Friday, November 22, 2013

Exploring NYC!

I miss New York already. I miss the walking, the food, the many unique burrows and the people. This past week in the city got Brett and I even more excited to move to New York next year. I feel like we'll never run out of things to do and explore while living there. 

Obviously since I've been gone I haven't been able to cook or try out any new recipes, but I did eat some amazing, vegan food this past week. That's one of the beautiful things about such a big city - there are tons of vegan friendly restaurants. Even if a restaurant isn't labeled vegan there are so many ethnic restaurants that have tons of vegetarian and vegan friendly options. 

The first place we ate when we arrive in the city was called Xi'an Famous Foods in Flushing. I got the Mt. Qi Vegetables Biang-Biang Noodles. It was my favorite meal of the whole week. The noodles were fat and chewy and the seitan had a delicious flavor. I ended up going to this restaurant again later in the week in Manhattan's Chinatown and ordered the exact same dish. It was that good.


Another vegan friendly restaurant we found was called Fresh & Co. Brett and I were originally going to eat at an all vegan restaurant, but when we got there it was empty which made us second guess the quality. We had just walked past a Fresh & Co. and decided to go back and eat there. They had salads, soups, "power" bowls and sandwiches. I got a power bowl called Sesame Ginger Seitan. It had quinoa, tons of veggies, kale, seiten and a sesame ginger dressing. Nothing was fried, but the whole bowl was steamed instead. It was delicious and it filled my belly with a bunch of nutrients. Yum!


But...the best restaurant we found - in my opinion at least - was a place called Oat Meals. Brett spotted the sign and we decided to just stop in and see what they sold. I literally squealed when we walked in. It was a little cafe that sold coffee, oatmeal scones AND all different kinds of oatmeal combinations! I couldn't believe it. I've often thought about how there should be a place just like this. It wasn't quite lunch time, and I had already had oatmeal for breakfast, but I told Brett we had to eat there. I got the Indian Spice bowl with oatmeal, crystallized ginger, cardamom, raisins and coconut milk. It was delicious. Brett got the Banana Cream Pie bowl with vanilla wafers, banana, brown sugar and cream. Seriously, I am going to be a regular at this place while we're living in New York.


There was a lot of walking involved the entire week which I loved. It definitely takes longer to get from place to place, but it was rejuvenating to move so much in the dry, crisp air. A lot of the trees still had colorful leaves so we were able to get our fill of fall before heading back to sunny Florida. 


The last place I want to talk about is a restaurant called Franchia Vegan Cafe located on Park Ave. Brett and I met up with a couple for dinner and no one except me was vegan, but everyone loved it. The meat eaters were amazed at how much the faux meat tasted like real meat. I got the Vegetarian 'Duck' with brown rice, veggies, a soy based "meat" and a spicy red sauce. It came in a stone bowl that was pipping hot so it kept all the food nice and hot and even cooked the rice so that it got a nice crunch to it. I didn't get a picture of my meal, but it was incredible. I loved everything about this restaurant - from the atmosphere to the food - and I'll definitely be going back again.


All around it was a fantastic trip. I can't wait to live in the city and continue exploring all the different burrows, parks and restaurants. There is always something to see in NYC!





Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sweet and Salty Protein Trail Mix

I'm currently in New York City and it's bliss! Brett and I are here to scope out locations for where we could possibly live when we move here in July. Since we got here on Friday it has been beautiful and warm and we've loved exploring the city. It's still surreal to me that I'm going to live here. 

When we arrived on Friday we went straight to Flushing and got some amazing Chinese food with a friend. I got a vegan dish with thick, chewy noodles, seitan, and veggies. It was delicious and a great way to kick off our trip. Yesterday we spent most of our time in Manhattan and today we walked all around Union Square. There is so much life in the city and you never run out of things to look at and do.

I knew coming into this week that we'd be walking a ton so I decided to prep some snacks to take with me. Food can be pretty expensive as you all know, so I figured I could save us some money by planning ahead. This isn't really a recipe that I'm sharing with you, but more of a concoction that popped into my head. And it's delicious.

First I roasted some chickpeas coated in agave nectar and sprinkled with cinnamon. I poured 1 tablespoon of agave nectar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon over 1 cup of cooked chickpeas and roasted them in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Every ten minutes or so I would use a spoon to move the chickpeas around so that they wouldn't burn.




These little nuggets are subtly sweet and crunchy once they cool.


I then used those roasted chickpeas to make this amazing Sweet and Salty Protein Trail Mix. Deliciousness.


Sweet and Salty Protein Trail Mix
(Makes 5 servings)


 Ingredients:

· 1/4 cup cashews
· 1/4 cup almonds
· 1/4 cup craisins
· 2 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
· 1 cup agave roasted chickpeas

Directions:

1. Roast 1 cup of chickpeas using the above directions.
2. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.
3. Get your fill of protein!

Notes: To be honest, you can use whatever nuts or dried fruit you like or have available. I just happen to be biased to this combination.



My stash of goodies for the week:

 Eat Consciously,
     Faith

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cranberry Apple Muffins

A couple posts ago I wrote about my painful 11-miler that I ran while in Virginia. Well, unfortunately the pain hasn't left and has concentrated to my right Achilles tendon. When I walk I can feel it rippling (that's the best word I can think of to describe it). If I point and flex my toes the tendon seems to click back and forth. Hmmm. Can't be good. 

Because it hasn't been feeling great, I've been too afraid to run for fear that I'll make it worse. I'm still hopeful that I'll be able to run my half-marathon on Dec. 7th, but we'll have to see what happens with the Achilles. Since Saturday, in order to get in some cardio without putting too much strain on my ankle, I've been walking, swimming and...biking! It's been forever since I've taken my road bike out for a spin and it was so life-giving. I forgot how much I love biking, especially this time of year in Florida. 

While I'm worried that I won't be able to run the third half-marathon that I've tried for, I am thankful that I finally took my bike out of the house. I'm planning on doing a half-ironman in April, so I'd have to start training for the bike soon. Now I'm excited to increase my mileage. 


Like the hot pink shoes? It might be the last color I would choose on my own, but they were the only ones that were available when this model of Nike Frees came out. They've grown on me though.

Enough about injuries and biking. Let's move on to these muffins! My mom used to make these cranberry apple muffins for events where she had to bring a snack and I always hoped that she would make extra so us kids could eat some. When I started getting interested in baking and cooking I asked my mom one day if I could make them for her. It may have been my first time making muffins and I love it...and the results! I'm usually not much of a fruity, baked-goods girl, but these are delicious. 

I had forgotten about them until I saw fresh cranberries at the grocery store a while back. I then remembered that my mom had given me the recipe so I decided to experiment a little and swapped out some of the ingredients so that they'd be vegan. The kitchen smelled amazing as they were baking and I was instantly brought back to my younger years with my first bite. I'll definitely be making these again.


Cranberry Apple Muffins
(Makes 12 servings)


 Ingredients:

· 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
· 1/4 mashed banana plus 2 teaspoons liquid stevia OR 1 cup dry sugar
· 1 flax egg*
· 1 cup coarsely shredded apples
· 1 T. orange zest
· 1/4 cup orange juice
· 2 cups whole wheat flour
· 2 teaspoons baking powder
· 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
· 1 teaspoon salt
· 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
· 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
· 1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
· Optional: 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

*To make a flax egg whisk 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water and set aside for five minutes

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin pan and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the apple sauce, mashed banana and liquid stevia together.
3. Add in the flax egg, shredded apple, orange zest and juice.
4. In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients, from the wheat flour to nutmeg.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
6. Add in the cranberries and nuts if using and stir until just combined.
7. Divide the batter among 12 muffin cups and bake for 15-20 minutes.
8. Breathe in that fresh cranberry smell and eat one warm!




 Eat Consciously,
     Faith

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

2 Dishes, 5 Days

It seems like I'm always starting my blog posts with, "Brett and I just got back in town" OR "Brett and I are about to head out of town again." This post won't be much different either, because it's true. Brett and I just got back from Virginia on Sunday and are heading to New York City on Friday. This month has been a whirlwind. Thankfully the craziness of it all doesn't seem to affect Brett and me and we're always excited for our next trip. 

Since we weren't going to be home for very long, I decided to make a couple main dishes that Brett and I could eat throughout the week. The theme ended up being Mediterranean. On Monday I made a big batch of tabbouleh with quinoa and chickpeas, baked falafel and some cranberry apple muffins for easy snacks on the go. I wanted something that could be versatile so we wouldn't get sick of it by the end of the week. Tabbouleh and falafel are easy to stuff inside a pita, eat over-top of a salad or enjoy plain so I figured they were a good choice. 

I made some freshly ground Guatemalan coffee to drink while I cooked up a storm. Enjoy some pics of my "What I ate Monday...while meal prepping". 


Breakfast:
Oh man. These turned out great! 
Since we had just gotten back from being out of town we didn't have many groceries available for breakfast. I whipped up these beauts and Brett and I started our day happy and full.


Lunch:
After breakfast I picked up groceries for the week and then started cooking away.
Can I just say that I cooked dried beans for the first time this week?
It took awhile, but was so easy and one cheap bag made a bunch of beans!
I also love knowing that there is no added salt in these bad boys like when I buy them from a can.


Look at how pretty!


I used the chick peas I cooked make one of Brett and my favorite dishes: 
Tabbouleh Salad with Quinoa and Chickpeas from the Forks Over Knives cookbook.
I haven't made many recipes from that cookbook yet, but this is the second time I've made this salad.


I enjoyed some tabbouleh salad over spinach as I relaxed by our friends pool.
Rough.


Before I dug in I topped my salad with some baked falafel fresh out of the oven.
They had great flavor, but I stuck the rest back in the oven for a few more minutes because these were still a little mushy on the inside.
I haven't had the greatest experience with meatless balls since going vegan. 
They usually turn out a little mushy.
I'm gonna keep trying though!


I also whipped up some Cranberry Apple Muffins.
The smell of these muffins makes me so nostalgic. 
My mom always made them when I was growing up and they are the first memory I have of making muffins on my own. 
I made some substitutions to "veganize" them and they turned out great!
Brett ate two as soon as they came out of the oven.
Recipe coming soon!


I had to try one too!

Dinner:
For dinner it was more Tabbouleh, chickpeas and falafel.
Hopefully we won't be sick of Mediterranean food by the end of the week!

Peas and Crayons
Head over to peasandcrayons, hosted by Jenn, to get some delicious creativity from others!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Pancakes

I was in Virginia this past week and, while it was cold, I was able to enjoy Fall! Crisp air, colorful leaves, and winter coats. Brett and I stayed with my brother and sister-in-law and we're busy all week with work-related stuff. On Saturday we had the day off. Brett went on a long hike while I stayed home to get in my 11-mile run. 

It was only 30 degrees when I woke up, so I ate breakfast and waited a couple of hours for the sun to come up before hitting the road. It was beautiful out and I felt great at first, but after only 4 miles or so I started getting pretty tired. For the remainder of the run my energy never seemed to pick up either. Other than a few short sections, my body seemed to be running on fumes and about half way through my joints started to hurt too. I felt like I was running an 11-minute mile. 

While it sounds like a horrible run, I still enjoyed it and felt accomplished at the end. Apparently I didn't run an 11-minute mile either but averaged about a 9-minute mile. I'm hoping to do more stretching and cross training this week to give my body a break.


I scarfed down this bowl of oats, cinnamon, banana and peanut butter as soon as I got back. Yum.


Now onto another delicious breakfast. Brett and I got back to Florida late last night and this morning I realized we didn't have much for breakfast. I found a recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip pancakes on-line, made some changes and "veganized" them and they turned out great! Brett left for work full and happy.



 Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Pancakes
(Makes 2 servings)


 Ingredients:

· 1/2 whole wheat flour
· 1/4 cup oat flour
· 1/4 old-fashioned rolled oats
· 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
· 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
· 1/4 teaspoon salt
· 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
· 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
· 1 flax egg*
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 3/4 cup almond milk
· 1 teaspoon lemon juice
· 2 tablespoons earth balance, melted
· 3 tablespoons semi-sweet ghirardelli chocolate chips

*To make a flax egg, whisk 1 tablespoon ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons water and let sit for about five minutes

Directions:

1. Start by making your flax egg and set it aside.
2. Next make the “buttermilk” by putting 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in a cup measure and then adding 3/4 cup almond milk. Let the mixture sit for about five minutes.
3. In a bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients from the whole wheat flour to the nutmeg.
4. In a smaller bowl, mix together the flax egg, vanilla, “buttermilk” and melted butter.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until well combined.
6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
7. Do your pancake-making thing and cook these pancakes on a greased skillet heated to medium heat.
8. This batter should make four hearty pancakes serving two!

Notes: Adapted from Dinners, Dishes and Desserts.





Eat Consciously,
     Faith

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Berry Refreshing Smoothie

Cute post name, right? I thought so. This is going to be short and sweet, but I wanted to share with you all a quick, refreshing beverage. First of all, while I call this a smoothie, the base is water so it's not as thick as you may think. It's still full of nutrition and truly is refreshing. Don't let the color scare you away either. I really think we ought to say, "Don't judge a smoothie by it's color," because so often when you blend veggies and fruit together you end up with a nice, murky color. There's nothing much we can do about it, except get over it and drink up. Once the deliciousness of these murky drinks hit our tongues, we usually don't care about the color anyways. 



Making this beaut is simple. Place 1 1/2 cup of berries, 1 1/2 cup of greens, 1 cup of water and 1/2 cucumber in a blender and blend until smooth. That's it! Enjoy this drink on a hot day or after a good, sweat producing workout. 

A Berry Refreshing Smoothie
(Makes 1 serving)


 Ingredients:

· 1 1/2 cup mixed berries
· 1 1/2 cup greens (kale, spinach, etc.)
· 1/2 cucumber
· 1 cup water

Directions:

1.  Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth.
2. That’s all!




Eat Consciously,

     Faith

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

You're Vegan? Where Do You Get Your Protein?

This is a question I was asked a lot when I first decided to stop eating meat and dairy. I even wondered it myself knowing that my usual breakfast of plain, Greek yogurt wouldn't be an option. However, the more I did research on sources of protein-rich food and figured out how many grams I would need a day, I was surprised by what I learned. Like most Americans, I used to eat way more than my recommended daily requirement for protein. Now that I'm not eating meat or dairy, my protein intake has decreased, but I still manage to get all the protein I need.

Peas and Crayons

I figured I'd show you today how I'm able to get all the protein I need, even while traveling. Brett and I left yesterday for Virginia and were in airports most of the day. I was able to awkwardly snap some pics of my meals and snacks so I could share with you "What I Ate Tuesday While Traveling." I apologize for the iPhone 4 picture quality.

Breakfast:
(Unpictured)
A quick bowl of oatmeal with some almond putter and flaxseed.
Protein: 10 grams

Morning Snacks:
Part of a banana and strawberries
Protein: 1 gram

(At the airport)
This awesome granola bar from Starbucks:
Evolution Harvest Bar
I knew I would like it as soon as I opened it and you could actually see the ingredients!
Protein: 10 grams 


...and a 1/2 caf. Americano for our first plane flight to Detroit.
I love flying because I get to sit and read for hours. Anyone else?


Lunch:
A veggie and guacamole sandwich (without olives or cheese) from Quiznos...
while practically running to catch my next flight.
Protein: 24 grams


Afternoon Snack:
Once we landed in Virginia and got our rental car, Brett and I stopped at Trader Joe's to pick up some groceries for the week. Ah, I love that place!
We picked up yogurt, fruit and granola for breakfast and got soup, bread and spinach for lunches. Of course we also got some chips and kettle corn, which I had to open and try as soon as we got to the car. 
Not much protein there, but it was delicious.
I can't wait to live in New York where I'll be able to walk to Trader Joe's often.


Dinner:
After getting groceries, we went and hung out with my brother, sister-in-law and my niece and nephew. They order Pho and I got the fried tofu and mixed veggie bowl.
De-licious.
That bowl doesn't look big, but we all ate out of serving bowls.
We ate every last drop.
Protein: ~25 grams



My brother and his wife just built an awesome patio with a fire pit in their backyard.
After dinner we got to hangout by the fire and make s'mores with homemade mallows and graham crackers.

Amazing.

Grand Total of Protein: 70 grams!

 And that's how it's done. Head over to  Peasandcrayons to see other's daily eats. Have a great Wednesday!

Eat Consciously,
     Faith