Thursday, September 30, 2010

There Are No Words...

This post was too good for me to not share. Please take the time to watch both Part I and Part II. It will change your life. ~Amykinz

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stress Reducers

The healthy breakfast and lunch kept me feeling 100% until about 3pm. That's when I started feeling the cold-like symptoms coming on again, so I gave myself another shot of Zicam spray.

At snack time, I was craving something sweet, so in addition to my 1/2 banana, I devoured enjoyed one of these beauties from the other night...
Salt-Kissed Peanut Butter Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
When I was making them, this little guy didn't want to come off the pan... so I ate him. :)

Salt-Kissed Chunky Peanut Butter Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe courtesy of Oh She Glows
  • 1 + 1/4 cup whole grain spelt flour* (see note below) <--- I used 1 cup (Amykinz)
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fleur de sel (or reg. salt)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tbsp cacao nibs (optional, but they add crunch!) <--- I used non-dairy chocolate chips instead (Amykinz)
  • 3-4 tsp non-dairy dark chocolate chips <--- I still added these, too (Amykinz)
  • 1.5 tbsp chunky peanut butter <--- I used creamy peanut butter (Amykinz)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3.5 tbsp canola oil <--- I used olive oil (Amykinz)
  • Fleur de sel, for garnish
  • Turbinado sugar, for garnish (optional) <--- I opted, YES! (Amykinz)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with oil. In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients (spelt flour, baking soda, baking powder, fleur de sel, sugar). Whisk together. In a medium sized bowl mix all wet ingredients (peanut butter, maple syrup, oil. vanilla). Mix well making sure the PB is thoroughly mixed in. Now add wet to dry and stir. Mix with hands if necessary until fully incorporated. Stir in cacao nibs and chocolate chips. Wet hands and shape small cookies about 1.5 inches in diameter and place on baking sheet. Bake for just 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack after a couple minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. 
*Note: If you prefer thinner cookies as in trial 3, omit 1/4 cup spelt flour and just use 1 cup.
Nutritional info: (Make 14 cookies, per cookie:) 115 kcals, 6 grams fat, 2 grams fibre, 2 grams protein, 7 grams sugar.

Today was a running day with a friend, so I was excited to try out a new path! It was tougher than my last 2 runs because the paths were hilly, but they were really quite beautiful this time of year. I was also SUPER excited because I shaved off another minute/per mile from my pace! I'm up to 13 min/mile averages, which I think is pretty good for it only being my 3rd run and I'm doing walk/run intervals. Anyway, the moral of the story is that I actually ran on an empty stomach which was a really BAD idea! Next time... fuel before my run! Oh, and when I left for my run, I was C.R.A.B.B.Y. (because I couldn't find my pedometer to keep my distance), but once again, after my run... crabbiness is gone! I heart running as a stress-reducer!

I think I downed about 32 oz of water, just on the car ride home! And when I got there, my hubby had made dinner. It was just ok, but he gets an "A" for effort. Actually, I'm the one who picked out the recipe, so it's kinda my fault. He just followed the recipe. At any rate, it was highly unsatisfying and I'm certain I'll find some dark chocolate and maybe even a bowl of homemade granola later. ;) Recipe to come!

Homemade "Ranch" Dressing Love Story

Meet a plain 'ol salad.

This salad was happy with its friends Tomato, Cucumber and Walnut, but it secretly longed for something more. Something to bring it to life again. Something to add a little zip to its life.

Then one day, Homemade "Ranch" Dressing was made.

Now Homemade "Ranch" Dressing was a bit cocky. He knew he was sweet, yet salty. He knew he was loved by many. He knew that no one could resist him. He knew that he made people happy all over the world. He knew that he was versatile and could be used for MORE than a dressing... like sour cream, alfredo sauce and mayonnaise. But, truth be told, Homemade "Ranch" Dressing was lonely. He longed for something to add more color to his life.

Then finally, the earth came together and plain ol' salad met Homemade "Ranch" Dressing.

And they lived happily ever after... in my tummy! :)

Homemade "Ranch" Dressing
This recipe was inspired by Vegan for a Year

1-1/2 cups raw cashews, unsalted
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/4 cup cold-pressed sunflower oil
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon organic pure cane sugar
1 stalk organic celery, cut into about 3 sticks
1 organic carrot, cut into about 3 sticks (or 3 baby carrots)
splash of white wine vinegar

In a blender, mix the first 4 ingredients on low. Gradually get speed of blender to high, adding oil slowly, as needed. Blend until mixture is creamy (like sour cream). Add the remaining 5 ingredients and blend on high until throughly mixed. Add more water, if needed. Enjoy on salads or sandwiches. Use as a dip for veggies. Or warm it up and serve on pasta.

Supportive Families

Mondays and Wednesdays are a little hectic for me. My DD has preschool, so I have to load up and unload all the kids twice on those days. We get home from picking her up around 11:30 and today we had to stop at the bank, so it was more like noon, which is typically when I have lunch on the table. So, on days like these, I try to throw something really easy together. Today it was this...
Romaine, Strawberries, Goat Cheese & Sunflower Seeds
While I typically don't eat dairy products, occasionally I'll embrace goat cheese, because it's easier for our bodies to digest. In this salad, it was delicious! These pictures were before I slathered on my Homemade "Ranch" Dressing! Watch for that recipe later today!

Today's theme in my daycare was "My Family". The kids built houses out of blocks, learned to set the table and drew a picture of their family. It got me thinking about my family and how grateful I am for them. My husband has been extremely supportive of my health-choices, every step of the way, despite the increase in what we're spending on groceries. He's always supportive, no matter what I do.

How about you? Is your family supportive of your health-conscience decisions?

Chocolate Covered Raspberry Green Monster

This morning I woke up feeling a little under the weather. I was feeling a cold coming on, so I quickly grabbed the Zicam spray and headed to the kitchen to whip up a Green Monster to hopefully kill this cold in its tracks!

Chocolate Covered Raspberry Green Monster

1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raspberries
1 tablespoon almond butter
2 cups kale
1 cup almond milk
2-3 ice cubes

Blend in a blender until your hearts content. Pour into a glass and enjoy with a straw.

Monday, September 27, 2010

An Ode to Angela

When I started on this blogging journey (not that long ago!) I started with following one single blog... Angela is quite the inspiration and eats a lot like the Endo Diet (with a few substitutions here and there); not to mention, she's the cutest little darn thing you ever did see! I would plan my weekly menus strictly around what she was featuring on her blog each week. Angela is a large reason why I'm healthy today. (Bet you didn't know that Angela, if you're reading this!) Now, I follow about 25-30 different blogs, but I still get so excited when my RSS readers tells me there's a new blog entry from Oh She Glows. Why? Because Angela's food is DELICIOUS! Almost everything she posts sounds good to me and I've learned that you can screw up the recipe and it still tastes good! That's what her blog has taught me... you CAN be healthy without sacrificing taste! So, this is my ode to Angela and all the yummy treats I've made of hers in the past few weeks... Enjoy! (you can also find all these recipes on Angela's website, except mine here are adapted a little)

Apple Cupcakes

Adapted from Martha.
  • 1 apple, cored and cut in half
  • Nut butter (I used TJ’s Sunflower seed butter)
  • 2 tbsp Breakfast cobbler
  • 1/2 tsp unsweetened coconut, for garnish

Directions: Core apple and cut in half. Place apple cut side up and add a layer of nut butter, cobbler, and coconut on one half. If making a bunch for a party, serve in jumbo muffin liners on a serving tray.

  • 1-3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Sucanat (or brown sugar)
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tbsp ground flaxseed + 1/4 cup water
  • 1.25 cup almond milk
  • 2 heaping tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp nut butter
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 large banana mashed, left a bit chunky
  • 3/4 cup strawberries, chopped

Directions: preheat oven to 375F. Grease a muffin tin and set aside. In a small bowl mix the ground chia and water and set aside. In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients (flours, salt, cinnamon, Sucanat, pecans, baking soda + powder). Set aside. In a medium sized bowl, mix all wet ingredients (chia + water mixture, milk, warmed coconut butter, nut butter, maple syrup). Mix well. Add wet to dry and stir. Fold in chopped strawberries, reserving 1/4 of them to sprinkle on top of muffins. Scoop mixture into muffin tin and sprinkle on remaining strawberries. I made 9 large muffins and I baked them for 25 minutes at 375F. Alternatively you can make 12 smaller muffins too. Baking time might need to be adjusted.

Chocolate Coconut Maple Dipped Strawberries

Side Note: I want to dub these the "Orgasmic dipped Strawberries" cause I seriously groaned... out loud... while eating these! ~Amykinz

  • 6-8 large strawberries
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (dairy-free)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup

Directions: In a small bowl place the chips and coconut oil into the microwave for 30 second intervals until chocolate is melted. Stir well. Add 1/2 tbsp maple syrup and mix. Dip strawberries and swoosh all around to coat. Sprinkle with nuts or coconut if desired. Place in freezer for 10 minutes or so to set. Enjoy!
Lastly, we'll finish off the with dishes we made for our most recent dinner party!

Homemade Chunky Tomato Sauce over Salt-Kissed & Buttery Brown Rice

Homemade Pasta Sauce:
  • 3 (14.5 oz) cans of organic diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup butter beans, processed until chunky paste forms
  • 2 yellow zucchini (aka summer squash), chopped
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Fresh herbs: Thyme, parsley, oregano, minced (about 1-2 tbsp of each)
  • 1 tsp sea salt, to taste (more if necessary)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions: In a large pot place all prepped ingredients. Stir well and cover. Cook over medium heat for 45 minutes.

Salt-Kissed & Buttery Brown Rice
  • 3 packages brown rice boil-in-a-bag
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance 

Directions: In a medium sized pot add water and bring to a boil. Once boiled, add bouillon cube, remove from heat, and dissolve. Now add 2 cups of rice. Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes until tender, being sure to watch it carefully. Add more water if it becomes dry. When it is cooked spoon the Earth Balance on top and stir well. It will taste DELICIOUS!
While I was busy slaving away at the tomato sauce and rice, my dear sweet husband started on the dessert for me...

Inspired by Starbucks Pumpkin Scones
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole grain spelt flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2-3 tablespoons organic sugar
  • 8 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 4 tbsp water)
  • Turbinado sugar, to garnish 

Vegan Egg Wash
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 water
Spiced Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1.5-2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/4 tsp cinnamon and a pinch of ginger and nutmeg)

Directions: 1) Preheat the oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment of a non-stick mat. 2) In a small bowl mix the chia/flax egg. Set aside. 3) In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger). 4) Take the cold Earth Balance butter cut butter into dry ingredients until crumbly. 5) In a medium sized bowl, mix the pumpkin, chia/flax egg, and almond milk. 6) Add wet to dry and mix until a ball forms. I got down and dirty and mixed with my hands! 7) On a flour surface place the ball of dough and kneed a few times with your hands. 8.) Shape the dough into a circle and then cut into 8 triangles. 9) Now mix your vegan egg wash by mixing cornstarch and water and heating in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well. 10) With a pastry brush, brush on the glaze onto each scone. 11) Sprinkle with turbinado sugar generously and bake for 14 minutes. 12) Cool for 10-15 minutes. 16) While cooling, make your spiced glaze by beating 1 cup powdered sugar with milk and spice until smooth. 17) When scones are cool ice the scones and serve with a cup of tea or coffee!
We ended the night full and happy with laughs and a glass of vino. :)

That's Random

I have a bunch of random things to share...

1) Have you ever heard of vegetable ice cream? It sounds incredibly interesting! It, however, contains dairy, so I won't be able to try it. But thought I'd pass it along. You can find it here.

2) I love love love love the Spa Channel on It rocks my world and keeps me calm!

3) Want your kids to play an educational online game? Click on this link: A Foodie Game for Kids

4) The Food Buzz Challenge #2 is now open for voting! I voted for 21 candidates this time. Good luck everyone!

5) Don't forget about my Challenge! You could win $10! The opportunity ends THIS THURS!

6) If you've never tried Hibachi cuisine, you must RUN to the nearest location! The food is soooo yummy (and packed w/calories and "naughty" food) and it's so much fun to watch them cook right in front of you. They even throw in some humor. Even the kids had a blast!
Salad w/Ginger Dressing.
Hibachi Chef.

7) My friend Abby makes the best white-chocolate-cranberry scones and coffee!

I think that's it for now! :)

Don't Worry... You're Not Lost

No worries! You're not lost! My blog got a little makeover. ;) What do you think???

Friday, September 24, 2010

Failed Dressing Attempt

Raisin Pumpkin Spice Vegan Oatmeal
Adapted from (source)

2/3 cup oats
1 cup almond milk
1.5 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp Apple Butter
Raisins, to garnish
Coconut, to garnish

 In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl mix the oats, chia seeds, walnuts and pumpkin pie spice. Now add the milk, maple syrup, apple butter and pumpkin and whisk. Place in microwave for approximately 2 minutes. When ready, sprinkle with raisins and coconut. 

Check out my $5 awesome find at the Unclaimed Freight! 
Super cute glass cutting board that stays on the counter! I'm officially in love!

I got another new toy!
Make your own dressing! Complete w/4 dressing recipes right on the container. The only part not shown in my picture is the plunger/top. Again, you know you want one. :) Get yours here. So, for lunch I decided to attempt my own French Dressing on my delicious Romaine, Chickpea, Cucumber Salad.
I thought it would be a great idea to omit the sugar and substitute the vegetable oil in the recipe for coconut oil to replace the sweet flavor lost w/the sugar...
Looks awesome, huh? I started eating my salad after pouring this on and was thinking, "Wow! This is soooo good!" Until...
Not sure if you can see the white coating on my leaves in this photo or not, but I completely forgot that Coconut Oil hardens at room temperature! As I was eating my salad, it started to harden until it was inedible. Darn! Guess it was time for Plan B...
... you can never go wrong w/Sunflower Seed Butter and Banana on an Ezekiel wrap. Yum-o!

I did some fridge and cupboard cleaning to get rid of the non-endo-diet-friendly foods. 
All of those seasonings have "citric acid" or "natural flavors" or other undesirable ingredients. However, Tastefully Simple does have some great seasonings w/o the added unwanted extras. I kept about 8 seasonings! And this is my fridge when it's getting "low" on food. lol. BTW, the milk is my daughter's and the daycare kids'. My Rice Milk and Almond Milk are up on the left hand side. I didn't take a picture of the 2 bags of pantry items that I sent home w/my SIL!

For snack, I decided to try to use up something that has been in my fridge for awhile... celery.
Remember these? Ants on a log! The kids had so much fun w/these! They loved telling their families that they ate "ants" for snack! I made the kids' w/peanut butter, but mine w/almond butter. You could really use any kind of nut butter that you wanted.

I started dinner, but got side tracked and was a bit emotional this evening. So, my sainted husband said he'd finish dinner, so I could go for my first run outside since last summer! It was heavenly! I've decided to start tracking my stats, so watch for a new page w/my training/running stats! Coming soon! Now onto the delicious dinner that was waiting for me after my run...
Lentils... aren't they so pretty? I just love how little and cute they are and I loved the reflection on the pan that they gave off.

Lentil Walnut Burgers
I had mine open-faced w/mustard, romaine and leftover pizza sauce. These deserve only one word... YUM!

There's a New Sheriff in Town...

There's a new sheriff in town...

...he goes by the name KALE.
Sheriff Kale Green Monster
Adapted from {source}

2 cups kale
1 cup almond milk
1 banana
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp pure cane sugar
1 tsp raw maca powder
2-3 cubes ice

Blend until smooth.

So, Tuesday night's Hip Hop class was ah-mazing, even though I sucked was a bit rusty. :) There were only 3 of us... me, my SIL and my friend from middle school. If you live in the MN area and you ever considered taking a fun Hip Hop class, I HIGHLY suggest you try this out! It's free to try and if you don't like it, nothing lost. If you do, great! It's Tuesdays from 8:15-9:15 at White Bear Dance Center. You get a discount if you decide to join and you tell them that I referred you. Here's the website, for more information.

I just read a blog entry from the Whole Foods Market blog. They have a cd for sale with great cultural music and proceeds go to help out Haiti. You can check it out here.

I got a new toy. :)
See all the pulp and seeds being sifted out. Ah... so nice.
Perfectly strained fresh lemon juice... pulp and seed free.
And I don't know if you can see it, but it even has measurements on the side, so you can squeeze only what you need! You know you want one. Get it here.

I was so excited to put my new juicer to use and my SIL was coming over for lunch to return something I left in her car. This is no small feat as she lives 35-40 minutes away and she had just been over the night before. So, I decided to repay pay her by making her a wowing lunch. 

Angela's Easy Stuffed Portobello Pizza
in a Cashew Basil Cheese Sauce

8 portobello mushrooms
2 cups pizza sauce
Vegan Cashew Basil Cheese Sauce (see recipe below)
1/3 cup of each: red, green, orange pepper, diced
1/3 cup sweet onion, diced
2-3 large basil leaves, finely diced
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Preheat oven by setting the broiler on low. Take a baking sheet and cover with a silicone non-stick baking mat or parchment paper for easy clean up. Make your Vegan Cashew Basil cheese sauce by using the recipe below. Set aside. Remove stems of Portabellas and gently rub Portabellas with a wet cloth to clean. Place Portabellas ‘belly’ side up on the baking sheet. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of pizza sauce into each Portabella. Now spoon about 2 teaspoons of Vegan Cashew basil Cheese Sauce on top of the pizza sauce (see recipe below). Grab a cutting board and knife and chop the onion and pepper and then sprinkle onto Portabellas. Finally, shake on some red pepper flakes and sprinkle finely diced basil on top. Broil in the oven on the lowest temperature setting on the middle rack for about 10-12 minutes, watching closely as broiler temperatures vary. Serve immediately and enjoy! Serves 3-4.

Angela's Vegan Cashew Basil Cheese Sauce

1 cup raw cashews
1/3-1/2 Himalayan sea salt, to taste
1/2 tsp cold-pressed sunflower oil
1 fresh basil leaf
1 small clove garlic
1.5 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Place 1 cup of raw cashews in a bowl of water, cover, and soak overnight in the fridge. When cashews are ready, drain and place all ingredients (cashews, Himalayan sea salt, cold-pressed sunflower oil, basil, garlic, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice) into a food processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape sides of processor as necessary. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Place any leftover cheese in a container in the fridge and enjoy with chopped vegetables, crackers, bread, and chips!

A word of caution: use the LARGE portobello mushrooms. My picture is of the smaller portobello mushrooms, cause I didn't realize I needed the big ones. It still turned out, I just needed much less of everything that the recipe calls for. For the "pizzas", I used plain organic tomato sauce mixed w/pizza seasoning (blend of oregano, basil, marjoram and gran garlic)and about a tablespoon of dried basil, because my fresh basil died.

My cheese sauce was a bit difficult to make, because as you know, my food processor died on me. So, I attempted to make this in my blender. lol. The results were a "chunkier" sauce. I also added water and more fresh lemon juice than called for, because it kept sticking to the sides of the blender. Though I can't tell you exact amounts, because I just kept adding. Anyway, again I substituted about 1 tsp of dried basil.

The results, given my screw ups substitutions, were phenomenal! They were soooo yummy and worth the effort.