Monday, April 30, 2012

Spicy Sweet and Sour Tofu Steaks

I had this crazy craving for pineapple the other day and whipped up this sweet and sour dish to satisfy my craving. I guess cuz the weather is getting a bit warmer so I'm just craving summer fruits. This was nice and easy to make and yummy. And spicy!

Sweet and Sour Tofu Steaks
Ingredients
1 package extra firm tofu
1/2 pineapple, chopped
7-8 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic, minced
1 inch piece ginger, minced
3 Thai chili peppers, minced
1/4 cup veggie stock
1/2 tsp garlic powder
handful cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced

Directions:
Cut tofu into thick pieces, about 1-2 inches thick. Sprinkle with garlic powder and 1/2 lime juice. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Saute the onions, garlic, ginger and chili peppers in 1/4 cup water (or oil if you like) for 5 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients except for the cilantro and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the cilantro and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Serve on top of tofu steaks.


You can serve this dish with a side of brown rice and some leafy greens but I opted for some roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli. I tossed both in a little lemon juice, 1 tsp grapeseed oil and some lemon pepper seasoning. YUMMMMM. I baked them at 375 for 45 minutes.  I like my broccoli a little crispy so if you don't like it like that, steam it or take if out after 30 minutes. :)

I talked about a running injury a little while ago that I got from running 10km's in my Nike Free Run 2's. Well one of my girlfriends is a physiotherapist and offered to do a little tradesies. I cook, she fixes me. YES! I def got the better end of this deal. She worked on me for over an hour I think but who knows cuz it hurt so bad. No idea of time. I def owe her at LEAST one other dinner.


She turned my tiny apartment into a work station for her. She brought her table, pillows and everything. So awesome. But man did it ever hurt!! It took my breath away. But its all for a greater good. I went out the next day and it felt pretty damn good. She said the shoes really did a number on my feet. Everything was jammed up and just plain ole messed. I think every ones feet are different but I DO NOT recommend Nikes for running. Asics all the way. But go to an store like the Running Room so that they can find the right shoe for you.

Peace

xoxo

K

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Restaurant Review: Paradise Noodle House

I was lucky enough to be able to go back to Paradise Noodle House. Its way far out in Burnaby, but not like Metrotown, its pretty much in New West. lol And I don't drive, so its def not a place I get to go to very often. Its only my second time eating there and it was just as good as the first. It did not disappoint.

This time I went with my friend Leanne. She lives out in Port Moody so I thought this would be a great spot so she wouldn't have to drive in to Vancouver. Paradise Noodle is a vegan Vietnamese restaurant that has been open since 2003.

Vietnamese style hot and sour soutp
My friend Jimmy and I had this last time I went and I just had to have it again. It is SO yummy! I love how different it is from regular hot and soup soup. The flavour just explodes in your mouth (lol) and takes you on a wild ride. Its spicy, which I love and a little sweet from the pineapple and bac ha. Still have no idea what bac ha is, some Vietnamese fruit. She didn't know the English name and my Vietnamese friends had no idea. I've looked them up and they are basically a long green tube like thing that is related to the taro root I think. Anyways, its good.

Cute. :)

Stir fried vegetable chowmein
I very much enjoyed this dish. I haven't had noodles in a really long time. Or wheat for that matter. I love that there was lots of broccoli (my fave) and tofu. The sauce was light but delish. Nothing over powered the others, all went well together. A simple dish, but very yummy.

Broccoli with veggie chicken in black bean sauce
This was my fave of the evening. SO good! I LOVE black bean sauce. There was so much broccoli!!! Woot woot. lol Yes, that excites me. Food def does. Both Leanne and I loved this one the most. The sauce was saucy and delicious. The veggie chicken was good too. I love the fake meat they use at Paradise Noodle.

We ate EVERYTHING. Left no bite behind. :)

If you haven't checked them out, you should! There isn't much atmosphere so I wouldn't take a date but the food is simply amazing. And the owner is super sweet and cute. She is very passionate about being vegan.

Paradise Vegetarian Noodle House on Urbanspoon

Peace

xoxo

K

Red Lentil Dahl with Spinach

I have not been cooking as much as I normally do the past couples weeks. I've been eating way more raw foods like salads and smoothies. Even though I feel my best when I eat a large amount of raw food, there's nothing like a home cooked hot meal. :)

Red Lentil Dahl with Spinach
Ingredients
1 cup red lentils
6 cups chopped spinach
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece ginger, minced
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
4 roma tomatoes, diced
3 cups water
1 cup veggie stock
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili flakes
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped

Directions:
Saute onions, garlic and ginger in 1/4 cup water (or 1 tsp of oil if you like) for 3 minutes. Add lentils, water and veggie stock and bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients except for the cilantro and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the cilantro and cook for another 10 minutes or until lentils are soft. Serve with brown rice.

Red lentil dahl with spinach

Yummy yummy. You can put less spinach if you like, but I like lots. I also served this with a side salad. Nothing special just some romaine and whatever veggies I had in the fridge and topped it with my lemon-mustard dressing and hemp seeds. That dressing is pretty much my go to dressing. I freaking love it. The way I make it different so I don't get bored is by switching up the mustard's. You can use all kinds! :)

Peace

xoxo

K

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Restaurant Review: Indigo Cafe

I bought a social shopper coupon for Indigo Cafe almost 6 months ago and just realized last weekend that its about to expire so after my secret vegan brunch I headed over to use it up. I've never been to Indigo Cafe before but have been dying to try it. It is basically a raw vegan cafe but it does have a couple of cooked dishes. It also states that it doesn't have wheat but at least one dish does. But everything is clearly labelled so don't fret if you are celiac or a raw vegan.

I took everything to go because I had just eaten brunch, so I just ate this for dinner. YUM!!!

Mermaid Salad: Kelp Noodle Salad

This salad was surprisingly tasty! I have only tried kelp noodles once but I think I got an old pack or something. But they were kinda hard. Anyways, these were not. I am a big fan of eating sea veggies and this has kelp and dulce seadweed. Along with an abundance of veggies like carrots, bok choy, shiitake, etc etc etc. YUMTASTIC!!!


Stuffed Portobello Burger
Oh Man. this was my fave fo sho. Not really a burger, but I guess you could wrap it up in the lettuce but I ate my like the sophisticated lady that I am, with a knife and fork. LOL There was corn, avocado, tomato and asparagus. The sauce was amazing. I can't even tell you how delicious it was. It was maybe coconut milk and soy sauce with some pure, awesome love. I have no idea what was in it, well lots of garlic, but WOW. I need it. I wonder if they sell it? I should look into that. Anyways, this sauce was also drizzled on the Collard Roll Ups.

Collard Roll Ups
Sorry but one came undone in its travels to my fridge. I tried to put it back together but was unsucessful as you can see by the smudges and fingerprints. Lol These were very tasty. The sauce was amazing. The wrap is a collard green, and they are filled with enoki mushrooms, pea shoots, and red pepper. It had the same asparagus that the portobello had. So yummy! I'm not sure what they did to the aspargus but it was tasty! Not quite pickled but it wasn't just plain. Something special was happening there. ;)

I can definitely say that my experience with Indigo Cafe's food was a GREAT one. I really liked the food a lot. It was light, refreshing, tasty and filling. I felt nourished and satisfied. At the beginning of a meal when I have only raw food I always think I will be hungry after but I never am. Its always a nice surprise.

So check them out! Its a quaint little cafe that also holds raw foods courses which I'd love to take sometime. The raw foods diet has always fascinated me. I'd like to incorporate it more in my life. Which I have been but I'd like to learn more than just salads and smoothies. Although mine are pretty kick ass. :)

PS they also have high tea and a chocolate fondue. UM YES PLEASE. I must go back!!!!!! :)


Indigo Food Cafe on Urbanspoon

Peace

xoxo

K

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Restaurant Review: Vancouver Vegan Brunch

Vegan brunch is semi-hard to find in Vancouver. There are a few joints but they are few and far between and all rocking busy. I've been to most of them now but none are as unique and awesome as Vancouver Vegan Brunch. Its a secret supper type brunch that does not advertise its location until you've reserved and its menu is different every time. The bunch over at Vegan Mischief take their inspiration from the seasons and holidays that occur at the time of the brunch.

I was lucky enough to dine there as my AWESOME friend Lauren took me for my birthday. She even made it a big surprise and wouldn't tell me where we were going or anything. I had no idea what we were doing until we were in front of the door. Total surprise. Totally awesome! :)

There were 2 options for brunch so we got one of each so we could try both, obviously. We also got both desserts......Lauren got some to go...e-hem. ;) Here's what we got!:

Benny
I got the Benny. It was on a scone with pumpkin, eggplant, portobello 'sausage' pattie, tofu, asparagus, tomato, hashbrowns and salad. There was more to it, some delish sauce but I can't remember it all. That red side sauce is HOMEMADE HOT SAUCE!!! Say Whaaa!?? Homemade effin hot sauce. Seriously impressed. It was really good!

Gluten free spinach pancakes
Lauren got the gluten free, savoury spinach pancakes with a coconut sauce and a salad. I thought this was very nice. Savoury pancakes are so nontraditional and creative. I like how its not the norm and they thought outside the box. The coconut sauce was light and refreshing but still was sweet. And

Apple pie
Yup, I know. Me eat pie for brunch? Or ever. But its true, even I indulge sometimes. Look at that! Its so beautiful. The apple pie had no crust other than on top. It was stuffed with raisins, there was homemade oatmeal and sliced apple crisps. And that delish sauce. Omg. I can't even describe it all. All the flavours were just powerful but not overwhelming. You could taste all the love and effort that went into to preparing this plate. And the presentation is just perfect. The presentation of all the dishes was perfect and demonstrates that vegan food can be 'fancy'.

On the menu there was also chocolate dipped macaroons, so obviously we had to try those. We got 4, 2 for Lauren for later. They didn't look like your normal macaroon and they didn't taste like it either. they were SO good! They were delish! You could tell that the quality of coconut that they used was pretty good. I am not typically a fan of macaroons, the only other ones I like are from Organic Lives. But these really impressed me. :)

Chocolate dipped macaroons
Mmmmmmm. I wish I had one right now. Its like after midnight, but man would that be good! Grrr.

If you want more info on Vancouver Vegan Brunch, check out their site here.  Their website is pretty awesome too with tons of great recipes. Take a look around. :) But don't hesitate, this food is fantastic! Go make a reservation and find out for yourself. These awesome ladies will knock your socks off.

Peace

xoxo

K

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Restaurant Review: The Reef

The Reef is an awesome Caribbean restaurant which has 2 locations, Main Street and Commercial Drive. I have only been to the Main Street location so far, but I'm sure they are equally delicious. Its been quite a long time since I've been there so when Ethical Deal's deal of the day was The Reef I snatched it up! I almost forgot about it too and thought it might be expired but phew! Paid 10 bucks and got 20 worth of awesomeness. :)

Sidebar: check out Ethical Deal. Its a daily deal for the green customer. Products and services that you can feel good about purchasing.

Kevin and I started out with the Chana Salad. Super yummy curried chickpea salad with mixed greens and roti. SO yummy! The sauce was super thick and flavourful.

Chana
Mmmmmm!!! And such a steal too at only $8! I could eat that just as my meal. :)

We actually both got the West Indian Curries. I got the Ital (vegan) one and Kevin got the chicken one. I really liked this mild curry. A light flavour with potatoes and chickpeas. Along with a surprisingly good coleslaw, rice and some side sauces. They were mango chutney and a yogurt something or other. I stopped listening when he said yogurt. LOL

West Indian Curry: Ital(vegan)
The portions were pretty big. We were FULL. I didn't even finish my meal! GASP. Very unlike me. lol But potatoes and rice is too much starch for me. I had to leave some behind. :( The coleslaw was quite good. I'm usually not a fan of coleslaw cuz its usually creamy and mayonniasy. Even before I was vegan I was not a fan of mayo. But this coleslaw was not like that at all. It had a great flavour. Light and maybe some apple cidar vinegar I think.....Super good though. Cabbage is a veggie that I should eat more of fo sho.

They also gave us this amazing hot sauce. Its called Matouk"d Sauce Calypso Calypso Sauce. It was super spicy! I freaking loved it! As you are aware me and hot sauce are life partners. I LOVE hot sauce. And I've never had one like this. It was made with pickled scotch bonnet peppers. I mean, what the heck are those? Lol I'm gonna have to look into those. Not that I'm a conniseur of peppers or anything. I'm sure there's like a bagillion types but I never heard of those.

PS The Reef sells the hot sauce. But they only had the jumbo bottle. I'm just not ready to invest that kind of commited so early on in our relationship. I need to take it slow. There are others I have to think about. ;)

Oh and, I had the jerk tofu the last time I was there and its PHE-NOM!

The Reef (Main) on Urbanspoon

Peace!

xoxo

K

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Vegucation: Salads and Smoothies OH my!

Smoothies are an awesome way to get a lot of nutrients and fiber in one glass. I love smoothies. I pretty have one every day. And lately I've been a little obsessive with it. I have at least one, but sometimes 2 smoothies a day. They are really easy on the digestive system. Some other benefits of drinking smoothies are:

  • Provides a huge amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
  • Contains fiber for awesome digestion
  • Provides the body with instant energy
  • Protects the immune system
  • Hydrates you
  • Easy to make
  • Easy to take on the go
  • Add hemp, flax, chia, for protein, omegas, fiber, iron.....
  • Add spirulina or chlorella for protein, chlorophyll and other awesomeness
  • Add protein powder or shake mix (Vega)
Nuff said.

Every morning I have a smoothie for breaky and then at lunch I eat a big salad. When I say big....I mean HUGE. Its jam packed.

K's Big Salad
Ingredients
Lettuce - spinach, romaine, kale
Cucumber
Carrot
Celery
Boiled yams
Spiced chickpeas
Black beans
Baked tofu
Avocado
Hemp seeds

That's just what's been in my salads for the last few days. A mixture of those ingredients. I'm no dainty salad eater. My salads have to be full of diversity and bulk. There are so many other options too. If I had some almonds or cashews I'd throw them in too. Peppers, tomatoes, fruit, sunflower seeds, corn......endless.


YUM! Look at that lunch! BAM. Smoothie, big salad, peeled orange, apple, and lemon mustard dressing. Yup. I'm healthy. lol Oh a big bottle of water. Easier to track and make sure I'm getting enough.

I honestly don't know who wouldn't be happy with that lunch? It was awesome FYI. I have been feeling totally amazing since I started doing this daily. At least one smoothie and one big salad a day. Ups the raw portion of my diet up. Which has amazing benefits and provides way more nutrients by not heating them. I love cooked food don't get me wrong. But when I have a higher proportion of raw foods in my diet, I feel better. More energetic. My dinners are always cooked though.

Go-to Smoothie
Ingredients
1-1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries
1 banana
2 handfuls spinach
1 scoop Vega (protein powder)
1 tsp ground flax seeds
1/2 lemon, juiced
2-3 cups water (adjust to your taste)


Other mainstay additions:
spirulina
hemp seeds
chia seeds
lime
almond milk

Sorry I haven't posted a new dinner recipe but I haven't been cooking this week other than these salads and smooties. But I shall tomorrow, don't fret. ;)

Peace

xoxo

K

Monday, April 16, 2012

Upper body workout

I thought it best to give my feet another days rest. They aren't hurting anymore but that could just be because I'm not pounding the pavement. Damn you Nike Free Run 2's! Its been such a great weekend in Vancouver for weather and I only got to run on Friday. Oh well, weights it is. A break is probs not a bad thing.

I could never just take the time off completely, so I ventured over to the gym today to get in a good upper body workout. Especially since I destroyed my lower body the day before. :)

400 jumping jacks
30 burpees
30 seconds, mountain climbers

3 sets 12.5lbs, shoulder press 12 reps
3 sets 12.25lbs, bicep curls 10 reps
3 sets 15lbs bent over rows 12 reps
3 sets 15lbs bent over shoulder rear raises 10 reps
3 sets 15lbs chest press 10 reps
3 sets 12.5lbs chest fly 10 reps
3 sets bench dips 12 reps
3 sets push ups 10 reps

Then I did a quick ab routine. I don't know what any of them are called. But I like to get in quite a number of them every other workout. I don't do them every day. Its good to give them a rest. The best abs are built in the kitchen anyways. ;)

Oh I also did the plank for 1 minute.


Peace

xoxo

K

Food Prep Sundays! Get fresh.

I love food prep Sundays. They make me feel so healthy, in control and organized. This week I took a different approach. I'm really big into smoothies and salads right now. I pretty much always have at least one smoothie a day but lately I've been having more. With the weather getting warmer and the sun shining, I feel like I need more raw foods. So this week I bought lots of lettuce and salad fixin's.

Instead of rice and quinoa, I made cauliflower rice. You can get that recipe here. This time I didn't add the onion, but only because I was lazy to chop it. lol But I also added garlic instead cuz I wanted to test out my new garlic mincer thing. I'll tell yah about it later.

I cooked up 2 cups of dried chickpeas and baked some tofu for added bites of protein and fiber for my salads. To 'beef' them up, if you will.  I also peeled 2 oranges and a grapefruit, washed an apple and made my morning smoothie in advance (So I could go for a run before I leave for the day). On Saturday I made a big crockpot full of refried beans as well.

Woot woot! I'm all set to take on this week. :)


My salad is SO good! I made 2 HUGE ones and ate one on Sunday.

Spinach Tornado Salad
Ingredients
2 cups packed spinach
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 1/2  cup chopped celery
1 carrot, sliced
1 green onion
1 cup chickpeas (see recipe below)
1/2 cucumber, chopped
Baked tofu
1/4 avocado

Dressing:
half a lemon, juiced
3 tbsp mustard
sriracha

Directions:
Combine all salad dressing ingredients together and mix until smooth. Pour over salad and toss. :)

This was the biggest salad EVER! I ate half for lunch and half for dinner. It sure was amazing though.


You can't even see all the goodness that is in there. It is jam packed full of variety so that this salad is NOT boring and would fill up anyone. :)

I was cooking a bunch of chickpeas to just have on hand and maybe whip up a chickpea spinach curry but that didn't feel right. I knew I needed another protein source for my salad so what better way than to throw on some chickpeas! I didn't want just plain ones so I jazzed them up a bit.

Spiced Chickpeas
Ingredients
3.5 cups chickpeas
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili flakes
Sprinkle garlic powder
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tsp Vega EFA Oil

Directions:
Toss all ingredients together until well combined. Add to salads for protein and fibre.


I also sliced up a package of tofu, sprinkled garlic powder and lemon-pepper seasoning and baked at 375 for 25 minutes. I then chopped this tofu up and added it to my salads. I also snacked on a couple slices. Mmmmmm. :)


Its kinda nice to have beans and tofu like this all ready to go. Makes it easier to snack on healthy food. I like to just throw these onto salads or just eating them on their own.

Do you do Food Prep Sunday's as well?

Peace

xoxo

K

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Leg day at the gym

Well, I officially decided that Nike Free Runs 2 are NOT for running!!! What the? WORST! My feet are freaking aching like a mofo right now! Grrr. Asics for life!

Anyways, since my feet hurt, I could not run. Which makes a very sad Krystle indeed. Especially when its sunny. But I made the most of it and decided I'd venture to my gym and work out anyways. I killed my upper body yesterday, which is very apparent today. I could barely roll over this morning. LOL So legs it is!

3 sets goblet squats 35lb weight, 20 reps
3 sets ballerina squats 35lb weight, 20 reps
3 sets lunges 25lb weight, 10 reps (see note below)
3 sets step ups 17.5lb weight in each hand, 20
3 sets donkey kicks 15lb weight, 20 reps
3 sets side oblique, standing 30lb weight, 20 reps
3 sets side oblique crunch, using bench, 15 reps each side
3 sets ball exercise for the bum, 20 reps (see note below)
3 sets burpees, 10 reps

NOTE: For the lunges, I held the weight just above my shoulder and lunged back with the same leg and then forwards. Did that 10 times before switching to the other leg.

Ball exercise: lay on your back, feet resting almost at the top of the ball, legs bent, thrust your butt high in the air. Hold your core tight and hold for 3 seconds before lowering. When you are at the top, squeeze your bum, thighs, etc. If you need to rest your hands at your side for balance but as you grow stronger, move your arms so that they aren't touching anything. That way you use your core to stabilize you, not your arms. I put mine overhead. PS this move is hot. All the boys will love watching you do it. HAHA. Do it right after the donkey kicks and that hottie you've been eye-balling will be putty. LOL I kid I kid.

For the step ups. I hold the weights in each hand, step up with one leg and thrust the other knee up as far as I can then down. Alternate legs. This one is REALLY good for the quads and bum!!!

Get out there and sweat it out! Then eat awesome. :)

Eat clean, train mean, get lean!

Peace

xoxo

It was day 2 of 30 burpees a day till the Spartan Race! Woot woot!

Let's get Vegucated! Pinto Beans Edition: Refried Beans

I like pinto beans. I think that most people do but they aren't used in cooking very much. I always use black beans and chickpeas. They are my faves and my go-to's. But pinto beans should not be forgotten.

1 cup Pinto Beans:
Calories: 245
Protein: 15g
Dietary Fiber: 15g
Calcium: 8%
Iron: 20%
Fat: 1g

They are also high in Folate, Vitamin K, B6 and Thiamin. PLUS magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and potassium.

Mostly I make refried beans out of pinto beans. You can check out my recipe here. But I have been trying to use them instead of black beans or chickpeas just to add some variety in my bean diet. lol You can check out a simple recipe where I used them here.

I LOVE refried beans though. Typically refried beans are prepared with pinto beans but there are ones made with kidney or black beans. Personally when I make them at home I always use pinto beans but I'm sure any other bean can be used. Or 2 at the same time! Wild idea, I know. :) Refried beans are another crockpot recipe that you can just throw together and come back and ur pretty much all done. Then you have this big pot of beans that you can freeze for times when you're in a tight spot or want a quick easy dinner.

Refried Beans
Ingredients
2 cups pinto beans
2 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves
1 onion, diced
3 tsp chili powder
2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
3 cups water
1 cup veggie stock

Directions
Boil pinto beans for 30 minutes then soak over night. Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and cook for 4 hours (or all day). When done, remove bay leaves and blend until smooth.

TIPS: I use a hand blender. Easiest way but if you don't have one just use your blender. Just be careful and let the beans cool a little before transferring. If you do not cook and soak your beans its ok, but they might be a bit more like the magical fruit (if you get my drift....). The more you cook or soak your beans (and rinse) the less gas producing they are.


Look at it all!!! It makes quite a bit. Its at least 6 servings. 2 per container at minimum but could be more because I don't eat them alone. Although, sometimes I just eat a 1/2 cup of refried beans and a little salsa. YUM! But typically I add them to Mexican inspired salads or I make burrito bowls or other Mexican delicacies. :)

Today, I went out to the Lululemon outlet store in Burnaby and picked up a few items. It was kinda slim pickings but I was able to find some stuff. There was a cute jacket but I was strong and just bought workout clothes. Its what I need and it didn't make sense to buy a jacket. Sometimes I'm WAY to practical. LOL I got 2 pairs of VERY short shorts, a sports bra and tank top. Then we went to The Gourmet Warehouse. OMG. Seriously, how happy am I? Fitness and Food. My 2 greatest loves.


Look at that place? Its like my church. Well that and the gym. Ha. I could have spent the day there. My aunt came running to find me because she found the hot sauce aisle. I could NOT choose! SO hard.


That's ALL hot sauce. Well actually there was hot peanut butter. Which I kinda wish I got. I'm not sure it would be good but now I'm curious. After I calmed down and started looking seriously I picked up these things.


I think the hot sauce is actually Canadian too. It must be cuz it has a local number and shaw email addy. That other jar is Jalapeno White Wine MUSTARD!!! OMG! I love mustard. LOL the mustard aisle and the hot sauce aisle held me up. I also got a wooden spoon (love them), a BPA water bottle and a new garlic grinder. Looks cool but haven't used it but I'll post a review when I do.

The water bottle is by Kor. Its BPA free and has this little coin slot thing that you can put an inspirational word in it. The one that came in mine was IMAGINE. Such a cool concept. So every time I lift the cap up to take a sip, I will stare at IMAGINE. They have a website where you can DL other ones too. Positive reinforcement at its finest.



Of course I got the pink one. And to be honest, I didn't even think twice about the colour. My Aunt pointed it out. LOL Its a fave of mine. But they have other colours. Check them out on their website. The black one looks sexy.  It hols 750ml of water, is ergonomically correct, has a cushioned base, easy to clean and refill, the spout is awesome and its just cool looking. Of course I forgot it when I went to the gym. lol

Peace

xoxo

K

Friday, April 13, 2012

Workin on my fitness

I haven't really posted much on what I do for my work outs, just the running part. But I thought you might be interested in some of my training. I'm always training for something whether its just life or a race. Right now as you know its the Spartan Race and Tough Mudder. But the running season has started and there's tons of races coming up that I'd like to get involved in.

I work out VERY regularly. About 5-6 times per week. My main focus is always on running and any exercise that will help that so I do a lot of lower body exercises but with the races rapidly approaching I need to get my upper body in better shape. And bikini season is coming too.;)

Run total time: 40 minutes
In that I did about 15 minutes of stairs. Just ran up and down 10 times with 30 seconds to 1 min breaks in between.
Gym total time: 45 minutes
200 jumping jacks
30 burpees
90 seconds of high knees
3 sets bicep curls
3 sets overhead press
3 sets chest press
3 sets chest fly
3 sets reverse fly
3 sets bench dips

AND I think about 3 more exercises that I can't remember and/or don't remember what they're called. I like to do HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). So I do 1 or 2 exercises then do burpees, jumping jacks or high knees in between. Then do another exercise, cardio, exercise, cardio, etc etc etc. I think this is the best way to train. You get way better results faster and you waste less time at the gym because you aren't really taking any breaks.

ALSO, I used the 12.5 weights and did 10-15 reps, depending on the move. I've been told I have to use heavier weights, that I'm stronger than I think. Sigh. FINE. I'm the worst at upping the weight when it has anything to do with my upper body, but my legs or abs I kill those with no problem. Lol

OK Gotsta go! This lady has got to eat! Time for a protein packed smoothie and wait for my afternoon run! Yup, you read that right. I'm going for a run around Stanley Park this afternoon too! Ha. You call me crazy? I got your crazy!

Peace

xoxo

K

Restaurant Review: Foundation

My cousin Josh and I share birthday's that are very close together. His is about a week before mine. We don't celebrate together as I am 11 years older than him. This year we both had big bday's; he turned 19 and I turned 30. Its still weird for me to say that I'm 30 and that he's 19. Anyhoo, he wanted to take me out to dinner to celebrate and so we could have our first drink together. How cute!!?!!

I thought the Foundation would be perfect. It's got GREAT food, big portions, price is good, serves booze and plays really loud hip hop. Perf. It's an awesome hipster joint on Main. I can't tell you how many times I've been here. I'm pretty sure I've tried everything in the "mains" category on the menu. Except for 2 of the 3 burgers. Everything is good.

I love how they play loud hip hop music and painted the walls bright lime green and have inspirational quotes on the walls. I even like how laid back the service is. Nobody is trying to rush you out. They aren't trying to turn over as many tables as they can. Its kinda refreshing. :)

Ok, on to the good stuff.

Our first drink
We decided to share a pitcher of beer. It was India Pale Ale. It was ok. A little strong for our taste.

Hummus
One of the best in the city I think. I love how they sprinkle it with sesame seeds.

Sesame Society
SO good!!! Maple tahini dressing with multi-veg and tofu over spinach and quinoa. AMAZING!!! Saucy goodness.

First Option
YUMMY! Josh got this one. Coco-chili lime sauce with veggies and chickpeas and rice.  A little kick to it, but not much. FULL of flavour. Nothing lacking here.

Four thumbs up! I already loved the place but it was cool to bring my cousin here who also loved it. He def wants to go back again. And some other places I talked about. I love bringing non-veggie peeps to veggie restaurants. They are always so shocked at how good the food is or how full and awesome they feel. The serving size at Foundation is pretty big but with beer. OMG too much. No beer next time. I don't know why we had it. I never drink beer anymore. lol

Foundation on Urbanspoon

Peace

xoxo

K

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chickpea patties and Superfood Salad

Lately I've really been trying to up my protein rich food intake. I've been way more active than usual. Been doing way longer workouts with greater intensity and weight training a lot more. I have always done some but my focus and heart always belonged to running. I have been increasing that as well, which is why my total workout time has increased a lot. So with all this new muscle I'm trying to grow, I need to ensure I have adequate protein intake. I started taking my protein shake an extra time per day and eating more beans and legumes every day. And more nuts and seeds. Predominantly almonds, flax and hemp seeds. Along with more quinoa.

You saw the other day that I started measuring out a cup in each tupperware so that I can at least get an estimate of what I'm eating each day. And then I make a couple cups of chickpeas or black beans that I can just throw into a salad or whatever I'm eating for an extra punch of protein. Over the last week it's been chickpeas. I decided to mash em up and make some patties. Mmmm.

Chickpea Patties
Ingredients
2 cups chickpeas, mashed
1/2 white onion, minced
1 cup brown rice (cooked)
1 carrot, shredded
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, minced
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup almonds, finely chopped
1/2 cup rolled oats, ground

Directions
TIP: to cut down on prep time, I pulsed the chickpeas, carrot, garlic, ginger, almonds and rolled oats in my food processor. Will give the patties a smoother texture and stick together better. I did not do them all at once though. I did them all separately except for the garlic and ginger.

Saute the onion in 1/4 cup water for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, carrots and almonds; saute for 5 minutes. Add more water if needed, 1/4 cup or 1/2 ladle at a time. Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool down before forming into patties.

Form into patties and put on parchment paper or a greased baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Flip after 15 minutes.

Serve with mango salsa and side salad. I served mine with a kale spinach salad

Kale Salad
Ingredients
1/2 head kale
2 cups packed spinach
2 tsp hemp seeds
1 lemon, juiced
1 avocado

Directions
Massage avocado onion kale and spinach until fully mashed and combined,. Add lemon and hemp seeds. Season with salt and pepper if needed.


This dinner is PACKED with protein and antioxidants. There is so much goodness in this meal to nourish your body and repair those sore muscles. Next time I will add the "flax egg" to make the patties stick together more. They were actually pretty good, but a little flax never hurt NObody. lol And I would add alfalfa or broccoli sprouts to the salad. More protein. :)

You could also put this in a bun and have a little veggie burger, but I'm foregoing bread for a while. i gotta eat extra clean for the next few months. Summer is coming but more importantly the Spartan race and Tough Mudder!!! Hence the working out more and needing more protein.

Eat clean, train mean, get lean!!!

Peace

xoxo

K

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Restaurant Review: The Wallflower Modern Diner

This weekend was Easter weekend and while most people were having lovely family dinners my family decided against it. Lol We always have an Easter dinner on my Dad's side but for some reason they just didn't want to. But I fixed that. It's a holiday and you should be with your family. So we decided to out for a late lunch/early dinner.

I have been to The Wallflower many times now but only for breakfast. I have been very curious about the lunch/dinner menu. I've heard that the mac and cheese is really good. Alas, I did not have it. I went for the Meatless Loaf. I love the Wallflower because it has options for everyone. It has a vegan menu, regular menu and even a gluten free one. They are smart. They have all their bases covered. :)

Lightning Fries
 These were awesome! The Thunder fries are the same just a larger portion. But basically this is vegan chili fries. DELISH! We all shared this as our appy.

Meatless Loaf
And the meatless loaf. Its a bean and veggie loaf with a side of veggies and mash potatoes with mushroom gravy. This was a nice dinner. I liked the loaf a lot. Very hearty and I liked how it was so firm. I have yet to master that for my loafs and patties. I wonder how they do it? The mushroom gravy was light. But it could have been more flavourful. Wasn't bad by any means and the low sodium content in this dish is awesome. But it could have had a bit more flavour and then I would have raved. Delish nonetheless. :)

My Dad had the blackened halibut and my Grannie had the Chicken Parmesan. Both said they enjoyed it a lot. And the serving size was perfect. Everyone cleaned their plate except for me! SO unusual but I just can't eat that much mashed potatoes. My Grannie usually complains about the serving size but this time it worked out.

FOR THE WIN, we got the vegan creme brulee! Omg, when I was a non-vegan, creme brulee was always my FAVE dessert. Its been almost 2 years now since I've had one. Was it ever satisfying. VERY good! If you didn't know it was vegan, you wouldn't have been able to tell.


Vegan Creme Brulee
 So if you have some gluten free or vegan friends or are just curious then check out the Wallflower on Main St. Either way, vegan, gluten free or omnivore you're gonna get what you want and enjoy it.

Wallflower Modern Diner on Urbanspoon

Peace

xoxo

K

Monday, April 9, 2012

Food prep Sundays

This week, food prep Sunday moved to Saturday. I got the cooking bug and went crazy in my kitchen. I was having a lazy week and needed to take control so I cooked up a storm.



OK, so here's what's in all those containers.

1 cup brown rice x 3
1 cup quinoa x 3
1 cup quinoa, 1 cup mixed beans, 1/2 cup sauteed mushrooms x 3
1 cup boiled yams and 2 cups steamed greens x 3
2 cups roasted broccoli x 1

Mixed Beans:
2 cups dried Sprouted Bean Trio by TruRoots organics
2 roma tomatoes
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tsp cumin
Cook beans according to package. Then saute all ingredients in 1/4 cup water for 8-10 minutes.

Roasted Broccoli:
2 heads broccoli, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
cayenne
salt and pepper
Roast at 375 for 30-40 minutes

Sauteed Mushrooms:
10-15 mushrooms
1 tsp grapeseed oil
salt and pepper
Saute for 4-5 minutes. (This is my new fave snack! omg so good!)

This sets me up for the week. I also peeled a grapefruit and orange and made sure I had a bag of organic apples for snacks. Having readily made nutritious food available ensures you will eat awesome. It also saves some time during the week. Sunday's are typically a relaxing day of sleeping in, a workout, maybe tidy up and do grocery shopping. I like to use it to get ready for the week. I usually don't prepare everything in containers all measured out like this but portion control is important. I'm the worst at portion control. Lol.

Usually I'll just make a big pot of grains and a soup or chili and put some in the fridge and some in the freezer. So do what works for you. But having some prep work done at the beginning of the week makes you make better choices. Chop and bunch of veggies so that you can easily grab some to snack on or throw together a salad. It also is great for lunches! Now you don't have to spend $10-15 on some highly fatty, salty lunch. You will know exactly what's in your lunch and feel good about it. Which will lead you to make more good choices.

I also prepared 2 cups of chickpeas and green mung beans for added protein punch for my meals. I didn't do anything to them. Just used dried ones and cooked them according to the package. Which has worked out well, cuz I've been putting together these burrito bowls lately.


1 cup brown rice, 1 cup chickpeas, 2 tbsp homemade guacamole, a little salsa, hot sauce and some roasted broccoli. YUM!! Satisfying and nutritious. :)

ALSO!! Look at what my AWESOME family did for me for my birthday!!!



All vegan! There's a veggie platter, salsa, tortilla chips, crackers, hummus, bread, and vegan CHOCOLATE cake! YUM.

PLUS my adorable cousin Alex cooked us dinner! She made a veggie stir fry! SO good! I love when ppl cook for me but this just made my year. She's 14. Warmed my cold heart. lol


Look! I'm 19!
Boy did I ever feel special!

Now get in the kitchen on Sunday or whatever day is your "Sunday'. It will cut some time in your prep during the week, set you up to eat awesome all week and get you making better choices.

Peace

xoxo

K

Friday, April 6, 2012

Let's get Veguated! Dairy edition: Quickie Vegan Mac & Cheese

Mac and cheese is one of the biggest comfort meals out there. Cheese is one of the reasons for many vegetarians who want to go vegan but say they can’t give it up. I get it. Cheese is delicious. I will never deny that.  But dairy is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Here’s a little info on dairy and its effect on the body:

 We are the only species in the world who drinks another’s bodily fluids. That’s weird for me. Animals drink a mother’s milk to get maximum nutrition to grow a healthy, strong body. We are all then weaned off milk and begin eating solid food.  Cow’s milk is meant to grow a 400 pound cow not a 150 pound human. Hmmmm.

 Many cultural backgrounds are lactose intolerant in some degree. African American, Hispanic and Asian are almost all intolerant of dairy. It has historically not been a major part of these diets. The incidents of osteoporosis, cancer and diabetes are the lowest in countries that do not consume much dairy. And only since the addition of dairy to their diets has the rates of these ailments been on the rise.

 We have always been told that we need to drink 3 glasses of milk per day to grow strong bones, keep them strong and ward off osteoporosis. It is true, dairy has lots of calcium. I will refute that but it is highly acidic. Our bodies are very efficient and when we eat something that is acidic our body automatically reacts to regulate our blood ph. It does this by releasing calcium from the bones. So every time we have dairy, we put calcium in and then take it out. That’s not exactly how I want my body to operate.

 Calcium per 100 gram serving:

·         Butter 20 grams
·         Whole Milk 118 grams
·         Chickpeas 150 grams
·         Collard greens 203 grams
·         Parsley 203 grams
·         Soy beans 226 grams
·         Almonds 226 grams
·         Sesame seeds 1,160 grams

Woah! Sesame seeds are a star provider! Jeez. Good to know! Sprinkle those little seeds on your salads, soups, or eat some hummus and you get a huge load of calcium. J

 Dairy is also very addictive. It contains casein which breaks down into casomorhins....as in morphine. This has an opiate effect on your body which makes you feel all awesome, relaxed and happy. Casein is even more concentrated in cheese which explains why people are so passionate about it. And I was DEF passionate about my cheese. I was never a milk drinker but cheese? OMG. LOVE. Especially blue cheese and Borsin. Mmmmm. Casomorphins are designed to make the calf feel all warm and fuzzy so that they bond more with its mother and want to drink more milk. This way it can grow and get strong.

 Consumption of dairy is also linked to asthma, allergies, hormone irregularities and heart disease. So get off the dairy or at least cut if down significantly. Try daiya....its the BEST vegan cheese I’ve ever had. OK well there’s my rant about dairy, I could go on more but I think this is enough. LOL So here’s an easy recipe to get you into your dairy free life!

 Quickie vegan mac and cheese
Ingredients
1 cup almond milk
2 cups cheddar daiya
½ tsp veggie stock
1 tsp chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Bring almond milk to a light boil. Add remaining ingredients and stir until the cheese has melted. Once melted and well combined toss with your choice of pasta.  Cooking time is about 5 minutes.  This sauce makes enough for 2-3 servings, depending on how much sauce you like. J



I sriracha'ed the ish outta this dish too! Mmmmm.

Peace

xoxo

K



Let's get Vegucated! Cauliflower edition: Creamy cauliflower soup


Cauliflower was on sale the other day at my local No Frills so I picked one up. Usually I roast it and add that to salads or just keep it on hand to munch on for a snack but this time I thought a soup would be nice. If you’re new to the blog you might not know that I’m a big lover of soups. I make them pretty often. I think they are a great way to get a lot of nutrient dense food in one bowl with little effort. If you don’t have a crockpot (slow cooker) then I suggest that you get one. I use mine a lot. Its a great addition to any kitchen but particularly if you are short on time.  You can prep everything the night before (like I do) then pop it in the crockpot in the morning and turn it on. When you get home....voila! Dinner is ready. Just like a good wifey.

 Cauliflower is kind of an underrated vegetable because of its white colour. We are always taught that we should eat colourful veggies, which is completely true. But just because cauliflower isn’t colourful doesn’t mean it’s not full of nutrients. Here is a quick summary of the nutrient profile of cauliflower:

In 100 grams:

·         25 calories
·         0 grams fat
·         0 cholesterol
·         30 mg sodium
·         3 grams fiber
·         2 grams sugar
·         2 grams protein’
·         77% RDI Vitamin C
·         2% RDI Calcium
·         2% RDI Iron

 Pretty good right? So throw in some cauliflower once in a while. I prefer to eat it cooked. Raw cauliflower is not my fave. Cauliflower curry, roasted with lemon and paprika, mashed, in soup, blended, made into a “rice” are some great ways to utilize this veggie. J  Here’s an easy recipe to get you started:

 Creamy Cauliflower Soup with split peas
Ingredients
1 head cauliflower
1 ½ cups yellow split peas
4 celery stalks, chopped
6 garlic cloves
5 cups water
3 cups veggie stock
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili flakes
2 bay leaves
1 160ml can low fat coconut milk

Directions:

Put all ingredients except for coconut milk into a crockpot and cook for 6 hours.  Remove bay leaves, add coconut milk and blend with a hand blender or once the soup has cooled down put into a blender and puree until smooth.

If you don’t have a crockpot, follow the same directions but cook on medium heat until split peas and cauliflower is soft. Remove bay leaves, add coconut milk and blend.

Serve with brown rice or a side salad. J



Hope you enjoyed a little bit of vegucation over here at Vegucated in Vancouver.

Peace

Xoxo

K