Author Archive: Elise

About Elise

I’m a nurse. An exercise lover. A whole foods connoisseur. A health enthusiast. And I have IBS. No need to cue the sappy violin music yet…
I’ve found that eating a mostly plant-based diet has allowed me to continue to live and love life to the fullest. Although moderation isn’t something I do well, I’m 100% devoted to giving my body pure, wholesome, quality food. Nutritious and delicious, all the time.
Hungry Hungry Hippie is a way for me to share my daily dealings with food, fitness, and everything in between.

i’m thinking squash

Buenos dias! No work = sleep in day (woo hoo)!

Made a nice big frothy mug of coffee this morning. Yum yum yum. I spent the next few hours doing errands around the apartment…and I didn’t even realize how much time had passed until my stomach started growling around 2 pm. Whoa! Late lunch much?

So I made a nice platter for myself with the best hummus EVAH (Sabra).

First I had some carrots and a slice of Alvarado street bread…


Then I had one more piece of bread (caked with delicious Sabra)…


And another…


And then a GN veggie burger…with a (large) dollop of hummus on top 🙂


Doesn’t it look a bit like a hummus hairdo the way I arranged it?
Since it was UNseasonably warm today (no complaints) I decided to run outside. I ran to Central Park and did 2 laps around the lake (maybe 40ish mins total). Then I cooled down at the gym on the elliptical (level 8) for 15 mins and stretched.
For dinner, I had quite the meal planned. Thanks to Erin from Care to Eat (shout out), I was all set for my first go at cooking spaghetti squash. Look at this massive baby!!

I only sorta knew what to expect when I cut it open (which was a serious feat in and of itself)! The outside was way tougher to penetrate than I expected (that word will always sound dirty).


Here’s the inside, seeds and all.


Before and aftershot. Scooping is not so fun. Reminds me of carving pumpkins. You just want to get it over with so you can start the fun part. Ordinarily I would have saved the seeds to bake (just like I did last year with pumpkin seeds) but there really weren’t enough to make it worthwhile. And I’m lazy. 😉


Here’s one half cleaned out and ready for the oven…

the second half was a bit bigger, so I cut it in half so the pieces would all cook evenly.


Here they are all ready in the pan (along with approx 1 cm. of water).


I don’t know how long they were in the oven, I just kept checking on them until the skin was soft enough to stab with a knife.


Look how the insides are just naturally stringy! So cool!


Once it cooled I started scooping out the flesh.


BEAUTIFUL stringy noodle-y spaghetti squash!!


Here’s a view of the inside mid-scraping.


And here are the skins all hollowed out.


There was so much I separated it into containers for future quick dinners.
While the spag squash was in the oven, I got to work preparing for the rest of my dindin. I decided to make a vegan spaghetti with meatballs, so I had to start seasoning the tofu with some italian spices. Sometimes I forget to mention the specific spices I use, but we have a pretty extensive spice collection, so it’s rare that a recipe calls for something I don’t have. Our apartment may be teeny tiny, but we are stocked with seasonings.

That’s not even all of them either!

So on the tofu I used:
onion powder and flakes

garlic powder and flakes
basil
oregano
fennel seed (ew, never again)
s + p
Here’s the final product. I popped a few into my mouth before everything else was ready, and they were TASTY!

Plus some of Brad’s organic pasta sauce (tomato basil flavor).


Below is the first plate all together.

This deserves quite a few “holy yum”s. Each bite got better and better. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the spag squash noodles, but in my opinion, they were even better than reg noodles! The big chunks of tofu were an especially great addition to the spaghetti meal.

Very much a meal I’ll make again.


This was plate #2 – heavenly 🙂 Not much tops warm comfort food in winter.
I did have room for dessert though (clearly).

But I only had a few spoons – not enough to warrant a bowl.

Awesome Blossom

Good (hungover) morning! Thank god I pounded water before I went to bed last night and then slept in today, because after last night’s festivities, I needed sleep and hydration big time. I had SO much fun at the work holiday party. Drinking and dancing with the whole cardiac surgery team in a fun (non hospital) environment was a complete blast. The biggest shocker, though, is how SORE I am today! I danced for maybe half and hour, but since I was in heels, I guess I was using different muscles? My quads are aching. I can’t stretch enough. Who knew in addition to fine wine and fine dining, I’d be getting in a work out! The DJ played most of my requests, so I was in heaven 🙂
Anyways, I started off the day with a mug of Starbucks’ holiday blend coffee with ff skim plus (we’re out of soymilk).

I had a few cups, and wasn’t really hungry until later in the afternoon. Looks like I’m back to my normal meal times now that I’m officially over the cold. So, for my late lunch I made myself a new type of sammie (I was in a creative mood). I mixed approx 3 oz. of “chicken” Smart Strips with brocc slaw, veganaise, ff chobani, and curry powder.

Then I heaped it all onto a slice of Alvarado Street (CA style) bread…


It was too big to eat open face, though…so I added another piece of bread on top.


Pic of sandwich doing the splits below.


Yummmm…note to self: curry “chicken” salad sandwich is a repeat, fo sho.


I needed a little sugar pick me up before I headed off to the gym, so I had a big (organic) gala apple.
Summary of my gym visit in three words: ouch, stretch, ouch. My quads were in pain! I was planning on kicking my butt today, too. Clearly, I accomplished no such mission. I managed to stay on the elliptical for 60 minutes, alternating between levels 10 and 11, but I was in agony the entire time. At least I had some good football on tv to distract me 🙂 Favre and the JETS made quite the last minute comeback.
After the gym, Kyle and I headed out for errands and stuff. I hit up Starbucks while we were out for a coffee. I added fake sugar (when will Sbucks get on the Stevia bandwagon, stupid FDA) and vanilla silk soy milk. I’m not sure how long we were out, but by the time we made it back home, we were both starving.
We had a dinner date planned for the evening, which I was VERY VERY excited about. I have been looking forward to going to Blossom Cafe since it opened! This is the sister restaurant to the original Blossom in Chelsea, and is jsut around the corner from us on the Upper West. It is one of the more popular vegan restaurants in NYC, so naturally I had to try it out.
I started with the soup of the day, which was a sweet potato, ginger, coconut milk soup. HOLY YUM! This $h#% is bananas!!! Really thick, really favorful, and really good.

I was savoring every bite, and was about 2/3 into it, when my entree arrived. I initially ordered the porcini crusted tofu, but they were all out, so I instead order the Seitan Scallopini. I am so glad I was forced to order this instead of the tofu. I always get tofu, and I really am glad I branched out.

Pan seared seitan cutlets in a white wine lemon caper sauce served with mashed potatoes and sauteed greens. OMG. This meal was so f-ing good. I. heart. good. food. I’m officially in love with Blossom after this meal. The pic doesn’t even do the size of the dish justice. I have never had seitan in any other form than shredded pieces, so this was new, and quite delish. Also I was so happy to finally have mashed potatoes on my plate that I could actually eat without fearing the revenge of the butter/milk/dairy the following day!! Vegan dining is the way to go! Words just don’t describe how good this meal was (definitely just cracked into my top 5 fave restaurants of all time – and that is a serious accomplishment with my fine dining experience)!! Kyle and I left the restaurant stuffed to the bone. I wanted to finish my soup, so I couldn’t even finish all the seitan (so of COURSE I had them make me a take-away bag of the rest of the meal). Leftovers 🙂

Work Holiday Party

The office x-mas (or holiday to be PC) party was at Cibo, which is a Zagat staple, and was named one of the best restaurants in NYC in 2001, having been called a “New American-Italian hotspot located in the landmark Daily News building, a neighborhood favorite for locals looking for inventive fare.”

Immediately upon arriving, we both had drinks in our hands. Seriously, I had hardly checked my coat, and I was half a glass of wine into the night. 1, 2, 3 glasses later I was feeling prettyyyy toasty. As more and more people arrived, the party was getting really fun! They were perpetually bringing around drinks when my glass was still a few sips away, which really put the pressure on my drinking (not usually how I roll, but hey, it’s free)! Open bar = amazing. They were also circling with hors d’oeuvres constantly, empanadas, spring rolls, won tons, etc. (I didn’t have any since they weren’t vegetarian, and likely fried in oil with animal fat). Kyle certainly enjoyed them though 🙂 An hour or so later we headed to the dining area to reserve seats, since we didn’t want to end up all split up. There were 5 big circle tables, a few smaller side booths, and then the big long rectangle table (for the important people, ie: the surgeons). We snagged a big circle table that seated 8, so I got to dine with my fave peeps.

Once we sat down, the waiters came around to take our orders. We got to choose an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. For my app I got the organic tomato and cucumber salad with golden beets, and lemon herb balsamic vinaigrette. It was great! Very balsamic-y but the tomatoes were red and yellow, as were the beets! I’d never had a yellow beet, so I was excited and curious. It was def a good choice. I was very drunk, so I’m sure I could have savored it more, but oh well…I was socializing so much I wasn’t concentrating on my food! For dinner there were no veggie options, so I did my usual veggie restaurant thing (order fish). It’s not that I think fish aren’t as important as other (land) animals, it’s just they tend to be healthier and with less cruelty in the harvest. Plus, I like fish, and I don’t really like other meat. I ended up getting the fennel crusted north atlantic salmon with scallion and celery root mashed potatoes, warmed grapes and caperberries. The best part of this dish was the grapes (enough said?). Caperberries will forever remind me of Bridget Jones’ Diary, when she prepares her own birthday dinner, and makes caperberry stew, which looks like congealed green goop…what I’m trying to say is – I’m not exactly in a rush to try them. I was pretty drunk and (thus) not very hungry anyways. For dessert I ordered the flourless Valrhona chocolate soufflé with vanilla bean ice cream, which Kyle promptly stole (he did trade me his apple cinnamon raisin cobbler with vanilla ice cream though). The souffle looked good, but the cobbler was YUM! I only had a few bites and didn’t have the ice cream (obvi), but it definitely came close to the perfection that is my mom’s cobbler.

Operation: Don’t set hair on fire!

Hooray! I love weekends 🙂
Since I didn’t have work, I slept in today, which felt amazing. Then, Kyle headed off to MindsMatter, so I curled up with a cup (or 2) of coffee with soymilk (no froth) and watched Home Alone. Such an x-mas classic.

I had the last of my bag of dates too. Looks like I’ll need to make a grocery run this weekend, a date-less apartment is a no-no.

I also started off my weekend cooking by baking some tofu.
Drained and pressed tofu below.
After an hour in the oven (flipped halfway)…by the way I didn’t season these, just sprinkled on some EVOO and salt.

Crispy on the edges, just the way I like it. This worked up my appetite, so around noon, I made myself a platter of lunch time goodness.

Vegan chicken spread + Cali Style Alvarado Street bread = heaven!


I also had 3 slabs of the baked tofu. Not a very veggie-ful meal, but since I had a salad to rival all salads last night, I think I’m ok in the greens department.


Yes, I was in a very dainty mood, and ate my lunch with a fork and knife (even the chicken spread on toast)!
In preparation for the gym, I fueled up on water and an apple.

At the gym, I elliptical-ed for an hour with a 10 min warm-up and 10 min cool-down. Whatevs. Nothing major, but I got a good sweat going, so no complaints. I ended the gym sesh with some abs and arm stuff…honestly, I was in a rush to get home, so I will do better tomorrow.

My post gym snack was a strawberry soy yogurt. Now I’m off to get ready for my work holiday party! I’m super excited to see everyone outside of the hospital. It’ll be really weird, I think alcohol will definitely be an important ingredient (social lubricant, yes please)…and yet, after seeing this week’s episode of The Office, I’m thinking I should be careful to not overdo the boozing. The last thing I want is to be the drunk @%$ that gets her head caught on fire!

re-defining the big salad

Woke up at 5 am to a tummy ache 🙁
Not an ideal start to the day, but off to work I went…I didn’t really want coffee (that’s never a good sign). I got a big smartwater on my subway commute and felt a bit better after I pounded that. It was quite a back and forth work day, but it ultimately ended well. The meals started in a similar pattern, but then took a turn for the worse. For some unknown reason, whenever I work on Fridays, I seem to think I deserve to eat whatever I want (demonstrated brilliantly by tonight’s dinner).
Anyways, I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to the AM. I got a coffee, because I knew I would want it eventually (do I know myself, or do I know myself). AMAZINGLY, I waited until 10 to drink it…followed by my odwalla superfood bar. YUM! – a much needed boost, since I had a patient load like no other today. Suck-o.
I didn’t get away for my lunch break until the afternoon, grrrr.
I had my pre-packed lunch, with the above sando. I was out of lettuce, so the brocc slaw had to fill in. I also had ff chobani, honey mustard, and raisins(!?) with the smart deli “turkey.” I was not expecting this to be as good as it was. Honestly, when I made it last night, I was thinking how good the ingreds would be if they were mixed together, but was too lazy to make it the right way, so I made the poor-man’s-version (and it looked weird).
I finally got a photo of my Bruno’s soup. Ginger carrot (vegan). Soooo good. I also had a fresh slice of french bread on the side.
After work I went to Whole Foods, totally lazy. I may be in a rut with dinner. I made the HUGEST salad. Plain tofu AND bbq tofu in BULK on a bed of spinach leaves, carrots, peas, edamame, onions, and dried cranberries. This salad borders on colossal (1000+ kcals without a doubt). I know this because it weighed (and thus cost) a pretty penny. Don’t underestimate the size of this box(the pic doesn’t do it justice).

I KNOW I shouldn’t have finished it because it took me upward of an hour to polish off. Seinfeld’s “big salad” has nothing on this baby. I can’t move I’m so full.

And yet, I needed my dessert for no reason other than to satisfy the craving in name. Passion fruit sorbet…sugar load, check!

Guess I’ll just finish off the wine and call it a night.