23 February 2010

Yummy Quinoa and Spicy Tofu Salad

Normally I am not a fan of salads. To me they equal lack of creativity and they are what a vegan or vegetarian eats when there are no other options available. My grandma has always invited me over for dinner with the promise of there being salad for Tim and I to eat and though I appreciate her offer salad is just so darn unappealing. This is why I was taken by complete surprise when my little baby belly started craving the green stuff on a daily basis. I did not think I would ever wake up in the middle of the night desperately seeking arugula or biking around town with the thought of spinach following closely behind.

The other day as I worked the produce section in my grocery store I realized I was drooling. I kept eyeing the carrots and hugging the broccoli and whispering sweet nothings in the direction of the celery and cucumbers. This was enough! I was starting to go loony from lack of salads! That day I went home and pulled all the veggies out of the fridge and got straight to work, but wait, what about the pantry? There must be goodies in there too, no? This is when I found the quinoa hiding behind the wild rice and a light went on or a bell chimed or the proclamation of Eureka was shouted. Which one happened, I am not sure because I was already preparing the quinoa on my stove top before I fully understood the golden delicious salad I was going to be shoveling into my tum tum later.

With the addition of quinoa to my veggies I was ready to start building my dream dinner. Spinach, Romaine, heirloom tomatoes, carrots, pine nuts, dried cranberries, quinoa and something else, I needed something else. This is when my genius self (OK moderately smart self) grabbed a red onion, a few cloves of garlic and got to chopping. I sliced up some extra firm tofu and added it to the onions and garlic in my frying pan then for fun tossed on Sriracha and Bragg's Liquid Aminos and the end result was fantastic! A spicy delicious salad with the sweet/tart dried cranberries made my heart skip a beat. I am going to make this again, I am going to make it tonight, and eat left overs for lunch, it is that good!

18 February 2010

Brendan Brazier, creator of VEGA

A few weeks back I was at Whole Foods doing my weekly shopping, listening to the new Antlers album, spacing out. You know, my usual shopping mode, when I chanced on "Thrive, the Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life." If there is anything I want to perform in life, it it definitely optimal. I was drawn to the book because of two things, the word Vegan and a bicyclist on the cover. Being a bike riding Vegan I was more than sure this book was going to "speak to my soul," as my friend Althea refers to anything she purchases. It was a mere 15 dollars, and as far as anything being bought in Whole Foods for under 20 I felt like it was a steal!

The past few weeks I have toyed around with some of the recipes, the first being the only dessert recipe in the book. It figures the cupcake queen would make dessert first, right? The recipe was for a raw banana pie, and it was more than delicious! The pie was rich and the slices a little heavy, which is great because I did not go back for seconds and my waistline thanked me later. The pie is made with bananas, pear, ginger, sunflower seeds, hemp protein powder and more yummy ingredients I happen to always have on hand. I will definitely make this again, and soon!

The next recipe I tried out was for a cucumber pesto salad with a tomato basil dressing, Need I say more? This salad had me craving greens all week. The dressing was to live for and the flavors of everything were so complex (mind you the recipes are fairly simple) that one's palate could point out every ingredient, as if one were tasting wine. The subtle notes of the agave, the bold flavor of heirloom tomatoes and the fresh taste of basil made store bought dressings less than little to be desired.

If you haven't noticed yet, I have a crush on this book, and I suggest to anyone who likes their veggies to pick this baby up! I have now made the pizzas and veggie burgers in Thrive and I have even done the lemon-lime sport drink or my last bike riding adventure, and I cannot wait to try more.

Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Quinoa Pizza

The whole reason I have started typing this post was because last night, I met Brendan Brazier: Ironman triathlete, Vegan and all around nice guy. He gave a lecture for his latest book "Thrive Fitness, the Vegan Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health and Fitness." He gave a very interesting and informative lecture. It is now that I see, chances are, my body is producing the "stress hormone" (as noted in his book) Cortisol. The Cortisol in your body attributes to lack of sleep, weight gain and many other very unattractive things. I notice that I can sleep eight hours and still be groggy all day, that even when eating healthy I have not lost the weight I feel like I should be losing. My sister says, "You are skinny, you don't need to lose weight," but sister, my body is not performing optimally. (:

that's me on the left

After having witnessed Brendan in real life, listened to his personal stories, an seen the outcome I am more than interested in his diet, (mostly raw foods) his Vega supplement powder, energy drinks and bars. Sigh, I think I am in love, with Vega that is! I am drinking the Vanilla Chai Vega supplement (surprisingly not bad) as I type this. I won it in a drawing at the lecture last night. Gooooo me! I have bid farewell to my morning cup o' joe and now am starting my days off on a happier and most definitely healthier path.

Thanks Brendan!

09 February 2010

Last Week in Photos

Went for a wonderful bike ride with Bonnie.


We ate at In Season Deli.

I made Indian food,

baked cupcakes for a taste test for farmers market,

Timmy made lasagna,

I made Chai Scones.

Timmy, Tim, Bonnie and I ate dinner at Fresh Mint.

Dessert of Banana Fritters and Mango Tapioca.

Yum, Kabobs!

Boys get the bill and girls get weird alien toys.

Tim played with his food!

That was pretty much it besides working, baking a blueberry coffee cake, meeting Timmy's family from Michigan, getting my hair done pretty by Shaya, hanging out with Dan and Melissa, making a yummy salad from Thrive and finally watching the new Terminator movie. My week was awesome, how was yours?

02 February 2010

Roasted Sweet and Red Potatoes

Sometimes while at work I will walk the aisles of my fine grocery store and make lists. Lists of things to purchase that week, lists of new cupcake flavors, lists of my favorite mythological creatures and often lists of foods I do not eat enough of or at all. Just this last Sunday I eyed some fantastic organic sweet potatoes and tried to remember all of the things I have made with sweet potatoes and I came up with one dish, sweet potato pie. Now, this is my favorite pie in all of the land so I was not completely disappointed with my lack of s.p. culinary prowess. I was, however, upset that since I do love this root vegetable with an intense fiery passion that I do not eat it more often and more as an entree instead of dessert.

The sweet little potatoes are packed with beta carotene, vitamin A, fiber, B6, vitamin C, are beneficial for those with diabetes and are raved about by one of my fave Vegan chefs Bryant Terry (Vegan Soul Kitchen); that it really boggles my teeny brain as to why I have not been eating these by the bucketful.

I decided on roasting these babies with red potatoes because I really did not know what else to do with them, next week I am thinking pizza with them. As for Monday, they were a side dish to Bryant Terry's delicious black-eyed pea fritters and an arugula and spinach salad with oranges and blackberries. Sounds yummy, huh? Everything was so tasty I ate it twice (saved some for lunch the next day)! I make my co-workers jealous with my leftovers. :)

Roasted Sweet and Red Potatoes

3 red potatoes
5 medium sweet potatoes
1 red onion
5 cloves garlic
2 T. olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Peal and cube sweet potatoes, cube red potatoes leaving skins on (that is where the fiber is!) chop onion and mince garlic. Combine all in pan and coat with olive oil and sprinkle on sea salt and pepper. Bake for 35-45 minutes.

Ready for oven!

Black-eyed Pea Fritters

Arugula and Spinach salad with Blackberries and Oranges

All together now...