Category Archives: vegan

Carbs! (Or….Half Marathon Prep + Blondies)

Soooo about that half marathon.  It’s tomorrow.  Let’s talk for a minute about my training.  Back in July and August, it was going pretty well.  I hadn’t done any runs over 10k yet, but I was working on speed and even doing some horrific hill training workouts.  And everything was feeling pretty good.  Then, after that 10k race I did back about 6 weeks ago, it wasn’t really feeling good anymore.

More than two years ago, I suffered a stress fracture in my 4th/5th metatarsal (that’s your toe bone).  Stress fractures are pretty annoying because the only thing you can really do for them is rest them, and my entire life basically requires me to be on my feet.  And I’m a busy body, so there’s also that.  I took about 4 months off running, and then ran the Scotiabank half that fall.  I hadn’t trained properly, because I was scared of re-injuring my foot, so I went into it pretty much cold.  It was painful.  I could feel myself adjusting my stride to compensate for my sore foot, which in turn really hurt my hip.  The race went RIGHT past my front door at about mile 6, and I remember telling myself I should just walk into my apartment and give up.  But, being as stubborn as I am, I didn’t and proceeded to finish the race.  In less than 2:30, only just over 30 mins longer than my best times.  (I probably should not consider this a victory of any sort, but I somehow still do.)

Fast forward to today, and Dr Google tells me that the nagging pain I’m experiencing on the ball of my foot is metatarsalgia, and probably a direct result of this “never-quite-healed” stress fracture.  So about 4 weeks ago, I was faced with a decision: keep training and hope that it doesn’t continue getting worse (but knowing it probably would), drop out of the race, or do the race “cold”, but on fresh feet, and hope for the best.

I chose option 3.

Is it smart?  No.  Am I going to be hurting?  Most likely.  Am I doing it anyway?  Yes.

I got some new shoes that are way more supportive (read: heavy and clunky and I feel like I have bricks strapped to my feet and I hate them) in a last-ditch effort to help.

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One day I’ll learn to stop being stubborn.  But that day is not today.  (Or tomorrow.)

So today I’m enjoying all the perks of knowing I’m running a race tomorrow.  Buying copious amounts of expensive coconut water.  Lazing around.  Eating all.the.carbs.  That’s where the blondies come in.

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I came across this recipe for chocolate chip chickpea blondies on Chocolate Covered Katie‘s blog a few years ago.  I had just recently discovered the amazingness that is black bean brownies and was eager to try these.  I made them for my coworkers and everyone went bananas for them.  They’re my go-to when I’m trying to convince someone that you can sneak healthy ingredients into your desserts and still have them rock your world.  Today I decided to give them a fall twist by subbing most of the peanut butter with pumpkin puree (I kept 1 tbsp pb) and adding fresh ginger, lots of cinnamon and some nutmeg.  I left out the chocolate chips (although I think white chocolate would have been AMAZING in here) and went for icing instead.  Apparently this is a completely stolen recipe, because I used (a different) Katie’s toasted coconut frosting to top them.

I’ve eaten a third of the pan.  I need to go deliver these to someone.  STAT.

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Superfood Anytime Cookies

I’m always trying to put together recipes that use almond meal.  Since I started making my own almond milk, I constantly have it kicking around.  You can dehydrate it into almond flour, but who wants to do the extra work?

These cookies are healthy enough for breakfast or a snack.  Lightly sweet, hearty, a bit cakey and full of superfoods.  They come together quickly, and best of all, you only need one bowl.  I like to make them in my stand mixer, but with a little elbow grease you could do it by hand too.

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Superfood Anytime Cookies

Makes about 28

1 large ripe banana, mashed

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (either canned or homemade)

1/2 cup almond butter (if using unsalted, add 1/2 tsp salt)

2 tbsp coconut oil 

3 tbsp agave nectar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1-2 tsp cinnamon (I like lots)

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 cup spelt flour

1 cup rolled oats or spelt flakes

1 tbsp each: flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp hearts

3 tbsp goji berries

1/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut

2 tbsp chopped pecans

2 tbsp cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 350.

Add all ingredients from banana to cinnamon in a bowl.  Combine well.  Add almond meal, flour and oats and combine.  Add your mix ins and stir until just incorporated.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Drop by rounded teaspoon, flatten gently and shape.  The cookies will not spread much, so they can be close together.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Cool 5 mins on cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

I plugged the recipe into an online calorie calculator and came up with 113 calories, 7g fat, 3g protein per cookie.

Vegan Creamed Cauliflower Soup

This soup.  Damn.

Sometimes I forget how awesome cauliflower is.

I bought a huge head of it at the market the other day, and it’s been sitting in my fridge making me feel guilty ever since.

I’ve been huge into grab-and-go meals lately and I just haven’t been able to be bothered creating something out of the poor cauliflower.

When I bought it, cauliflower crust pizza visions were in my head.  Have you tried it yet? It’s so good!  Last time that I was visiting my parents we had a pizza night and I made one of the pies with cauliflower crust and even my dad thought it was awesome.  I loosely followed The Detoxinista‘s recipe.

Anyway, as I was going to bed last night, I decided that I was going to do a juice and smoothie-only day today.  I used to do this every Monday, and I loved it.  Such a great way to set the tone for the week.  I don’t really know when I fell off the wagon with this habit, but I’d like to reintroduce it.  So today was the day.

I woke up feeling a little on the miserable side.  Achey, stuffy nose, headache.  But, as planned, I drank a beet, carrot, lemon and ginger concoction and went about my day.  To help fend off whatever it is that might be ailing me, I sliced 2 lemons and a bunch of ginger, covered it with water, added a healthy dash of chili peppers, brought the mixture to a boil and have been refilling my mug all day.

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I went to a Yang Yin class with one of my favourite teachers, and then came home to a kale, banana, berries and hemp seed smoothie for lunch.  I pushed on with my day, running errands and doing laundry to prepare for being away for the rest of the week.  And then it started raining.  Like a lot.  And I got cold and wet and all I wanted was a warm and hearty and satisfying meal.  No more stupid juices (have I ever mentioned how cranky I get when I’m hungry??).  So this soup was born.

I cleaned and chopped the entire head of cauliflower and put it in a pot to steam.  Sliced up some onions and garlic and got those sauteeing.  Meanwhile I made a cashew cream to blend in.  After the cauliflower was soft, I pureed it with the garlic and onions in the Vitamix and poured it back into the pot.  I was about to add in the cashew cream when I realized that I absolutely didn’t need it.  The pureed cauliflower was so thick and creamy and….luxurious that it was totally unnecessary.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not someone who thinks we should eat everything fat free, especially when those fats are healthy nut fats, but when it’s just as good without? Why bother.

Creamed Cauliflower Soup

Vegan and gluten-free

1 large head cauliflower, roughly chopped into florets

1 medium sized onion, sliced

2-3 cloves garlic, sliced

1 tbsp coconut oil

Thyme, about 1 tsp, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

Nutritional yeast, about 1-2 tbsp, to taste

Directions:

Lightly steam the cauliflower.

While steaming, heat the oil in a pan, and saute the onions and garlic until they are lightly browned and fragrant.

Once cauliflower is fork-tender, run under cold water to cool a bit, then begin to puree with the onion and garlic mixture until very smooth(I did this in 3 smaller batches), transferring pureed soup back into pot as you go.  In the last blender-full, add about 1-2 tbsp nutritional yeast and 1 tsp thyme.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, and bring back to a simmer.

Delicious served immediately, and probably even better the next day.

SBC: Day 4

4) Thankful Thursday

Today I woke up verrrrrry tired.  So thankful for coffee.

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For balance.  Vegan donuts // Smoothie bowls

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For a strong and able body, that can power through runs and ease into asanas

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(gratuitous Bali memory)

For finally keeping a scoby alive and nailing a new kombucha recipe

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For making the best of things with silly friends

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For these two

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Jailhouse cuisine

Don’t be mistaken – I am definitely NOT likening my amazing month of YTT to being in prison. I am (very) willingly here of my own free will and loving it.

We are fortunate to have a great restaurant that takes care of our meals for us, but I looooove cooking and baking and generally just getting creative in the kitchen. My roommate is the same way. So we’ve been working with the rather limited resources of our villa’s kitchen to create snacks and treats (please don’t tell our teacher about the amount of treats).

Grocery stores essentially don’t exist here, so food-making also involves a certain degree of swiping ingredients. This is where the “jailhouse cuisine” thing comes in. Anyone read/seen Orange is the New Black? It totally reminds me of the prisoners coming up with these prison specialties with the few items they can buy from the dispensary and steal from the cafeteria then cobble together with little more than a microwave. We have a stove top instead of a microwave, but you get the idea.

So far, we’ve made an awesome hummus (it took over an hour), vanilla-infused cocobiotic (think kombucha, but with coconut water instead of tea), and oh-so-much raw vegan chocolate. The chocolate has morphed from a basic coconut oil, cacao and chia seeds to peanut-butter-dipped-chocolate-covered-frozen-banana-bites and almond butter cups made in an ice cube tray. You heard.

Anyway, if you’re ever dying for chocolate and only have some basic pantry ingredients, a bowl, a freezer, and 2 minutes plus some waiting time, you’re in luck. And technically, none of these ingredients are bad for you. They’re all even in the superfoods family. You probably just shouldn’t eat the whole thing in one sitting.

All the measurements are really approximate because ummm I don’t have any measuring tools. But you can eyeball it.

Super Easy Raw Vegan Chocolate
1 cup organic cold-pressed coconut oil
4 heaping tbsp raw cacao powder
2 tbsp chia seeds
Optional:
1-2 tbsp vanilla or chocolate or chai (do the chai!) protein powder (this acts as a sweetener)
Chopped raw almonds, raisins or whatever else you can pick out of the breakfast granola
1 pod worth of vanilla seeds
Pinch of sea salt

Make sure your coconut oil is liquid. This happens at above 21•, which is always in Bali. Stir in everything else, making sure to get any lumps of cacao smoothed out. Taste. A lot. Put the whole bowl in the freezer. In about 15 minutes it will be hard enough to roughly chop into pieces and devour.