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!

Image
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.

Image

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.

Image

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!

 

Advertisements

Foodie (Photo) Friday #5: Eating out, Pumpkin/Chocolate muffins, Tofu Satay

Hello hello! It’s foodie (photo) Friday! Annnd… I did not make much food this week because I ended up going out to eat quite a bit.  I’ll talk about my dining experiences first before going on to the food pictures and recipe reviews:

I went to a burrito place that had seitan as a filling option (which I was very excited about) in Amherst, Massachusetts,  an Asian restaurant in Providence, RI  (the menu had mostly Thai and Chinese dishes but also some Cambodian I believe) where I got orange crispy tofu, garlic eggplant, and sticky white rice, and then tonight to The Grange in Providence where I got a pretzel bun po’ boy with fried oyster mushrooms, vegan remoulade, pickles, lettuce, and cole slaw.

It’s a big toss up between whether I liked The Grange or the Asian food better. I want to say I liked the Grange more. I was so excited when I was eating that sandwich. The flavors in it are amazing. And all the textures together worked really well. A mix of 3 crunchy elements (the pickles, lettuce, and mushrooms) and two soft/creamy (the bread and the remoulade). I was worried that the restaurant might not live up to the hype I’ve heard about it, but I was impressed by the food at least. The only complaint I may have but am undecided about is that I found the atmosphere kind of weird, it was noisy and too dark (I don’t really like dark restaurants, but maybe that is because my vision is not great in the dark? I honestly do not know!

The Asian restaurant (called Gourmet House) had a lot of options for tofu which is always a sign of a good Asian restaurant for me. Almost all the dishes you could choose tofu or tofu and vegetables with. The orange tofu was so good. I was not expecting it to come the way it was though. This tofu was more like what I remember the sauces being when I was an omnivore and had ordered lemon chicken. It was a thick, citrus-y orange flavored sauce, with no hint of soy sauce or anything that I was expecting. I liked it so much I may have gone a bit overboard by eating the whole plate of it. Oops. And the eggplant and rice were also very yummy. I liked the stickiness of the rice, I don’t think I’ve actually ever had sticky rice before. It’s kind of sweet. The eggplant was savory but also had a sweet flavor to it at the time. The eggplant itself melted in my mouth.

Sorry I didn’t take any pictures of my food at the restaurants, I was embarrassed to do so, heh.

Anyways, on to what I made from some tasty recipes this week.

The first:

venus chocolate pumpkin muffinsVenus Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins from Bake and Destroy by Natalie Slater. These are half and half pumpkin/chocolate muffins with a streusal topping. They’re difficult to make half and half so they look good, but they do taste pretty good. Next time I might omit the walnuts in the pumpkin, because I’d like a stronger pumpkin flavor. I think the walnuts might overpower it.

photo (51)

Also I had a hard time with my oven getting them cooked well enough. Even with the max time listed with the recipe they were still totally liquid in the middle when I put a toothpick in the center, I think I cooked them for 5-10 minutes more. I honestly cannot remember, sometimes my oven is a bit weird lately.

Overall, these tasted pretty good and the recipe was pretty straight forward and easy despite having to make 3 separate parts so I give it a 4 good banana, one bad banana. It lost one good banana because it just didn’t have that “wow” factor when I tasted it. But they’re good otherwise.

4bananas1

Second, was Tofu Satay from The 30 Minute Vegan cookbook.

tofu satay

I made it into a bowl with some quinoa and added extra peanut satay sauce on top. The satay sauce was perfect, it tasted exactly like the kind of peanut satay sauce I like, that I remember getting from the Thai restaurants I have been to. Sometimes people and companies make a type of peanut satay that doesn’t taste this good, maybe without coconut milk and less of a peanut buttery taste, but this was amazing. The tofu came out pretty good, but I wish I had baked it longer until it got a little more crispy, except I was hungry and impatient so oh well. The addition of raw scallions and red pepper made it a complete and tasty meal all together with the quinoa. So yay! I think this probably deserves a 5 good banana rating!

5bananas

That’s all, folks! I have some couple neat ideas for a few different kinds of posts this week, hopefully I’ll get some time to post them, but I do have some exams coming up as well, so I don’t know! But I hope so!

Until next time!

In deliciousness,

Laura

Salad of the Week! Burrito Explosion Salad!

It’s a good thing I was craving burritos when I planned this salad. I think this is my favorite salad creation so far!

Image

Since I usually cook a fair amount of food each week, and have a salad every day, I’m somewhat lazy when it comes to making the ingredients of this salad. Most of them were store bought or really easy.  If you want to, I’d recommend making a mango salsa and maybe the tortilla crisps on your own. I was able to find both these pre-made and vegan very easily, so I didn’t see the point, but that’s just me.

First, you need to make the dressing. I used the recipe for The Healthy Librarian’s Creamy Chipotle Dressing in this list of oil-free or low oil dressings online. I did add a ton more extra nutritional yeast to the recipe (I think like 3-4 more tablespoons?) and ended up adding a tbsp of water because that thickens it up a lot.

Then, you make the salad.

I use:

photo (49)

2 cups lettuce

1/2 cup black beans

1/4 an avocado, chopped

4 tbsp crunchy tortilla strips

5 tbsp mango salsa

and 4 tbsp of the dressing

According to my calculations this salad is 348 calories with the ingredients I use, so that’s the perfect healthy lunch for me! It seems like a really luxurious and fattening salad, but really isn’t, as most of the fat is the healthy kind!

See you tomorrow for the recap of all my cooking adventures in Food Porn Friday!

World Peas Wasabi Crusted Tofu with Avocado Ginger Cream Sauce

Okay, so I was eating some Wasabi peas I got from Trader Joe’s and was thinking “hmm, this would make an awesome type of bread crumb!” So after I continued to eat them, I started to become obsessed with the idea of making tofu recipe with them.

I wasn’t sure if I actually liked it at first…the heat of the wasabi wanes considerably when cooked this way. I also didn’t get a chance to try it until it was cool. However, after seeing my adult brother devour the rest of the batch, and tell me he loved it, I figured it was worth sharing.

For the Avocado Ginger cream sauce,  I was inspired by sushi. Avocado sushi is my favorite, and I guess I’m weird but I love to eat the ginger slices along with it in the same mouthful. I also got the idea of using vegan cream cheese because non-vegan sushi uses cream cheese sometimes, and thought it’d be good veganized. The added vegan mayo was mostly to make it a better consistency, but I was also thinking of the spicy mayo I’ve seen on sushi before as well.

I ate it with cooked brown rice, but it might be cool to form into onigiri and place the tofu on top, or put it in a hand roll (the rice, tofu, avocado sauce wrapped in a nori sheet).

Image

Wasabi Crusted Tofu with Avocado Ginger Cream Sauce

Recipe

Ingredients:

For the tofu:

1/2 cup wasabi peas

2 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot

1 cup water

1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour (more as needed)

1 1 lb container of extra firm tofu (I used firm black tofu plus by nasoya and it didn’t hold together all that great, so I think extra firm tofu would work MUCH better) sliced into 8 equally sized slices width wise

canola oil, enough to cover a large frying pan/skillet and a little extra

For the Avocado Ginger Cream Sauce

1/2 an avocado

2 1/2 tbsp vegan cream cheese (I used Trader Joe’s brand)

2 tbsp vegan mayo (I used Nasoya Nayonaise but Vegenaise would be better)

1 tsp lime juice

1 tsp grated fresh ginger root

1/2 tsp vegan sugar

Directions:

To make the tofu:

  1. In a food processor or blender, crush wasabi peas until mostly into a powder but with some pieces of peas still partially in tact.
  2. Place wasabi pea powder in a bowl and mix with 2 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot.
  3. Place water in a separate bowl, and flour in another.
  4. Drain the the tofu and lightly pat dry. Cut width wise into 8 evenly sized (as close as you can) pieces.
  5. Heat oil in pan at medium heat. You’ll know when it’s ready to put the tofu in it when you place a smidge of the pea mixture in the oil and it sizzles and fries up instantly.
  6. In the meantime, begin to prepare the tofu. Dip each slice in the flour on both sides, then place in water, and then coat into the pea-cornstarch mixture. Place on a plate until oil is ready.
  7. Prepare a plate with a paper towel next to the frying pan to absorb the oil of the tofu once they’re done cooking.
  8. When the oil is heated enough, place each tofu slice in the oil. Cook on each side until golden brown and crispy.
  9. Take out carefully with a spatula or tongs and place on prepared paper towel plate.
  10. Let cool until an edible temperature, and then eat along with the Avocado Ginger Cream Sauce and rice or whatever you like.

To make the Avocado Ginger Cream Sauce:

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy but not too thin.

Image

My results! If you make it, lemme know what you think, yeah?

Thanks for reading as always! Like my facebook page if you are enjoying the blog so you can keep in the loop of new entries, or follow me on twitter! I also have a board on pinterest devoted to the blog if that’s your thing, as well!