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day 10 – stuffed peppers

07 Jun

It seems that my fast go to breakfast on the days when I have to wake up and run out the door, is cold cereal with fruit. And, of course, coffee!

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One of my students works in a bakery, and she brought me a whole slew of vegan goodies to try… This box is NOT going to survive long. Thanks, Kara!

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The evening called for another easy recipe… I started with some soup and pita with hummus…

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and then…

Easy & Delicious Stuffed Peppers

[from Oh She Glows]

Ingredients

  • 2 red peppers
  • 1.5 cups uncooked lentils (estimate only!)
  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • 3-4 tbsp sweet BBQ sauce
  • Sea salt, pepper to taste

Directions

Cook lentils according to package directions. While the lentils are cooking, preheat the oven to 350F. Cut top top of the peppers off and carefully remove the inner seeds to your liking. Pop the peppers onto a baking sheet and into the oven to pre-cook for about 20 minutes while the lentils are cooking. Remove the peppers from the oven and set aside. Rinse the lentils with a colander and rinse out the pot that you cooked the lentils in. Place the drained lentils back into the pot and add the pasta sauce, BBQ sauce, and seasonings. Stir well. Fill the two peppers with the lentil mixture and place them carefully onto the baking sheet. Place into the oven for another 15-30 minutes checking it every 10 minutes.

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Arrrrghhh… no picture of the final result. Check Angela’s photo here.

 
 

day 9 – red zinger lemonade

06 Jun

After a loooong day of graduation celebrations, I needed an easy recipe. This fit the bill.

Red Zinger Lemonade

[from (never home)maker]

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of lemon blueberry green tea (I used 2 K-cups to make the tea in my coffeemaker, and then added water)
  • 3 lemons (or enough to create 1 cup of fresh lemon juice)
  • 1/2 cup natural sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

 

Directions

Make the tea. Pour into a large pitcher and refrigerate. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, mix together the 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, then down to a simmer — add the ginger — and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Add to your pitcher and continue to cool in the refrigerator. After about 15 minutes has passed (and the mixture has begun to cool), squeeze your lemon juice from your lemons and add to the pitcher. You can add water to taste. Continue to cool until cold.

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I was not sure what to do with all the squeezed lemons, so I just put them in a separate container with some sugar and cold water. Classic lemonade!!!

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Guess what happens when you place a plastic bag with sugar on a hot stove? Yeah, it melts through… Vlad is vacuuming the sugar. :)

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yoga teacher training graduation party

06 Jun

The morning started with an outdoor yoga practice.

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Soon it became apparent that a serious yoga practice was just not going to happen that day. :)

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After working hard and scaring off all the normal people in the park, we were off to Roopa’s for food and fun!

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Flexing muscles here… I think…

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Which mudra is this? :)

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Jen giving me a neck rub. Mmmmmm….

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Last, but not least – FOOD!

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We even had live music!!!

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In the interests of keeping the blog PG friendly, the hot tub photos were omitted. :)

It was a great day! What an amazing bunch of yogis. I will miss you guys!

 
 

day 8 – more brownies?

05 Jun

Quick (and pretty!) breakfast and off to teacher training. Last weekend!!!! Written exam in the morning, and practicals all afternoon.

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Even though I packed my lunch, I decided to join the whole gang for sushi, since this is our LAST weekend together. So sad…

Nothing will break Luke’s concentration here…

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These two don’t have their food yet. So nothing to do, but smile. :)

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Not my plate. :)

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NOT my plate either…

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My plate – seaweed salad! If you think that’s all I had, think again…

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Avocado rolls! These were amazing!!! We did need to eat pretty light, as we were practicing all afternoon as part of our practical exams. So this left me just full enough. I’d say 75% full. :)

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After a really long day (it wasn’t really long, but definitely seemed that way with all the exams), we were off for a belated birthday get together with some friends at Mandarin – a chain buffet. It was a central location, and it looked like people were trying to kill each other… Good thing we had a reservation!

Snack on my way over…

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Birthday boy and a ridiculously large beer mug he got as a gift from Dan and Angela! Well, I thought it was ridiculously large. He thought it was JUST RIGHT. The mug had an engraving on it with his name and birthday wishes!!! How amazing is that?

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Vlad and his hot and sour soup are sharing a moment. It was truly special…

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Sam and sake.

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We started with the most important food group…

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I did my best to ask and figure out which dishes were vegan friendly. Some of my eats…

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It may or may not have gone downhill from here with a pile of onion rings… Which are vegan, you gotta admit.

This beautiful pair finally arrived! They were stuck in traffic. :(

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As the crowd continued the celebrations at a bar, I actually headed home to bake the second batch of brownies and head to bed. Early morning tomorrow will include an outdoor yoga practice and an all-day picnic/hot tub/pool celebration with the yoga teacher training bunch, as we party away. What an amazing six months it has been…

Ok, despite the ridiculous name, these turned out really good… You ready?

Scrum-Diddly-Umptious Vegan Brownies

[from RecipeZaar]

Ingredients

    * 1 cup unsweetened applesauce (I used 1 mashed banana and the rest apple sauce)
    * 1/2 cup raw sugar (I used regular white sugar)
    * 1 teaspoon vanilla
    * 3/4 cup unbleached white flour (I used all-purpose)
    * 1/3 cup cocoa powder
    * 2 teaspoons baking powder
    * 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt
    * 1/3 cup walnuts
    * 1 dash cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly spray or oil an 8 x 8 baking pan. Mix applesauce, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and cinnamon together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the applesauce mixture. Mix until just combined. Gently fold in walnuts. Spread in prepared pan and bake 25-30 min, until center is firm and not sticky. Cool completely before slicing.

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If you’ve ever purchased a brownie mix in a box that just requires you to add milk and eggs – this is probably what you are buying… Some flour with sugar and cocoa powder.

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Ok, I realize this does not look very appetizing, but wait…IMG_2520

Ta da! These turned out much more brownie like. The batch yesterday was much more cakey – soft texture. I can’t say I can pick between yesterday’s and today’s batch. Make both!

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day 7 – rich, fudgy vegan brownies

04 Jun

What’s for breakfast? :)

Whole wheat pita with healthy strawberry jam!

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And hot wheat cereal. I still can’t bring myself to put anything on top, but some salt and Earth Balance. :)

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Coffee fix with vanilla rice milk. It’s much more watery than soy milk. I do prefer soy milk in my coffee after all. Chocolate soy milk for a special treat!

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Hi, there, good looking!

Spinach + red cabbage + tomatoes + avocado + pepitas + Kellogg’s All Bran + olive oil.

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This is what happens to coffee when you put in milk first. Mmmmm….

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For dessert – leftover strawberry jam on pita and blueberries!

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Today marks my first attempt at vegan baking! We are getting together for a graduation celebration with my yoga teacher training bunch, and I promised to bring vegan brownies. The plan is to make two batches. Here goes nothing!

Rich Fudgy Vegan Brownies

[from RecipeZaar]

Ingredients

* 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour (I used all-purpose)
* 1/2 cup cocoa
* 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (I used white)
* 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup brewed coffee
* 3/4 cup soymilk
* 1/3 cup vegetable oil
* 1/2 cup walnuts, roasted and chopped (I used pecans)
* 1/2 cup carob chips

Directions

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the coffee, soy milk, and oil. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix; then stir in the nuts and chocolate chips. Pour batter (it will be quite liquidy) into a greased 9×9″ pan and bake at 325º for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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Dinner was quick to prepare – leftover vegan borscht + microwaved sweet potato with salsa and cilantro.

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Bread and hummus. Of course. Gotta have coffee in the morning, and bread at night… :)

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Trying new beer… :)

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day 6 – healthy strawberry jam

03 Jun

I had the blueberry almond smoothie for breakfast – this time with even more spinach and minus the chia seeds. I liked it more than the original version, because it was less sweet. Crazy, how your taste buds change over time. :)

Almost two of these glasses. :)

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On a backsplash of a poster signed by Tosca Reno, the author of the Eat Clean Diet. I met her at a talk she gave at my dad’s gym. I told her that I hope to look like her when I am in my 50s. She said that it looked like I was well on my way. :)

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And a toast with almond butter + jam, and a cuppa.

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I’m sorry to say that there were really no actual meals for the rest of the day. Things took longer than I expected, so no lunch. I ate a whole bunch of random things on the go. :(

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And more random things:

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I have a trip to Israel coming up this summer, and I was required to submit a doctor’s form, documenting I am healthy, so I dropped by a walk-in clinic.

This is me 2 hours and 75 dollars later…. :( Ouch.

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I was under impression that I was there to get a signature on a piece of paper. But noooooooo…

I had my height and weight measured. (Nothing like a doctor who decides he is going to guess your weight before you step on the scale, and guesses 20 pounds lighter. Ummm… thanks.).

Vision checked.

Blood pressure checked.

Hearing checked.

Two immunizations shots.

Blood taken for analysis. Twice.

All of this happened in three different offices and was performed by ten different people.

At some point a woman (I have not seen until that point) came up to me with a syringe, intending to give me a shot. I actually had to stop her and ask: “Can you please confirm what it is I’m getting? Given the (lack of) organization at this place, I would not be surprised if I received an allergy shot intended for a teenager next door OR a medication to lower cholesterol for an older gentleman in the hall…”. I was only half-joking…

After THAT ordeal, I met Vlad for a surprise birthday shopping spree – I took him to a sports apparel store to get fitted for new running shoes!!! Since they had a sale, I ended up with a pair as well. No excuse now – gotta start training for my half marathon. Let’s hope my knees will appreciate the proper shoe. Pictures soon!

With all the random snacking throughout the day, I was not hungry for dinner. More tortilla chips and some brew…

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Kawartha Lakes Raspberry Wheat – really nice summer beer with a light fruity flavour. Mmm….

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Paddy’s was more on a bitter side. I did not like it.

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Cheers!

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Mooha went sober tonight, but could not refuse the chips. (Check out lovely Sandra on the background, as I am flipping through teacher training pictures).

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Sigh… Overall, definitely not the nutrition of champions. I need me some vegetables tomorrow…


Healthy Strawberry Jam

[adapted from (never home)maker]

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened pitted dates
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

 

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process until… well, until it looks good. :) You can either make it chunky or more creamy. Refrigerate for about 2-3 days.

Gah – missing a photo of end result. Check tomorrow’s post.

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day 5 – vegan borscht

02 Jun

I won’t lie – these smelled sooo good. I wanted to use up French bread in the fridge, so here’s Vlad’s breakfast. I used 2 eggs + milk + cinnamon + vanilla extract in the mix.

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I had to have something pretty as well…

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Ta da!!!

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Lunch at work, hence the containers. :) Whole wheat spaghetti + leftovers of yesterday’s sauce (amazing!) + diced tomato.

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Salad = spinach + lentils + salsa + broccoli sprouts + pumpkin seeds.

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It was POURING today. We were late for our apartment/condo hunting appointment, because the traffic was CRAWLING. I had this to keep me company. Vega Whole Food Energy Bar – Natural flavour.

This was not my favorite bar. I didn’t mind the taste, and at 240 calories, it would make a substantial snack. It definitely tied me over for a few hours. Something to keep in mind, however, as Jenna mentioned in her review of Vega bars, the tastebuds of a food blogger are not necessarily representative of the general population. :)

I left a little piece for Vlad to try, as he is definitely more “normal” in the taste bud area. He didn’t like it either. In his words – too dry, and weird tasting, but he could eat it, if he was really hungry.

Nutritional profile was quite beautiful, however…

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Ingredients:

Dates, hemp protein, almond butter, organic sprouted whole flax seeds, agave nectar, almonds, raisins, sesame seeds, organic sprouted mung beans, organic wheat grass, lemon juice, organic dulse.

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For dinner – tilapia in carnivore land.

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Ok, this is the last of the soup. I promise. (except for what’s in the freezer).

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Salad = spinach + red cabbage + cucumber + apple + sliced almonds + EVOO + balsamic vinegar + lemon juice.

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The last bun… These are so good.

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Now on to the recipe of the day…

Vegan Borscht

[from Imagelicious]

Ingredients:

  • 4 small beets, cut in small cubes 
  • 2 big potatoes, peeled and cut in medium cubes Potatoes, peeled and cut into medium cubes – 2 big
  • 1/2 of medium red cabbage, shredded
  • vegetable stock – 8 cups 
  • Salt, pepper to taste

 

Directions:

In a big pot cover beets with the stock and boil. When beets are half cooked, add the potatoes and continue cooking. About 10 minutes before the potatoes are ready, add the cabbage and cook until all the ingredients are ready. Season to taste.

Notes:

  • This was the first time I used beets. For anything… Ever… So “when beets are half cooked” really did not mean much to me. I had to contact Julia. :)
  • I totally forgot to add minced garlic in the end. Will try that with the remainder of the soup.
  • For broth, I used the remainder of a carton in my fridge + concentrated vegetable broth. Ugh – blurry picture. It hurts my eyes.
  • The original recipe calls for broth OR water. I don’t really see using water for this one – I think it would be too flavourless.
  • I think I just don’t like beets… Period. :(

 

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Let me just say… this was not nearly as pretty as Julia’s version. And this time, it was NOT just about the camera either. :)

 
 

day 4 – potato latkes

02 Jun

Mid-morning snacks included banana + blueberries + almonds, which suspiciously resembled my morning smoothie – only in whole food form.

Easy lunch = vegetable lentil soup (can you tell how huge that batch was? and I still have at least two servings in the freezer) + hot sauce + coconut milk + Kellogg’s All-Bran.

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This… times 2.

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After SOF workout, I dropped by my little brother’s place! Little is figurative, of course, as he is at least two feet taller than I am. :)

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Alex knew just what a girl needs after a workout.

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This was regular peanut butter, and I definitely noticed the difference. The peanutty goodness is still there, but it also felt very… plasticky. It spread a little too well. Of course, that’s exactly what makes it convenient.

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Non-vegan chow!

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Now check out those shoes! :) I brought these as a present for Alex from Amsterdam last year (where else???).

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Tour of the studio…

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Beauty, no?

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When I came home, it was already pretty late. But, of course, I had a recipe to make. I swear, this trial is going to kill me…

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Potato Latkes with Soy Garlic Sesame Sauce

[from Julia – I think the trial should be renamed to trying one new recipe every day from Julia]

Ingredients:

  • 2 big potatoes
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 tsp cornstarch
  • salt, pepper, oil for frying

 

Directions:

Grate the potatoes using a fine grater. Grate the onion, add to potatoes. Add cornstarch, salt, pepper – mix well. Heat a bit of oil in the pan over medium heat. Cook like pancakes. (Scoop out on the pan, spread out to make them thinner). Makes about 5 pancakes.

For the sauce, mix:

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar (or any other)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • sesame seeds

 

Notes:

  • I felt like I was cheating with this recipe a little, as it really resembles Russian potato pancakes, aka “draniki” – grated potatoes + egg + flour. But the sauce really made this recipe.
  • The fine grater in my house was a little too fine. The potatoes were mush, essentially. Next time, I’ll try larger grater. It also makes them prettier, when you can see individual potato flakes.

 

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Vlad made the sauce. :)

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I’m sorry to say that these did not make it to the morning. :) The actual latkes flavour was not new, although NO EGGS and NO FLOUR. The sauce was amazing though!

I can see using this sauce on other things as well – e.g. stir fry, salad, pasta.

 
 

blueberry almond smoothie

01 Jun

I came across The Make Meals Healthy Recipe contest at work. The college newsletter listed top 10 functional foods, and challenged employees to come up with a healthy recipe, using at least two of the ten foods.

The food cannot be deep fried (as if!), and the recipes would be judged on the number of functional foods used in the recipe, healthy method, ease of preparation, taste and originality.

The top 10 functional foods listed were:

  1. soy
  2. salmon
  3. almonds
  4. whole grains
  5. beans and legumes
  6. spinach
  7. broccoli
  8. blueberries
  9. sweet potatoes

10.  tomatoes

So here is my take on a healthy recipe,  using soy + almonds + blueberries + spinach.

Blueberry Almond Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond milk (I used Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze) –> almonds!
  • 1 small container of almond-flavored tofu (plain tofu would work too) –> almonds + soy!
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 2 ice cubes
  • honey, vanilla extract (optional)

 

Directions:

Place all ingredients in blender. I usually pour liquid last. Cover and blend for few minutes until smooth. Serve immediately.

Makes 1.5 large glasses (could serve 2 people or 1 SOF-training yoga-teaching psychology instructor).

Basic ingredients… (I no longer have chia seeds, because after adding a bit to the smoothie, I dropped this whole container on the floor. I may or may not have said something not nice. Mooha was delighted.)

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Soooo good.

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Side of coffee + whole wheat pita with pumpkin butter and honey is optional.

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Cat in a box.

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day 3 – baked apples

01 Jun

The breakfast actually started yesterday with some overnight oatmeal.

Scottish oatmeal + vanilla extract + chia seeds + So Nice vanilla soy milk + frozen blueberries.

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Went from this…

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… to this. Notice how gelatinous the mix becomes because of chia seeds. This bowl clearly needed more milk yesterday. I just added more today and mixed well.

It was good, but not excellent. Scottish oats are kinda weird as overnight oats – I much prefer regular Quaker oats for overnight experiments. I will try more milk next time, or maybe vanilla soy yogurt for soaking. Mmmmm…

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With a side of coffee and pita with pumpkin butter drizzled with a bit honey. Sooooo seedy. Ok, wait – that came out wrong. I mean seedy in a good way. :)

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Now the highlight of my day… I present to you… MY LUNCH. Grilled eggplant + buckwheat + Earth Balance + pita. After marinating in the fridge for the whole night, the eggplant were SIMPLY UNBELIEVABLE. As in good… If I must specify. :)

I placed the eggplant right on top of the pita and ate it like a sandwich. The plate was destroyed in five minutes.

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Perfect end to a perfect lunch.

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The carnivore was in heaven, devouring the eggplant. In fact, for a carnivore, he liked these eggplants a little too much. :)

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I had a light dinner, having a big dessert in mind…

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Nope, this is not the dessert I was talking about…

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Now the feature presentation…

Baked Apples with Dates, Pecans and Lemon Juice

[straight from Imagelicious – I’m working my way through Julia’s vegan recipes. Well, the manageable ones any way. :) ) ]

Ingredients:

  • 2 apples, washed and cored
  • 4-6 dates, pitted and chopped
  • 3 tbsp pecans, chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Pour the lemon juice inside the apple. Mix the dates and pecans together.  Place the nut mixture into the apple. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon on top. Place the apples on a baking sheet. Bake for around 30 minutes until the apple is soft and the skin is wrinkled.

Notes:

  • My apples never imploded and wrinkled up like Julia’s. I left them in the oven for an extra 10-15 min longer, but nothing happened. They were fully soft and cooked through, but no wrinkling. Maybe it’s this specific apple variety? Will try with a different kind of apples next time.
  • It also seemed that Julia’s apples had more filling. Maybe try and cut out a bigger hole next time?
  • I found this to be a really easy, but really impressive (looking and tasting) dessert.

 

Before…

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Stuffed…

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Baked…

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Wrinkled up or not, these were absolutely delicious. And very filling! Especially considering the fact, that I had a whole one and finished up Vlad’s half as well. Mmmmm.

Definitely satisfies the sweet tooth. The mixture of dates and pecans is brilliant.