Tag Archives: Healthy

Break Up the Monotony!

Cardio … not feeling it? Then it’s time to break up the monotony!

Doing the same old cardio workout can not only leave you bored and unmotivated, but the combo of routine and less enjoyment during aerobic exercise could also lead to a lack of results and fewer calories burned.

Mix things up to avoid the cardio rut. By keeping things fresh, you can improve workout enjoyment while engaging a new set of muscles. You certainly don’t want to avoid cardio altogether.

As a reminder, there’s strong scientific evidence that regular aerobic physical activity comes with some pretty impressive benefits:

  • Supporting healthy weight loss. Combined with a nutritious and calorie controlled diet, aerobic exercise can help you lose weight and keep it off (1).
  • Improving cardiovascular health. About 40 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise three to four times a week can lower the risk for heart disease and stroke (2, 3).
  • Boosting your mood. Whether you’re in the mood for a workout or not, mounting evidence suggests that you will feel better after you’ve finished one (4).
  • Keeping you active as you age. Regular aerobic exercise paired with good nutrition and resistance training can keep your muscles strong and mobile as you age while supporting healthy cognitive function (5).
  • Supporting immune health. Not only does regular aerobic exercise make you feel better physically, but studies have also shown that it can help support healthy immune function for better long-term health (6).
  • Improving quality of sleep. Aerobic exercise has been shown to promote better quality sleep and the speed in which you fall into REM sleep (7).
  • Increasing your overall energy levels. Regular aerobic exercise helps keep your overall energy levels higher. It’s the release of endorphins during your workout that supports lasting energy throughout your day (8).

But despite the many benefits of cardio, it shouldn’t mean you have to suffer for hours doing an activity you don’t like. There are a number of cardio machine alternatives that can add some variety to your routine while still helping you burn about the same amount of calories as 30 minutes of running on the treadmill (around 300 calories for a 150-pound woman). These include…

60 minutes of…

  • Circuit training – a style of weight training that incorporates aerobic activity
  • Taking a dance, Zumba, or jazzercise class
  • Playing in a softball game
  • Boxing

45 minutes of…

  • Rowing
  • Hiking
  • Swimming laps
  • Playing in a soccer game
  • Playing tennis

40 minutes of…

  • High-intensity interval training
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Playing flag football

30 minutes of…

  • Jumping rope
  • Taking a kickboxing class
  • Taking a spin class or bicycling outdoors

If you haven’t been regularly exercising, are overweight or have medical conditions, don’t forget to check in with your medical care provider before starting any exercise routine.

These are just a few ideas to help you get off the cardio rut. The key is in finding ways to achieve your goals while making aerobic exercise a lot more fun.

References
  1. Curioni CC, Lourenço PM. Long-term weight loss after diet and exercise: a systematic review. International Journal of Obesity (2005) 29, 1168–1174. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0803015; published online 31 May 2005
  2. American Heart Association. (2013). American Heart Association recommendations for physical activity in adults. American Heart Association. http://www. heart. org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/Start Walking/American-Heart-Association-Guidelines_UCM_307976_Article. jsp.
  3. Fletcher GF, Balady G, Blair SN, Blumenthal J, Caspersen C, Chaitman B, Epstein S, Sivarajan Froelicher ES, Froelicher VF, Pina IL, Pollock ML. Statement on exercise: benefits and recommendations for physical activity programs for all Americans. A statement for health professionals by the Committee on Exercise and Cardiac Rehabilitation of the Council on Clinical Cardiology, American Heart Association. Circulation. 1996 Aug 15;94(4):857-62. PMID: 8772712
  4. Byrne A, Byrne DG. The effect of exercise on depression, anxiety and other mood states: A review. Journal of Psychosomatic Research , Volume 37 , Issue 6 , 565 – 574
  5. Hyodo K, Dan I, Kyutoku Y, Suwabe K, Byun K, Ochi G, Kato M & Soya H. The association between aerobic fitness and cognitive function in older men mediated by frontal lateralization. Neuroimage. 2016 Jan 15; 125:291-300.
  6. Gleeson M. Immune function in sport and exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology Published 1 August 2007 Vol. 103 no. 2, 693-699 DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00008.2007
  7. Kredlow MA, Capozzoli MC, Hearon BA, Calkins AW, Otto MW. The effects of physical activity on sleep: a meta-analytic review. J Behav Med. 2015 Jun;38(3):427-49. doi: 10.1007/s10865-015-9617-6. Epub 2015 Jan 18.
  8. Puetz TW, Flowers SS, O’Connor PJ. A randomized controlled trial of the effect of aerobic exercise training on feelings of energy and fatigue in sedentary young adults with persistent fatigue. Psychother Psychosom. 2008;77(3):167-74. doi: 10.1159/000116610. Epub 2008 Feb 14.
*originally posted on IsagenixHealth.com
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Exercise for Weight Loss

Changing your dietary habits is the most important action you can take for losing weight and keeping it off. However, exercise shouldn’t be ignored as it can make weight-loss results more pronounced.

Typically, when individuals lose weight, up to a quarter of that lost weight comes from lost lean body mass that includes muscle mass (1). By adding exercise into a weight loss plan, these individuals can minimize the muscle loss and lose higher amounts of fat than those who lose the same amount of weight without exercise.

Exercise also might help with keeping off the weight once it’s lost. As much of an hour of exercise per day is associated with successful weight loss maintenance or avoiding weight regain (2).

Add High-Intensity Interval Training

One type of exercise that may have especially pronounced benefits is high-intensity interval training. Try adding sprint intervals into your next jog by including 60-second bursts at an all-out pace followed by three minutes of recovery at a comfortable pace.

By adding high-intensity intervals to your exercise routine, you can stimulate your metabolism for up to 24-hours, post-exercise. These brief, all-out bursts of activity rev up your calorie burn and keep it elevated long after your workout ends.

Lift Weights or Use Resistance Bands

Resistance training exercises can help build muscle and burn fat. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, so your overall calorie burn will be higher throughout the day and the drop in metabolism that comes with most weight loss will be prevented. You’ll also look leaner if you have more muscle and less fat.

Start with two or three sets of 10-12 repetitions of bicep curls, overhead presses, squats, and lunges using light weights until your body has adapted and you become comfortable. Then increase the weight and number of repetitions as you get stronger.

Don’t Forget the Cardio

While most cardiovascular exercise (walking, running, cycling, etc.) will not build muscle, it will help you to burn calories and lose fat mass. Cardio itself burns calories and those trying to lose weight and who include cardio into their plan lose more weight compared to those who don’t include exercise (3).

In addition, studies have demonstrated that those who perform cardio are more likely to lose visceral fat (4, 5). Visceral fat is the dangerous kind of “belly fat” that exists internally and can increase risk of chronic disease states (4,5).

Reduce Your Chance of Weight Regain

Most people who lose weight regain it all back and then some within three -to -five years, but regular exercise makes it more likely that you’ll maintain your ideal weight.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, those with a goal of preventing weight regain should complete 150-250 minutes per week of moderate physical activity – such as brisk walking, mowing the lawn, and swimming (6). The overall calorie burn should be between 1200-2000 calories per week, which is considered enough to prevent weight gain greater than 3 percent.

Incorporating exercise into your lifestyle will not only contribute to benefits in your overall health, but will aid in your weight loss journey as well. However, it’s always suggested that you check with your doctor before starting any type of exercise regimen.

References:
  1. Heymsfield SB, Gonzalez MCC, Shen W, Redman L, and Thomas D. Weight loss composition is one-fourth fat-free mass: a critical review and critique of this widely cited rule. Obes Rev. 2014 Apr; 15(4): 310-21. doi: 1111/obr.12143.
  2. Santos I, Vierira PN, Silva MN, Sardinha LB, and Teixeira PJ. Weight control behaviors of highly successful weight loss maintainers: the Portuguese Weight Control Registry. J Behav Med. 2017 Apr; 40(2): 366-71. doi: 1007/s10865-016-9786-y.
  3. Wu T, Gao X, Chen M, and Van Dam RM. Long-term effectiveness of diet-plus-exercise interventions vs. diet-only interventions for weight loss: a meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2009 May; 10(3): 313-323. doi: 1111/j.1467-789X.2008.00547.x.
  4. Keating SE, Hackett, DA, Parker HM, O’Connor HT, Gerofi JA, Sainsbury A, Baker MK, Chuter VH, Caterson ID, George J, and Johnson NA. Effect of aerobic exercise training dose on liver fat and visceral adiposity. J Hepatol. 2015 Jul; 63(1): 174-82. doi: 1016/j.jhep.2015.02.022.
  5. Ohkawara K, Tanaka S, Miyachi M, Ishikawa-Takata K, and Tabata I. A dose-response relation between aerobic exercise and visceral fat reduction: systematic review of clinical trials. Int J Obes. 2007 Dec 1: 31(12): 1786.
  6. Donnelly JE, Blair SN, Jakicic JM, Manore MM, Rankin JW, and Smith BK. American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Appropriate physical activity intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 Feb; 41(2): 459-71. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181949333.
*originally posted on IsagenixHealth.com
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Transformation Tuesday … Work in Progress

Ever had a weight-loss goal? My goal is lofty … I want to lose upwards of 100 pounds.

For YEARS, I’ve had a shake for breakfast … trying different brands and flavors, but never really noticing any health benefits or changes, and feeling hungry by mid-morning, with those never-ending afternoon sugar-cravings!

EVERYTHING changed when I finally had enough! Enough uncomfortably tight clothes, enough self-doubt, and enough struggling! I decided to dive in with this nutritional system to boost my confidence and ignite some weight-loss.

With the full support and encouragement of a long-time high school friend, I embarked on this 30-day journey. And honestly, I didn’t have high hopes given my past “results” with other programs.

I snapped some “before” pictures, wearing a workout outfit that I felt good in, hopped on the scale to find out my starting weight, took my measurements … and in true Shannon form, I created a Fitness Tracking spreadsheet!

Every morning I weighed myself. Some may not agree with that, but it helps keep me accountable. And a surprising revelation was the number on the scale … it was going DOWN!

I hadn’t changed my normal amount of exercise – I still took the bus to and from work every day, and enjoyed being home most evenings and weekends – I simply followed the system, as best I could, which allowed me to still socialize and enjoy life.

After I completed my first month, I weighed and measured. Seven pounds and 6 ½ inches … in 30 DAYS! OMG – this system WORKS! I annihilated over 6% of my weight-loss goal IN THE FIRST MONTH!!! I knew I had to keep going!

The second month was different, however. I had 5 days of vacation right smack-dab in the middle. I knew I wouldn’t be 100% with the program during this time, but did what I could to keep the motivation train on the track. At the end of the month, I checked in and realized I obliterated another 9.2 pounds and 14 more inches!

I’ve incorporated this simple system into my lifestyle, enjoyed my vacation, and I KEEP SEEING RESULTS! I’ve lost a total of 16.2 pounds and a whopping 20 ½ inches … and I’m NOT done yet!

My ultimate goal is to maintain a healthy weight for a minimum of 2 years prior to my 40th birthday … giving me just over 2 ½ years to reach that goal.

If you can relate to any of this, are feeling stuck or just curious to know more I’d love to share. If you can’t already tell I’m pretty thrilled!

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Inspired Creations

Clearly I have not been very diligent with writing blog posts, recipes tests, or anything on here! So much has happened since the last time we “met” …

First off, it’s March … so we’ve by-passed February completely! In missing February, I can’t recall anything of great importance that happened.

Except my birthday :o) my 35th birthday, to be exact! I love my birthday and this year was great! I had multiple lunch dates (obvi not on the same day!) and was able to celebrate during the evening of the specific date with a group of friends & coworkers!

At the very beginning of February, I was accepted into the Diploma Program in Applied Holistic Nutrition at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition! I chose the part-time evening program, as I cannot afford to quit my job to attend school, so I will be attending class Monday and Thursday evenings from 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm for a 2 year period! I am beyond exciting to get this started … which isn’t until September!

Luckily, that time is going to be well spent re-doing, arranging, and organizing a new office/work space at home, as well as doing as much bookkeeping as possible to help pay for this program!

One thing I didn’t have much of in February was inspiration or the desire to cook. It’s kind of weird how it ebbs and flows! March has been a bit different because I’ve been following more people on Instagram, through my GonaGetHealthy account, and found some great Instagram Stories and links for recipes!

The first one that caught my eye was the Creamy Spinach Sweet Potato Noodles with Cashew Sauce as shown on the Instagram account and the website of Pinch of Yum!

It looked easy to make, with simple ingredients, and turned out really flipping delicious!

Creamy Spinach Sweet Potato Noodles with Cashew Sauce

I was previously displaying my kitchen & cooking skills on Snapchat, but since it’s more of a personal account, I decided to move my health, food, and cooking trials to Instagram, and this recipe was the first that I did using Instagram Stories.

I had many people watch the story, and even a few friends & co-workers comment or ask questions in person! I think I’ve convinced a few people to go out and buy a spiralizer … they are affordable and can make “noodles” out of so many vegetables!! I have many in mind that I plan on trying out in the coming days/weeks/months as spring arrives and local produce becomes more readily available!

This morning while I was procrastinating the start of bookkeeping (which I’m still procrastinating on), I saw an Instagram Story via the Vital Proteins account, on which Kelsey of Little Bits Of was making her Vanilla Shortbread Energy Balls!

Again, this recipe looked SO SIMPLE with easy ingredients! I did have to hit up the health store for a couple of items, but that was on my list of chores for the day anyways!

While I was shopping, I did a bit of research (thank you awesome cell phone data plan!!) regarding buying almond flour vs. buying almonds and making flour …

The ~400 gram bag of Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour retailed at this store for $18.99, and from what I could tell, was not derived from organic almonds.

Whereas I bought 300 grams of organic raw almonds and simply put them in my Vitamix dry container to make flour! This amount of almonds retailed for just less than $15.00 and they were ORGANIC! So not really any question of which to use or if I made the right choice!

Vanilla Shortbread Energy Balls

These bites came together very nicely and taste fabulous! Definitely a recipe to go into my collection to be made again and again!

If you know of anyone on Instagram or who has a great website, whom you feel I should check out and/or follow, or if you come across any amazing recipes that you think I should test, please comment below, or send me an email with the details!

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Cookie Craving Conundrum

craving

noun crav·ing \ˈkrā-viŋ\

Definition of craving

  • an intense, urgent, or abnormal desire or longing

012917

I woke up this morning with a craving for oatmeal raisin cookies! But I also knew I needed to get some work done to pad my bank account to pay for college … to which I have my Admissions Interview on Tuesday! Fingers crossed!!!

So in between work, I brought up the websites of some of my favorite health/nutrition mentors:

After reading oatmeal cookie recipes on their sites, I settled on the Gluten-Free Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from Meghan’s website. I quickly jotted down the ingredients and figured I needed to hit up my local health food store for the necessary flours and coconut sugar.

I did stop by Safeway on my way to the health food store to see if they carried the ingredients and if so, what was the price point. (Un)luckily, Safeway did not carry the flours or sugar … so one more block to walk!

At the health food store, I was able to easily locate the buckwheat and brown rice flours … and it made me think I might have some at home … but I wasn’t willing to walk home to check! So I grabbed one of each, plus a bag of coconut sugar – something I hadn’t cooked/baked with before. (As it turns out, I did have both buckwheat and brown rice flour at home, but they’d been open and unused for so long, that I felt it was better to toss them and start fresh!)

I had included eggs on my grocery list, but thought I should try to follow the base of the recipe as best possible, which means using “chia paste” instead of egg (also – to keep it vegan!) … so no eggs made it into my basket.

I’m very thankful that all of Meghan’s recipes that I’ve attempted thus far have been very clear and easy to follow. In order to make the chia paste, I needed to grind some chia seeds … and I thought of 3 different “appliances” to make this happen:

  1. Electric spice grinder
  2. Mortar & pestle
  3. Vitamix dry container

Starting with the quickest and easiest … the electric spice grinder (a coffee grinder … but I don’t drink coffee, so it’s never had coffee beans in it). This tool was perfect! It took literally seconds and voila! the chia seeds were now a chia powder!

Mixing the powder with warm water quickly created the chia paste and again – it pasted up in mere seconds!

When making this recipe, I followed the base recipe (wet & dry ingredients) but was VERY skeptical as the recipe called for 1/2 cup coconut oil, softened! HALF A CUP!!! Holy Hannah!

The changes I made were:

  • Raisins instead of chocolate chips
  • Walnuts instead of pecans
  • Cornstarch instead of arrowroot starch
  • Baked 11 minutes in stead of 15 minutes

After the wet ingredients were added to the dry and thoroughly combined, I was still skeptical as the “batter” was very oily …

I scooped out 5 cookies and spaced them well apart on the parchment-lined baking tray … in case they decided to become 1 cookie! I was very pleased to see the cookies completely held their shape and didn’t spread AT ALL!

I was able to fit the rest of the batter, shaped into cookie balls, on the second tray, so not to take too long with multiple batches.

These cookies have great sweetness, but not overly sweet. The coconut sugar definitely has a different smell/taste/texture than regular granular sugar, but it’s so enjoyable!

I’ve changed the color below to show my changes:

Ingredients
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 serving chia paste*
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • ¼ buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts

*Chia Paste – 1 tbsp chia seeds, ground … mixed with ¼ cup warm water (now, 1 tbsp of chia seeds yields more than 1 tbsp when ground … I only used 1 tbsp of the ground chia seeds … not sure if that was right, or if I should have used the whole amount of ground seeds!)

Make It Like So

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix together coconut oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and chia paste
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flours, oats, baking soda, salt, raisins & walnuts
  4. Add wet into dry and stir until combined
  5. Using 1-2 tbsp of mixture, form into balls and flattery slightly and place in parchment lined cookie sheet
  6. Bake for about 10 – 11 minutes, until golden
05-oatmeal-raisin-walnut-cookies

The rest of the day was pretty lazy … for the whole household …

waszabi-baunzai-january-29-2017

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Cashew No-Cheese Sauce

I have a co-worker who, many times, said how she isn’t a good cook. She doesn’t feel confident in the kitchen and most recipes intimidate her.

She is Celiac, and also has allergies to soy and almonds (?) … plus her husband is a “meat and potatoes” kind of dinner eater! LOL

I often think of her when I find easy DELICIOUS recipes … and I’ve started to pass them on to her. The first was the Takeaway Taco Salad recipe from The Un-Diet Cookbook by Meghan Telpner.

I wasn’t surprised when she came to work and told me that she made it, how easy it was, how DELICIOUS it was, and that her husband liked it (it has no meat)! He has even stopped by my desk (yes, also a co-worker) to thank me for passing along recipes to them.

However, when she made the Takeaway Taco Salad, they didn’t make the Cashew Cream Cheese sub-recipe … but since, she has made a recipe she found on her nutritional yeast package.

And she asked me to make it so that I could let her know how it compares to Meghan Telpner’s Cashew Cream Cheese. So today that was my weekly test recipe …

The recipe is found on the package of Bob’s Red Mill‘s Nutritional Yeast (I bought my bag from Safeway for around $11.50 CAD).

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashew pieces
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

04-cashew-no-cheese-sauce

Directions:

  1. In a food processor or blender, process into a fine powder
  2. Add nutritional yeast, salt & garlic powder – blend until combined
  3. Add water and lemon juice – blend until smooth

Makes 2 cups

This Cashew No-Cheese Sauce recipe is absolutely like cheese sauce – it’s creamy and cheesy! It would be divine over some steamed veggies or even as a nacho dip!

It differs greatly from the Cashew Cream Cheese by Meghan Telpner as that recipe is much more like cream cheese … it’s smooth and thick.

I like the fact that these are vastly different as they can have their own time and place!

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Coconut Curry

I came across a post about a Gluten Free Expo that was taking place in Vancouver, and I instantly went to the site and purchased a ticket. I went to a VegExpo a few months ago, and while it was good, the list of vendors for this Gluten Free Expo was a LOT bigger and quite a few more names I actually knew.

Luckily, Saturday was a dry day so I was able to walk to and from the expo and get some glorious natural Vitamin D absorbed through my skin!

I had decided to not let the potentially large crowd at the expo get to me so that I could view each and every vendor/booth. I arrived around 10:40 am (it opened at 10:00 am) and I finished seeing, tasting and buying around 12:50 pm! I absolutely took my time, asked questions, ate or drank samples, accepted freebies, and spent readily!

The 3rd booth I visited was the Spice Works booth and they were sampling their Butter Chicken and Coconut Curry “All In One” spice blends – prepared without meat, but as directed on the package.

I ended up buying one of each, plus a Satay blend and a Jamaican Jerk blend. And when I got home, I checked my cupboard for additional ingredients …

I needed chickpeas and coconut milk … both of which I had!! So I decided my “recipe of the week” wouldn’t be from a book, but rather from this product.

I’m very happy to say Spice Works is sold locally in some British Columbia locations (Vancouver being my main concern), but you can also order online!!! BC orders over $60 receive free shipping; whereas under $60 gets shipping for only $10.

On to the recipe … makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Drain & rinse chickpeas. Pour insert package from Mix over chickpeas and toss with 2 TBSP each olive oil and water – allow to sit, stirring to coat as often as you’d like (I think my chickpea mixture sat on the counter for 2 hours and I stirred to coat perhaps every 30 minutes)
  2. Cook Rice/Quinoa in 2 cups of water (I use a rice cooker … takes about 20 minutes)
  3. In saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Turn to low and whisk in remaining Mix – let simmer for about 1 minute
  4. Add in coconut milk and whisk to combine – let simmer for another 4 minutes or so
  5. Add in chickpea mix and stir to combine – let simmer until you’re ready to eat
  6. Serve chickpea coconut curry mix over rice/quinoa in individual bowls

03-coconut-curry

You could easily use cubed, skinless, boneless chicken instead of, or even in addition to, chickpeas. I found this blend of foods to be very filling!

Here is the nutritional breakdown (hope this link works!):

03-coconut-curry_nutrition

This is absolutely a spice mix that I will track down and make again and again! So easy – so delicious!!!

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Roasted Garlic Quinoa & Chia Bean Patties

I had originally planned on making a raw Pad Thai dish for Week 2, but after looking at the recipe in detail, it had upwards of 35 ingredients. That did not sound appealing!

Now, today is still technically in Week 1, but I am going to be out of the house for the majority of the day tomorrow, so I took the day today to make my Week 2 recipe.

I had a quick look through the Whole Foods to Thrive book and came upon 2 recipes that I thought might compliment each other. I made a list of the ingredients I didn’t already have and headed out to pick them up. I am happy to say that with just the few ingredients shown below, I am able to make both recipes!

02-roasted-garlic-quinoa-chia-bean-patties-1

Now, I’m sure you can imagine that I won’t need ALL the contents of some items (i.e. massive tub of coconut oil!) but how exciting that I can make 2 recipes with such few ingredients!

I made a couple of small changes to the recipes … such as using a sprouted rice & quinoa blend instead of just quinoa. I also substituted the brown rice in the patties for this blend.

So I roasted the head of garlic, which made my apartment smell SO GOOD!!! I wonder if there is a roasted garlic or fried onion candle … LOL

I also made the rice/quinoa in my rice maker. I needed 5 1/2 cups cooked, in total, so I needed to make 2 batches as my rice maker is a nice small appliance.

When I usually make the rice/quinoa, I melt in some butter/margarine after it’s cooked, and then toss in salt, pepper and garlic powder. It’s my absolute favorite flavor for this blend.

The Roasted Garlic Quinoa recipe has such great flavor because of the roasted garlic and holy smokes – this may just be my new favorite flavor for this blend! Something so satisfying about the taste of roasted garlic *nom nom nom!

For the patties, as noted above, I subbed in rice/quinoa instead of brown rice. I also didn’t have quinoa flakes, so I used quick oats. And I omitted the miso as I didn’t have any. The recipe calls for “minced” celery, carrot, and onion … but I was too impatient, so I threw them in my Vitamix and blended them up! I think this actually turned out better because it created much smaller pieces that I could have chopped by using a knife. It also allowed much of the moisture/water come out of the vegetables, which was perfect given the omission of miso.

While these patties are good, they could use something more. Perhaps some more potent herbs and spices. They have sufficient salt, so I know that’s not missing. I will likely HAVE to make them again so that I can experiment with seasonings.

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Takeaway Taco Salad

During the last bit of 2016, I was wondering what I would do to challenge myself in 2017. And since I’ve recently (re)found my love for cooking, I thought that a great challenge would be to test a new recipe at least once per week!

I’ve looked through and flagged many pages in 6 of my top choice cookbooks (in no particular order):

  1. The UnDiet Cookbook, by Meghan Telpner
  2. Whole Foods to Thrive, by Brendan Brazier
  3. Oh She Glows Everyday, by Angela Liddon
  4. Forks Over Knives – The Cookbook, by Del Sroufe
  5. Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking, by Dana Shultz
  6. Thrive Energy Cookbook, by Brendan Brazier

For Week 1, I decided to try a simple-looking recipe … Takeaway Taco Salad from The UnDiet Cookbook.

The base recipe has only 8 ingredients, with 2 sub-recipes with 6 ingredients each.

The first sub-recipe is Cashew Cream Cheese and is noted to be “the perfect dairy-free, creamy, cheese-y alternative” and can be made thinner to resemble sour cream. I’m always skeptical on cheese alternatives …

Well yet again, (author) Meghan has proven herself and her recipe to be great! This recipe makes about 1 cup of “cream cheese” and is noted to only last refrigerated in an airtight container for 4 days … so I’ll be finding ways to use this!

The second sub-recipe is Tahini Dressing and I’ve made this a couple of times before with the Dressed to the Nines Sweet Potato recipe, so I know it’s awesome!

On to the base recipe! The theory of this recipe is to pack it into a mason jar and have it ready to go … on the go! But I’m trying it at home, so I’ve simply placed the ingredients in a bowl in a pretty fashion so that I could take a picture:

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Then I poured them all into a larger bowl, added the called-for amount of Cashew Cream Cheese (1 TBSP), mixed it up … then checked the recipe for how much Tahini Dressing to use. But it wasn’t specified.

So I opted for approximately 2 TBSP of Tahini Dressing and mixed it up. Once all combined, I poured it back into a more reasonably-sized bowl and dug right in!

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The recipe makes 1 serving … something I absolutely ADORE since I’m only one person and live with no others!

You’re only required to use 1/4 avocado … so I know I’ll have this at least 3 more times to use up the whole avocado. But I think this recipe could very easily come into regular rotation!

I made the dressings this morning so they could marry and thicken in the fridge during the day. But honestly – this recipe was so very easy!

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Blogmas Day 17

BLOGMAS DAY 17

This blogmas is coming to you from the future … because I was in bed early with a headache and didn’t get to blogging!

Saturday! I didn’t do much – it was quite a boring day by most people’s standards!

In the morning I cleaned the kitchen. I went to the grocery store to pick up some black beans.

In the afternoon I made the Dressed to the Nines Sweet Potatoes from Meghan Telpner‘s The UnDiet Cookbook (seriously LOVE this recipe!)

I’ve signed up for a 1-month free trial of CraveTV so that I can watch the 1st season of The Affair. I can get season 2 and the current season 3 on demand through my TV provider.

I’ve been battling a headache since about Wednesday and yesterday it became much more apparent. I still feel it this morning, so I don’t plan on doing much of anything today (except laundry … I MUST do laundry!)

Advent Calendar Day 17: Chocolate Covered Almond

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“Sweet, crunchy and totally addictive, chocolate almonds are a classic for a reason. Whether you want to satisfy a sweet tooth, need an afternoon pick-me-up or are looking for the perfect holiday treat to serve your guests, the answer is always an almond covered in a thick layer of chocolate. And this rich and nutty black tea is every bit as tasty. It’s got cocoa, carob and tons of yummy almond bits, plus an energizing shot of roasted yerba mate to add a warming toasted almond flavour. This little indulgence is so good, you won’t even realize you’ve gone back for seconds.”

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I brewed this tea as per normal … water from my metal kettle that was sounding warm, but not boiling. Then I popped in a few ice cubes to cool it further so that I could drink it now and not have to wait 30+ minutes for it to cool! I smell the chocolate but don’t necessarily smell the almond. But this is a very enjoyable tea!

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