"chicken" spread

What I Ate

It’s been a long time since I did a “what I ate in a day” style post, but I feel like returning to my OG format for the a moment.  Here goes.

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Breakfast: Vegan & GF pancakes (made with Bob’s Red Mill mix and almond milk).  I didn’t use any kind of vegan egg substitute, I just left it out.  I also used only almond milk (rather than the water/oil combo they recommended).

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I topped it with warm peanut butter and banana slices.  Half the banana went into my mouth before it made it onto the pancakes.  Oops!

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Lunch: Greek yogurt parfait with strawberries and cinnamon raisin quinoa & brown rice.

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And since I can’t leave well enough alone, I added unsweetened vanilla almond milk to the mix and created a creamy, fruity grain porridge.

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Snack: Righteously Raw 90% cacao caramel bar.  Holy yum.  I never knew lucuma could be so awesome.

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In my opinion, raw food has never been this good.  For reals.  Full disclosure, a friend tried this and didn’t like it, so maybe my taste buds aren’t 100% reliable.  It’s not very sweet, but it’s not bitter either.  It’s nice and mellow.  I ate half.

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Dinner: Spinach salad with quinoa and Nature Boy vegan “chick’n” salad.

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The salad is from my Philly return flight (since I completely over-packed my food).  I used the tupperware as a shake-n-bake container.  I added a tiny bit of Bragg’s aminos and olive oil.  It made sure the spinach and quinoa got completely coated in protein goodness.

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I actually had two servings, which means I consumed a few lbs of spinach total.

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Sorry Kermit, it’s actually pretty easy being green.

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Dessert: Samoa cupcake from Sweet Freedom Bakery.

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Pretty impressive that these treats made it all the way back to my fridge from PA.

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It’s probably not surprising, but Samoas were my favorite Girl Scout cookie.  Chocolate + Coconut + Caramel = Dessert trifecta!  And the fact that it was vegan, gluten free, soy free, etc. makes it all the more impressive.

The inside was full of caramel which oozed out when I bit into it.  Ummmm, kinda amazing.

There you go.  A full day of food.  Voila!

Philly: Old Nelson on the go

After brunch, my parents had to head to the airport, but Kyle and I still had a few hours to kill.

We filled the time with a long stroll through campus followed by a trip to the 30th street train station.  We bought SEPTA tickets to the airport and food for the flight. 

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I’m sorry (but not really?) to say, I didn’t make into a Wawa over the weekend.

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For non-Philly readers, I’d liken the chain to 7-Eleven, but for me the nostalgia of getting both coffee and soft pretzels is what makes the convenience stores so endearing. 

When I first moved to Philly, I had no idea what a “hoagie” was and why it was different than a sandwich.  Or a sub.  Or a grinder.  Or a hero.  The terms are never ending.  I also thought self service was only for checking out at the drug store.  Turns out you can tap buttons on a screen and – bam – your lunch is ready.  But I’m getting off topic…

The 30th Street train station has lots of hippie friendly food – including Au Bon Pain, Cosi, and an Old Nelson market.  All three are Philly mainstays with veg options, but Old Nelson has groceries too. 

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This vegetarian section brings back so many memories (more from my NYC days than my Philly ones, but still). 

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More NYC nostalgia, Tate’s Bake Shop

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And Sabra galore, including the elusive buffalo style hummus.  Must find asap!!

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I bought a few items, including a vegan “chik’n” sandwich by Nature Boy.

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I also got a tub of the same salad with Mary’s Gone Crackers for dipping.

I’ve had horrible luck with airports lately, so I prefer over-packing and having excessive food options.  Beats the alternative.  LAX is probably the worst place to fly out of, especially the American Airlines and Alaska terminal.  Seriously, there’s nothing remotely edible that’s made without meat.  I guess the new JetBlue terminal at JFK spoiled me forever. 

As it turns out, the Delta terminal in Philly is shockingly veg friendly. 

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Kyle and I both hit up Green Leafs for make-your-own salads. 

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And FYI, they have fresh juice too.  Plus there’s a Jamba Juice around the corner.  Not too shabby.

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I enjoyed each and every veggie filled bite (while watching this <— hilarious!!).

My appetite was pretty voracious though, and I wound up finishing the sandwich and the box of Mary’s Gone crackers too. 

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But the best flight food, by far, was the whoopie pie from Blackbird Pizzeria.

It was delightfully massive.  My window-seat neighbor was definitely jealous.  She also seemed slightly appalled at how much I was eating.  But I get that a lot.

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Half way through. 

Since I had stored it in our hotel’s freezer, it was still cold and the frosting filling wasn’t so soft that it oozed everywhere.  It was almost like a fluffy ice cream sandwich.  I preferred the ratio of frosting to cookie in my Sweet Freedom cookie sandwich though.  Whoopie Pies are really big right now, huh? 

And that’s it for the weekend in Philly!

PS I’m happy to report, the rest of my Sweet Freedom treats survived the transport to LA, so I actually get to savor the trip a little bit longer. 🙂

An Ode to Whole Foods

How I love thee, let me count the ways…

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1. Prepared foods bar

As you are about to see, I’ve been going through a few obsessions.  Whole Foods makes it dangerously easy to slip into food ruts because each dish is better than the last and meals require no effort whatsoever (aside from determining if you want the Kirstie Alley size or the more moderate portion) because they are already prepared.

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Fumi Tofu Salad

I was first introduced to this glorious dish back in my college days, when the Whole Foods opened in Westwood and my pathetic bank account went from sad-college-student-status to overdraft-fee-status).  Now whenever I see Fumi Tofu Salad in the prepared foods section, my meal choice is a no brainer.

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Of course the real perk of Whole Foods dining is the sheer variety at your fingertips fork tines.   How fantastic that you can have such choices all in the same place!?  It certainly makes it easy when eating with large groups (as a vegan, I can’t even put into words how clutch this has been).

So when I OD on Asian inspired eats (see above Fumi salad), I can simply wander two steps over and – voila – I have Indian dishes aplenty.

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Curry Gardein Chik’n Salad

This salad recipe needs to make it’s way to their website pronto because I’m now a Gardein worshiper.  The combination of the faux-meat with veganaise and curry makes for one delish treat.  They must have some secret ingredient in those magic kitchens of theirs though, because try as I might to recreate this dish, I can’t quite master it.  Whole Foods wins again.

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Falafel

(To be fair, this is not a recent obsession, it’s a lifestyle)

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So when I’m not in the Asian or Indian sections, it’s safe to say I’m filling my basket with Mediterranean goods.

The carry-out prepared foods items are perfect for on-the-go meals, and being the jet-setter that I am, they have become absolutely indispensable for car rides/flights/etc.

And then there’s the ‘FU…

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I don’t care how masterful at marinading you think you are, once you have tried WF’s tofu, there is no other that compares.  Sad but true.

2. Fresh fruit

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Paying my week’s earnings for a quart of strawberries is something I do willingly.  No ifs, ands, or buts about it.  Organic produce is worth the $$$$.

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How ‘bout them apples nails?

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Leads with a “9”  🙂

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The redness of the strawbz & apples looks fake – it’s just so gorgeous!

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3. Salad bar

If I were to add up the money I spend at the Whole Foods salad bar, it would make Kyle cry.

What can I say?  Some like shoes, some like purses, I like the WF salad bar.  And the fact that food is my not-so-secret obsession is a source of pride (hence this post).

Get ready for the montage of the century (and bear in mind this is only a couple of week’s worth of WF trips).

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If I were doing a salad bar highlight reel, the stars of the show would be: eggless “egg” salad, babaganoush,  couscous, udon noodles, edamame, seitan, and every different tofu offered.

I hope that heaven has a Whole Foods.

4. Baked goods

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On days that I can’t make up my mind, I go to the bakery section and get a fresh roll and a tub of hummus.  It’s simple, cheap, and I can be in & out of the store in less than 5 minutes.  You can’t beat that (plus it evens out the length of my other trips to Whole Foods, which are usually in the 2 hour range).

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In addition to their addicting fresh breads, recently Whole Foods has been carrying soft pretzels in the baked goods section.

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Well, we all know about my history with pretzels (it’s a salty carbohydrate, you do the math).

If you are a new reader, take note: I don’t think a better vehicle for hummus exists (in my humble, yet experienced opinion).

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Carbs + salt = what’s not to love?!?  This oat/seed coated twist is the best thing since sliced bread.

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5. Non-sugar, non-chemical drinks

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As a former soda addict, rehabbing with Zevia has made the detox period much more tolerable.

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And yet, I’m still a tad depressed that Kombuchas have been recalled from the shelves.  Now where am I going to get my beloved swamp water live cultures?

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THANK YOU WHOLE FOODS!  Without your endless supplies of new vegan eats, fresh produce, and healthy creative recipes, my hippie lifestyle would be way less tasty.

*Pics taken at various Santa Monica locations, as well as Walnut Creek, Westwood, and Santa Barbara.

Peace out February, you won’t be missed

Thanks for all the positive feedback on my OpenSky shop!  I have a ton more in the works, so I’ll keep you guys in the know. 

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I had an accident with my froth this morning.  Disregard the mess, it tasted awesome.

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Bride mag + apple = bridapple.  Sounds like a horse food.  Ah well.  Lunch was a toasty sando with roasted red pepper hummus and greek yogurt-i-fied tofu “turkey” spread.

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I think I added too much greek yogurt 😕 because the “turkey” spread was a little overly oozy. 

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I don’t think this sammie was repeat-worthy, but whatever, I ate it.  I mean, I like hummus, and I like greek yogurt, and they weren’t bad together. 

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Hmmm…looks like I have to work on my sales pitches.  HA!

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No question.  Lunch’s dessert was a definite winner.  Why haven’t I had carob covered raisins in so long?  Foodie fail fa-SHO.

My appetite was weak sauce in the PM, so dinner was more of a snack sesh than a meal.

‘Tizers.

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Crack.  Hummus.  Oopma loompa carrots. 

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Apple.  Steaz.  Chocolate.

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Chewy chewy mango.  Caramel. 

Not exactly a normal day of eats for me, but I give my tum what it wants…and if that happens to be cookies for dinner, well, shoot, I’m a grown up and I do what I want (or at least the latter part).

You may (or may not) have noticed that I haven’t made it to the gym in quite a while.  I have been doing a TON of stretching and flexibility/pilates stuff in my apartment nearly every day and I feel pretty good.  Granted, I miss the endorphin high that running provides, and I’ve had to put my AAAA on pause, but I’m not as aggravated by the lack of cardio in my life as I thought I would be.  If anything, I’m better able to roll with the punches now that I have accepted the fact that February is just not cooperating with my gym regimen.  March starts tomorrow though, so who knows what that will bring…

What has helped in this weather, is making sure to leave the apartment every day on my days off of work.  Regardless of the weather.  As a result Starbucks’ stock is going up no doubt…

You’re welcome economy.  🙂

Little Miss Sunshine

Looks like I brought the sunny CA weather back East with me, huh?  Let’s hope it lasts.

My camera died mid-lunch prep, so only 75% of my pre-packed eats are shown below.

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Ellie’s presents came in handy with my lunch prep.  First up, the Tokyo Seaweed Salad, which I chose because I had extra Arame seaweed to use from yesterday’s lunch.

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I mixed the rest of the arame (on the left) with half the Tokyo Seaweed salad and added it to a fistful of spinach.  I added raisins after the photo because it looked too boring.  Perfection!

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The only item that didn’t make it into the photo was the bag of Newman’s Own protein pretzels/raisins/pistachios.  Otherwise, these eats pretty much fit the standard hippie cookie cutter lunch mold (dried mango and pears), Tribe hummus with carrots, a Graham Cracker Z bar (LOVE!) and a mini S’more Luna bar (Nike half marathon loot), and an apple

Work was work.  It was actually kinda nice to be back (I have NO doubt that I will take that statement back when I am working this weekend)…but anyways.

Anyways, I know I promised seven random things about me in my last post, so here it goes:

1.  I walked exclusively on my tip-toes until I was 4 years old.  I wasn’t the fastest on my feet, but I had some b!tchin calves.

2.  I was on the U-19 women’s ODP soccer team at the age of 14.  Oh, and I was 4’10’’ and 80 lbs.  Yes, it’s true “good things come in small packages…”

3.  My grandpa calls me chocolate because my middle name is Claire (as in Eclair).  It’s cute until you find yourself explaining to the bank teller why your birthday check has a flavor in the spot for a name.

4.  As a youngin’ I wanted to be a farmer when I grew up, followed by an orchestra conductor, and then a sticker & nail polish collector.  Such great career choices!  (Now I just want to win the lottery)

5.  Even though I work in health care, personally, I hate taking medicine.  I’d rather just deal with headaches with coffee, suffer through sleepless nights by counting sheep, and ignore my muscle pain.  But that’s just the stubborn fuh-reak in me.  I’m also happy to report that I petitioned both the flu & H1N1 shots (which you all were so kind to share your opinions about), and successfully got out of it.

6.  I always walk on the left side of others, sit on the left, and in general try to stay to the left, to the left (I’ll keep the politics out of blogging, but I’m a hippie, so you all probz know where I stand).

7.  Kyle and I both went to UCLA and met while working at our on-campus jobs.  Cheers to dipping your pen in the company ink! 

Hope you enjoyed the tid-bits 😉

I got home around 8 and was delighted that I didn’t even have to think twice about what to eat for dinner.  Isn’t it nice when your fridge is STOCKED with amazing vegan eats?  Um, YES!!!

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Karen & Sisters Vegan Salsa “Chicken” Salad is made with TVP, soy protein, and organic veggies (carrots, celery, onion, sun-dried toms, jalapenos, cilantro), and vegan mayo. 

I am SO glad I got this flavor to sample for free because I had been eyeing it for a while, but was too nervous to try it.  Does anyone else have a hard time straying from the flavors that you KNOW you like?  I can’t help but think “why risk it?”  These babies certainly aren’t cheap, so I prefer to go with something I am sure I will love.  Well, apparently, meals like the above “salsa chicken salad” are what you miss when you are a creature of habit.  Note to self: grow a pair.

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In less than 60 seconds, I toasted a WF english muffin and made an open faced sammie.  The rest of the plate was filled with (raw) carrot sticks and (steamed) brussel sprouts.  Naturally, I dipped the carrots in the chicken salad, too.  It.was.SO.good.  A bit heavy on the vegan mayo, but sometimes a girl needs her (8 servings of) fat, right? 

There was just a touch of the salad left after all my dipping, so I got a few pretzels to seal the deal.

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The finisher strikes again! 

Dessert you ask?  Why yes. 

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Strawberries were the common thread.  I had a big bowl of them with cantaloupe and then a smoothie with leche, ice, strawbz, and my new fave ingredient

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Xagave sent me a bottle of their organic agave nectar, which I was thrilled to try.  I have been hearing buzz about using agave as a sweetener for-EV-AH because of its healthy nutritional stats.  If Jillian loves it, I’m on board. 

The best part about using agave in my desserts (or anything for that matter) is that it is low on the glycemic index, so my blood sugar won’t spike right before bedtime.  Another perk, a little goes a long way.  YUM!

The gave me a cookbook, too, packed full of ideas that I can’t wait to try out…thanks again Robyn 🙂