Monthly Archive: December 2010

A sweets cycle

IMG_5839

Breakfast #1 – awkwardly photographed home-made trail mix of raw almonds, raisins, carob chips, cheerios, and Three Sisters cinnamon sweets.

Eaten while Kyle drove me to work at 6:20.

IMG_5900

Breakfast #2 – quinoa, shredded coconut, chopped apple, goji berries and dried cranberries.

Eaten between grand rounds at 10ish.

I have discovered a new way to eat quinoa that makes for an amazing breakfast…allow me to share with you.

First, I add soy milk to it.  I fill it to the top like I’m adding milk to a cold cereal.  Then, I microwave it for a minute.  And stir, and voila!  A delicious warm hearty breakfast.

IMG_5895

Lunch.

Eaten with Kyle in the hospital cafeteria.

I started with a bread and hummus appetizer.

IMG_5897

The bread was Alvarado Street sprouted whole wheat.  The hummus was home-made using two ingredients.

IMG_5815

One. Two.

IMG_5816

Not too complicated.  Just keep adding one or the other until the consistency and flavor is just right.  For the record, I could drink Garlic Gold’s EVOO straight up.  It’s ridiculously good.  I don’t know how good my palate is at detecting subtle flavors in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but Garlic Gold makes EXCELLENT stuff.  And that’s something my taste buds are very tuned into.

IMG_5901

The second part of my lunch was a salad featuring spinach, butternut squash, and raisins.

IMG_5892IMG_5894

You see, our squash supply just keeps multiplying.  So I’m quite literally roasting squash around the clock.

IMG_5837

My afternoon snack was this little ditty I picked up in Palm Springs.

IMG_5838

Who has heard of Corozonas oatmeal squares?  Anyone?  Well this flavor was like an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.  Exactly the pick-me-up I was looking for at 4 pm.

The rest of my lunch included pistachios, which I shared with Kyle (since he was so kind to join me at work for my lunch break), an apple, and the ever present candied ginger.

After work, Kyle picked me up and I brainstormed dinner the whole way home.

IMG_5820

My plate started with the basics: sweet potato and kale.

IMG_5823

Then I thinned out my hummus (same as the lunch batch) with more Garlic Gold EVOO and poured it on top of the plate.

IMG_5826

With raisins, too.

IMG_5829

As for the kale…I added bell peppers, Bragg’s liquid aminos, and more chickpea/EVOO dressing.

I could hardly wait to dig in, it was exactly what I was craving.

IMG_5825

As soon as my plate was clean, my body immediately knew it was time for dessert.  Geez.  Lately my body is so sugar dependent after meals.  I’m having a hard time telling if it’s merely the routine or if I actually crave sweets.  Hmmm…

Either way, I satisfied my taste buds.

IMG_5792

And then some.

IMG_5794

Vegan ‘smores featuring Suzanne’s ricemellow creme, 365 graham crackers, and Sunspire carob chips.

IMG_5796

 

Knocked my socks straight off.  Not only was it ridiculously good, but it’s similarity to the “real thing” (aka the non-vegan version) was so strong, memories of Girl Scout campfires came flooding back.  I’m convinced that taste buds contribute to memory recall.  Suzanne’s ricemellow is perfectly sweet with a real marshmallow fluff texture.  And as you guys probably well know by now, I prefer the taste of carob chips to chocolate anyway.  So clearly dessert was a vegan success story – you really can remake the classics without animal products.

This sweets cycle I’m in might not be healthy, but I’m not sure I’m ready to take action…yet.  If it starts getting out of hand, I may need an intervention though.  I started my day with carob chips AND ended it with the same chocolate-y goodness.  Is this normal?

AM in the PM

Check out my dinner!

IMG_5882

Vegan waffles made from scratch :)  The recipe is so hearty and delicious (and also top secret), you may or may not recall why…but I’ll get back to that later. 

For now, breakfast.

IMG_5407

I suppose this could be seen as a parfait of sorts.

IMG_5405

On the bottom: pumpkin oats with 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup whole rolled oats, NuNaturals liquid stevia, and Tropical Traditions shredded coconut.

On the top: vanilla greek yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon.

IMG_5799 

I managed to take a picture of my snack, too.  I pretty much eat apples by the dozen that go unpictured (average = 4 a day).  Taking such repetitive photos seemed annoying and pointless, so I gave up on it, but you can bet I’m going through bushel after bushel on a daily basis.  Sometimes I wander the kitchen absentmindedly trying to determine what to make, all the while munching on an apple.  It seems a nice way to start a meal…

IMG_5842

I really craved nothing more than veggies for lunch.  Since I finally restocked our spinach supply, I made a salad beast.

IMG_5845

Roasted veggies (butternut squash, brussels, parsnips, etc.) plus chopped carrots and (yep, more) apples.

IMG_5848

All tossed together and doused in Bragg’s liquid aminos.

IMG_5808

Afternoon (post-jog) snackage.  I had a rather slow run today because for some reason my body has been achy around the clock.  I’m not sick, but I am definitely not on my A game fitness-wise.  I have a feeling I’m just exhausted with the bizarre work schedule I’ve been rocking.  I haven’t had a consecutive day off in a reallllly long time, so I feel like I’m never all the way caught up with my sleep and whatnot.  Playing catch-up all day long is kinda annoying.

IMG_5811

Fizzle my nizzle.  Check out the new labels!  They are shiny silver and slick.  I like. 

IMG_5812 

Dinner required the use of some of my Christmas presents.

IMG_5872

A waffle maker from Kyle’s parents.

IMG_5813

And vanilla paste from Janetha

IMG_5852

Here are some of the other ingredients to the top secret recipe.

IMG_5850

Someone had a field day at the new bulk bins section of the Westwood Whole Foods… ;) 

You guys.  It’s THE best bulk bins wall I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been to my fair share of WFs so you know that means something.

I digress…

IMG_5853

In case you were wondering, food processors DO NOT grind flax seeds.  All it did was make a lot of noise and a big mess.  

IMG_5854

Fortunately, we have a grinder.

IMG_5855

Flaxy lady.

The food processor did do it’s job with the rest of the ingredients.

IMG_5861

Please note the mess the flax seeds created. 

IMG_5858

Vegan waffle mix.

IMG_5862

Just add water.

IMG_5865

The flax did it’s thang, and soon enough a “gelled” up batter was prime for the cooking.  I actually prefer “flax eggs” to real ones now in my baking.  Being plant based, they are cholesterol (and nasty goopy ick) free.  And they add a much heartier flavor, too. 

IMG_5871

Ladle ladle ladle…I made you out of oats…

IMG_5877

While we made the rest of the batch, we kept the first rounds warm in the oven.

IMG_5874

We couldn’t forget about the toppings. 

IMG_5863IMG_5875

In addition to the organic maple syrup, I made a simple strawberry compote (frozen strawberries thawed then chopped with cinnamon added in)

For my first helping, I drizzled syrup and strawberry compote on top.

IMG_5883

Look at the beauty as the hearty grains meet the fruit and syrup.  Mmmmmm…

For my second plate, I went au natural with vegan butter and nada mas.

IMG_5884

So flipping good.  It tasted just like I remembered with a hearty, yet light texture.  The color makes them look so rustic too.

My final serving almost escaped the camera…

IMG_5889

Luckily, I remembered before the last bite was gone. 

IMG_5887

Because if there were one to be captured on film, it should be the PB&J version.  ‘Gasmic is the only way to describe it.  Truly. 

This was a really fun dinner project, but I have to say, it was a LOT of work making the mix from scratch.  I hate to advocate the just-add-water stuff, but seriously, this was a pain in the a$$.  Hopefully if all goes well in Kyle’s business ventures, this will no longer be an issue.  Fingers crossed? 

IMG_5886

It would be pretty cool to eat these on a daily basis with minimal effort right?

Room for dessert?

IMG_5730

Duh.

Have you entered to win free cereal yet?  Hop to it!

Three Sisters

IMG_0351

One, two, three.

IMG_0337

We’re a special bunch.

IMG_6497

Really.

IMG_6348.jpg cropped

At least that’s what our parents tell us.

IMG_6472

We clearly hate each other.

IMG_0036

And hate taking photos together.

IMG_0319

Aside from our narcissism and eye color, we have some other things in common, too…such as our love for good food.

IMG_5046

This is good food.

IMG_5711

So is this.

IMG_5049

This is good food in a mug.

IMG_5051

This is good food with granola, pumpkin puree, and raw oats.

IMG_5720

This is good food with chopped apples.

IMG_5840

This is good food made into a trail mix style snack with more cereal, raisins, granola, carob chips, and nuts.

And this is where you can get good food.  Yes, Whole Foods is the exclusive seller of Three Sisters’ delicious cereals.  However, you could also read on to find out how you could win some from me :)

IMG_5047

Three Sisters was kind enough to send me a few different products to review and I have to say, each was better than the last.  The Cinnamon Sweets were sugary, but didn’t give me the rush (and subsequent crash) that accompanies crappy sugar cereals.  My favorite, however, were the Honey Puffs.  Love love love.  I will be buying these on the regular now because of how versatile they are.  I found myself adding them to everything!  No dish was safe from the addition of honey puffs (I’m talking salads, roasted veggies, oats, trail mixes…you name it…).

IMG_5721

Even the Brown Sugar & Maple oats were surprisingly hearty.  I’m typically not a fan of pre-flavored packaged oats, but these weren’t your typical sugar-laden (let’s-trick-kids-into-liking-these) oats.  These were hearty whole grains with a touch of something sweet.

IMG_5723

Aside from flavor, there are even more reasons that Three Sisters Cereal is hippie approved:

(a) It is eco friendly – they use 25% less packaging than other cereals (which are also 100% recyclable), plus they purchase electricity credits from Windsource to produce their products.  I love how they are taking recycling to the next level and working toward reducing waste and water use.

(b) It is nutritious but still tastes just like the unhealthy cereals that my mom wouldn’t let us eat.  The oats are 100% whole grain and organic and the plain grain flavor even has organic flaxseed, barley, quinoa, and rye in it.

(c) It is convenient – the oats’ carton is space-saving and the individual pouches can be used as measuring cups, too.  Likewise, the cereal bag eliminates excess packaging.  Why do cereals need both a box and a bag?  Simply put: they don’t.

IMG_5716

I found all this rather eye opening which is why I thought I’d share.

Did you know that each year, there are 2.5 billion cereal boxes sold in the US?  And if just half of those boxes were bags it would save 90,000 tons of paperboard.  That energy could power over 11,000 homes for a YEAR.  It could also eliminate 170 million gallons of waste water and avoid 1,800 garbage trucks of solid waste.  Crazy right?  It gets better…

To win a FREE Three Sisters cereal of your choice, leave a comment below saying which you would like to try.  Extra entry if you tweet about the giveaway.

I will be selecting FOUR people at random (4!!!) …so good luck!  I’ll announce the winners on January 1st.  Not a bad way to start out the new year, right?

*Please note that although Three Sisters provided the prize for this giveaway, they are not sponsors, endorsers, or affiliated with the giveaway.

Hungry Hungry Kyle

Kyle is too lazy to type up a guest post.  But ask beg and you shall receive…  

Here’s a recap of his evening in the kitchen, hippie-style.  So without further ado…

IMG_5765

Candle Cafe’s Seitan Skewers with Chimichurri Citrus-Herb Sauce

I found two recipes online and combined them for the marinade with the following proportions:

  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (thank you bumper crop!)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 ½ tbsp vegan sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt

P1010362P1010363

P1010372P1010365

Put it all in a blender and blend for 30 seconds.

P1010381

P1010385P1010389

Pour into a container over the seitan. 

P1010391

Instead of making seitan, I bought it already cubed.  The vacuum packaging doesn’t help with the aesthetics.

P1010398

West Soy’s wheat protein (admittedly looking quite suspect – and that’s putting it nicely) broke apart into chunks which I then combined with the chimichurri sauce.

P1010405P1010407

I marinated the seitan in the refrigerator for about 90 minutes before putting them on the skewers. 

P1010433 

Once on skewers, I barbecued them on a high temperature for about 6 minutes (I rotated once after 3 minutes).  The timing isn’t too scientific, just flip them once the seitan begins to brown on the outside. 

IMG_5775

There was a lot of extra sauce leftover.

IMG_5776 

The flavor of the sauce wasn’t what I expected at all, but it was really good.  I was thinking it would be spicier or something?  It ended up more citrusy than I was anticipating.  It still had a good balance of herbs while not overpowering the dish.  It’s pretty versatile too, and the leftovers will go well with almost anything.  Rice.  Meat.  Whatever. 

IMG_5779

For dessert, I made a vegan apple deep dish pie with a graham cracker crust.  I think this is basically what went into it:

Vegan Graham Cracker Pie Crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup melted vegan butter (Earth Balance/vegan buttery spread)
  • 1/3 cup vegan sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • ~ a few tablespoons of water (as needed to soften, used as a substitute for more butter)

P1010410P1010412

I mixed all the ingredients with a spatula until the mix was roughly the same consistency.

P1010452IMG_5768

Then, I smooshed (I think that’s a technical cooking term) the mix onto the small bread pan so that the crust was about 1 centimeter thick on all sides.

IMG_5767

For the apple filling, I peeled a few fuji apples

P1010415P1010465

Before and after pics. 

Vegan Apple Pie Filling

  • 2 ½ organic fuji apples, peeled and sliced
  • 1 ½ tbsp of flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tbsp of vegan sugar
  • optional: a handful of carob chips

IMG_5773

Once the filling was mixed and consistent, I just poured it into the deep dish pie crust. 

IMG_5772

It baked at 400 for 25 minutes. 

IMG_5780

After removing it from the oven, we let it sit for about 10 minutes and then served it up.

IMG_5782

Voila!

IMG_5785

There was extra pie filling which was too delicious to waste, so I added some to another (crust-less) bread pan using tin foil so it wouldn’t stick to the pan.

IMG_5781

Even after making the second pie, there was still more raw filling (so Elise ate it uncooked).

IMG_5786 

By the end of the night, no pie remained.

IMG_5787

Elise here again!  Isn’t my husband’s cooking impressive?  Vegan chef in the making…  :)

I have to admit, I rarely let him cook for me, not because he doesn’t want to, but more because I love cooking (and let’s face it, I’m a control freak in the kitchen). 

So let me hear it:  Do you prepare most of your own meals?  Do your significant other’s know how to cook?  Anyone ever prepared a special meal for you?

The most wonderful time

I know you guys don’t believe me, but working on Christmas Day is not that bad.  I mean, obviously I’d prefer to spend the morning in my PJs cozied up by the fireplace, opening presents with my family.  But don’t worry, I still made sure it was a festive day at the hospital.  After all, my patients need cheer on the 25th too.  It also helps that I happen to love my job.  And in the back of my mind I know that eventually I will be higher on the totem pole and get the day off.  Until then…

IMG_5734

Work lunches.

IMG_5735

I had the same butternut squash mash as the day before, sprinkled with more nooch on top.  Extra cheezy.

IMG_5731

I got extra greens in the form of blanched broccoli, which I topped in 365 marinara sauce.

IMG_5732

I love that the vibrant color is preserved when you blanch broccoli.  I cooked this batch over a week ago and it’s still crisp and green (unlike when you steam it).  Another perk of the minimal amount of cooking is that it’s not as hard on my digestive tract as raw broccoli is. 

IMG_5733

This apple’s skin is similar to that of my 80 year old patient. 

That’s because it was picked nearly a month ago from my parents’ back yard.  Remember my apple picking session klepto apple raid from Thanksgiving?  I’d like to think my family saved them for me to take back to LA (knowing how much I adore the cute little buggers), but the truth is, they prefer fuji apples to golden delicious.  While golden delicious isn’t my favorite (that’s reserved for gala) I’m all about home grown (read: free). 

What’s your favorite kind of apple?  After gala, I like jazz, honeycrisp, cameo, braeburn, jonagold and pink lady.  I love me some hard, crisp apples.  :)

IMG_5737

With my cute lil golden delicious bugger, I made a sweet quinoa dish.

Quinoa, raisins, cinnamon, ginger, coconut, and a chopped apple.

IMG_5739

In between meals I snacked on some Turkish figs from NutsOnline.  Dried fruit is the perfect snack and figs are a very portable option.  I forgot how much I like them. 

IMG_5740

Ingredients: Turkish figs  [In case you didn’t believe me?]  One ingredient food items are like gold. 

My patient load was about as good as it gets.  I had nice people (as in they were kind and appreciative)…plus they were stable (always a perk).  One lady even gave me a present!  I thought it was a bit odd that she asked what my shoe size was the day before, but I have such random conversations with patients that I never really gave it a second thought.  But the next day she had a cute pair of sandals for me when I went in to her room!  So sweet.  I started the day with three patients, but then I discharged one around noon (he really wanted to be home in time for the Lakers game…), so I only had two for the remainder of the day.  Not too shabby.  And I got paid time and a half…so there’s that.  :)

When I got home, this was the scene I walked in on…

IMG_5760

Best husband ever.

He started cooking in the afternoon to prepare a vegan Christmas feast for me…and if you beg hard enough in the comments section, he may even do a post about it.

IMG_5761

A salad of kale, avocado, and bell peppers was waiting on the (fancy and already set) table.

IMG_5764

And these seitan skewers were ready for the grill.

IMG_5765

Seitan Chimichurri was (is) my favorite thing from Candle Cafe, and one of the items that I miss the most from NYC.  Kyle managed to track down their recipe, so this dish was both nostalgic AND delicious.

IMG_5774

Kyle fired up the BBQ while I showered…and within minutes, I sat down to this vegan feast.

IMG_5776 

Extra saucy sauce. 

Kyle was nice enough to let me have TWO of the three skewers.  He’s such a gentleman.  I’m a lady (my appetite just never got the memo). 

IMG_5775

After mega servings of kale salad and a double portion of seitan, I was full and happy. 

Kyle’s Christmas dinner didn’t stop there though…

IMG_5780

Apple pie with a graham cracker crust

IMG_5784

OHHHHHHH YEAHHHHHHH  :)  I had seconds.  And thirds. 

It was the perfect ending to a wonderful (although semi-unconventional) Christmas Day.