Leaving Home… Coming Home?

 

The problem with loving two cities, is you’re always missing one.

I had some fun pictures from the weekend, but I think I packed my camera cord somewhere in my suitcase… so I suppose those pictures will have to wait. All I have is a blurry cell phone picture :(

Me and Alexa :) (We’re now long distance roommates. Yes. That’s what I said.)

 

I got to spend some good quality time with my best friends… which also meant I ate way too much food, and my workout routine sort of took a back seat. But have no fear! The Bikini Boot Camp from Sweat and the City starts tomorrow! I’m excited about the challenge! I think it will help me get back into the routine :)

 

What do you do to get back into a workout routine?

<3 Liz

Girls Night In!

Hey friends, sorry for being MIA for a couple of days. I’ve been busy with work, and I’m fighting some sort of stomach bug :( So I’ll leave you with this:

Before the stomach bug attacked, we had a classic girls night in. I’d say the picture speaks for itself ;)

That coconut milk ice cream was Ah-Maze-Ing. Regular dairy ice cream tends to bother my tummy, but this stuff was delicious. (Not pictured: Jersey Shore on TV)

Best friends + candy + ice cream + magazines + nail polish = perfect girls night in.

What’s your recipe for a night in with friends?

<3 Liz

No Routine? No Problem…

Ok that’s not true. It’s actually really hard for me to break out of my routine. I have my whole food-cooking-gym thing pretty well scheduled at home. I know what I’ll eat for breakfast. I know what I’ll pack for lunch. I know what I’ll cook for dinner (depending on the night). I know what classes I want to take at the gym, what days I want to run, what days I workout with my workout buddy. However, at home, it’s all shaken up…

My mommy was super sweet, and bought me my favorite kind of yogurt (aside from Greek yogurt, which is hands down the most amazing stuff ever.)

Yumm, carrot cake yogurt (80 calories and 12 grams of protein? All for 44 cents a cup? Yes please.) I like to add some shredded unsweetened coconut when I’m feeling crrrazy.

My mom also bought me Vitatops, because she loves me. Hehe. But I don’t have my vitamix, which means my go-to breakfast of frozen banana + frozen soymilk can’t happen. Instead I’ve been eating cereal, which never seems to fill me up. *sigh* I also just seem to eat so much more when I’m home. I mean, my mom always keeps things like Wheat Thins on hand, and I am a slave to those stupid little crackers… so tasty…. Anyways. It really messes with my routine. I need to learn how to be more flexible! (And not eat all the Wheat Thins…)

 

I also miss being able to go to the gym :( And since Ohio is apparently protesting spring (we got more snow last night) I can’t run outside! What’s a girl to do?!

Thankfully, I brought a trainer with me:

I did level 3 last night! Woohoo! I’m definitely sore this morning. It felt good to get in a workout, even if it had to be done in my living room… in front of my family… (“Oh, that one looks hard!” “Oh, that move would be good for skiing!” “Oh man, keep going!” Thanks, Dad…)

 

How do you stick to your habits when you’re routine gets shaken up? Any tips?

<3 Liz

Food + Memories = Cookie Recipe

Do you have any foods that remind you of your childhood? For me, much of my childhood was filled with Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. (I know, what a healthy balance ;) ) Now you know how I feel about Kraft’s “Cheese” but some of my childhood foods still hit the spot!

Growing up, I loved making cookies with my mom (well, I still do) and our go-to recipe was the Nestle Toll House cookie recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag. I remember feeling so proud when I could remember the whole recipe without having to look! So as I stood in the kitchen with my mom, trying to decide what to make, I thought, why not classic chocolate chip cookies? However, we didn’t have any white sugar, so I did make a few substitutions here and there. Here is what it ended up being:

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies (makes about 3 dozen)

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk (or soymilk)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Soften your butter and combine it with the brown sugar, vanilla, and milk. You might need to use a hand mixer to get it nice and blended. Then beat in your egg until it’s smooth. Next, combine your flour, salt and baking soda and slowly sift it in.

At this point, I wanted to make some variations. So one third of the dough I dropped into the oven as-is, one third I stirred in walnuts, and one third I added in oatmeal. All three versions came out delicious but I think the oatmeal ones were my personal favorite!


Yummm.

What foods remind you of your childhood?

<3 Liz

Quinoa Experiment!

First of all, congratulations to Carrie @ Moves n Munchies!

She is the winner of My PB2 Giveaway! I fought with the random number generator to try to get the results embedded in here… but I’m apparently inept, so I apologize, and you’ll just have to trust me on this. Carrie, e-mail me your address, and I shall ship your PB2 as soon as possible! Thank you for all your comments/entries. I’m glad I can share the magic of PB2 with at least one of you ;)

The weather here yesterday was unbelievable! It was 6http://iheartvegetables.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=435&action=edit9 degrees and sunny! I was able to squeeze in a quick run at work yesterday. Although everything is still brown, it was nice to get some fresh air and sunshine.

While I ran, I let my mind drift into recipe mode. I was in a cooking mood, but I didn’t have anything specific in mind. I had some zucchini in the fridge that needed to be used up, and I was craving quinoa. So that’s where I began… I also wanted to use up the last apple and the few carrots I had left. (This was totally a “I need to use up what’s in the fridge before I go out of town” creation.) In the end, here’s what I used:

Quinoa- The Remix

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 small zucchini chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrots (I used like 8 baby carrots)
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 cups not-chicken broth (I use the veg-friendly chicken flavor, but I’m pretty sure any flavor would work)
  • splash of vanilla
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries

I started by cooking my zucchini, onion and garlic in about a tablespoon of olive oil until the onion was translucent. Note, if you’re using carrots, add these in. I forgot them at first, and had to cook them in later, oops ;) Once that’s nice and cooked, throw it into a pot, add the 2 cups of broth, and 1 cup of dry, rinsed quinoa. Make sure you rinse it, or it can have kind of a bitter taste. Add the salt + cinnamon. Bring it to a boil, then let simmer for ~20min. While that’s cooking, I toasted my walnuts in the oven, but they’re probably be fine just thrown in as is. It’s up to you. Next, I cooked the chopped apple in a tiny bit of olive oil, and added a splash of vanilla. I cooked it til it was soft, but not mushy. Then I just let it hang out until the quinoa was cooked. Once the quinoa had absorbed most of the broth, I stirred in the apple, walnuts and cranberries.

Viola!

]

I’m not going to lie, there was a moment during the process where I was like “Oh no, what if this tastes like crap?” because the boy was coming over for dinner… so I didn’t want it to suck. But luckily, it turned out better than I expected. (Boy went back for seconds, so that’s a good sign, right?)

I think what I like best about this recipe, is I’m pretty sure you could substitute a TON of different veggies, making it a great recipe to get rid of near-expiring ingredients. You can also eat it hot or cold. (We ate it hot.)

 

I LOVE quinoa, but for some reason, it’s not my go-to grain. I usually go for rice or couscous first. (Actually, I really don’t eat that many grains in general. I usually just pile up veggies & beans.) I think I’m going to try to eat more of it, because it was delicious AND it’s a nutritional power house. I’m thinking next time I’ll try some sort of quinoa + nooch combo.

 

What is your favorite grain? Quinoa? Couscous? Bulgar? Pasta? Rice?

Anyone have a quinoa recipe out there that you want to share?

<3 Liz

Ethiopian Adventures!

Hey loves! So I’m a little behind posting on Valentines day, so forgive me, but I can’t not post about this!

My V-tine surprised me with a trip to “The Nile” ,a local Ethiopian restaurant. I’d never had Ethiopian food, so naturally, I was practically jumping up and down.

In the interest of not annoying every person at the restaurant, I limited my picture taking, but I did sneak in this one. (Sorry it’s such low quality. I didn’t drag my camera with me)

I got a plate with a sample of 5 of the vegetarian/vegan entrees. Oh my goodness, these were SO good! It included:

Yemisir Wat

Split lentil sauce made with flavorful berbere-based seasoning

Azifa (whole lentil salad) —

Whole lentils cooked and mashed, seasoned lime juice and mustard

Ater Kik Alicha

Yellow split peas cooked in mildly flavored sauce, seasoned with garlic and ginger

There were two other dishes that I don’t remember :( Sorry! One of them was an eggplant dish served cold, and one was a warm potato dish!

All of the food is served on Injera, which is like a spongy bread, and you use it to pick up the food (so there are no utensils involved) which is so fun! Not to mention, everything was delicious! I think my favorite was the Ater Kik Alicha!

Have you ever had Ethiopian food?

<3 Liz

 

P.S. Don’t forget, this is the last day to enter my PB2 Giveaway!

Chocolatey Deliciousness (aka Brownie Bites!)

Valentines Day: The perfect excuse to bake sweets.

After drooling over being inspired by Angela’s 2-bite brownies, I decided I needed some chocolatey brownie-ness in my life. It was good timing, given the Hallmark Holiday.

If there was an award for making heart shaped baked goods, I would have won the award for “Most Improved.” My brownies went from looking like Mickey Mouse to actually looking like hearts. Practices makes perfect. I’m also pretty sure I ate at least 2 brownies worth of dough. Oops. The ones picture below, however, were a trial run, and were just plan circle shapes. Keep in mind, it’s scientifically proven that heart shaped baked goods taste 78% percent better than circle shapes.

These were so freaking delicious

Here is what I used:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies – (adapted from Oh She Glows)

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I used whole wheat)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup soymilk
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil melted
  • 1  tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate, chopped

Mix the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside. Melt your coconut oil (if needed) and then stir it with the soymilk, agave, vanilla, and egg replacer. Now combine it with your dry ingredients, and stir in the peanut butter and chocolate.

I actually only used the peanut butter in some of them, because I wasn’t sure if it would be good. (Answer: it was heavenly) So I did a practice round of these on Saturday, and then made a fresh batch for my V-tine last night. His didn’t have PB in them, and they were good that way too.

Left: with coconut, middle: just chocolate, right: with peanut butter

 

Seriously, if you’re looking for a chocolate craving, go make these. You won’t be disappointed!

 

If you didn’t see it yesterday, make sure to enter my PB2 Giveaway!

 

Now, I’m off to go read The Omnivore’s Dilemma... I loved In Defense of Food but I haven’t gotten around to this one yet. I’m pretty excited!

<3 Liz

Missing Peanut Flour? Giveaway!!!!

For those of you that are mourning the loss of peanut flour (TJ’s has discontinued it!) I’ve got a solution for you. (Or at least a temporary one!) PB2 is an almost perfect swap! It’s de-fatted peanut flour, with just a touch of salt and sugar, so that when you mix it with water, it’s a perfect peanut butter swap! It also works well in recipes (I’ve used it in my Peanut-y Protein Pancakes) and is good on top of things like Banana Soft Serve.

This stuff isn’t available in many stores, but you can order it here OR you can enter my giveaway!

One lucky winner will get a 1lb bag of this stuff! (That should last awhile!)

In case you haven’t heard of this stuff, you mix 2 tbsp of powder with 1 tbsp of water, to get a serving of peanut butter… for 50 calories. (But still a good amount of protein!)

To Enter (You’ll have to leave me a comment letting me know which of these you did!):

1. Leave a comment saying what you’d like to do with PB2

2. Subscribe to my blog (click that button over there on the right)

3. Follow me on twitter

4. Link back to this post on your blog

5. Tweet about this giveaway!

6. Add me to your blog roll!

That means you can enter up to 6 times!

This giveaway ends, Thursday 2/17 at 5pm!

Happy Valentines day!

<3 Liz

Super Creamy Hummus Recipe!

Happy Friday friends! I’m in a super good mood because not only is my cold finally going away (I think) but my best friends are coming to VA to visit me today!

 

But lets back up. Earlier this week I ate my weight in tortilla chips and guacamole during the Super Bowl (oops), but I also filled up on some veggies & homemade hummus! This hummus was so thick and creamy, I had to share the recipe! (I literally was just throwing ingredients into the Vita, but it turned out awesome!)

Super Creamy Hummus (makes about 2 cups of hummus)

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup sesame tahini
  • Juice from 1 small lemon
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Red pepper, for garnish

I threw all this (except for the red pepper)  in the Vitamix and blended for about 30 seconds. You might need to add some more water to thin it out. I left my super thick. (Ok maybe it was a little TOO thick, because sometimes my sliced bell peppers cracked under the weight of this hummus. hehe.)

I paired this bad boy with some veggies, and those chips that pretend to be healthy but really aren’t. (You know who you are, Terra Chips. But I forgive you, because you’re delicious.) I served it in my adorable music dishes! (Thank you, Christine!!)

 

How do you like your hummus? Super thick? Spicy? Creamy? I like to thin this out with some water and use it as dressing. However, I might start mixing with some mustard, a la HEAB’s Hummy Mustard dressing!

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? I’m so excited to see my friends, I’ll definitely post some pictures of our adventures ;)

<3 Liz

P.S. I updated the Recipes tab so check it out!

Bean Burger > Meat Burger

Ok so I have to be honest, I don’t even remember what a hamburger tastes like. I haven’t had one since… middle school? Blech. So maybe I’m not an expert (ok, I’m totally not an expert) when it comes to Veggie burgers vs. Hamburgers, but let me tell you, this recipe turned out fantastic! So I must share.

I was inspired by Angela’s Vegan Black Bean Burger recipe, but as I got going, I ended up making some changes here and there… mostly based on what I had available. So here’s what I ended up with:

Veggie-tastic Bean Burger (Makes 3 large patties)

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 1/2 cups baby carrots (makes about 3/4 cup grated carrots)
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground flax seeds (mixed with 1 1/2 tbs warm water)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
  • dash black pepper

I threw the carrots in the vitamix until they were nice and chopped, then I added in the oats and blended for another ~10 seconds or so. Then I added in almost the whole can of black beans (save a few for mixing in at the end), the olive oil, the flax “egg”, and all the lovely spices.

As I warned Sarena (the non-dairy queen!) it sort of looked like… someone puked in my blender.

However, after baking it for about 40 minutes (20 min on each side) it was ready for tasting! Since I didn’t have buns (and buns are over rated) I just threw these patties on some stir fried veggies. (Red, yellow & green peppers, plus some onions.)

I think my “dinner guest” enjoyed it as well. Then again, he’s the one who made me tofu… so I think I he’s adapting to my veggie addiction ;)

Thank you all for the tips for getting rid of my cold! I drank lots of tea, loaded up on fruit, and ate some chocolate (Thanks for that last one, Emma!)

Are you a traditional Burger & Bun person, or do you like to load up with veggies? (Clearly, I’m into “Veggie on Veggie” action. teehee.)

 

<3 Liz