Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Been Thinkin' About Life... & Beets #Pondering

I feel like....

This borrowed body of mine might be completely trashed in the end, but it will surely have a lot of mileage :)

As athletes we are constantly pushing our body to the limit. We overcoming mental and physical obstacles because we want to, actually, we need to. It's a thrill, it's an experience, it's fun, and it's simply LIFE. There is no other way. What is your body capable of? Anything you want.

I've been thinking a lot about life lately if you already can't tell! Certain happenings will do that, and this week there have been quite a few of those for me. Everything is just fine with me though, no worries! :) 

I'm back at work and my staycation was fantastic! I was able to get together with my good friend Emily Z. She and I are probably the biggest busy bodies around here, so this doesn't happen often. I went over to her place and we cooked some burgers and had some beers and got all caught up! Joe (Em's finance) was apparently pretty upset he couldn't be there for dinner because he just loves beets. That's right... these patties are made from 100% pure ground BEETS. Un-be-lievable! Check this out:


Looks a lot like beef... I know. Need a closer look? I was prepared for that...


Pure- YUM.

I kind of fell in LOVE with this recipe I found from the Post Punk Kitchen. I did alter it to make it gluten free and even more packed full of nutrition. I served them on a sprouted wheat bun- but simply omit that for a gluten free meal :)

BOMB Beet Burgers

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups cooked and cooled rice (I used brown rice)
1 cup cooked and cooled lentils, drained
1 cup shredded beets (about 1 large beet)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup almond flour
Coconut oil for cooking. 

1. Grate the beets (I used the shredder attachment from my food processor) to make 1 cup. In a food processor, pulse the brown rice, lentils, and shredded beets until the mixture literally looks like ground beef (minus the pink slime and dead animal and ... woah, sorry).
2. Transfer the beet mixture to a large bowl. Add the salt, pepper, thyme, dry mustard, red onion, garlic, and almond flour. Use your hands to mix everything together evenly. 
3. I chilled the mixture in the fridge for a couple hours while I rode my bike, but I'm sure one hour (as recommended by the Post Punk Kitchen) would suffice :)
4. Form the mixture into 4 large patties. Add 2 tbs coconut oil to a frying pan and heat to medium high. Cook the patties for about 5-7 minutes on each side, or until charred at the edges.
Serve with ketchup and on a bun if desired. Em Z and I added vegan mozzarella cheese to make them cheese-beet-burgers :) I also made some fries to go along with. Perfection.  
Hope you enjoyed that one! Also, remember when I had vegan brunch with Miss Lexi over at Roger's house?  Well, she posted her recipe for the  crab cakes on her blog at Vegan Miss. I need to try to make those myself soon because they were phenomenal. 
Remember to fuel your body well people, so you can push it to it's fullest potential! :)
-Em

Monday, March 26, 2012

Eye Opening Videos

You should guess how old these women are based solely on their appearance....






I thought they were in their early 40's at the most! What about you?


Food affects everything about us- how we feel, function, recover, and even age. 
And for me... eating healthy and exercising both contribute to me being a generally HAPPY person! Miki of course, contributes to that too. =)
-Em


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I love my Bike(s)

It's spring break... which is really only a taste of what summer will be like! Not only has the weather been "summer" like (yes... I already have a farmer tan in the works), but I've been able to spend time with some people who are very dear to me, relax, cook, and FINALLY get back on my bike. It feel's good and it probably sounds silly to anyone who isn't into triathlons... but adding cycling back into my life just makes me feel balanced.  Today was my 4th time on the bike and so far for the year I am at 106 miles... which kinda makes me laugh. :) It's all good... I'll get back into the swing of things.

Bicycle LOVE


Aren't my bikes cute? I just love them both so much. Anyway... on to food!


 "Being vegan do you ever miss anything? Ice cream? Cheese? Straight up garbage??" I get this question pretty regularly and the answer is, Nope- I don't miss any of it... and that's the honest truth. Besides this grilled avocado sandwich will kick a grilled cheese sandwich's ass any day. 


Grilled Tomato Basil Avocado Wrap









Ingredients:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 roma tomato, sliced
  • 1 slice of vegan cheese (optional)
  • 1 tortilla
  • a pinch of basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Method:
  1. Using a fork, mash the avocado. Mix in the basil, salt, and pepper.
  2. Place the avocado mixture in the center of the tortilla. Place the tomato slices and vegan cheese on top.
  3. Wrap that baby up and throw it on the panini grill...or whatever you would typically use to cook a grilled cheese :) 

Hope you are all enjoying this perfect weather yourselves!
-Em

Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Patty's Day Parade Run and Other Fun

 My friend Kara moved down  to St Louis in the fall and I have been missing her dearly....so she and I decided to run a race together! I ran the St. Patrick's Day 5 mile Parade run with Michelob Ultra last year so I knew it was a good one!  I am totally a picture person, so here is my weekend through pictures! :)


At the starting line- Me, Kara, and , Lauren (one of my teammates who lives in STL) 

Festive socks... mega nerds.
I took this picture of all the racers behind me right before the start.
 That dude who saw me take the photo makes me laugh!
Post-race beers with another one of my teammates, Alex.

Vegan pizza from Pi... BAM

Kara and I decided to stick together and ran the race in 41 minutes... about an 8:15 pace. Not terrible considering the summer like heat and humidity we've been having... it was awful on race day!! Afterwards we enjoyed some beers on Delmar St. and hit up Pi Pizzeria where you can get a vegan pizza. What could be better? The next day Kara and I slept in and did some shopping before I went home. It was such a fun weekend!!  

I brought Miki with me to Kara's which made for some entertainment because Kara has a cat named Oscar. I was a little worried because: 
1. I'm pretty allergic to cats among most other things
2. Miki has never been around a cat before 
We both did just fine though! In fact, I think Miki misses Oscar a little right now!

I'm gonna get you...

Hope you enjoyed the photos! I have the week off and am planning on trying a new recipe or two so I will have those to share soon! Have a good week followers :)
-Em

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Staying Hydrated

Ever have one of those weekends where you maybe drink a few (more than necessary) beers, or glasses of wine? And then you followed those drinks by a few (too many) cups of coffee in the morning? And maybe if you're slightly neurotic like me, you followed all that up by a 20 mile bike ride and a 3 mile swim? Well that was my weekend... and it was go-go-go. Talk about a headache... literally. To keep my little busy-body hydrated, prefer to drink "Nature"s Gatorade. Wait... nature makes it's own sports drink? what??? I speak the truth.


Yes people...I'm talking about coconut water! Coconut water contains 5 essential electrolytes and also has more potassium than a banana! Bonus, there is no added sugar! That sure beats any other commercial sports drink in my book. Research it yourself. I prefer the ZICO brand but that is mainly because they carry it at Food Fantasies, and sometimes (if I'm lucky) Meijer. Coconut water was definitely an acquired taste for me... and I definitely think it tastes best cold. Luckily, if you don't like the natural flavor, they also make a bomb chocolate flavor! Check out this recovery smoothie I made over the weekend with coconut water: 


Blueberry Kale & Coconut Smoothie
Topped it with some unsweetened shredded coconut.
Mainly did it for the picture, but it tastes good too, duh :)




Ingredients:
1 banana (I use frozen)
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I use frozen)
1 tbs ground flax seeds
1 tbs hemp protein powder
2 dates
2 cups of fresh chopped Kale leaves
1 cup coconut water (I use zico natural flavor)
agave nectar to taste


Method:
Blend that baby up in the blender! If its not thick enough for your liking, add a couple ice cubes!




I'm about to get a little off of my blog topic, but aside from all that drinking and working out I had 2 art shows to go to/ set up for! The first one was an art show featuring a few local artists, one being my good friend Jeff. He does some really awesome bicycle paintings and was recently featured in Bicycle Times! I've got one of his prints hanging in my kitchen and sometimes find myself just admiring his bright colors and the interesting angles he uses. You can check out his amazing work at http://www.jeffveloart.com/. I think I'm going to have my 4th graders do some Jeff Williams inspired art. I can't wait.
The art show was lots of fun!
Jeff and I at his art show.. he always makes a goofy face.
The other art show was one the art teachers in my district put on every year for our k-12 students. It's our main event... so it's pretty much what we work towards ALL year! Here is a peak at my hallway:

Hope you all had a good weekend. One more week then I get a much needed break!!
Oh, and try some coconut water!!
-Em

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Almondy/ Flax Blueberry Pancakes for Brunch

Alright, who doesn't LOVE pancakes? They remind me of straight up, sleepin' in, lazy weekends. This weekend Alexis (over at Vegan Miss) and I decided to get together with our friend Roger and his wife, Missy, to cook some vegan brunch. YAY! I love a good smorgasbord of homemade vegan food! :) At first I was overwhelmed with ideas of what to bring, but I decided on some pancakes because:
  1. I've had this almond flour from Trader Joe's for-ev-er.
  2. I've been craving pancakes since the day I made those damn delicious Carrot Cake Pancakes.
  3. Roger and Missy's kids (who I coincidentally teach in school) told me to, "Bring Pancakes!"                            
Almondy/ Flax Blueberry Pancakes

Unlike pancakes made from regular flour, these guys are gluten free, paleo, and packed full of nutrients-- No empty calories here :o)
Ingredients:
  • 2 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2/3- 1 cup milk substitute (I use unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1tbs refined coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbs agave nectar
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I used frozen)*
Method:
  1. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. On a plate, mash the bananas using a fork. Melt coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the almond milk, mashed bananas, vanilla, and agave. 
  3.  When all the wet ingredients are evenly mixed together, pour them into the almond and flax seed mixture. Stir until the batter is smooth. 
  4.  Gently stir in the blueberries until they are evenly distributed.
  5. Serve with 100% pure maple syrup and vegan butter or margarine. 
* I also made some of these pancakes with vegan chocolate chips for the kiddos. I didn't try them myself, but they were given a kids' thumbs up!

Check out the rest of our kick butt VEGAN BRUNCH!
Cooking...


Ta- Da! My Plate.

Here is what we had, starting at the fork going clockwise: Lexi's Hash Browns, Roger's Tofu Scramble- burrito style, Missy's Buiscuits and Gravy, my Almondy/Flax Blueberry Pancakes, Lexi's Crab Cakes- served over a whole wheat English muffin. 

After swimming 3 miles that morning I was a very hungry girl and ate absolutely EVERYTHING (I know...right?). It was all so good I still don't know which food was my favorite. I really liked the Tofu Scramble burrito because I am a little bit of a ketchup monster (same for the potatoes). The Biscuits and Gravy were fun, because as a non-vegan, I never ate them. I have always thought gravy was scary, artery clogging, and just plain gross.... but hey, not vegan gravy! The crab cake literally was areal crab cake... only vegan! Click here to see the recipe for the crab cakes at Lexi's blog. I liked my pancakes because the nutty/banana flavor they had to them was so good you didn't really need very much syrup AT ALL. 

Hope you enjoyed the food and it inspired you to TRY SOMETHING NEW :o)
Have a fantastic week!
-Em

Friday, March 2, 2012

Chocolate Banana Hemp Pudding Heaven

This took me 5 minutes to make! I'm pretty sure you should try some....





This was amazing on my taste buds. Talk about a healthy alternative to a traditional pudding. This worked out as a great post-swim snack for me today. Did I mention this is vegan AND paleo? 

Ingredients:
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1tbs organic hemp protein*
  • 1 tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs nut butter (I used almond butter)
  • 1/2 tbs unsweetened dairy alternative ( I use almond milk)
  • 1tbs vegan semi sweet chocolate chips (optional)
Method:
  1. in a small bowl mash the banana with a fork. Add the hemp protein and cocoa powder stirring in between each.
  2. Stir in the almond milk and the nut butter.
  3. Add the chocolate chips and ta-da! 
*I get my hemp protein at food fantasies. I have it on a daily basis in my breakfast smoothie. Here are some reasons why I think you should dump whatever other powdered protein garbage you are currently using and try hemp:

  • Hemp cleanses the liver by burning fat.

  • Organic hemp is environmentally friendly since it is grown without pesticides and herbicides. That is of course, also better for your health. 

  • Organic hemp protein powder is a whole food. It has the optimal balance of the Omega 3 and Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acids. It is also very rich in fiber, complete protein and branch chain amino acids. 

  • Hemp protein is better then whey (well, duh!) or any other protein available. This is especially true for active people who do high intensity training (like cross fit), endurance athletes (such as myself) or bodybuilders. Hemp protein is absorbed faster than any other protein and 15g of organic hemp protein powder is more anabolic than 50g whey, since 2/3 of it is made up of Edestrin - a plant protein only found in Hemp similar to protein found in the human body. This makes it perfect for DNA and cellular growth. It also makes it super easy to digest (so you wont be tootin' like you would from consuming whey).

  • Organic hemp protein powder actually helps to protect you against chronic diseases. It is one of the few food sources which contains GLA! Do not let the high amount of fat scare you away. It is the good fat - you need that for your skin, hair, eyes, nails - and cells in general. 

  • Organic hemp protein powder has a delicious nutty flavour, so no artificial sweetener is needed and it does not contain any preservatives.

Hope you enjoyed my little rave about why I love hemp. That's all for now :)
-Em

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Straight up Italian

As I was browsing through the Skinny Bitch In the Kitchen cookbook I came across this section of the book: 
Pretty much!!
This cookbook is great. I especially love the commentary! The text on this page completely describes my views on pasta, as well as fad diets (do those ever even work? Nope). I grew up on spaghetti, lasagna, manicotti, baked ziti, ravioli, pizza, pizza, and more pizza. Seriously... I could never live without that stuff. So yes, I'm your classic "Italian Bitch". Since going vegan and further educating myself on nutrition, I now stick to whole wheat pastas, or use other ingredients to replace noodles such as zucchini, quinoa, or spaghetti squash.... BUT I'm all about those pasta dishes!
So as I was browsing through the "Italian Bitch" section of the cookbook, I noticed an enticing recipe for a vegan Alfredo sauce. I'm typically a marinara girl, but was immediately inspired to invent one of my own. I also wanted to make it Paleo for my brother, Daniel.


I have three younger brothers (lucky me!). To clarify, Daniel is my middle brother. I don't get to see him often as he is a college student and a world traveler, so when I do I usually cook for him (duh!). 
Brother Daniel and I over the summer before he left for college :)

Daniel grew up running cross country and swimming like me, but hit a rut when he broke his back (I know, yikes!!) in a snowboarding accident during his senior year of high school. I am so proud of him because he has recently started eating healthier and gotten back into working out by biking and running. He is into the paleo kick too (although not terribly strict about it) and it's working out well for him! This is the vegan/paleo Italian dish I made for Daniel:

[This Vegan Bitch's] Mushroom Alfredo Sauce
Stir That Bitch Up.


Alfredo and Mushrooms over Spaghetti Squash Noodles

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup vegan mozzarella or Parmesan cheese*
  • 1 tsp Italian seasonings
  • 1 tsp raw agave nectar or sweetener of choice
  • 1/2 tbs vegan butter or margarine (omit for Paleo)*
  • vegan grated Parmesan cheese (omit for Paleo)
  • Pasta noodles of your choice*
Method:
  1. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the mushrooms and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in 1 can of coconut milk and bring to a low boil. 
  3. Add the salt, pepper, Italian seasonings, butter, and vegan cheese and reduce heat to medium-low. Add agave nectar and continue to cook uncovered until the cheese has melted entirely and the sauce has thickened up a bit.
  4. Serve over your favorite pasta. 
* Dan and I used the "noodles" of a whole Spaghetti squash to make the recipe paleo. To cook the squash, before starting your sauce, preheat oven to 400°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Roast the halves face-down on a greased baking pan or sheet for 30-40 minutes, until the flesh of the squash is tender. Use a fork to scrape out the "noodles". Boom.

* For vegan cheese I used Daiya Mozzarella cheese. Daiya is vegan and SOY FREE!! But it does have a minimal amount of sugar in it. Molly (my crossfit coach) says she would still use it considering the sweetener is the last/least ingredient.
*For vegan margarine I used Smart Balance Light.
*For vegan Parmesan I used Galaxy Nutritional Foods grated Parmesan Cheese Topping. 

Hope you enjoy this one! My non-vegetarian brother absolutely loved it! If you liked it then you might also like my Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs (although it is not paleo).  
Have a great weekend and keep on cookin'!!
-Em