Friday, 29 March 2013

Muffins & Soup Payment

My very generous Dad is always helping people out, including me. Last week he did some repairs on my vehicle. Lucky for me, he lets me repay him the labor in muffins and soup.

Before adding the delicious blueberries. 

I love vegan batters, you can lick the bowl, worry free! 

Blueberry cornbread muffins from Happy Herbivore Abroad. I did a quality control on one ;) I love the blueberries with the sweet and savory cornmeal. Great contrast of flavors.

This has been my desert in the evenings. A bowl of frozen fruit with almond milk and spice. This bowl was mangoes, raspberries, wild blueberries and cinnamon. 

For the soup payment I chose German Lentil and Potato Soup, also from Happy Herbivore Abroad

Another frozen fruit dessert bowl. This one was mangoes, raspberries, applesauce, almond milk and a pinch of nutmeg. I don't know what it is, but mangoes seem to go so well with nutmeg and or cloves. Or I just have messed up taste buds, I'm okay with that.

After the baking and cooking for my Dad, my husband and I thought we should make ourselves a nice meal. We like to make pasta on a weeknight so we have leftovers for lunches. I usually top my leftovers with some frozen peas, corn, beans or any frozen veg mix. It's so quick and handy and they don't overcook at work. Okay, back to the pasta. We made Sun-dried tomato pasta sauce from the Happy Herbivore Cookbook and mixed it with kamut penne. Lots of Happy Herbivore recipes this week! 

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Holy Crap Donkey Kong!

Look at all those bananas! Donkey and Diddy must live here. Dixie? 6 bunches of bananas...AND they ate them in a week! I guess a banana problem really isn't a "problem".
As you can see, I've been eating heaps of fruit lately. Loves.

On to some veggies!

Spinach, Roma tomatoes and nutritional yeast. Ate this sitting on a rustic porch in the sun, ahhh.

Roasted sweet potatoes, steamed kale, corn and smoked paprika.

 Some days I'd rather be running than cooking. Insert simple brown basmati rice and peas.

Roasted these golden babies in the toaster oven. Love having them in the fridge for a quick meal after work. 

Friday, 15 March 2013

Sweet Potato and Yam Favorite

My favorite way to cook sweet potatoes and yams, most root vegetables actually, is roasting them in the oven. Roasting them means I don't have to do much chopping or preparation. I can throw them in the oven and go workout on our elliptical, or catch up on things around the house. Plus, they become sweeter than if you boiled them.

What I do:

Preheat the oven to 375°C. I wash the yams and sweet potatoes and cut out eyes if needed. If the ends are really skinny like these ones, I cut them off, if they are rounded, I leave them on. I find the skinny ones easier to cut with the ends off. Then I cut them in half length wise and place them face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Like so:

Roast for 25-35 minutes depending on the size of yams. Large ones may need 45 min up to an hour. These took 30 minutes. 

I love how they get a little caramelized in spots.

I topped the sweet potatoes and yams with steamed kale & peas. For seasoning the greens I used nutritional yeast, Mrs. Dash and garlic powder. 

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

My Journey to Plant Based

Although I was a thin child, I felt ill most of my life. I caught viruses at least 6-8 times per year, had a very sensitive stomach and would get frequent heartburn. I maintained my weight through high school and started to eat a little better, not so much for health, more for appearance. About a year after school I started to put on a bit of weight, eating more fast food and going out for desserts, treating myself almost daily with the standard North American fare. Over this time I gained 25 pounds and and my Body Mass Index was 25. Accompanying the weight gain were daily stomach pains and extremely low energy levels.

I finally had enough and decided to cut out sugar and processed foods. I booked a trip to Mexico and was determined to loose weight. I ended up losing 20 pounds and felt a bit better overall, but I had a hard time resisting temptation when I got back. Even though I still ate better and never returned to my heaviest, I fluctuated up and down 10 or so pounds for a few years after and still suffered from low energy and viruses.

Since I was still looking for an energy boost, I began taking vitamins. It started with a multivitamin, but a few trips to the health food store, and the associates can have you convinced you need half of the products in there. Even though I took copious amounts of vitamins for years, I didn't feel much of an increase in energy.

On May 1, 2008 I decided to become a Pescetarian, which meant I would still eat fish, eggs and dairy (although I already switched to a plant based milk), but no other animal products. I felt a lot better removing such a large range of animal products from my life and enjoyed introducing new and exciting food to my diet.

After three years of a Pescetarian lifestyle I decided to give up fish and become a vegetarian, it was hard at first since I had always loved fish, but it was loosing it's luster. I discovered what I really liked about fish were the family memories associated with it. Giving up fish made me realize that I had emotional ties to it and was part of my problem with emotional eating. Just like I lost the craving for salmon, I soon lost the craving for eggs. During this transition, I gave up oil, another processed food. My energy levels really started to improve.

After a bit of searching for healthier desserts I could create for my Dad, I stumbled upon Happy Herbivore. I was amazed at how many desserts I found without butter, oil and overly processed flours. Then I discovered the rest of the website, delicious breakfasts, lunch and dinner recipes, informative blog posts, minimalism, herbies of the week and so many inspiring ideas and people. Happy Herbivore started my journey to becoming the energetic girl I am today. With the tools that Happy Herbivore gave me and after reading The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, I decided to give up all dairy and become a plant based vegan. It was a little hard at first for me socially, but has been worth every awkward moment. I feel too wonderful to not learn how to overcome social situations. I've also realized that people are usually just curious and it was me that was feeling awkward about it. Now I'm proud to be plant strong!

Finishing the Grouse Grind hike in NorthVancouver, BC.
I now eat a diet high in raw vegetables and fruits, in addition to cooked grains, root vegetables, beans, a small amount of nuts and seeds, and I keep hydrated with lots of water. Eating a high amount of raw vegetables and fruits keeps my energy levels up and maintained. My energy levels are so important to me since I've struggled with them for many years. I no longer experience the afternoon slump (I used to fall asleep at my desk some days!) or barely have energy to get off the couch at night after a day of sitting at work. I sleep deeper than I ever could have imagined and feel rested in the morning. My body mass index is at a healthier 20.5.

Eating lunch at the top of Mt. Cheam, Chilliwack, BC.
I'm kind of a shy person, slowly coming out of my shell. Sharing my personal journey is a bit intimidating for me, but I think it's important. If no one shared their plant based journeys, I probably wouldn't be on mine. Inspiration can be infectious, like a boisterous laughter. I have been inspired by plant based people, I hope to provide inspiration to others, even if it's just one person.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Weekday eats

Some meals I have been enjoying lately, keeping me energized and happy!

Toasted Silver Hills The Big 16 bread, with apple sauce, banana, Bosc pear and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Big bowl salad. Field greens, kale and a chopped ambrosia apple. I often stuff celery and carrots on the side to snack on before I eat my big bowl salad.

A smaller salad :( Spinach, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, salsa and nutritional yeast. 

Strawberry spinach salad. And the ingredients are just that, strawberries and spinach. No oily or sugary dressing slowing me down. If you don't do salads without dressing, I think splash of orange juice mixed with a dollop of maple syrup might be a nice addition.

Vegetable stir fry. A comfort food for me. My dad would make many stir frys when I lived at home. They were always filling and fresh. Thanks Dad <3

A mix of brown basmati rice and red rice, cooked with my favorite method from Pinch My Salt, adapted from Saveur. Topped with cherry tomatoes, torn spinach leaves, sprouted chickpeas, nutritional yeast and a splash of Bragg seasoning. 

I've had some great runs this past couple of weeks, including fun intervals and tempo runs. My fruit intake has also gone up, especially bananas. Will definitely try to eat one before most of my runs.   

Monday, 4 March 2013

7 Foods I'm Loving Right Now

I've seen other bloggers do these types of posts and I quite enjoy it. It gives me ideas of what to watch out for when shopping, can inspire me to be healthier and give me ideas for new recipes to try. So here it is, 7 things I'm loving right now:

President's Choice Easy to Peel Mandarin oranges. These little babies ARE easy to peel, for real. They are also a convenient and mess free snack.

Mann's snap peas. I don't buy these all the time as they can be a bit pricey. I do pick them up when they're on sale or marked down and am never disappointed. Crunchy, fresh and no yucky strings.

My husband and I love dates as a sweet treat. I often chop one up and sprinkle it over a bowl of Shredded Wheat with almond milk for dessert. He will split one in half and stuff it with almonds, walnuts or peanut butter.

Nutritional Yeast is a healthy way to add a cheesy flavor without weighing you down. I add it to rice, soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, pizza etc...

My favorite way to use these beans is in a soup, specifically minestrone. The medley consists of red & white kidney beans, romano beans, baby lima beans, chickpeas and black eyed peas.

Chili Garlic Sauce. I use this spicy condiment in stir frys and noodle soups. 

Bragg All purpose Liquid Seasoning. I use this as soy sauce, sparingly, as it is quite salty. The only complaint I have is about the container, it always leaks. 


Going in to the oven.

This is kind of an eighth thing...On the weekend I made Happy Herbivore's Apple Crisp Muffins from HHC for my parents. They said "perfect". I agree. I used 2 small gala apples, they worked very well in this recipe.