Tag Archives: Vegan

Lessons learned in Nugget

Yesterday, I had a work from noon to 4pm at the Nugget here in Davis. I was sampling out a new Dreyer’s product – milkshakes and smoothies!

I, of course, tried them before handing them out to people (the chocolate and banana-strawberry were pretty good) and read all the ingredients and nutrition facts. The fruit smoothies are fat free and the chocolate and other ice cream flavors are all low fat. So, although relatively low in calories for ice cream, they have quite a bit of sugar in them. Over the course of 4 hours…

I gave samples to about 350 people

Only 3 people did not like the smoothies

Around 5 people read the nutrition facts or ingredients

1 person said they couldn’t have dairy

3 people said they were diabetic

and 1 of the 3 diabetics said this:

“These are fat free? Oh, I’m a diabetic, you see. I have to watch carbs. Not sugar, but carbs.”

First of all, sugar is carbs. Second of all, sugar is the number one thing diabetics need to watch out for, far moreso than carbohydrate content. And third of all, what doctor told you that?!

Obviously, I didn’t say any of those things. I nodded. It scares me how little the average American knows about basic diet and nutrition. And this woman can not even be considered your “average” American. She was shopping at Nugget, which is a very expensive specialty grocery store, so she likely has an above-average income. She was an adult woman, maybe in her late 50’s, dressed well, and living in northern California, one of the most health conscious places in the US of A. As a diagnosed diabetic, she has certainly been to the doctor at least a few times – and they clearly didn’t give her proper information about what diabetes is and how to treat it (besides with drugs). By definition, diabetes is lack of ability to control blood SUGAR.

I’ll end this rant here, but America has got to step it up. Our future is looking a bit…. bleak sick.

The weather in Davis has made a rapid transition to fall. It is getting a bit chilly and I have been craving oatmeal and soups lately. I wanted to make a peanut based soup and include the kale I recently got at Trader Joes (!). This soup can be made paleo, vegan or vegetarian really easily!

African peanut soup with kale

Recipe: Makes 2 large servings

3 1/2 cups veggie broth

1/2 cup peanut flour

1-2 tbsp peanut butter

1/4 cup half and half (or to veganize, another tbsp peanut butter)

2 tbsp curry powder

4 cups kale, shredded

1 cup summer squash, chopped

1/3 cup onion, chopped

1/2  lb beef (chicken or tofu or beans would work too, but beef goes really well with peanut)

The spices are to taste, they are listed in order of most to least used:

garlic salt, a couple shakes

salt

cinnamon,  1 shake

allspice

nutmeg

cumin

Directions – Cook the beef on the stove top until just cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside. Chop the vegetables and set aside. Pour the broth into a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the peanut flour and peanut butter and stir. Add the vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the spices. Stir occasionally. Once the veggies are soft, add the meat and stir. Add the half and half and stir. Serve immediately!

BTW – There is over 100 grams of protein in this soup…… ;)

Benefits:

Peanuts * a great source of manganese, Vitamin E, tryptophan (calming!), niacin, folate, and copper! Peanuts also contain lots of healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants! They have been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and have been shown to significantly lower your chances of getting colorectal cancer.

Kale * Extremely high levels of vitamins K, A, and C! Also has manganese, calcium, fiber, and antioxidants.

Onions * contain anti-aging antioxidants phenolics and flavonoids. A study by Dr. Liu showed that pungent and Western yellow onions protected the most against colon cancer, while pungent yellow, Western yellow, and shallots protected the most against liver cancer.

Lean beef *  An excellent source of iron, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, phosphorous, and of course protein. Don’t be scared of beef’s fat content! Check out my post on saturated fats here.

Curry powder * reduces inflammation, contains antioxidants that fight cancer, and can help improve memory!

Detox: Day 2. Bring on the caffeine headaches.

Alright, so Day 2 was quite a bit harder than Day 1. I have had caffeine withdrawal headaches all day. I bought a decaf coffee while studying, thinking that some hidden caffeine would ease my throbbing skull, but alas, Mishka’s decaf is actually…. decaffeinated.

Because of my head, I nixed working out today. Which is fine. I utilized the extra time by studying an obscene amount for my midterm on Friday. I pretty much just studied, went to class, studied more, and sipped cucumber coolers and tea all day long. The cucumber coolers are delicious and so easy to make! They are perfect for people who find water too boring. [First world problems.]

Cucumber Coolers

Recipe: Makes 1 pitcher

1 pitcher water

1/2 large cucumber

1/4 cup fresh mint, shredded

2 tbsp lemon juice

ice

optional: stevia (I didn’t use any because I didn’t want it to be sweet, but you definitely could.)

Directions – Pour some of the water, about a pint, into a blender with the cucumber. Pulse until the cucumber is chunky. Do not over-blend! Pour the cucumber water into a pitcher with the rest of the water. Add the fresh mint and lemon juice and stir. Add ice until the pitcher is filled. Serve well chilled!

Mini meal # 1: 

Another superfood smoothie! This time with frozen strawberries and bananas and topped with almonds. Still not that good.

Mini meal # 2: 

a slice of grain free banana bread (recipe soon)

Mini meal # 3: 

Kale and carrot salad with honey sesame dressing again! I was going to make a different dressing, but the tahini/coconut butter/honey combo is really bomb.

Mini meal # 4:

I know this is weird, but I was on the go and simply heated up a frozen salmon burger. No photos please.

Meal # 5: 

I know I have made vegan cheeze sauce before, but this recipe is different and so, so good! I urge you to try it! It doesn’t have that southwestern kick that the other one does. This is more rich and creamy and remniscent of alfredo. Its also high in protein and B vitamins! For a sauce that is..

BBQ salmon with cheezy alfredo broccoli, cauliflower & bulgur

not missing dairy one bit

Recipe: Serves 1

1 cup broccoli, steamed

1/2 cup cauliflower, steamed

1/2 cup bulgur, cooked

Directions – Make the cheeze sauce and bake the salmon (directions below). To easy steam, place the raw vegetables into a microwave safe bowl with 2 tbsp water. Cover with another bowl or plate and microwave for 90 seconds. Remove and drain (or drink the green water for lots of vitamins!)  In a bowl, combine the broc, cauli, and bulgur. Add the cheeze sauce and mix well. Scoop onto a plate with the salmon. Enjoy!

For the creamy cheeze sauce – 

1/4 cup white beans, cooked

1 1/2 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

tsp lemon juice

tsp white balsamic vinegar

tsp mustard

garlic powder

salt

drizzle of honey (do not leave this out!)

Directions – Mash the beans until a homogenous mush. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix vigorously until smooth.

For the salmon -

4 oz salmon filet

drizzle BBQ sauce

Directions – Preheat the oven to 425. Slather a thin layer of BBQ sauce over the salmon. Bake for 12-14 minutes.

And that was…

Detox: Day 1

The detox today was quite the success! I woke up and decided to forgo my usual coffee. I do not think that coffee is “bad for you” because we learned in Food Science that the effect that coffee has on our heath depends on our genetics. People who are fast metabolizers of caffeine (AKA can fall asleep in class soon after drinking 24 oz of light roast nectar) will not suffer ill effects from drinking coffee. Those who are slow metabolizers (people who are bouncing off the walls for hours after a small) may have an increased risk of heart attacks. While I am definitely a fast metabolizer of caffeine, I do think that it contributes to my constant state of mild dehydration. I could fix that by drinking enough water, but water is so borringggg.

Basically what I did for the detox was eliminate dairy, caffeine, and refined sugar and emphasize veggies, fruits, and whole grains in a series of mini meals. (Except I forgot there is some parmesan in my pesto…) The switch to mini meals was really different for me since I usually eat three big fatty meals a day. This way of eating, though, is a bit hard on the digestion. I prefer larger, more lavish meals over lighter, more numerous meals simply because they are more satisfying and usually have more complex flavors.

My number one beef with normal detoxes and “cleanses” is that they are usually essentially protein-free. I am not down with that. Eating or drinking only vegetables and fruits or weird spicy lemonade drinks is basically asking your body to please please burn off my muscle. Dietary protein is not stored in the body; our only sources of it are what we eat while it is still in our system and our own muscles. Every day, the cells of our muscles, hair, skin, everything turn over. We are constantly breaking down our muscles and rebuilding them. Sure, some of the protein that we broke down goes back, but some does not, and we need dietary protein to rebuild our cells every single day. So, to prevent muscle loss (and thus a slower metabolism!), I made sure I got enough protein through both complete sources and complementary sources.

First things first to get things movin':

1 mug of hot water with fresh lemon and ginger

Mini meal #1:

Superfood Smoothie Recipe

I have had this Vega stuff sitting in my kitchen for over a year now and have hardly used it. To be honest, it really does not taste very good. Very planty, with essence of earth. But the nutrition facts are out of this world and I like that it has lots of enzymes to help things along!

1 1/2 scoops vega vanilla chai powder

~3/4 cup frozen blackberries

a few drops NuNaturals vanilla stevia

handful ice

~3/4 cup almond milk

Directions – Blend away!

Mini meal # 2:

Fruit & spice infused bulgur cereal

 

Recipe: Serves 1

3/4 cup bulgur breakfast mix (recipe below)

~1/2 cup almond milk

handful pecans and walnuts, chopped

Directions – Pour the almond milk over the bulgur breakfast mix and heat in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Top with nuts.

Bulgur Breakfast Mix

Recipe: Makes 2-3 servings

1 cup bulgur

2 cups water

1/4 cup vanilla almond milk

a few drops NuNaturals vanilla stevia

1 tbsp dried cherries

1 tbsp dried blueberries

1 tbsp dried raisins

1/2 tbsp flax

1 tsp psyllium

cinnamon to taste (I also added a pinch of nutmeg)

Directions – Combine the water and bulgur in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 30 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid. Pour into tupperware and add the almond milk, dried fruit, flax, psyllium, and spices. Seal and let sit in the fridge overnight.

30 minute run!

Mini meal # 3:

Kale & Carrot Salad with Honey Sesame dressing 

 

I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was definitely inspired by Natalie!

Recipe: Serves 1

1/2 bunch kale

1 large carrot

handful shredded coconut, toasted

1/2 tbsp white sesame seeds

for the dressing -

1 tbsp tahini

1/2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1/2 tbsp coconut butter, melted

2 tsp honey

Directions – Heat the coconut oil and coconut butter in the microwave until melted, about 20 seconds. Mix all the ingredients together and let sit. Wash the kale and tear the leaves from the stalks into a bowl. Grate the carrot into the bowl. Toss with all of the salad dressing. Top with sesame seeds and shredded coconut.

Mini meal # 4:

4 hardboiled eggs  (minus a yolk or two)

1/2 slice of grain free banana bread (recipe to come!)

Bikram yoga class for the first time in a year!

Meal # 5:

Summer vegetable & white bean-quinoa salad with basil walnut pesto

 

 

Recipe: Serves 1

1/2 cup white beans, cooked

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked

1 small patty pan squash

1 small zucchini

1/4 small sweet onion

~2 tbsp basil walnut pesto (recipe here!)

Directions – Preheat the oven to 400. Slice the squash and zucchini and onion into small cubes and place on a baking sheet. Bake for one hour and remove the onion and zucchini. Bake the squash for an additional 30 minutes. Combine the quinoa, beans, and vegetables in a bowl and toss with the pesto. Enjoyyyy.

Mini meal # 6:

1/2 slice grain free banana bread

2 hardboiled eggs

Whew! I feel pretty darn good. ;)

Home shweet home

Hello fellow foodies, health nuts, and other various freaks of that nature ;)

I am finally HOME in Austin, Texas! At least, it truly feels like home. My mom doesn’t actually live here anymore, so whenever I come to Austin during the holidays, I stay at my friend’s apartments. Usually Courtney’s…. (I owe you my first born). Flying and living out of a suitcase is now second nature to me. Living out of a car – not yet, but probably in due time. When I got off the plane, a smile came across my face and hasn’t really left yet. Austin has a certain vibe, a certain smell, and a definitive style. I always forget the how vastly different Californians and Austinites dress. Austin is hip. And then hip is divided into about 18 different sub categories.

While I am here, I want to swim in Barton Springs, run my favorite trail around Town Lake, eat at all the new restaurants I have missed the openings of, eat at my old favorites, go shopping at the unique boutiques and vintage stores, see friends, have a few blogger meet ups, and re-explore 6th street as a legal drinker.

Courtney and I at B Springs!


Odd story: I was at the airport in Sacramento and made eye contact with a guy about my age. We both kind of cocked our heads to the side in recognition. He said ‘You went to UCSB, right?” and I said confirmed and we started talking about our experiences there. As it turns out, I am not the only one that did not jive with SB. He actually bailed two quarters before I did! We agreed that the only thing that really got us through our time there was Bean Night. Bean Night was an open mic night every Monday in a private home. But it was so much more than that. It was a black hole in the time-space continuum. Every Monday night, I was transported out of Santa Barbara and into a place of complete comfort and acceptance. The people who showed up to Bean Night (it kind of became an underground society) were thoroughly beautiful inside and out. Everyone was so open with their emotions and shared every last bit of themselves. People sang, played the guitar, performed spoken word, recited their poetry, danced, cried, and got naked (okay…that was only once). Anyway, back to the story. After our flight, we were at the Denver airport for our next layover and he wanted to get dinner. I was feeling a bit antisocial at that point and was reluctant to join him, but decided to not be a buzz kill. We sat down at a table next to another guy about our age and made some small talk. He was nice, and started talking about how he travels the world constantly and doesn’t really have a home. He said that his lifestyle was a bit lonely and was being very cryptic about his personal details. Henry (my friend) and I ordered dinner, and he ordered us all a round of shots. But before they arrived, he had to leave for his flight. As he stood to go, he said that we should order whatever we wanted because dinner and drinks were on him. He’d already paid. Stunned, we thanked him and he was gone. We just looked at each other dumbfouned and were like who was that guy? When the check came, Henry reached for the bill to see what name was on the credit card. I’d never heard of the name, so I started to type it into my iphone. Before I had gotten 4 letters out, my iphone finished the name for me. Uh ohhhhhh! Terdema Ussery, apparently, is the president and CEO of the Dallas Mavericks. I guess that was his son. Weird, eh?

The point of this post though was supposed to be to share with you a delicious recipe. So, I’ll just get on with it. I made another vegan dish, and then I threw beef on it. I was craving something that I never crave: spaghetti bolognese and with meatballs. However, I had essentially none of the necessary ingredients. But, I did have vegan cheeze sauce and that delicious cashew cream base.

Chard, sweet potato, and whole wheat pasta tossed in a spicy cheeze sauce and a creamy sun dried tomato herb sauce

the tomato sauce is the star of the show. it is creamy and tomato based and perfectly complimented by the herbs

Recipe: Serves 1

3 stalks rainbow chard

1 tsp olive oil

1/3 cup whole wheat pasta, cooked

a handful of diced sweet potato, cooked

3 tbsp sweet onion, chopped

4 oz lean ground beef, cooked

2-3 tbsp vegan cheeze sauce

3-4 tbsp creamy tomato sauce (recipe below)

Directions – Heat the olive oil on medium heat on the stove. Wash the chard and pull the leaves from the stems. Chop the stems. Saute the leaves and stems until wilted. Combine the chard, pasta, sweet potato, onion, and beef on a plate. Top with vegan cheeze sauce and creamy tomato sauce. Enjoy!

Chard.

Layer.

Love.

Creamy Herbed Tomato Sauce (vegan!)

Recipe: Makes 2-3 servings

3 tbsp cashew base (or 2 tbsp cashew butter)

1 tbsp red bell pepper, chopped

1 ripe tomato

2 tbsp sun dried tomatos

1 tbsp onion

a squeeze of lemon juice

basil

oregano

thyme

garlic salt

a few drops of hot chili sauce (if you like)

Directions – Combine everything in a blender and blend until smooth.

my basil plant! and beloved vita.

Its vegan? Throw some chicken on it.

I have so many foodie pictures and recipes from this week that they are taking over my desktop! Probably because all I have done this week is cook yummy food, study for finals, work out a bit, and go to my internship. Yesterday was a breakthrough day for me at the fertility center. I got to witness my first ultrasound!! I saw twins and heard their heart beats. It was amazing. Apparently, today I might get to sit in on a new patient consult, so I am really excited! A break from filing is always appreciated ;).

Anywho, onto some food!

Whole Wheat Cheddar Waffle Breakfast Sandwich

its a shame you can’t see the cheddar :(

This was bomb. The maple syrup contrasts fabulously with the sharp cheddar cheese!

Recipe: I simply followed a recipe online for whole wheat waffles and added 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese to the batter right before putting into a waffle maker. Then, I scrambled 1 egg with 4 egg whites and topped the cheddar waffles with the scrambled eggs and 1 tbsp real maple syrup and some truffled salt.

Lunches

so fresh and so clean clean

This was Alaina’s Coconut, Spice, and Everything Nice salad. I subbed out the chickpeas and added grilled salmon. It was delicious! The only issue was that the coconut oil hardened on the salad and it would have been nice if it had stayed liquidy.

Maple Glazed Salmon and Cheddar ‘Spaghetti’

I brought this lunch with me to campus and it was perfectly portable.

Maple + cheddar = YES

Recipe: Cook 4 oz. salmon on the stove with a dash of butter and 1/2 tbsp real maple syrup. Once it is cooked all the way through, remove from heat and peel away the skin.

In a bowl, combine 1 cup cooked spaghetti squash with some edamame. Top with 1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese. Nuke.

Lay the salmon on top of the spaghetti. Add an extra drizzle of syrup if you wish and sprinkle on a bit of salt. Dont forget to pack an extra side of veg + hummus!

Dinners

If you haven’t noticed, I blog dinners far less often than I do breakfast and lunch. This is because by the time dinner rolls around, I have been going going going all day and I am usually HANGRY. This means I want delicious, nutritious, and filling food – NOW. Aka: throw a bunch of yummy shit in a bowl and devour. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make for pretty, blog-worthy photographs. No sir. But, to give you an idea of my typical dinner, it usually involves a protein, lots of veggies, a bit of whole grain, all doused in a fattyrich sauce. [Followed up with something sweet of the vanilla bean variety.]

Vegan “cheeze” sauce have been on blogs for ages and lately I have really been loving them. Clearly, I don’t have a problem with cheese. I love it (now). Although, it took me about 20 years to come to appreciate it. I’m still not on the level of stinky cheeses – but give me a good goat, feta, cheddar, or fresh mozzarella cheese any day. I don’t really like just having one flavor in every bite, so I have been pairing vegan cheeze sauces with nut butter sauces for a nice contrast in my dinners.

Cheezy Chicken & Pasta topped with a Creamy Cashew Sauce

Its vegan! Except for the chicken I threw on top…

tastes a million times better than it appears

Recipe: In a pan, saute veggies of your choice (I had cabbage, turnips, onions, and kelp noodles on hand) and grill 4 oz chicken until cooked all the way through. Combine veggies, chicken, and 1/4 cup whole wheat pasta in a bowl and toss with a spoonful of cheeze sauce (recipe below). Take 1 heaping tablespoon of your cashew cream sauce base (recipe below) and place into a small bowl. Mix in 1/2 tbsp milk (or milk alternative to keep it vegan) and 1/4 tsp garlic salt. Stir together. Pour on top of cheezy pasta bowl.

Vegan Cheeze Sauce

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/4 cup water

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1/2 tsp chili powder

dash onion powder

Directions – Mix it all up!

Mmmm… cheezy with a kick!

Creamy Cashew & Garlic Sauce

1 1/2 cups roasted cashews

~1/3 cup water

Directions – Blend the cashews in a blender starting with 1/4 cup water. Continue to blend and add small amounts of water until the desired consistency has been reached. I wanted mine pourable but not watery. This is your base for a million different sauces. To make the creamy garlic sauce simply take a portion of the base and add…

garlic salt (to taste)

This dinner was very similar. I tossed cabbage, red bell peppers, kelp noodles, and 4 oz grilled chicken in cheeze sauce.  Then I cooked 1/3 cup Trader Joes 4 Grain Cereal in 1/2 cup water, mixed in 1 tbsp almond butter, and added it to the bowl. Next, I thinned out another tbsp of almond butter with milk and drizzled onto the bowl. Super good!

This post is getting longgg, so I shall be back with  more recipes and health benefits later!

The best chili you will ever eat.

Y’all.

I made chili. It is superb.

It can be made vegetarian. And vegan.

It has a spicy kick, with a hint of sweet.

It comes down to less than a dollar a serving.

The whole pot has 120 grams of protein and 100 grams of fiber.

There are a couple secret ingredients, but I guess the cat’s outta the bag.

Chili is impossible to make appear pretty.

Damn Good Texas Chili

Recipe: Makes 6-8 servings

1 1/2 tbsp butter

1 1/2 sweet onion

1 habanero pepper

1/4 – 1/2 serrano pepper, DESEEDED (depends on how hot you like it)

3 – 6 oz grass fed beef (I used 3, you can use more or none)

2 cups dried kidney beans (soak in warm water with a squeeze of lemon first for at least 12 hours)

15 oz can organic crushed tomatoes

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp cocoa powder (I used 1 1/2 but I think more would rock)

1/4 – 1/2 tsp chipotle chili (the chipotle flavor is strong if you use 1/2)

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp coriander

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp basil

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch oregano

pinch cayenne pepper

pinch thyme

Directions –

1. Soak the beans overnight in warm water with a pinch of lemon, covered. You could use canned beans if you need to; I think the conversion would be 4 cups.

2. Finely chop the onions and peppers.

3. Melt the butter into a pan and saute the sweet onions until lightly browned and the peppers. Add the beef towards the end of this process.

4. Meanwhile, pour the soaked beans into a large pot. Add enough water to completely cover the beans , cover, and bring to a boil. Let boil for a minute or two and then reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook for about an hour to an hour and a half. Once they are fairly soft during this time frame, remove the lid and let the water burn off until the beans start to get a bit dry. Add the canned tomatoes and let it continue to cook. A bit later, add all of the spices, onions, peppers, beef, everything. Let cook until the consistency is thick, the beans are soft to your liking, and the flavors have all melded together.

5. Top with sour cream, cheese, avocado, anything!

Benefits:

Kidney beans * are packed with fiber and protein! They also have high amounts of molybdenum (a detoxifier), folate, tryptophan (aids in feeling happy!), manganese, iron, copper, and B1!

Habanero peppers * linked to prevention of certain cancers due to their antioxidants. They are also said to aid in digestion, cause a release of endorphins, increase fat burning, improve circulation, decrease congestion, and reduce blood pressure.

Tomatoes * also contain a LOT of vitamin A and C. Vitamin A is a potent antioxidant that has been shown in studies to reduce the effects of smoking. This does not mean it is okay to smoke, but if you do, it is a VERY good idea to make sure are getting lots of vitamin A daily. Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, which has been proven to halt the growth of cancer cells!

Wheat, butter, sugar, egg, and milk free cookies… THAT ROCK.

Yesterday was a very hard day. Let it suffice to say that I was emotionally all over the place. There are so many things in this world that we cannot control, and so many unanswerable questions that we could drive ourselves crazy with. One thing, though, that we can do to make ourselves feel better is to bake cookies. I have had my eye on these cookies for a long time now, and yesterday… it was time.

I hopped on over to the co-op to pick up some ingredients and just about crapped my pants at the register. Half a cup of bulk, self-serve maple syrup is 7$?  This pathetic little blob of almond butter is 3$? What le hell, is this some magical syrup thats going to make my hair grow faster and help me ace Biochem? Noo, thank you. I had the woman at register put the syrup back and decided I would just have to change the recipe up a bit. It’s cool; I like playing doctor.

(Speaking of which… I noticed that my major, which is Nutritional Biochemistry, has basically all the same requirements as a pre-med…)

These cookies turned out magical. Truly magical. I didn’t realize until after I had made and devoured a couple that they are wheat, butter, sugar, egg and milk free. So… wait…. that means….. they’re vegan. Weird. You really must make them as soon as possible.

From the photo, they look a bit hard and dry, but in actuality, they are soft, moist, delicious little balls of love.

Spicy Ginger Teff Cookies

I know they aren’t very pretty, but e v e r y o n e that tried them loved them.

Recipe: 12 cookies

1 cup teff flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 cup almond butter

6 tbsp agave nectar

5 drops liquid stevia (optional)

1 tbsp honey  (use agave to make vegan)

1 tsp tamari

1 tbsp freshly grated ginger

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl, and all the wet in another. Mix each bowl individually. Pour the dry over the wet and stir with as few swoops of a spatula as possible. It will be thick. Divide the dough into 12 lumps on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12 minutes.

You could form them more cutely if you want.

Benefits:

Teff * is a unique Ethiopian grain usually used to make injera. It has more protein, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, and thiamin than wheat. Even better – the iron is easily absorbed by our bodies (unlike many other iron sources).

Tamari * a type of soy sauce, both of which are high in sodium (blah blah blah) but many believe that it has benefits due to its fermented state. It is said to aid in digestion, and contains compounds that protect against cancer and free radicals.

Ginger * contains gingerol which relaxes blood vessels and thus improves circulation. It also aids in digestion and can soothe the stomach. Contains TONS of compounds that fight cancer!

Cloves * super high in manganese and antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory effects on the body!

Cinnamon * In one study, after taking 1/4 – 1 tsp cinnamon daily for 40 days, all participants benefitted from a reduction of fasting blood sugar levels, blood triglycerides, and LDL (bad) cholesterol! It is very high in antioxidants and can help stabilize blood sugar levels, which will help prevent an insulin spike, and thus the storage of fat.

Almond butter * A great source of monounsaturated fats! These are the fats that raise HDL (good cholesterol) levels and lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels!

Guest Post: Alex from Spoonful of Sugar Free

Hello Everybody! Thanks you Lauren for asking to do a guest post while you are gone!

My name is Alex, and my blog is called Spoonful of Sugar Free. Just a quick note about myself before I continue onto the topic. I am very sensitive/allergic to sugars. I can’t eat sweets, but I can handle a bit of fruit sugar. I get a massive headache, a rash, and plain sick after eating sugar.

All right, now that you know where I’m coming from, I am going to talk to you about the different kinds of sugar replacements out there. When you walk down the aisle and see tons of new sweeteners, you probably don’t exactly know what to think. I believe that natural sugars are completely fine to eat in moderation. Our bodies were designed to digest natural foods, so natural sugars are great (I just can’t handle them) for the majority of the population.

A bad sugar that we hear a lot about these days is High Fructose Corn Syrup. It is a sugar derived from corn that is made by treating it with an enzyme. It is aprocessed food! Some recent studies have reported that “Rats normally live for a good two years,” explains Meira Fields, Ph.D., research chemist at the USDA in Beltsville, Maryland. “But the rats in my study fed a high-fructose, low copper diets are dying after 5 weeks.” High Fructose Corn Syrup is not meant to enter the human body, and our bodies don’t know how to digest it. Therefore, our bodies will either store it as fat, or the mutant high fructose molecule will travel to our cells and block off nutrients from getting into the cells. This, therefore, causes many problems in the body.

Bad Sugars Substitutes:


  • Aspartame: Steer clear! It is also unnatural, and it is known to cause cancer, and possibly interfere with the nervous system.
  • Sucralose (Splenda): Splenda is a chlorinated artificial sweetener. According to a study at Duke University, Splenda “suppresses beneficial bacteria and directly affects the expression of the transporter P-gp and cytochrome P-450 isozymes that are known to interfere with the bioavailability of drugs and nutrients. Furthermore, these effects occur at Splenda doses that contain sucralose levels that are approved by the FDA for use in the food supply.” Doesn’t sound good to me.
  • Sugar Alcohols: Xylitol, sorbitol, and maltitol are popping up everywhere. They are not completely absorbed by the body; but because they are not completely absorbed, they can ferment in the intestines and cause bloating, gas, or diarrhea. Personally, I don’t use them. But if you decide to try it, don’t use too much, it can cause stomach-issues.

Good Sugar Substitutes:

  • Honey: This natural bee delicacy even contains antioxidants! And small amounts of proteins, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Agave: This nectar comes from a desert plant. It is getting a lot of attention these days because it has a rather low Glycemic Index.
  • Maple Syrup: Must be PURE maple syrup. If so, it is minimally processed and contains antioxidants.
  • Molasses: Same as Maple syrup. The darker the molasses, the more antioxidants it contains!
  • Stevia: I have actually started using this, and have not had an problems. It contains zero calories, and is naturally derived from a herb. It comes in liquid or granule form.

And now, a sugar-free recipe! From Lauren’s request :)

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Milkshake

~This milkshake is dairy-free, sugar-free, vegan, and is a wonderful treat for summer!

Serves 1

  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

First, blend the cashews with equal parts water until it is smooth and makes a sort-of nut milk. Then, add banana, cocoa powder, and vanilla (if using), and blend until smooth. Add more water to create desired consistency. (I like my milkshakes nice and thick, so I don’t usually add much more water.)

You can even add some of the good sugars we talked about if you want the milkshake sweeter. I suggest using honey, stevia drops, or agave for this particular recipe.

Hope you enjoyed my post! My blog is here if you ever want to check it out.

Thanks again, Lauren, for allowing me to do this guest post!

Neener!

So today I was out in the garden and I found this poor, dehydrated little orphan baby…

Because she was the cutest thing I have ever seen and she let me pick her up, I decided to take her in. She could hardly hop away and seemed lost. We are going to try to reunite her with her mama this evening. But first I am feeding her and taking a zillion pictures…

Merhhh!

Boob pouch! Can’t I just be a kanga?

Okay okay, no more.

While I was out there I also found a BEAST of a zucchini. Who needs chemical fertilizer and GMO’s when you can get this in your front yard?!

I am definitely going to do a post very soon about why you should try to only eat local/farmers market produce. In short, they have much more nutrition than conventionally grown produce that you find in the supermarket. Since you are eating veggies anyway, you might as well get the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals out of it as you can deserve.

Today’s recipe is perfect for a hot summers day, especially here in Texas! I wish I had made it before the 4th, but c’est la vie. This is seriously the best Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho I have ever had.

Recipe: Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 cup of watermelon (plus a few extra balls for garnish)

1 tbsp diced white onions

a slice of lime

half a lemon

powdered ginger

chili powder

cayenne pepper

1 tbsp cilantro (plus some for garnish)

salt

Blend the diced tomatoes until they are to your desired consistency. Add 1 cup of watermelon, 1 tbsp onion, lime juice, lemon juice, 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, several shakes of chili powder and salt, a few shakes of cayenne pepper, and couple shakes of ginger. Blend again. Try it and if you would like to add anything else.

There is one more secret ingredient…

Half a shot of cointreau!

Mmm liqua in my dinna.

The cointreau is optional and totally depends on your tastes. I have had it without and it was just as delicious. Garnish with watermelon balls and cilantro. Enjoy!

Benefits:

Watermelon * a great source of vitamin A, C, B1, and B6. The antioxidants derived from the vitamin A help fight inflammation which contributes to many ailments, including heart attacks, diabetes miletus, and arthritis.

Tomatoes * also contain a LOT of vitamin A and C. Vitamin A is a potent antioxidant that has been shown in studies to reduce the effects of smoking. This does not mean it is okay to smoke, but if you do, it is a VERY good idea to make sure are getting lots of vitamin A daily. Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, which has been proven to halt the growth of cancer cells!

Cayenne and chili pepper * both contain antioxidants and temporarily raise your metabolism!

PS: Don’t forget to enter the Vega giveaway!

A whole new level

You guysss! I got a new camera!

Remember how my old camera got destroyed on what was supposed to be a relaxing hike? No? Thats okay. The point of the story is I treated myself to an upgrade…

It even has a food setting!

Courtney and I made vegan cream cheese swirled pumpkin squares! It was supposed to be cake-like,  but the consistency was that of a very moist brownie. Still, they are tasty. If you want the recipe, I am happy to give it out, but they definitely need perfecting.