Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cleanse Favorites

Spring Break is almost over.  Sad, because I had a ton of stuff to do and I didn't really do any of it.  I did relax though, and I do feel a lot better, and I did finish Breaking Dawn (in less than 3 days, pathetic).  I really liked it.  My mom came in and asked me if it was as weird as she had heard.  Seriously?  Its a book about vampires, it wasn't any weirder than I expected.  I know there was a lot of fuss about it, and that a lot of people didn't like it, and I can't see why, except that they were upset it was over!  Joanna and one of my students both told me I would like it though, so I'm glad I got around to reading it.    

The cleanse is almost over too.  It has gone really well, but I think what I got out of it the most was how much planning the week helped.  So I sat down and planned out all of next week.  This doesn't really make for exciting blogging, but I am going to be so ridiculously busy this week that it would have been either this, or go back to eating like crap.  I chose planning.  

Why is my week going to be so busy?  Glad you asked.  First, my husband is coming home on Monday.  Not like, he's coming to visit, he is coming HOME.  Here.  Done with active duty Army.  Finished.  Holy crap.  So after school on Monday I go to pick him up (2 hour drive from school).  Oh right, school.  I take over all the Physical Science classes on Monday, doing a Biology review for their state exam (I hate Biology).  Tuesday I'm being observed by my clinical supervisor.  Wednesday I have a meeting right after school with one of my professors about my research project.  I have started said research project, even have the data, but still have not compiled it, which is what she is looking for.  Thursday I have my Capstone Project due for my student teaching, which I have actually started, but still have a ton of work to do on it.  Friday might be okay, except I'm jumping in the car after school and driving down to Baltimore to spend the weekend with my husband and my inlaws.  My dad has business in Baltimore next week, so he is going to drive my husband down with him on Wednesday, because, as you can see, I don't really have time for him (that's terrible, right?).  Whew.  

After this week, things should calm down a little bit.  Its really almost at the end.  I'm almost done student teaching, I'm almost done with grad school, I get to move out (again) soon.  Its all good, I just need to get through this week.  Good thing I planned my meals.  

Okay, so wrapping up my food during this cleanse, I want to share two things.  First, another dish was was originally raw that I de-rawified.  This Cauliflower Curry was on GoneRaw, and sounded awesome.  A curry sauce made with avocado, coconut, flax, etc.  Lots of healthy fats.  The problem?  The idea of raw cauliflower seemed icky.  I know they don't taste the same, but when I think of cauliflower, I think of broccoli, and I hate raw broccoli.  So....I cooked it!  

So this is steamed fresh cauliflower and steamed frozen peas, with a raw curry sauce.  This was really good, nice and spicy but not overwhelming, and I highly recommend it.  I did only put in half the cayenne, and then added about 1 tbsp of agave nectar because something was a little off at first (I think it was too much tumeric).  This was easily my most favorite meal I made this week.

Of course, I had a favorite dessert too.  Technically, um, I wasn't supposed to "snack", but I did anyway.  
This Melon-Berry Sorbet was so easy.  So very easy.  It is a bag of a frozen, organic, melon-berry blend (canteloupe, honeydew, pineapple, and blackberries).  I took out the blackberries, and mixed the melon and pineapple in the food processor with a tbsp of liquid coconut oil and some water until it was pretty smooth.  Then I added the blackberries and pulsed until they were slightly broken up.  Yum.  This made a lot.  You could easily have it be two servings.  In fact, I made it to be two servings, but I ate them both.

I hope that everyone enjoys the rest of the holidays, whatever it is that you're celebrating.  We have Easter Saturday  today at my grandmother's (we thought this was an Italian thing until about two years ago...turns out she made it up!), and Easter Sunday at my aunt's tomorrow.  Easter is my favorite holiday.  Spring is also my favorite season, I was always that loser in school who didn't say summer was her favorite season.  Anyway, I love that its starting to get warm, and I love all the cute things:  bunnies, chicks, all baby animals, etc.  What I like the most though, is that it is such a low-key holiday.  There's no pressure, there's no fuss.  Its just relaxing.  

Nice way to end my Spring Break, right?  

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Like A Kid Again

Ah, childhood memories...sitting on the beach, sipping milk out of giant coconut with a bendy straw, eating a mango and banana fruit salad with my fingers and

Wait.  Does this sound like your childhood?  

If so, I'm jealous.  But I did acquire a few things recently that brought me back to younger days.  

Yesterday I was lucky enough to receive a package from Matt's Munchies!  They're all natural fruit leathers (dairy free, egg free, nut free, gluten free!), which are pretty much the healthiest versions of fruit roll-ups you can come by.  How can fruit roll-ups not remind you of childhood?!  I think what set them apart in their kinship to fruit roll-ups (compared to other fruit leathers) was that they kind of have to be peeled apart like a fruit roll-up.  What makes these way better than a fruit-roll up is that they're made from either bananas, or mangoes, plus spices.  They come in six varieties:  Mango, Island Mango, Ginger Zest, Banana, Apple Pie, and Choco-Nana (Choco-Nana does have more ingredients, and some evaporated cane juice...but its worth it).  

I don't really know how to express to you that I liked them besides telling you that I got through more than half the package (there was two of each flavor) before I remembered that I really needed to take a picture. Uh...oops.  Here's what is left:

(Honestly, the Island Mango isn't actually left 
anymore either...they make good blog writing snacks)

One of the things I love about these, besides them tasting great, is that I feel like there's a lot in the package.  The Mango and Ginger Spice are about 50 calories per package and the rest are closer to 70 calories...and there is at least 6 pieces in every package.  My favorite is no surprise...Choco-Nana!  

Sometimes "natural" chocolatey stuff disappoints me, but these were such a perfect chocolately treat, that I'll probably be ordering more.  I did prefer all the banana based flavors over the mango (even the Apple Pie is banana based!), but the mango varieties were still awesome.  The Ginger Spice tastes just like a warming ginger candy, and the Tropical Mango has flecks of coconut in it.  

All in all, a big thank you to Matt's Munchies for letting me sample, and reminding me of the goodness that is smushed fruit (while being admittedly better than the childhood fruit roll-up). 

Now, while I didn't get to sip any coconut milk today, I did get a new lip balm.  My next door neighbor used to sell Avon, and one year for Easter, I got this cute coconut lip balm with a bunny on it.  I loved that lip balm.  It reminds of my neighbor, it reminds me of the beach, it reminds of the time in my life (most of high school) when I perpetually smelled like coconut (body lotions, shampoo, you name it).  A few months ago I mentioned a vegan lip balm that I got randomly at a Borders in Honolulu, and how much I loved it.  Well, there was a display at my local Borders today!  Even better, the flavor that popped out at me immediately:  Coconut Milk.  I snatched that sucker up with haste.  

I know I said it in my last post about The Giving Earth lip balm, but this stuff is the best.  It is so smooth and creamy and I just completely adore it.  I don't think I've ever stuck with a lip balm for so long...at least not since my coconut bunny lip balm.  There is a website on the lip balm, but it does not bring you to any sort of product page.  Check it out, its weird.  I also can't find anything about the company online, still.  However, I did notice that some of their flavors were in different, newer packaging, so maybe if I had gotten one of them I would have gotten an updated URL on it.  And maybe that means they're expanding and you should check your Borders for them! 

I'm off to bask in the coconut goodness on my lips and enjoy some Mango Matt's Munchies!  Just like a kid again.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Making New Friends

So far, its been a relaxing week.  Spring Break for me, remember?  In all honesty, it should not be this relaxing, I have a ton of stuff to do that I'm just ignoring.  I am procrastinating for a few reasons.  First, I do everything better under pressure.  Second, I finally got my hands on Breaking Dawn.  My next door neighbor let me borrow it since I'm too cheap to buy, and that library thing just wasn't working out.  I'm about a third of the way through.  

Normally on a week off I'd be taking advantage of extra gym time, but I've been doing a detox/cleanse/whatever you want to call it, and it was suggested that you kind of take it easy.  I've been walking with my mom and her friend in the morning, and going to yoga.  I went to a new teacher today and was thrilled to find that my normal teacher was subbing for her!  I love him so.  It was a short class though, only 60 minutes, when I'm used to 90 minutes.  There's just not enough time to get into things with only 60 minutes in my opinion.  

So clearly food this week has been different.  Well, not so different than normal but super different from the crap I've been eating lately.  I've been resorting to a lot more processed food than normal, and I really wanted to break away from that.  The diet that this "cleanse" suggests is mainly fruits and vegetables.  Almonds and sunflower seeds are okay in moderation, as are millet and quinoa.  I've mainly been sticking to the fruits and veggies though, and keeping a large portion of it raw.  There is also no caffeine, which is fine with me when I'm not working, no processed foods, no soy, and no salt.  

I do miss salt.  

Other than that its going really well.  Much better than I expected actually.  The hardest part was getting used to eating at the suggested "meal times", because I'm not used to eating such low calories foods all day, so I get really hungry, and I'm not about to tell myself I can't eat.    

So, I've been eating tons of fruit, thinking about Paulina's experiences (who recently started to basically follow an 80/10/10 diet), and having some fun with food again.  Its been far too long.  I really don't have any complaints so far, and while they suggest not doing any intense exercise, I feel like I have a ton of energy (says the girl who has been sitting on the couch reading and watching TiVo all day).  

My favorite meal on this diet (not that it isn't usually) has been breakfast.  There is just something so cheerful and vibrant about a big bowl of fresh fruit in the morning. 
 
I had this yesterday:  Bananas, pomegranate seeds (that I froze months ago), coconut, and the most beautiful papaya ever.  

I love you, papaya

This totally made my morning.  One of the downsides to this is that all the fruit and vegetables are supposed to be organic.  Yikes.  I don't know about you, but to me, that reads expensive.  $6 for a papaya?  I about fainted when I saw that pop up on the screen, and I told myself it had better be the best papaya of my life...I don't think it disappointed.  I'm not usually a papaya fan, but I believe it was Vegetarian Times who has an article this month about its health benefits and how it aids in digestion.  Maybe I'm wrong though, I get all those little free magazines at my health food stores, so everything gets mixed up in my head.  Regardless, I did read an article, and I figured now was a good time to try fruits I was wary about.  Wary no longer!

I made another new friend this week:  Beets.  I know I've had golden beets featured on here before, but I have also expressed my fear of its more mainstream sibling, purple beet.  I decided it was time to conquer my fear.  
Beets are the dark purple, apples are the pink, and carrots are the orange (obviously)

Now, this cleanse doesn't suggest that you eat only raw food, but I figured I would conquer my beet fear head on, and had this really delicious raw Spiced Shredded Beet & Carrot Salad from GoneRaw.  It was really good!  Beets are really good!  The only change I made came from the comment of the person who posted it, which was to add apples.  She also made the suggestion of adding pine nuts, but I think walnuts would be better...however, since I'm not eating nuts right now, they didn't get added.  

Conquering beet fear?  Check.  Well, I guess I have done one productive thing this week.    

As this has been a largely raw week, of course I turned to the one and only Ani Phyo.  I've mentioned Ani's Raw Food Kitchen on here many times, and this was another recipe that did not fail to disappoint.  

Above is the Garden Pate, one of my nut (almonds) based meals for the week, stuffed in a pepper with some edamame.  Totally yummy, and you can't see but there are raisins in it, which make it really extra yummy in my book.  By the way, if you check her site, you'll see that Ani is coming out with Ani's Raw Food Desserts soon.  I totally can't wait to snatch that up, I love the semblance of dessert being healthy!        
 
I'm so happy to be eating food again.  It has been an expensive week, but that is mainly because I'm bored and keep going to grocery stores for fun.  Funny, I used to do nothing every day and was fine, but now I actually miss going to "work".  

As much as this cleanse is going great, there are some things I already miss, and I am definitely fantasizing about making some tofu when this is over.  Barbeque Tofu?  Tofu Salad?  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It (Was) My Birthday!

So I mentioned awhile ago how excited I was for my birthday, and then, I completely missed the opportunity to post about it.  I did have a good day, no one important forgot, I got a hug from my yoga teacher, Denny wrote a lovely post in my honor (that's a first, thank you Denny!), and my mom went crazy finding me a vegan cake.  But find one she did!  So, I felt I would be remiss to not share it with all of you.


It is from Back to Earth, which I have actually never been to before.  I've intended to go a few times, but never actually made it.  And, it is peanut butter chocolate.  Oh man...you all are most likely aware of my slight peanut butter obsession.  Needless to say, it did not last long.  Thanks mom :)  

The main reason I didn't post on my birthday was because I was so busy.  Too busy to even come up with birthday present ideas.  My brother was smart enough to ask me almost a month ago, and I got his present a few weeks ago (he's at college), and have been using it, so there is no real picture, but it is this Gaiam yoga mat bag.  

Love it!  I wanted one where you could open it to place the mat in, not slide it in, because my last mat-holder (meaning the mesh bag it came in) was like that, and I hated it.  This has a nice magnetic closure, and lots of pockets.  I have no use for said pockets, but I love that they're there.  Gaiam has lots of other bags and yoga accessories, if you are in need of anything like that.  

My other brother and my parents gave me my presents the night before my birthday, along with going for Indian food at Saffron, and then my cake.  


The only thing I could come up with for my parents was a stainless steel water bottle.  I think the rest of my present will be a dehydrator, but I'm still on the fence, plus, I haven't had time to research them.  Anyway, the water bottle is great!  Its a liter, but because of the way it is shaped I can still fit it in my hand.  Made by Enviro Products.  My brother who lives here got me a turtle Build-A-Bear (the shell is a backpack!).  Its really cute, and he knows I love turtles!  Its name is funny but...well, also potentially offensive, so I am choosing not to share it online.  Trust me, its better this way!  Plus, the fact that my 16 year old brother spent half an hour in Build-A-Bear making my birthday present?  That is almost present enough!!

So that was, more or less, my birthday in a nutshell!  I did go to DC the weekend prior, had fun, went to Sticky Fingers (awesome), and I do have a few pictures from there, but they're on my phone so....don't count on ever seeing them, frankly, haha.  I expect to be going back there soon, so I'll try and remember to bring my camera and take real pictures.            

Monday, April 6, 2009

HanGawi


I recently found myself in New York City with no plans for lunch.  Scratch that, we had plans, but the place was closed.  We, by the way, is my dad and brother.  Them being great, and loaded with iPhone goodness (them, not me), they set off on finding a new vegetarian restaurant that we could walk to.  Mind you, we had already walked about 4 miles.  Anyway, my brother won the race, and we ended up being only a few blocks away from HanGawi, a Korean vegetarian restaurant on 32nd street.  It was still a little bit of a walk, but it was most definitely worth it.  

First, when you walk in...they make you take off your shoes.  Fun!  If you're not into that, they have slippers, but the shoes must come off!  (They also have bathroom slippers outside the restrooms, so you're not in there barefoot/socked because that'd be gross).  Then they take you to your seat.  

Now is about when I should apologize for the pictures being crappy, but I didn't want to be obvious, and the lighting was very low.  Anyway, I don't know if you can tell, but there aren't any chairs.  It sort of like a big hole with a table that comes up out of the middle, and then you sit on the ledge, which is kind of a bench with nice cushions on it.  

Then its food time.  It wasn't very crowded when we were there (a very odd time on a Sunday), but there was a couple next to us, and their food looked awesome...and we were starving.  It was time to eat.  

First, we had this sweet potato noodle appetizer.  It came wrapped up in this paper, and they cut it open at the table.  

Really good, nice and simple, noodles with vegetables.  

We all got pretty different things for dinner.  
Me:  Spicy Grilled Todok and Asparagus on a Stick
If you are unfamiliar with todok, as I was, it is a mountain root, of the Codonopsis plant.  They're really big on it there, when I asked, he said it was chewy and it gives you a lot of energy.   I can't find too much information online about it, but if you are interested, you can read a little about it here.  I can tell you that it is definitely chewy.  It tastes pretty good, but I didn't experience anything so magical that I would order it again though.  

Dad:  Mongolian Hot Pot
 
This was really good.  It was a nice broth, spicy from kimchi, and filled with vegetables and tofu.  Tasty.  

Brother:  Tofu Pizza
They used slices of tofu for the pizza base, and topped it with...stuff.  I honestly don't remember what it was, although I know there was strawberry involved, as well as a pine nut cream sauce.  He was nice enough to let me have a piece, and it was really good.

In addition to our meals, we also had brown rice, wild rice, spicy kimchi, and some lemon-ginger kimchi (is it still called kimchi if its not spicy? if not, then lemon-ginger cabbage).  This was actually my first time having kimchi, which is kind of surprising since it was pretty prevalent in Hawaii.

After that, we put our shoes back on and...



No, no, wait.  We're at a vegetarian restaurant.  This does not happen often for me.  We must have had dessert, right?  We definitely did.  I'm sure this is not a Korean specialty, but it was awesome, and also happened to be the only picture that came out well:  Tofu Cheesecake 
 
Yes, I forgot to take the picture until we were halfway through it.  

Not that the food wasn't good here, it was excellent, but what would bring me back the most is the atmosphere.  With so many good vegetarian places in New York, its hard for me to justify coming back to a place that I've already visited.  This place is just so mellow though, quiet, relaxed, and they pride themselves on being a really spiritual restaurant.  So, if you're ever in the area, I recommend.  

By the way...anyone in the New York "area" want to meet up one weekend?  I don't know when, but if you're interested you can email me rather than leaving a comment, I just thought it might be fun to get some bloggers (or readers!) together.  

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Spring Swing

I want to say that I'm getting back into the swing of things, but I'm just not.  Honestly I could really use a Spring Break.  Don't you miss those days, when everyone got a week off when the weather got nice, and just got to relax?  Oh wait...I get one of those.  And its this week.  THANK GOD.  

I don't think its going to be a very exciting week.  I had plans of seeing friends and whatnot, until I realized that all of my friends are working.  As it is, I have a lot of stuff to do...like my taxes and planning for the week we get back.  Other than that, I'm going to do a lot of yoga and try to stabilize my diet.  

Speaking of food, this week started with veggies.       


Veggies are good and all, but what makes this is the nutritional yeast sauce.  Its nice and cheesy and really really simple:  1 cup nutritional yeast, 2 cups soymilk, 1/4 cup spelt flour, 2 tbsp tamari, and as much cayenne as you like.  You start by toasted the flour and nutritional yeast over low heat, then slowly add the soymilk, stirring until smooth and creamy.

I had it on top of some squash, and some sun dried tomatoes on top of that.  Simple, fast, just the kind of thing I needed.  

Serves 4
Nutritional Information:  198.7 Calories;  4.1g Total Fat;  0.9g Saturated Fat;  0.0mg Cholesterol;  23.2g Carbohydrates;  10.7g Fiber;  22.6g Protein  


Anyway, yes, I'm alive.  In fact, my birthday was on Monday, so I'm another year alive (25, if you were wondering).  Thanks to those of you who have checked up on me.  
A picture of me and Zoe as proof:

I apologize for being away for so long, and for my last post being so personal.  I know none of you minded, but I still don't really want this blog to go in that direction, so I deleted that post.  At the same time though, I really want to thank so many of you for the comments and words of encouragement, I really appreciated it.

I have been at my second placement for a little over a week now, and its going okay.  I do love the kids already, but I'm not a fan of the material or the teacher I am working with.  She's alright but we just don't click.  It makes things a little boring.  

Also, I should apologize for not even keeping up with your blogs.  I feel badly about it, but to be honest, I haven't really been doing much of anything that I like lately.  When I took the pot out to cook last night I couldn't even remember the last time I had used a pot (sad, right?).  Hopefully this week will set things back on the right track.