The New Nutritional Powerhouse

Ok, so it’s not new. Actually, I have no idea how long it’s been around. And until I entered the blogosphere, I had never heard of it. So what is it?

Nutritional Yeast!

First of all, let me just say, I know the same sounds a little… strange… but let me assure you, this stuff is like magic! Not only is it a main ingredient in vegan mac n cheese



but it also gives a nice cheesy kick to snacks! How about some cheesy popcorn?

Nutritional yeast is loaded with vitamin B12, so it’s especially great for vegans 🙂

Have you tried Nutritional Yeast yet?

It’s been a pretty good week this week. I’ve been working out consistently & sticking with my no snacking after 8pm challenge. Oh, and this week I finally tried squash on my salad!

I suppose it’s hard to see the squash in there, among the peppers, chickpeas, black beans, onions, and spinach… but let me tell you, it was the star of the show! It feels good being a *reformed* salad hater!

Have you tried anything new on salads these days? I’m always looking for something new to spice up my greens!

Happy Friday 🙂

-LLV

Comments (18) »

PB&Chocolate’s New Best Friend

Hello friends! How is your week going? I feel like mine is flying by, but it’s going well, so no complaints!

First, let me say, I am in no way against night time snacking! However, I personally needed to dial back the midnight munchies. What would start out as an innocent snack would turn into a night in front of the tv, going back and forth from the kitchen to the couch. Not good! So for me, I’m going cold turkey! And so far, it’s going great, because I’ve been eating more during the day.

Yesterday I did the abs class at work, with my friend Eric, and then we did upper body free weights. When I got home from work, I still had plenty of energy, so despite the somewhat chilly weather (it was only in the low 50s!) I went for a nice 4 mile run. It felt amazing! Instead of coming home from work starving and tired, I came home ready for a workout! Thanks to all that movement, I burned 2,700 calories, according to the bodybugg!

And now, for an important announcement:

Up until this evening, I pretty much thought that peanut butter and chocolate was a combo that could never be beat. I mean, have you tried Averie’s vegan peanut butter cups? But today… I added something else to the party…

Banana.

And let me tell you, this was a life changing experience.

Ok, sorry for the drama, but seriously, get out your blender and make this NOW!

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

  • 6 cubes of frozen soymilk (I use Silk Light)
  • splash of non frozen soymilk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 packets truvia
  • 2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum (optional)
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter

Throw everything except the peanut butter in the blender and pulse until smooth. (If you don’t have a vita mix, you might need to chop the banana, and add the ice slowly…) Top with a tablespoon of peanut butter and dig in. It’s rich, satisfying, and, oh yeah, that whole giant bowl of ice cream (it makes about 2 cups) is only ~200 calories + peanut butter. (I don’t factor the peanut butter in, because sometimes I use PB2, sometimes I use Better’n Peanut Butter, and sometimes I use Dark Chocolate Dreams!)

What do you think? What’s the best  PB& Chocolate (optional, + banana) combo you like to eat?

 

-LLV

Comments (4) »

Nightime Snacking- Yes or No?

Ok, I admit it. I’m a big night time snacker! It isn’t really a huge issue, because I don’t normally snack during the day. The problem is, by “saving” my daily calories for night time snacks mean that I’m saving my fuel for a time in the day when I don’t need it!

Yesterday, I went on an afternoon run, a couple hours after my breakfast. I wasn’t hungry, but wasn’t overly full, and it was the perfect balance for my run. I ran 4 miles, which is a lot for me! (I haven’t been running much lately.) I realized that a lot of times, I work out on very little fuel, and its no wonder I get tired! But in order to maintain balance, I need to move my meals around.

So my new goal is no snacks after 8pm.

Now I have to be realistic, and know that some days I don’t get HOME until 8pm, and I’m not going to skip dinner just because it’s after 8! The point is that most of my night time snacking is just… well, snacking. It’s not like I need the energy right before bed! So I’m going to try to eat more during the day, and see if it helps my workouts!

How do you guys feel about bedtime snacks? Do you usually eat something before bed? Do you prefer your snacks during the day? Or do you just skip snacks all together? (I don’t think I could skip them!!!)

 

My mom and I are a lot alike. A LOT alike. I realize this more and more everyday, and I’m not complaining, because my mom is pretty cool, and I can only hope to be as amazing as she is! But one thing we differ on is the practicality of dinnerware 😉

Growing up, we had plain dishes. Every dish matched the others, and that’s how my mom liked it. She knew a lot of the “stylish” dishes, would be out of style before you knew it, and then you’d have to get new dishes! I remember I would beg for a brightly colored bowl, or that odd shaped ice cream dish. Every so often, she’d give in, and then we’d have a bowl or a plate that only I would use 🙂 (Mom, that multicolored ceramic bowl is STILL my favorite chip bowl!!!) So despite all of our likeness, I just had to buy this bowl when I found it at TJ Maxx last night.

How cute is that?? This is actually the middle size of a 3 bowl set. They were on clearance, and too adorable to pass up. Mom, I’m sorry for the impracticality of these bowls, and I know they’ll never match anything else, but you have to admit, they’re pretty darn cute 😉

What do you guys think? Do you dishes match, or do you just have a random assortment of favorites?

 

-LLV

Comments (24) »

An Ode to Snack Foods

I’m a snacker. I get hungry! I prefer to eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of 3 “square” meals. But I have requirements of my snack food. I can’t survive on pre-packaged snacks! No no. If I’m going to have a snack, it needs to be healthy, and it needs to be tasty! Normally, for my snacks, I try to eat something that’s between 150-200 calories. Has at least 3g of fiber and at least 5g of protein. If it doesn’t have some fiber & protein, then I know I’ll just end up snacking again, so it’s gotta have some substance! Here are some of my recent snack superstars:

 

Banana “Ice Cream – It tastes indulgent, and fills me up, all for ~200 calories!

 

Fake Baked Apples You’ll think you’re digging into warm apple pie!

 

Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal – crunchy, munchy, and not too sweet

Amy’s Tamale Pie– Don’t be fooled, this super filling pie is only 150 calories, and is packed with 5g of protein and 4g of fiber!

 

And my newest favorite to add to the mix: Spiced Apple Pie Chips, thanks to Angela @ Oh She Glows

 


Check out these lovely snackers! They’re an interesting mix of chewy and crunchy. A little sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon. Perfect!

 

What are some of your favorite snacks?

-LLV

Comments (7) »

Confessions of a Salad Hater

I have a confession.

 

I’m a vegan, and I don’t like salads.

 

Ok, that’s not entirely true. There are some salads I enjoy, but for the most part, I’m not a fan. Last week, I made a salad at work and as I sat there forcing my way through it, I realized I wasn’t enjoy it at all. Not even a bit. But why not? I’m a girl who loves her greens. Why was I such a salad hater? That’s when I realized, the greens are not to blame. No, it was the dressing. I’ve tried tons of different dressings, and they’re usually too sweet/too tangy/too salty/too creamy/too runny/too thick/too slimy/too bland. I just haven’t found a dressing I like!

But this weekend… my salad has found a new best friend…

 

Hummus!!!!

 

I had a big pile of greens topped with a blob of roasted red pepper hummus, and let me tell you, that was a life changing salad. Ok, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, but my love for greens has been resurrected.

 

Looking for a simple hummus recipe? Well look no further…

Basic Hummus Recipe

  • 1 can (16 oz) chickpeas
  • 2 cloves garlic (I used that stuff that is already minced in a jar, and I just put in about 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame tahini
  • 1-2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp roasted red pepper flakes

Toss your chickpeas in your blender or food processor and blend for about 15 seconds. Add your garlic, olive oil, tahini, and 1 tbsp of water. Blend for about 30 seconds. If it’s too thick (this depends on how well you drained your chickpeas!) you might need to add another tablespoon or two of water. Once you get it to a nice pureed consistency, add your salt, garlic salt, and roasted red pepper flakes. I gave approximate amounts, but you can add more or less, depending on how spicy you like it. (I usually end up adding a whole teaspoon of red pepper flakes.) This will keep in the fridge for about ~10 days… but mine doesn’t usually last that long 😉

This only costs about $1 to make, which is much cheaper than the $3-4 you’d pay at the grocery store!

Hummus is great on pita, carrots, cucumbers, sandwiches, and of course… salads!

 

What do you guys like to put on your salads? Any dressing recommendations? Do you like hummus on your salads?

 

-LLV

Comments (20) »

PB & Banana Ice Cream

My parents came into town this weekend, to visit me, my brother & my sister in law. It’s so much fun having my family in town, so I’m glad they were willing to make the 8 hour drive! Last night, we went to Edo Squid, a local Richmond restaurant that is known for delicious Italian food! I hadn’t been there since my birthday, but we decided to go last night. Here was my delish vegan dish:

 

It was amazing, and the plate was huge! I only ate about half, and I was full the rest of the night!

 

This morning I woke up with a craving for something sweet… and I was pretty excited to discover that I had an almost empty peanut butter jar in the fridge… (note, there is a big difference between empty and almost empty.) It was definitely a morning for some PB & Banana “Ice Cream”. I’m sure you’ve seen similar recipes, but here’s what went into mine:

PB & Banana Ice Cream

  • 1 medium frozen banana
  • 6 frozen cubes of soymilk + a splash of non frozen soymilk
  • 1 packet of truvia
  • 1 tbs peanut flour
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp xanthan gum (optional)

Throw it all in your blender (or Vita-mix!) and blend until creamy! If you don’t have a Vita-Mix, you might want to slice your banana before freezing, to be a little kinder to your blender blades!) Check out the nutritionals of this ice cream! Keep in mind, it makes a pretty big bowl! I recommend this with some peanut butter on top, or.. out of an almost empty Better’n Peanut Butter jar.

It pretty much made my morning 🙂 There may have also been some kiwi snacking:

Am I the only one that eats kiwi with the skin on? Don’t ask me why I was using a plastic knife to cut this. Needless to say, it didn’t work that well.

 

Right now, the family is watching football and eating chili. I’ve been snacking on my sister-in-law’s AMAZING guacamole. Yummy!

What is your favorite football (or weekend afternoon) snack?

Comments (24) »

Comfort Food Cravings

The weather here has gotten cooler pretty quick, and it has me craving two things: Soup & comfort food! Soup hasn’t been a problem. I’ve been eating that pretty much every day! But comfort food… this one is a little trickier. I’d been craving some old school Kraft Mac n Cheese. I’m pretty sure my brother and I used to eat this 5 times a week! (Healthy I know!!) So what’s a vegan to do?

 

I remembered HEAB’s Mac & Cheese and it sounded amazing, but I didn’t have spaghetti squash or avocado, and I’ve been trying not to go to the grocery store for each meal (I end up buying half the store) but I did have nutritional yeast, so I did some more recipe hunting, and found this vegetable couscous & “cheese” recipe from Oh She Glows. Ah ha! A combination I could duplicate. So I did a bit of a hybrid of the recipe and it turned out like this:

 

Vegan Style Mac & Cheese

For nutritional stats, click here

Bring 1/3 cup of water to a boil, and then remove from heat and add the couscous and salt. Let it sit, covered, for about 5 minutes. (If your peas are frozen, now is a good time to defrost them) After the couscous has absorbed most of the water, put on to low heat and stir in the soymilk, nutritional yeast, parmesan cheese and salt. Add the peas.

Volia! Now keep in mind, Nutritional Yeast doesn’t taste EXACTLY like cheddar cheese, but it’s a wonderful flavor, and nutritional yeast is packed with so many vitamins and nutritents! Cheese couldn’t begin to compare! (In a 70 calorie serving, it manages to pack in 6g protein, as well as B Vitamins and more!)

As for the calorie burn yesterday, I wasn’t feeling very well (I think I’m getting a cold, blech) so I skipped out on my Wednesday workout. If you remember Tuesday, I burned 2,417 calories. Well today  I burned just over 2,000. Now, the additional calories I burned Tuesday can’t be contributed entirely to my workout, because as I looked at the chart, it looks like I fit in a lot more walking on that day. Fitting in walking and light physical activity can be one of the best ways to stay in shape, without having to go to the gym.

 

What foods are you guys craving these days?

-LLV

Comments (15) »