Archive for September, 2010

Juggling a Healthy Life

What is the hardest part of juggling a healthy lifestyle? For me, it’s time. My schedule gets so crazy, it’s hard to work in gym time. (And sometimes, I don’t try hard enough to fit it in my schedule…) I don’t mind cooking, I love grocery shopping, and making healthy food. I know what I need to do, and having a trainer has definitely helped me from getting bored at the gym, but sometimes, I just don’t find time to go!

When do you like to work out? Do you like to get it done first thing in the morning? At lunch? In the evenings? I usually prefer doing it at lunch time, or doing it right after work, but I’ve heard doing it in the morning can help you sleep better… so maybe I should try a little harder on that one.

On to some delicious (or not so delicious) food!

I had this delicious hummus, avocado, sun-dried tomato, sandwhich on Saturday and it was so delicious, it had me craving hummus all weekend! So I decided to whip at the vita mix and try my hand at hummus! Here’s what I used:

Basic Hummus Recipe

  • 1 can (16oz) chickpeas
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 3 tbs water
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

I just tossed it all in the vita mix and ran it for about a minute, until it was nice and creamy. I might have added a bit more water, because it started out pretty thick. I LOVE hummus & carrots, so that became my afternoon snack!

Another super-simple recipe I finally tried was the brownie/fudge recipe that Heather mentioned awhile ago. It couldn’t be easier:

Super-Easy 2 Ingredient Fudge

  • 1 box of brownie mix, the 13xx9 pan size (I found one that didn’t have milk or eggs in it)
  • 1 can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix, just plain pumpkin)

Just mix up the brownie mix and the pumpkin (mix it really well, which kind of takes awhile) and then spoon it in a greased 8 x 8 pan. Bake for 35 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle will not come out clean, but that’s ok. Stick it in the fridge and let it cool. Then slice it up and enjoy! It’s seriously amazingly delicious, and it’s a little healthier than regular brownies! Go make this, and rejoice in the simplicity!

Again, I’m lacking on the pictures here… but just trust me. It was delicious.

And now, for a not-so-healthy dessert:

This was a deep fried twinkie my friend Sam got at Galaxy Diner. Grosssss. I’m all for trying new things, but I’m drawing the line here. Yuck!


Have you tried any new foods lately, healthy or not-so-healthy?

Happy Monday!

-LLV

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My New Favorite Non-Milk Drink!!

Yesterday I was at the grocery store, putting some Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze in my cart, when I noticed some tempting cartons next to the A-Breeze… What was it?

Unsweetened So Delicious Coconut Milk!

I remembered some comments from Mimi, Lauren & Katronomic saying that coconut milk was good in coffee… so my interest was piqued. Normally I shy away from coconut things, because of the saturated fat content, but the unsweetened variety isn’t so bad!

Check out these stats:

Nutrition Facts
Servings Size 1 cup (240mL)
Servings Per Container 8
Amount Per Servings
Calories 50 Calories from Fat 50
% Daily Values*
Total Fat 5g 8%
Saturated Fat 5g† 25%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0g 0%
Sodium 15mg 1%
Potassium 65mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugar 0g
Protein1g
Vitamin A 10% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 10% Iron 4%
Vitamin D 30% Folate 6%
Vitamin b12 50% Magnesium 10%
Zinc 4% Selenium 8%

It’s still a little high in saturated fat, but those stats are for 1 cup… and I only use a few tablespoons. And the taste is delicious! It’s definitely richer & creamer than my Almond Breeze. I’m not sure I’ll switch over forever… but I’m loving the coconut! The actual coconut flavor was subtle, which was good, since I didn’t really want it to take over the coffee flavor.

Another fun, new grocery store find was Amy’s Tamale Pie.

To be honest, I had no idea what exactly this would be… and it sat in my freezer for awhile. But yesterday, as I was running out the door for work, I decided to throw it in my bag, and it turned out to be quite a delicious lunch!

I was afraid it wouldn’t be very filling, since the nutritional stats are pretty low calorie, but it kept me pretty satisfied! I would definitely get this again.


Have you guys found any new grocery store favorites? I’m always up for trying something new!

-LLV

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Standing on a Soap Box

Hello bloggers! How are you all? I’m not sure what happened to “consistent posting” but it is what it is. Life is busy!

I originally went into this vegan thing thinking I’d give it 6 months, I’d get my cholesterol checked, and if it was helping lower my cholesterol, then that would be cool ,and I’d try to stick to a somewhat vegan diet. As it is, I’m not really sure how much its helping my cholesterol. (Last time I got it checked, my good cholesterol went up and my bad cholesterol went down, but my total cholesterol is still very high.) So I was thinking I’d maybe just go back to being a vegetarian… but now the more I think about it, the less appealing dairy seems…

Don’t get me wrong, I kind of miss pizza, I miss real cheese, I even miss yogurt (although I think soy yogurt comes decently close to regular yogurt. I’m sure there are plenty of people who would disagree with me on that, but seriously, I think it tastes almost the same!) but I’m not sure I really want to go back to eating dairy. Have any of you read Food Politics? It’s a long book, so don’t think it’s a quick read, but it’s really interesting. There was a lot of interesting information about the development of the food pyramid, and the influence that food marketers have had on the government regulated food things like the good pyramid and nutritional guidelines. It’s actually a little disturbing. I try to take all of these types of books with a grain of salt (no pun intended) because everything has a slant… but they definitely have some solid points.

The people that are giving us our food recommendations aren’t neutral parties. They aren’t even scientists or dieticians. They’re a government group made up of people from the meat & dairy industry. They receive grants and funding and other things from food marketers. These aren’t people with your best interests in mind, they’re people with the bottom line in mind. I’m not trying to say that the entire system is corrupt, but it bothers me how unaware people are of their own health and nutrition. I don’t expect everyone to spend hours researching this stuff, but I think it’s something to be aware of. When it comes to eating, who are you listening to? Your body? The people around you? The hundreds of messages we’re taking in consciously or subconsciously every day?

On a non-political note, did you ever think about milk, and why we drink it? It has a very specific purpose. And it’s clear that breast milk is the best thing you can give to your baby. But once we’re past that stage, we don’t “need” milk anymore. And what about how they’re getting that milk? A cow only produces milk when it’s pregnant (like any other mammal) but do you think the milk we’re drinking comes from cows that are naturally pregnant? Of course not, that would be too expensive, and they’re wouldn’t be enough prego cows in the world to make enough milk for the amount of dairy products we’re consuming. So what’s the solution? Let’s inject cows with hormones and chemicals so they keep producing milk. Is it natural? No. Is it cheap? Yep.

Why is this ok? Why are we ok with settling? Because it’s cheap? Because it’s convenient? Is no one looking at the end effects? It’s no coincidence that people are being diagnosed with diabetes and heart disease at alarming rates. With all of the advances in health care, our life expectancy makes it look like it’s not so bad… but why are we spending all of our time and money treating a disease that could have been prevented from the beginning?

I’m not sure if I’ll start eating dairy again. I’m not sure I want to. I want to know what I’m eating, and I’m just not sure what I’m getting with dairy.

Disclaimer: those are my thoughts, and nothing more. I’m not a scientist, a dietician, or anything more than a blogger who is stuck on an airplane with nothing but a laptop and too many thoughts to keep in her head. That said, it doesn’t bother me what other people want to eat. You want some bacon? Go for it, but I think I’ll pass…

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I’m Back! With Buckeyes!!

Wow, sorry blogging world. I’m not sure what happened! Acutally, life happened, and it’s been crazy busy lately. Fun, but really busy.I did some rock climbing on Sunday, and here is the amazing view from the top!

Downtown from a distance:

The rest of the weekend consisted of cheering on the Buckeyes (to victory) and going out, visiting with friends, and just enjoying the perfect weather! My food eats have been rather boring lately. But they’re about to get a little more exciting!

My friend Alexa (remember her last visit?) is here again, and she’s making BUCKEYES! For those of you not from Ohio, the Buckeye is the official tree of Ohio. They look like this:

There is also a delicious candy version of this treat. The greatest thing is, it wasn’t too tricky to “veganize” these!

Vegan Buckeye Candies

  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine (like Smart Balance Light)
  • 1 1/2 cups of peanut butter
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2 cups of vegan dark chocolate chips

Soften the margarine and combine it with the peanut butter. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. By the last cup, it should be pretty stiff dough. Roll it into balls, about 1″ in diameter and insert a toothpick into each ball. Pop them in the freezer for about an hour or two, until they are very hard, and the toothpicks won’t slide out easily. Melt the chocolate chips (either in a double broiler, or just in the microwave, stirring frequently so you don’t burn it!) Dip the peanut butter balls into the chocolate, leaving a 1/2″ circle around the toothpick unchocolate-ed. (Is that a word?) That way, they look like buckeye nuts! These are delicious, and are best kept in the fridge or freezer. (They don’t do so well in the sun, just an fyi.)

Have you guys ever had candy buckeyes??

Hope you’re all enjoying the week!

-LLV

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I’m Liz, I’m “The Vegan”

Ahhh sunshine 🙂

So I went to a lake house over the weekend with some friends. Actually, I only knew 2 people… but the other 13 people were awesome! Now I have new friends! 🙂 I was, of course, “the vegan” of the weekend, which was fine! I packed my own food, (and my own almond milk!) and cooked right alongside the others. The boys were even nice enough to grill my veggie burger for me! It was quite a fun weekend. But isn’t it funny the way we can be defined by our food?

What does this say about me?

 This was a delicious combination of veggies & pesto, grilled by my friend Matt. It was SO good! It made me wish I had a grill… you know, not just my little george foreman! I was actually so in love with this combination, that I copied it for the next day. It was simple!

Grilled Veggies with Pesto

  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup of pesto (here is a vegan pesto that you can find at most grocery stores!)
  • Olive oil spray
  • Sea salt
  • Vegan parmesan cheese (or the regular kind, if you’re into that 😉 )

Slice up your veggies into bite size pieces, and toss with pesto. Depending on the pesto, you may want to add sea salt.  Line your grill (or pan, if you want to bake them in the oven) with aluminum foil and spray with oilve oil. Grill until tender, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese. This also reheats really well, if you have leftovers!

I’ve just been craving vegetables lately, so I’ve eaten the above recipe for dinner the last… 3 days in a row 😉 So yummy! Now I really wish I had a spiralizer so I could make this recipe from Choosing Raw!

Tonight I’m getting sushi with my friend Leslie, so I’m pretty excited about that. Do you guys like sushi? I feel like a lot of people either love it or hate it! I love it, but then again, I just get veggie rolls, so it’s not “real” sushi I suppose… maybe that’s why I like it so much 😉

Did you all enjoy the holiday weekend? Any fun recipes for the grill?

-LLV

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Vegan Creamer & The Organic Debate!

We have free coffee at work, that’s available all the time (awesome, I know!) and we even have those fancy cappuccino machines! A great work perk, for sure, but the problem is, the creamer! I used to drink my coffee black, but now I usually like to add a little almond milk, and a packet of Stevia. The problem is, almond milk isn’t really an option at work, or anywhere else for that matter. I know there are “non dairy creamers” but those powdered things freak me out. Vegan or non vegan, I’ll pass on the hydrogenated oils. So lately, I’ve been bringing a little tiny tupperware container of almond milk to work with me, then I just put some in my coffee, add some Stevia, and I’m good to go! Not so bad, but I sort of wish there was an alternative. Are their vegan powdered creamers? I’m not sure how “natural” a powdered creamer is. I’m just tired of packing a container of almond milk with me in the morning! Anyone have suggestions? Do you guys use cream in your coffee? I’ve heard coconut milk is really good in coffee, but I’ve never tried it!

While we’re on the subject of vegan coffee… check out this Vegan Coffee Ice Cream recipe from Whisk and Quill!! Doesn’t that look delicious? I’m definitely going to have to try that…

Last night I made some Vegan Spicy Chili and it was so good!

I was really excited to bring the leftovers for lunch today… and then I left them in the fridge 😦 Oh well, I guess that means I won’t have to make dinner!


I saw this post from Carrot’s N Cake and it was really interesting! I’ve really been trying to understand more about organic food, and even though I’m not eating dairy, it was still interesting to learn about organic dairy farming! What do you guys think about organic vs. conventional food? Sometimes I think it’s just a food marketing hype, but in a lot of cases, I do think it’s better to buy organic. I might be a little more expensive, but I think it’s worth it, instead of ingesting various pesticides and chemicals and genetically modified food.

What do you guys think, do you usually buy organic or conventional produce? What about dairy or meat?

That’s all for now!

-LLV

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