks, a magazine, and other things I now forget, oops! 😉 I feel spoiled.

Oh, I also got a gift card to Amazon! I got some cool things already ordered, including No Meat Athlete which I’ll be really excited to share my thoughts and reviews on it once I read it!

Okay, I’ll be writing a bit more next week! Enjoy!

Peppermint Patty Green Smoothie!

ImageI’m pretty sure this is not too unique of a recipe or idea. But I made it myself and it was so good (and simple!) that I wanted to share it here (though I already shared it on the Banana Curl, Vegan Girl Facebook page).

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 whole banana (broken up into smaller chunks)
  • 3 mint leaves
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp vegan unflavored protein powder
  • Liquid stevia to taste
  • Peppermint extract (just a tiny amount, probably less than 1/8 tsp)
  • Ice (2 handfuls but use whatever amount you want)

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in a full size blender. Depending on your blender’s strength and other factors, you may need to scrape down the sides halfway through blending. 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

This is a non food related post. It’s about my personal transformation in many ways

Awhile ago, I was having a conversation with a friend whom I had not talked to in a long time, but we are friends with each other on facebook. She said, “this is your year.”

I told her I didn’t want just this year to be my year.

I actually think this next calendar year will be even better! I have a lot planned for it. But really, I think each year can get better and better, considering all the things I have accomplished this year, and how much my attitude and mindset has changed!

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In 2013, starting in April (I’m not one to care about new year type things really, I need more personal reasons to make change in myself), I have gone from being very unhealthy with my food choices, to being a conscious, healthy (with unhealthy vegan food in moderation, which I personally feel is important) vegan. I have lost 65 pounds. I have made working out a routine. I have tackled many of my fears, for example, being afraid to run, math, making up my own recipes, etc. I have started this blog and though I don’t write in it as much as I’d like to or as much about what I want to write about, I keep up with it and do it. I have even improved my health in measurable ways, like my hemoglobin a1c levels, my bmi, my blood pressure, my cholesterol, and my iron levels (they were very low). I took on an important role in an organization I love and that empowers me and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy (Girls Rock). I have tried to make practice of being more creative and doing more awesome things. I am starting to work on having a better social life, something I’ve been neglecting to do for awhile.  I accidentally discovered a recipe I created two years ago was semi famous. And other awesome things I am forgetting or not putting a priority on.

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Next year though, I believe will be even better. I will graduate a college program, something I have been longing for a very long time but never quite achieved. That’s a big one for me. I would like to see if maybe I can win the contest to speak at my graduation, but that’s not something I can control the outcome of (I also think I might start bawling if I started to speak about all the things I’ve accomplished during my time in school. It’s one thing to write about it, but to speak it? heh). I will continue to write in this blog.  I plan to either start a new college program, or begin to work on my career goals. I will volunteer at an animal shelter (which I’m actually starting this year after finals hopefully). I will be a vegan for the longest stretch of time so far. I will continue to be a healthy person and have goals for that…including running a 5k by the time I turn 30 on my Birthday in October (or thereabouts), and starting to lift weights. I will have stronger relationships with my friends. Most importantly, everything about me will get stronger. My mind, body, everything.

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My mom and I! She’s a big supporter 😉

I am sharing this because maybe someone is reading my blog and is feeling badly about their ability to meet their goals, or get healthy, or change their bad habits, or whatever else. I want to inspire people, that’s my primary goal. Well, that and help as many people as possible. If 2013 is the year of the Laura and 2014 will be an even better year from what I can see and so on for the rest of my life, then other people can do the same thing! I don’t want to spew too many cliches. But really, believe me when I say that anything you put your mind to is possible.

Okay. Now here’s the part where I talk about what/who has helped me out when I thought I couldn’t do it. I’m not going to mention everything, but there are some clear, concise things I want to share that everyone can use if they want to.

Mostly it’s just support from other people. Like especially my mom, my aunt, my friends, mentors, doctors, etc.

Also myself, which I’ve already alluded to. Like really. It’s all about my mindset. I watch the Biggest Loser sometimes on tv, and I would tell myself I am my own biggest loser, as silly as it sounds. Actually it’s not really silly. It’s true. I did it without having to go on a tv show that’s actually pretty extreme and a last resort kind of thing. Or, I’ll be my own therapist sometimes, by anticipating the advice another person would give me, but instead it’s me giving myself actually helpful advice, and then just doing what the advice tells me I should do instead of waiting to feel bad I haven’t done it, or have someone else telling me to do it. Like today, I beat my own personal record for running. First of all, I walk and run in intervals, and I keep track of my progress with an app called Runkeeper. Usually I have been setting my activity to “walking” but today, I was like “okay I am going to run!” and set it to run. And I ran. I ran as far as I could for as long as I could, as fast as I could, until I needed to walk, and kept going for 45 minutes. Plus, I set a goal to run faster than my usual record when I was walking more. I wanted to go just under 13 min/mile. Instead, I ran 11:51 min/mile! I was proud and sort of in shock. But I am not surprised. If someone else could hear the awesome things I was telling myself while they were running, I bet they’d do just as well (considering some factors, of course).

Another final thing I want to mention, to make it more inline with the purpose of my blog which is spreading, sharing, and showing the awesomeness that comes with being a vegan is this facebook group I belong to. I really like to follow the work of Christy Morgan, author of the Blissful Bites cookbook, and awesome athlete/vegan educator extraordinaire. After commenting on one of her photos on instagram, she asked me if I belonged to her vegan ladies who lift facebook group. I was hesitant because I don’t think I am ready to be lifting weights quite yet, but she still encouraged me to join. And it’s one of my favorite vegan facebook groups! It is so supportive and everyone there is awesome. Not only do I get inspired by so many other strong vegan ladies, but I can also inspire others there. And it’s very informative and just…really cool for lack of a better description. So, I highly recommend it if you’re a vegan lady and interested in also getting stronger.

Okay, well, sorry this isn’t about food this time! But I hope this is just as tasty a read as any of my other entries. And I hope you were inspired in some way from my story. Here’s to having each year be the year of us for a very long time!

 

Foodie (Photo) Friday! Aloha salad, holiday pie, green smoothies, galore!

Hello!

I was sick this week with a pretty exhausting cold. I’m feeling much better now, though. Since my exhaustion and my lung congestion made it difficult for me to work out, I decided I was going to try and eat much better than usual and eat more fruits and veggies than normally (even though on average I get at least 10 servings a day or so) and so I finally gave in and tried some green smoothies. I think I’m going to be better about eating more fruits and veggies (Including green smoothies) from now on even though I’m not sick, because… duh. I also ate a lot of Amy’s No Chicken Noodle soup, which was awesome.

The first one was a banana-less kale based “Green monster” one here

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I had to add a lot of extra water because it came out way too thick. Also, I gagged several times still, and it sort of tasted like a salad dressing or something to me, oops. But I thought it was decent at first, since I had never had one before, that is, until I tried the Caramel Apple Green Smoothie from the recipes here. That one is by far much tastier. I used almond butter instead of sunbutter though. I don’t have a picture of that one, though.

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Next was the Holiday Pie from The Vegan Stoner Cookbook. It’s basically tofu and non dairy milk blended together, mushrooms and garlic cooked in soy sauce, prepared stuffing, and I decided to use the optional tofu hot dogs on top. I also dipped it in cranberry sauce. It was quite delicious.

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I rate this recipe 4 good bananas, one bad! (It just didn’t have the total wow! factor of 5 good ones, but I like it)

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Then there is this salad I made tonight!

Aloha Salad with Tiki Tempeh.

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So good, and made me think of fond memories from the Summer. I didn’t think bananas would be so tasty and add such a great texture contrast to this but it was definitely the best part for sure! Everything tastes so good, though! I also majorly splurged on a small amount of macadamia nuts which are so yummy, and added reduced fat dried coconut. The dressing is creamy and super tasty, the tempeh has great flavor, and all the fruits along with the spinach and cole slaw mix are wonderful together.

This has to be rated 5 good bananas!Image

I’m hoping this upcoming week I’ll have time to write some more fun entries besides just on Friday, but we’ll see what my life has in store from me. Until then take care and eat yummy foods!