Thursday, January 29, 2009

Vegan in the Air

If you are anything like me, you might have something of a love-hate relationship with traveling.  While it is great to get away, my gym schedule is messed up, my food schedule is messed up, water schedule is messed up, sleep schedule is messed up.  Geez.  This is all exacerbated when you have 13 hours of travel, 4 hours of sleep the night before, and a 7 hour time change.  

Well, obviously doing all this is worth it, but I thought I'd share a few things that I do to make plane travel easier.  

First, book far enough in advance to get an aisle seat.  Yes, it is fun to look out the window, but I find that if I have to ask other people to move, I won't get up as often, and consequently, I limit my water intake.  Bad idea!  You are already more prone to being dehydrated in those pressure controlled cabins, keeping hydrated is the easiest thing you can do.  

Luckily, more people tend to want the window seat rather than the aisle so that isn't too hard.  I've been on the plane for three hours, and I've already gotten up twice.  Just to stretch and move around a bit.  

Sleep is pretty difficult for me on planes.  Again, I would check the seat assignments, as it is always easier to not have to sit next to someone.  My seat mate and I have an empty seat between us, so I could kind of curl up into the middle seat and lean my head on the top of the arm rest.  I find that some relaxing music and an eye mask can help too.  Yes, you will look silly, but you're on a plane, people understand...especially if you took off at 6:30 in the morning.  

Another important sleep factor is that it typically takes a day for ever hour of time change that you've made, to get used to the new time zone.  Since I have a 7 hour time change, and only 4 days in Hawaii, I won't even have a chance to make it up.  I suggest sticking with your new time zone as quickly as possible.  For example, when I get in today it will be 3:45PM, but will feel like 10:45PM to me, but I will just stay up until it is nighttime in Hawaii.  That first day may be kind of rough, but if you stick closer to your home time, you'll end up having a pretty lame vacation, going to bed in the middle of the afternoon.  That all being said, it is funny to be in Waikiki and see how many people are walking around in the middle of the night because the time change takes so long to stick.   

The hardest part of being on a plane for an extended period of time is the food situation.  I think the choices (which were $7!!  Rip-off much?) were a turkey sandwich with yogurt, a fruit, cheese, and meat plate, and chicken salad.  So, not exactly plentiful for a vegan.  Luckily I got this To-Go Ware for Christmas, and was able to put it good use.  

I wasn't hungry when I woke up, but I had a banana before we took off, and on the first half of my flight I had some leftover Corn Pasta Fritters, with a Oatmeal Scotchie.  When I stop in Phoenix, I am going to try and pick up a salad, but I'm pretty set even if I can't find anything.  For my second flight, I made some Stovetop Millet Cakes that I thought would travel well (the rest I froze), with some roasted cauliflower.  

Excuse the ugly bland looking picture, please :)

Word to the wise, if you have metal containers like these, they can be a pain at security.  They'll just make you open everything, so take care that your stuff isn't too messy.  Meaning, chili, or something like that, probably wouldn't travel well.  If you don't want people opening your food, you can bring plastic, but I prefer the metal containers.    

While I am with my husband, we'll be staying in a hotel, and I am sure we will be eating out for almost every meal.  I did bring some GoRaw bars, apricot kernels, and dried mango, but that is clearly just for snacks!  I'm sure we'll also be visiting some food stores, but I still always tend to eat more than I normally would when I eat out.  To remedy this, I am going to scale down my eating, keeping in mind that if I don't, I won't have any leftovers to eat on the way home on Sunday.

The last, and easiest to accommodate, is the workout plan that is getting messed with.  When you're waiting for your flight, go ahead and explore the terminal a little.  Yes, your stuff is heavy, but that's a good thing.  Even if all they have is a newsstand, just walking back and forth keeps your blood moving.  You're going to be sitting for a few hours, why add to it?  When you're on the plane, be sure to stretch your legs.  I'm sure everyone has heard about getting blood clots in your legs from sitting for an extended period of time, and while you may think it won't happen to you...why risk it?  I usually get up with my iPod and go dance in the bathroom.  No, I'm not kidding.  If you aren't as fun (or ridiculous, whatever) as me,  Just getting up to walk up and down the aisles and stretch is better than nothing.   

As for the rest of the time I am on vacation, I am going to be missing three days of yoga, one day of lifting, and three cardio/running sessions.  When you are going to someplace like Hawaii, it is easy to get some extra cardio in.  I brought running and gym clothes.  I am looking forward to running outside, maybe some hiking, and I hope to make it to the gym on base tomorrow.  If you are like me and feel at a loss without any yoga in your life for extended periods of time, I really like the Yogamazing podcast, and like to do a few of them when I am away from home.  If you don't have gym access, you can always supplement your workout with some simple push ups, sit ups, and lunges.  If you're creative there are plenty of ways to add weight to them, but even just using bodyweight is beneficial.  Also, if you can find a bar parallel to the ground that can support you, reverse rows are a great way to work your back while you are away from home (the lower the bar, the harder it is).

Bonus:  I tend to only get sick when I travel.  I buy the Immune System Support from Target (knockoff Airborne), and have one a day while I am traveling.  

Even if I remember to bring any vitamins I may want, being off your schedule sometimes makes you forgetful, and it is easy to just pop one of these into your water bottle whenever you remember.  Not to mention the fact that, bottled water is expensive, and tap water can taste bad, and these are really good as masking the taste of free, but less than stellar water.  

So, taking all my own advice, I hope that the rest of my vacation goes well!  I am currently posting this from the Phoenix airport (well, hopefully it will post). 

Expect for the next post to have way more pictures and way fewer words!!         

Bathroom Dancing Song of the Day:  'I Even Rehearsed' - The Title.   

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Flashback to a Favorite

My mom is the cookie lady.  She makes about 15 different kinds of cookies for Christmas every year.  She doesn't like to cook, but she is the baking queen.  So how could I not grow up with a favorite cookie?  Of course I did.  

Enter the Oatmeal Scotchie.  I don't know how long its been, but this cookie and I have had quite a long relationship.  It was the first cookie I made myself, it was the cookie my mom sent to me in college, it was the first cookie I made after I got married.  Oh Oatmeal Scotchie, how I have loved thee.  Needless to say, Oatmeal Scotchie has been pretty pissed at me since I went vegan.  I completely ignored it over the Christmas season.  Was I too good for good old Oatmeal Scotchie?  Never!  In all truthfulness, I had intentions of veganizing Oatmeal Scotchie so that I could indulge in Christmas cookies like everyone else, but time slipped away from me.  
Wait, I keep talking about busy I could I come up with enough time to recreate Oatmeal Scotchie today?  If you live in the Northeast, you probably already know the answer to that....snow day!  

So the Oatmeal Scotchie was overhauled...okay, tweaked, to become vegan, wheat-free, light, crispy, crunchy, and, as it will remain forever, my favorite.  

Vegan Oatmeal Scotchies  

If you can't find vegan butterscotch chips, you could use peanut butter chips, or white chocolate chips, or even dried fruit, I don't think chocolate or carob would really work.  I used both vegan butterscotch chips, from Price Chopper, and vegan white chocolate chips, which I ordered at Christmastime from Food Fight! Vegan Grocery

1/2 cup + 1-2 tbsp flour (I used spelt, to make them wheat free)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
3/4 cup white and brown sugar (ie, I filled 3/4 measuring cup about halfway with beet sugar, and the rest with date sugar)
1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax seeds, ground, and 3 tbsp water, blended)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup oats
6 oz butterscotch chips (I used 1/2 cup butterscotch, and 1/4 cup white chocolate)

1. Preheat oven to 375.  
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, in a bowl
3. In a separate bowl, beat (by hand or with a mixer) the margarine, sugar, vanilla, and flax egg.
4. Add the dry to the wet and mix until well combined.  
5.  Stir in the oats and chips.  
6.  Drop onto cookie sheet* and bake 8-9 minutes, or until golden brown.  
7.  Let cool slightly, then transfer to cooling rack.  

*It is up to you whether or not you want to grease the cookie sheet, use a Silpat, or parchment paper.  For some reason, while they all came off in one piece, one of my cookie sheets stuck a little, and the other didn't.  

Yields:  love.  I mean, about 2 dozen cookies (I got 26)
Nutrition Information:  129.9 Calories;  6.3g Total fat;  2.2g Saturated Fat;  0.0mg Cholesterol;  16.9g Carbohydrates;  1.5g Fiber;  1.6g Protein

By the way, you may, right now, be getting worried, realizing that I am going to be gone for four days.  I know, I know, its sad.  In all honesty, I will almost definitely still be posting, we have wireless in our hotel room.  Is this ridiculous?  Yes.  Just when you thought you were going to get rid of me...

Anyway, many thanks to my mom, who shared the recipe, and happily admitted that the vegan version of her cookie was really good!  I couldn't be happier that Oatmeal Scotchie and I have been reunited!  

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Corn Pasta Fritters

Corn Pasta Fritters with Cheesey Black Beans and 2 Minute Guacamole
...what a mouthful...

Corn Pasta Fritters
6 oz corn pasta
9 oz silken tofu (3 slices of Mori-Nu)
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup chopped scallions
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup spelt flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
season to taste

Cheesey Black Beans
1 1/2 cans black beans
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup canned diced tomatoes (or fresh if you want to be fancy)
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp vegan cream cheese
season to taste

2 Minute Guac
1 1/2 avocado 
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup canned diced tomatoes
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
season to taste
1.  Set oven to warm
2.  Blend the tofu with everything but the pasta and scallions.  Mix in scallions and allow to sit so that the cornmeal can soften.
3.  Boil a pot of water, and cook the pasta until tender.
4.  While the pasta is cooking, sautee the onions and garlic in a pan, until tender.  Add tomatoes, black beans, spices, and cream cheese, stirring until warmed through.  Remove from heat, and keep covered.  
5.  Coat a pan with cooking spray.  Divide the pasta into 6 portions, and add one portion to the pan.  Add 1/6th of the tofu and cornmeal mixture, mixing the pasta into it, and spreading it out into an even layer.  Cook until browned and firm, then flip (I used a plate, slid it onto that, then flipped), cooking the other side until it is cooked through.  

6.  Keep finished pasta fritters on a baking sheet in the warm oven.  
7.  While the fritters are cooking, combine all the ingredients for the guacamole in a bowl and mash.  
8.  Garnish with sliced scallions.

Serves 6
Nutrition Information:  440.0 Calories;  11.7g Total Fat;  2.0g Saturated Fat;  0.0mg Cholesterol;  70.0g Carbohydrates;  15.5g Fiber;  17.8g Protein

I bought corn pasta at the Asian grocery near my friend's house a few weeks ago, and with all the driving I've been doing lately, I've had lots of time to think about food, just not a lot of time to cook it!  Well, I seem to have finally gotten my act together.  I got to school perfectly on time, I left and went straight to the gym, and then stopped at the grocery store, and was home by 6.  This left me plenty of time to make dinner for my family tonight, and I had been thinking about making some kind fritter with these noodles for about a week.  It all came out so well, my whole family really liked it.  

If you don't have the pasta, could probably make smaller fritters with actual corn.  And if you don't have vegan cream cheese, it isn't really necessary.  Separately and all together it is really yummy, and really filling.  While it makes a pretty picture all piled, as shown above, but it tastes the best if you smoosh it all over the fritter and eat it together!  

Student teaching is going so looks like we'll probably have a snow day tomorrow and I think it is the first time in my life that I have ever wished that school wouldn't be cancelled!  The teacher next door is giving a mid-term lab, and I really want to help.  It is Regents week, so it was a pretty slow day, but I spent a long time talking with my cooperating teacher.  I know I've said this before, but he is awesome.  

Oh, and my husband is officially home from Iraq.  I may have said that earlier, but you're not really supposed to give exact dates or discuss troop movement, so instead of saying he was in Kuwait, or Germany, or leaving tomorrow, etc, it was just easier to say he was done.  But he called me from Hawaii this morning and...I can tell you that, since the deployment is over!

I am so pumped to send out some CDs too, I love sharing music.  I posted about it on Sunday, and if anyone else is interested, leave me a comment or send an email by tomorrow night.   

This has been such a busy time for me, but I am so happy.  I really love being able to come on here and I want to thank you all for staying with me!   

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Vegan in the Cities

I had a kind of interesting weekend.  Mainly because I spent over 15 hours of it traveling.  I think what made it so interesting is that I am still feeling quite sane. 

Yesterday started pretty great.  Since I am somewhat used to getting up early now, I was up at 7, and decided to make something fun for breakfast before yoga.  

Waffles!  Chocolate Cherry White Chocolate Chip Protein Waffles, to be exact.  I know you're all saying "recipe, please?" (maybe not, but I'm pretending you are), but I have some things I want to change.  They're based off of the Brownie Waffle recipe from Veganomicon, and they're good, but they are not quite deserving of recipe sharing yet.  They will make a great portable breakfast this week though.  

After yoga, I went down to Brooklyn to have dinner with some friends.  It is only about an hour train ride to the city.  But the train that comes closest to my house runs pretty infrequently on the weekends, so I drive down to Jersey.  That is about a half hour.  Then the train itself takes about an hour and a half, counting the waiting and switching trains once.  Then, walking to the subway station, waiting for the subway, and getting to his house...another hour, easy.  I know that doesn't add up exactly to 3 and a half hours, but that was how long it took.  

Whenever I go to see this particular friend, we get Thai food.  It is my most favorite type of food.  Who doesn't love a good Thai curry?  So, first we went to Trader Joe's because I had to get a gift certificate, and then we found a little Thai place that ended up being awesome.  It was called Cafe Chili.  I didn't get any pictures, but I had the Vegetable Spring Rolls and Panang Curry.  One of our friends, who was also down this weekend, studied abroad and then lived in Thailand for quite awhile, and he was telling me how he had actually been to Panang.  I googled it, and I think he meant Penang, but close enough, right?  My husband studied abroad in Thailand too, so I've heard more than I really want to hear about the place.  Anyway, my curry was fantastic.  I have Thai food rarely, so its okay that it is one of the only time I am a member of the Perfectly Spotlessly Clean Plate Club.  I never eat white rice, but as soon as I have a bowl of curry sauce in front of me, I am using it to sop all that up.  So delicious.    

After that, we hung out for a little, and then I made the trek back to my house.  It would be so much faster to drive, but I'd much rather chill out with my music then stress about driving in the city.  Normally, a day like this would irritate me so much, but the playlist the iTunes Genius created was so awesome, that I was completely relaxed and happy the whole time.  

This is a small sampling of said playlist, which is 100 songs based off of 'I Believe in Symmetry' by Bright Eyes:
'Hooray' - Minus the Bear
'Sundress' - Ben Kweller
'People as Places as People' - Modest Mouse
'Yankee Bayonet' - The Decemberists
'Act appalled I' - Circa Survive
'Pink Bullets' - The Shins
'Across the Sea' - Weezer
'I'm Ready, I Am' - The Format
'The Same Boy You've Always Known' - The White Stripes
'Cashmir Pulaski Day' - Sufjan Stevens
'Ask Me Antyhing' - The Strokes
'My Mind' - Portugal.  The Man
'Play Crack the Sky' - Brand New
'Time' - Ben Folds
'Still Take You Home' - The Arctic Monkeys
'Come on Home' - Franz Ferdinand

Those songs are some of my favorites.  If you're curious, or just want some new music, leave me a comment, or send me an email (its in my profile), and I'll send you a CD!

I wanted to post this all yesterday, but I was up against this:  

Sorry Mommy, I'm using the computer right now

Moving on, today I went up to Boston with my family to see my brother and his wife, for her birthday.  After yesterday, I actually went home and bought the new(ish) Format CD, B-sides and Rarities, which is both a bunch of new songs that weren't previously released, and some demo versions of older songs.  If you aren't aware, The Format is longer together, which is very sad.  So, I've been listening to that, Ben Folds, Flight of the Conchords, and Ben Kweller.  Loveliness! 

Now, I mentioned above that Thai food is my favorite, but I rarely get to have it (I don't exactly live in a cosmopolitan area), so imagine my surprise when my not-so-adventurous mom agreed to my brother's suggestion to get Thai!  Twice in one weekend!  Plus, I'm sure I'll be having it in Hawaii this weekend too.  

I don't remember the name of this place, but it wasn't as good...but I also didn't get what I normally get...because I had it the day before!  

For an appetizer here, we had the Vegetable Triangles, which was actually curried potatoes in peas in little fried wrappers.  Pretty yummy!  

My main dish was pretty healthy, steamed veggies with tofu and peanut sauce on the side.  I didn't want to go crazy after having all that curry and rice the day before.  It was good, and the peanut sauce kept getting better as I kept eating it.

After that...oh after that.  We went to the Amsterdam Cafe for frozen yogurt.  They had chocolate and vanilla yogurt, as well as sugar free vanilla, and dairy free vanilla.  They called it "tofu frozen yogurt"...geez, way to turn people off.  Anyway, they had a list of about 30 possible mix ins.  As would be expected, this took me quite awhile.  Minty?  Cookies?  Candy?  Fruit?  Nuts?  Oh my goodness, too many decisions!  I ended up getting the dairy free vanilla with peaches and coconut.  

This was so good.  I almost wanted to move to Boston for it (they even deliver!!)....then we walked outside again and I changed my mind, haha.  It was COLD.  

Now I am back home and it is nice and warm.  

I hope everyone had fabulous weekends!  I am getting all geared up for Hawaii this coming weekend, and I am mucho excited.  We're staying on the North Shore, at Turtle Bay (in case you wanted to stalk me), which...normally I would rather stay in Waikiki or a B&B on the East Side, but my husband wanted to stay there, and now that I've seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall a bunch of times, I really want to go!  I am so looking forward to going back, I totally miss it.  

I also start classes this week, which I am not looking forward to.  My thesis class is going to be a crazy amount of work.  I can bring my computer to class though, haha, so it'll probably give me some time to catch up on blogs and other internet things, actually!  For a teacher, I'm not a very good student.   

Oh, and I wanted to set a goal for myself for this week.  I've gotten the sleep schedule under control, I've got the feeding schedule under control too.  But I definitely have not been drinking enough water.  So, my goal for this week is 4 liters a day.

Let the week begin!  

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Winner!

I can't remember the last time I was this excited for it to be the weekend.  Or to wear slip on sneakers.  I wore a pair of shoes today that I will be giving away.  I walked to my front door barefoot they were so tired.  Don't get me wrong, I am excited about the student teaching and all, but it really makes you appreciate your time off more.    

Anyway, I wasn't lying yesterday, I do have news!  

First, I have been doing a Juicer Giveaway over the past few weeks, and yesterday my brother picked a winner!  Thank you so much to everyone who entered the contest, and especially those who linked to the giveaway in their blogs.  I really appreciate it!  

There can only be one winner though, and this time it was:  Joanie Simon!

Congratulations Joanie!!  Once I get your contact info from you, your juicer will be on its way!  

By the way, if you are very upset that you didn't win, or didn't get a chance to enter, Kristen also just started a giveaway for this same go ahead and try again!  

My second piece of excitement, I have to admit, is quite selfish of me, since it really only affects me.  But, I figured you are all my blog friends now, and would probably care.  

The news is, first, my husband is officially out of Iraq.  Fun, right?  The even better news is that next week is Regents week at school!  That means I will mainly be hanging around and proctoring exams.  No, that doesn't sound like good news.  Here are a few hints as to why Regents week is good news:  

Because its Regents week and I won't be doing anything, I am going to Hawaii next Thursday!  I can't stay too long, because I have to be back at school on Monday, but it should be worth it, right?!  These pictures are all from when we were living out there in 2006.  And yes, that last picture was from the top of a mountain range.  You don't even want to know how I got up there.  Well, maybe you do, we climbed, it was terrible (I was not in goof shape then), haha, but awesome.  

Lastly, since my contest is over (so sad...hopefully we'll do another soon), I thought I'd direct you over to another very yummy giveaway going on over at Ricki's blog Diet, Desserts, and Dogs.  She has a book coming out soon, and I can't even tell you how antsy I am for it.  Anyway, she is giving away some of the last vegan Ritter Sport Peppermint bars, so go sign up!  Also, if you're in the Toronto area, you can enter a separate giveaway to have her send you treats!  Never have I been so jealous of people living in Toronto.  

Some other good news is that one of our best friends called me from Iraq a little bit ago.  Despite what it may seem, I don't have many military friends.  But my husband and I went to college together, and our friend was a Biology major, and I was a Chemistry major, so we had a lot of the same classes, and then he was in ROTC with my husband.  Then he happened to also get stationed in Hawaii and we became pretty close.  I haven't really seen or even talked to him since he was home for leave in April, so that really made my day.  

I don't know how much I will be around this weekend.  I am going to see some friends in the city tomorrow (I'm not sure where, my friend lives in Brooklyn, but we may be in Manhattan...not sure)...I am hoping to find something vegan-y and fun, but we'll see.  My friends aren't vegan (at all), but I will hopefully either get there early or leave later.  I usually stay over night when I go down there, but we are going to Boston tomorrow to see my brother.  
Random question time.  Does anyone else just find themselves incapable of growing up?  I was talking about it with my friend today, about how immature I can be, (about a particular issue in this case), and I was telling him that I just don't really want to grow up.  And I think that is part of the reason why I have chosen to the spend the rest of my life in school.  I don't know if that is a good or bad thing, but I still feel like I'm the same age as the kids I am teaching (who are 15-17).      

Anyway, I'm sorry there was no food today and I'm sorry if my news wasn't as exciting as you all were hoping for, but this is a crazy exciting time for me!    

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Portable Food

Sorry I skipped a post yesterday.  I have just been..tired.  But it is getting better!  I can tell, I'm not as exhausted when the school day is over, but I'm still yawning during class...oops.  At least I'm not teaching yet, and yawning in front of the kids.  

I don't have a lot of time to plan breakfast and lunch, so I have been making something that I can eat for a few days.  Also, I don't really like to eat in front of other people when they aren't eating, so I've been eating in the car.  Yes, 
I know this is kind of strange, but it works out.  

For breakfast I have been having these Breakfast Cookies.  They're kind of bastardized version of Ani's breakfast cakes, but I think I have changed them enough that the recipe is postable.  I really like these.  They have a lot of protein, healthy fat, and complex carbs.  Plus, they don't need to be cooked, and they stay together really well.  You can actually pick them up and eat them like a cookie.  

Okay, I realize this picture looks lame, but I promise, they're good.  

Protein Breakfast Cookies
1 cup protein powder of choice (my choice)
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup ground flax seeds
2 tbsp coconut oil
6 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp molasses
3/4-1 tsp salt
4 tbsp water

Melt the coconut oil, and throw everything into a bowl, mix it well.  Form into 8 cookies, 2 cookies per serving.

Serves 4
Nutrition Information:  445.5 Calories;  18.1g Total Fat;  6.3g Saturated Fat;  0.0mg Cholesterol;  51.2g Carbohydrates;  11.0g Fiber;  26.3g Protein

I've been just having a snack while I'm at school; some kind o
f bar, and fruit (apple and bananas).  I found two new bars at Nature's Pantry (it is right by school!).  First is Ruth's Hemp Power in Peanut Butter Banana.  

This was 190 calories and 7g of protein.  It was okay.  They had a few other flavors though, and they were good enough to try the other flavors.  

Today I had this GoRaw bar.  You can see the ingredients pretty clearly on the front...I had the pumpkin variety.    
I am very sad that they don't have more varieties of this at my store, as it is one of the best bars I have tried in a long time that can really hold its own as a meal replacement.  There is about 275 calories and 14g of protein.  I think what sets this apart from most other raw bars, is that it has been dehydrated.  I'm actually considering buying some online, I am a fan.  

On my way home, I have what you would probably call lunch?  I don't know, its just a meal, I guess.  Anyway, I made the Mini Tofu Quiche from Fat Free Vegan.  I have made these before, and I love them.  Plus, you can pick them up and eat them with your hands on the way home.  

The vegetables in these are roasted asparagus and portabello mushrooms, and sun dried tomatoes.  I also use regular silken tofu instead of lite.  They're really good, I highly recommend them.  

Serves 3:
Nutrition Information:  163.9 Calories, 4.6g Total Fat;  0.4g Saturated Fat;  0.0mg Cholesterol;  17.1g Carbohydrates;  4.5g Fiber; 19.1g Protein.  

Additionally, I just want to sing the praises of dates.  They're fantastic.  Also, they're really great to have right before the gym, they give a great energy boost.  I normally can only find them pitted, but my grocery store had fresh dates, which I had never had, and had to try, even though I have tons of dates in the pantry.  These are so fantastic.  They're really easy to pit too, which I was nervous about.  YUM.  That's all I wanted to say.  

Dates are awesome

I have a bunch of good news, but I am going to post it tomorrow!!  Hah, you will have to wait.  

Hopefully everyone is excellent.  I have been trying to keep up with everyone's blogs, but if I slack a teeny bit, please know that I am still reading, and just not commenting as much.  I love you all, I promise!!  

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I Hate This Workout

This is about how I feel right now.  I felt like I was in High School all over again getting up this morning.  I guess that could be because I spent the day at a High School, and will be for the next seven weeks.  I'm almost already looking forward to Middle School starting an hour later.  

If you haven't been reading my blog, this might not make sense, so to catch everyone up to speed I started student teaching today.  I live an hour away, and I have to be at the school by 6:40.  You do the math.  It is early...especially to someone for whom 8AM has been early for the past 3 years.  Oh, and if you can't do the math, or are too lazy to, or just don't care, I was up at 4:30.  I got there early today, but I think I can sleep a little later tomorrow...maybe even 4:45!  

Anyway, what I am currently grappling with is that, the timing of starting this new "job" (in quotes because it feels like a job, but you usually get paid for jobs) has coincided with starting a new workout plan.  I've been talking a lot about yoga lately, and I've been noticing that while I am really strong, my muscles get tired pretty fast.  So this next workout plan is going to be geared more towards muscle endurance than pure strength (meaning, higher reps).  Also, I need to work on my cardiovascular endurance as well.  All kind of endurance.  Well, guess what?  I hate endurance.  I get bored after 8 reps, and I rarely run for more than 20 minutes because I think its boring.  I'm not about to put myself through THAT much unhappiness...after all, if I am going to be this tired after school every day, I am going to need something to will myself to get to the gym, so I'm doing a throwback to the first workout from New Rules of Lifting for Women (which I don't like, by the way, but if you want to talk about that, leave a comment or email me).  

I'm going to follow the general format of the first workout of this program, because it was the only part I liked.  It starts with low sets - high reps, and slowly increases in sets and decreases in reps.  I am going to rotate two different groups of exercises, workout A, and workout B, and will do each 8 times, putting me at the 6 week mark again.  

Workout A:  Squats, superset Bulgarian Squats and Barbell Chest Press, superset PushUps and Hamstring Curls.

Workout B:  Deadlifts, superset Dumbbell Shoulder Press and Assisted Pullups, superset Dumbbell Rows and Rear Delt Row.

If you don't know what a superset is, it means that I will go through the workout like this:  

Squats (complete all sets)
Bulgarian Squats
Barbell Chest Press
Bulgarian Squats
Barbell Chest Press (continue that until all sets are completed)
Dumbbell Rows
Rear Delt Rows
Dumbbell Rows
Rear Delt Rows  (continue that until all sets are completed)

I hope that makes sense.  If it doesn't, and you care, feel free to ask questions.  If you don't care, I'm sticking my tongue out at you right now.  If you already knew...well you probably skipped that anyway.  

The reps and sets are going to go like this:  
Session 1:  2 sets of 15 reps
Session 2:  2 sets of 12 reps
Session 3:  3 sets of 10 reps
Session 4:  3 sets of 8 reps
Session 5:  4 sets of 8 reps
Session 6:  4 sets of 6 reps
Session 7:  5 sets of 6 reps
Session 8:  5 sets of 5 reps

So I will be doing both Workout A and Workout B once for each Session...not on the same days, I'm not sure if that is obvious or not.  So this week, I will do Workout A, Session 1 today, Workout B Session 1 tomorrow, and Workout A Session 2 on Friday, and progress like that.  By the way, if anyone knows how to import spreadsheets into blogger, that would make this all a lot more readable.  

On a weekly basis, the plan is this:  
Monday - off, unless class is cancelled, in which case I will go to yoga
Tuesday - lifting, cardio 20 minutes
Wednesday - lifting, run 20 minutes
Thursday - run 20 minutes, yoga
Friday - lifting, cardio 20 minutes
Saturday - run 20 minutes, yoga
Sunday - yoga?  run?  altogether undecided on this day.  I would hate to have two days off in a row, because I feel like that is enough time to make me feel lazy, but it kind of just works out that way right now.  For now I will probably do yoga, but once the weather is nicer, I will probably run outside.

The workout plan that I just finished is a considerably cuter post because I was considerably less tired.    

Also, the order I have things listed above, is the order I do them in.  Always lifting before running, because lifting is more important to me.  I'd rather keep my strength for lifting then wear myself out running beforehand.  I like to do any kind of cardio before yoga, because yoga gets me all relaxed, and I would hate to harsh my mellow by getting all amped up again afterwards.  

I'm never sure if anyone cares about these posts, but they're important to me for two reasons.  First, if I didn't do this today, I probably would have put off another day of lifting trying to think of the *perfect program*.  Obviously nothing is perfect, so its more productive to just keep moving forward.  Second, I think that most people get the impression that vegans aren't strong...and while there are plenty of examples proving that this is not true, I feel like my personal example of how you can eat good vegan food, workout hard, build muscle, and be healthy, is important to me.  And....its my blog after all, right?  

Anyway, although this isn't my ideal workout (that is coming next), I'm going to try really hard to stick to the running, or at least cardio.  I know 20 minutes is nothing, but I'm trying to do less, more consistently, rather than more, less often.

Don't forget, only two more days to sign up for the Juicer Giveaway!   

Monday, January 19, 2009

How to Have a Great Cook-In

The first step to having a Great Cook-In is to get your significant other out of the house.  Okay, he or she can stay if they want, but if they happen to be hiking in ridiculously cold weather with their friends, and your friend comes over instead, that would be fun.  

Second, you should arrange for the weather to look like this.  

This means that a cook-out is clearly out of the question.  However, what IS the perfect way to spend the weekend is having a cook-in.  

You'll want to start out the weekend with some Saturday morning yoga (you won't be doing much other exercising).  Then you should grab your friend, and stop at the grocery store to pick up some stuff, to make sure you are fully stocked.  It'll be nice if your friend wants to help you with some recipe testing for one of Robin Robertson's upcoming cookbooks.  Lunch for our cook-in was Lemony Garlic Chickpea Patties with Handy Hummus.  

Handy Hummus

Lemony Garlic Chickpea Patties

They were meant to be served as sandwiches, but I don't really like bread, so we just ate them with some salad greens and sliced tomatoes.  We both really liked these, and also thought that they would make a good base for lots of different flavor combinations.  The hummus was great also, really nice and creamy.  

Handy Hummus; makes approximately 1 1/2 cups, Serves about 6
Nutrition Information:  193.6 Calories;  12.4g Total Fat;  1.7g Saturated Fat;  0.0mg Cholesterol;  17.2g Total Carbohydrates;  3.9g Fiber;  5.4g Protein.

Lemony Garlic Chickpea Patties; Serves 4 (not including salad greens and tomato)
Nutrition Information:  280.5 Calories; 5.9g Total Fat;  1.1g Saturated Fat;  0.0mg Cholesterol;  44.7g Carbohydrates;  5.9g Fiber;  13.3g Protein

Since this weekend is all about the food, you can spend the afternoon being pretty lazy.  After all, did you see that snow?  We watched a few episodes of Planet Earth, napped, and chilled out (in?) with her puppies.  



Then we decided we didn't want to be quite so lazy anymore, so, in keeping with the food theme, we went to the little Asian grocery/natural food store near her house, the Green Market.  The first thing I beeline for in any new store like this are the bars.  Duh.  I found something new!  I wasn't expecting to, because it is relatively small, but it really had a lot of good stuff.  

Excuse the fuzzy picture, but these are Sencha Green Tea Bars.  They're vegan and gluten free. So far I have tried Original and Delicate Pear, but I also have one of the Lemongrass variety waiting for me.  They each have about 220 Calories and 9g Protein, and are chock full of good stuff like pepitas, pistachios, black sesame seeds, dried fruits (the original had goji berries, pear in the other), almonds, matcha powder, dates, etc.  They are awesome, but I do like the pear variety better, as I'm not a huge fan of gojis.  If you ever see these, I definitely think they're worth picking up.  

If you want to involve some culinary adventure in your cook-in you should pick up something that is new to you.  We went for fruit, and brought home some quince and kumquats.  How fun!   

Upon arriving home from our second grocery stop, we decided it was dinner time, so we made the second recipe we were testing for Robin, a Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Cashews and Kidney Beans.   

Serves 4
Nutrition Information:  369.3 Calories;  17.9g Total Fat;  2.6g Saturated Fat;  0.0mg Cholesterol;  44.7g Carbohydrates;  11.3g Fiber;  9.8g Protein

At first, we were kind of on the fence about this dish, but by the time were got to the end of it, we were both totally loving it.  There were a few different components, but they worked together harmoniously.  Plus, it was nice and colorful!  With that, it was time for dessert.  

If you aren't familiar with kumquats, they're a citrus.  Small, bitter, with an orange rind that is very thin, so it can be eaten if cooked slightly.  If you have ever wondered if there were cool things you could do with a kumquat, I am here to tell you that there are! 

We decided on cookies.  However, in order to make the cookies, we had to hit up the grocery store again.  Yes, count that, three times in one day.  That's kind of my idea of a good day though.  To each their own, okay?  We picked up everything we needed for some Chocolate Chip and Kumquat Oatmeal Cookies.    

Makes 12 Cookies
Nutrition Information:  136.7 Calories;  3.5g Total Fat;  1.7g Saturated Fat;  0.0mg Cholesterol;  24.4g Carbohydrates;  2.6g Fiber;  2.6g Protein  

These were completely awesome, especially right after they cooled a little out of the oven; nice and crispy on the outside and moist and fluffy on the inside.  They did make for a pretty cakey cookie, and almost looked like messy muffin tops.  I am going to try and make them again, to make them less cakey and gluten free, but it it doesn't work out, I'll post the recipe we used for these!  Soon, I promise.

A cook-in, if you aren't aware, is kind of a special occasion.  To make your cook-in truly great, you *must* have two desserts.  Since my friend had an avocado, we also made the Avocado Dark Chocolate Mousse that I posted about a few weeks ago.    

We ate dessert while watching the movie we rented:  Traitor, with Don Cheadle.  Honestly, he is fabulous, but I thought the movie was just okay.  If you haven't noticed yet, I watch a lot of movies, but I by no means claim to be a connoisseur.  I tend to like silly, lighthearted movies.

Its not the end of the post, and its not the end of the cook-in, but it is the end of the day.  Our cooking song for today was 'Nights in White Satin' - The Moody Blues.  We had a Classic Rock radio station on the TV while we were cooking.  You have to rock out while having a cook-in.    

We woke up to a lot more snow.

It continued to snow for most of the day.  This ruined our gym plans.  I mean...we were having a completely lazy cook-in so screw the gym  (I was supposed to go to the gym with her and take her on a walk through the weight room).  We did to some yoga on FitTV, which we both thought was pretty lame, but it was better than nothing.  We decided to try something with the remainder of our fruit adventure.  Today:  Quince.  

We didn't do anything quite as fun as cookies with it, but we did bake it up with some agave nectar, cinnamon, and lime juice with water at 300 degrees for 40 minutes, and 425 degrees for 10 minutes.    

Serves 2
Nutrition Information:  62.8 Calories;  0.1g Total Fat;  0.0g Saturated Fat;  0.0mg Cholesterol;  16.6g Carbohydrates;  2.1g Fiber;  0.3g Protein.  

If you've never had a quince, they're sort of inbetween an apple and  pear, although they're even grainer than pear.  Altogether they were good, but I wouldn't go out of my way to try it again.  If someone wanted to peel it, cut out that obnoxious core, and make it for me, I would eat it though.    

After this, we cleaned the whole kitchen.  This is not a necessary part of the cook-in, but chances are, you're making a mess...clean up after yourself!  

Another trip to the grocery store brought home some dinner supplies.  My friend has never had tofu, so I definitely wanted to make that.  We also got portabellos, tomatoes, kale, and some parchment paper.  Parchment paper?  Not for dinner, for the rest of the kumquats.  You want to waste as little as possible when having a cook-in (the more you can eat the better!).  

Since the rind of the kumquat is so thin and doesn't have much pith, I thought they'd be perfect for the Orangette recipe in My Sweet Vegan.  We split them in half, spooned out the flesh, which we dehydrated, and set to candying the rinds.  When both parts of the kumquats were done, we dipped them in chocolate.  

Dehydrated in the front, candied in the back

We did quite a bit of dehydrating while I was at her house, and it just made me want a dehydrator even more.  I keep saying that I want to wait until I have my own place to put it, but this is a lie.  I'll probably get one when I get another coupon for Bed Bath and Beyond or something.  Soon, hopefully.

While we were doing this, we also heated up the oven and made some Kale Chips.  I looked around the internet for this one, since I've heard varying reviews.  I don't understand why, they tasted like kale...crispy!  We both loved them.  They got tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt, and were baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  We could have also dehydrated these, but our cook-in was coming to a close.  

By the way, at this point in the cook-in you may be feeling a bit delirious and decide that your kale chips would look fabulous against a snowy white background...which you just happen to have right outside. 

I didn't take any pics of dinner.  If you are having a really great cook-in, your camera will most likely be running out of battery at this point.  Most of dinner ended up really good though.  We had roasted portabello mushrooms with balsamic and garlic, Italian marinated tofu, boiled and sauteed kale, and quinoa with pine nuts and tomato.  The quinoa was lackluster...sad.  That was okay though because like I said before, my friend was a tofu virgin, so that was where the pressure was really on.  She liked it!  Yay!  After dinner we rented The Go Getter on Demand, largely because I love Zooey Deschanel.  

So, if you ever plan a great cook-in, I hope that gives you some ideas.  We really did get a lot of snow, so I just got back this morning, hence the lack of posting on my part, and the huge lineup of posts in my reader, courtesy of many of you!  Student teaching starts tomorrow, so if I am slower at commenting and posting than usual, I apologize in advance!  

Lastly, I forgot to mention this in my last post, but your time to sign up for the Juicer Giveaway is running out!  I will be picking a winner on Thursday this week!  

I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend, hopefully a nice long one, if you get to celebrate MLK day!  

Friday, January 16, 2009

Muffin Beginnings

Hey hey people!  

First, I want to tell you about, first is some of the bars I've tried recently.  The picture may look familiar because I posted about them a few days ago, when I was having the Perfect Day.

So, the Bumble Bar.  I had the Luscious Lemon variety, which was about 210 calories and 6g of protein.  Respectable.  Unfortunately, I wasn't a big fan.  They look really yummy, you can see all the seeds and whatnot, but I really wasn't a fan of all the sesame seeds.  I've heard that some of the other varieties are better, but I probably wouldn't buy this again.  

Second, the Orange Jocolat bar.  I thought this was heinous.  I know that is pretty strong, but I was super disappointed because I love the regular Jocolat bar.  It tasted like alcohol to me, and not in a god way.  That's really the only way I can describe it.  I thought maybe it was a bad one, but unfortunately I had bought two.  The second one was just as bad.  It almost tasted to me like there was vodka in it or something.  I don't know if this sounds silly, maybe someone can chime in and tell me whether or not I am crazy.  

I spent some time shopping today, for student teaching stuff.  I really don't like shopping when I have sort of specific things that I need.  Like, work appropriate...blah, not fun.  I also went to see Bride Wars, which I thought would be better.  If you saw the preview, you pretty much saw the movie.  I was also annoyed by Candace Bergen's commentary.  Not recommended, and I like silly girly movies. 

We did find this new "treat", I guess you could say, at a stand near the food court.  They're called Kim's Magic Pop, and they are delicious.  Everyone agreed that they have a taste similar to toasted marshmallows.  It is faint, but its there, and it makes them awesome.  

Has anyone tried these before?  They're only 15 calories apiece, and are apparently a popular Korean snack, although they're made in Jersey.   

My dinner was super boring.  I had BBQ tofu with roasted asparagus and butternut squash fries.  Ready for bland looking picture time?  

Gosh, I swear it tastes better than that picture looks.  
Meal Nutrition Information:  289.8 Calories;  5.6g Total Fat;  0.7g Saturated Fat;  0.0mg Cholesterol;  48.0g Carbohydrates;  13.6g Fiber;  16.3g Protein  

Okay, last but not least, I set off, yesterday, to put the carob chips that I recently received, to good use.  I ate some...of course they're good like that.  But I wanted to do something special with them.  I made muffins!  The first batch, I think I mentioned, were inedible, because I used the gluten free AP flour.  I can't stand it.  I tried again today and for now, they're good.  I can think of some stuff that I should have added though, so I will post the recipe after I try them again.  

So for now, I will simply leave you with a picture of my Banana Carob Muffins.
Oh what the heck, I'll give you the current nutrition information too.  
Nutrition Information:  178.1 Calories;  3.5g Total Fat;  1.9g Saturated Fat;  0.0mg Cholesterol;  33.6g Carbohydrates;  2.8g Fiber;  4.6g Protein

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!  I am, of course, being Saturday morning yoga girl tomorrow, then I am staying at my friends house and we are doing some recipe testing.  

In case you need something special to start your weekend out on the right foot, I am leaving you with a pictures of my mom's cat.  His name is Marco (his brother's name is Polo, I know, sickeningly cute, right?) and he was being extra cute today (those are not my sneakers).  

Today's Cooking Song:  "Rock N Roll Band" - Boston.  Happy long weekend for those of you with MLK day off!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Coconut Chickpea Masala

Today was kind of floppy.  I was supposed to have a meeting at school, but it kind of snowed a lot.  I probably could have made it but, I called to see if it was still on, and they said that they weren't expecting everyone to show, so...duh, I didn't go.  I mean, an hour in the snow or...stay at home.  Hmm...difficult.  But then I felt kind of guilty and lazy.  I normally would have went to the gym, but I already was going to yoga tonight.  I made some muffins, which were a disaster.  I tried using the gluten free all purpose flour again, and it was disgusting.  I just can't shake that bean flavor.  I can smell it on my fingers over an hour after using it.  Bah.  I just threw out the rest of it.  I'll just use the rice and buckwheat combo that I've been using so far.  

Anyway, I did go to the grocery store to get out of the house for a little.  I needed some bananas.  But...who can go to the grocery store and *just* buy bananas??  Not me.   

This is so yummy.  If you can't see the label, it is Vanilla Chai Tea from Bolthouse Farms.  Not all of their drinks are vegan, but this one happens to be.  It is sweetened, but with apple juice, which I find to be acceptable!  It has 160 calories and 10g of protein per serving.  Oh, and it is delicious..did I mention that?  Fabulous.  Not an everyday thing, but an awesome treat.  

Between the grocery store and yoga though, I was bored.  So I prepped everything for dinner before I went.  Awesome.  I mean, that sounds lame, but it made making dinner so much faster.  
So pretty, right?  I got those bowls for Christmas, they certainly came in handy today.  I can see this becoming a trend too, it made things so much faster.  Yoga was okay.  Thursday is kind of slow because there are usually new people, but it was still okay.  My instructor said that class Saturday is going to be 1h40min minutes long instead of the usual 1h30mins.  I'm totally excited!  It means he has something new planned, I'm sure.  Either that, or he wants to be able to do group stuff, which takes up a lot of time.  We did that last week.  Anyone do a double downward dog?  My partner was scared, so my instructor did it with me instead.  To give you a mental picture, he is about 6'2'' average build, and I am 5'4'', kind of small.  I was on the bottom:  

Nothing like that today though.  One of the woman was brand new, another was only her second time, and one guy hadn't been there in a long time.  There were only 12 people, so enough to tailor the class towards them.  They don't hold back on Saturday though...can you tell I am looking forward to it?  It had BETTER not snow.  You hear that weather??

Anyway, those pretty bowls did eventually turn into dinner.  It was really good, I just made it for my brother and I.  My mom was out, and I didn't want him eating frozen pizza for another meal.    

Coconut Chickpea Masala
1 cup of potatoes, in bite sized chunks (I used fingerlings, but any sort of yellow/white would be okay)
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 small red pepper
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 medium onion
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced/pressed
1 tsp ginger (you might want to use a little more, actually)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup lite coconut milk
1 cup water
15oz can diced tomatoes
15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
5 cups spinach

1. Lightly coat a pretty big pan with cooking spray, and saute the onions and peppers over medium heat until soft.  Make sure you move it a lot or else it will stick.    

2. Add the cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, garam masala, and chili powder to the pan, and cover, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.  You will also probably want to add a few tbsp of water every few minutes, just to keep things from sticking.  

3.  Add the tomatoes, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, and cayenne, along with 1/2-1 cup of water.  Simmer for 20 minutes, until most liquid has been absorbed, and the potatoes are tender.  

4.  Add the spinach, mixing until wilted.  Add chickpeas, and stir until heated through.  

5.  Remove from heat and add the coconut milk, plus any salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4
Nutrition Information:  309.2 Calories;  12.4g Total Fat;  9.7g Saturated Fat;  0.0mg Cholesterol;  43.2g Carbohydrates;  9.5g Fiber;  9.9g Protein.

This was good.  Spicy, sweet, coconutty.  Yum.  Plus, you've got to love anything with garam malsala.  You've got to.  Not a question, an order.  Love it.  Also, this is not as high in calories as what I normally have for dinner, but it was really filling.  It'd obviously go well with some brown rice though.  
Also, I've said this before, I'm not against using fats, I just don't like to use them in places where I don't feel like they really affect the taste.  I think you can really see that hear, since I used no oil to saute the onions, but still added the coconut milk at the end.  Gina fact of the day, I love coconut...all things coconut.  I always have, and my mom hates it.  She hates the smell, the taste, hates anything even remotely to do with coconut.  When I was a "rebellious" teenager, I think every scent I owned was coconut because I knew it drove her nuts.  My shampoo was coconut, my body lotion was coconut, body spray was coconut.  Ah, to be a pain in your mom's ass again.  Oh wait, I'm pretty sure I still am now.  But we're friends, don't worry.

You get a Gina fact AND a Cooking Song, feel special!:  "Gamma Ray" - Beck

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Reducing It

Today I went to the school I am going to be student teaching at to meet with my mentor teacher, get the lay of land, parking pass, ID, etc.  It went so well!  My mentor teacher is awesome.  He is a really nice guy, he cleared out a whole desk for me, he showed me around the school, introduced me to tons of people, took me to the department meeting, etc.  You could tell that everyone there loves him there.  It was just really great, he made me feel really welcome, seemed happy to have me there, and was really more than I could have asked for.  I am still nervous, but my mind is a little more at ease now.  

Anyway, on to food!  For lunch, I had the raw Squash "Rice" from yesterday, but I cooked it!  I just sauteed it in a pan in some cooking spray, and made some simple salt and pepper tofu.  It was fabulous!!  It was totally the perfect lunch.  

I calculated the nutrition info for the "rice" yesterday.  I had a half serving of that with 3.5 oz of extra firm tofu.  What kind of tofu do you normally use?  I always buy extra firm unless a recipe really calls for firm...or silken, of course.

Because my schedule has changed so much now, my gym schedule has subsequently changed.  It is totally a different crowd, a lot of younger people, and a lot of mom's whose kids are at gymnastics (a big part of my gym is gymnastics/cheerleading).  I'm used to the over 60 crowd, haha.  That and, there was just no one I recognized, not even the same trainers.  One guy did approach me though, as "the girl who does yoga on Saturday".  Once he said something, I realized he had been behind me this past weekend, haha.  Today was chest day, it was pretty good.  I just realized that this is the last week of the program I have been doing.  I kind of like it, part of me wants to keep doing it, but I know it'd be better to change it up.  I don't know if I should go back to my favorite program, since it'll be easier to do something I already know and like when I start student teaching, or do something else I've had in mind.  We'll see.  Oh and I ran a little after lifting.    

I had some protein ice cream when I got back, and I really just wanted vegetables for dinner.  Lots of vegetables.  I had a Roasted Fennel and Onion salad with Orange and Balsamic reduction.  

Orange reduction (left, obviously), was made from 1/3 cup orange juice, and 1 tsp sugar, and just cooked down until it is a syrup consistency.  

Balsamic reduction, was about 1/4 cup balsamic cooked down to a...well, a reduction.  

Does anyone else love reducing things?  I think its so cool, and for some reason, I'm always surprised that it works, haha. 

This was drizzled on top of one bulb of roasted fennel and one large roasted onion, which were placed on some salad greens.  

This was yummy, and simple, just like I wanted.  I also had some broccoli.  Lots of veggies.

Serves 1
Nutrition Information:  237.0 Calories;  0.7g Total Fat;  0.0g Saturated Fat;  0.0mg Cholesterol;  53.8g Carbohydrates;  10.3g Fiber;  5.6g Protein 

On another note, I've been a big Top Chef fan for awhile, but it just hasn't been the same this season (the first season I have watched since becoming vegan).  For instance, this episode is all about "honoring the protein" (meaning meat).  They went to a farm, where all the produce is grown fresh right there.  All the meat is raised right there too.  One of the contestants even talked for awhile about how "He definitely isn't a vegetarian, but believes that all food animals should be respected, etc".  Whatever.  I couldn't imagine playing with baby lambs in the field outside the farm, and then chopping them up and cooking for dinner.  I guess that's why I'm not on Top Chef though, right?

I forgot to mention it, but don't forget to sign up for the Juicer Giveaway if you haven't already!