I take my coffee iced.

I cannot believe it, I am on my 28th day of the 30 day Bikram yoga challenge!  I actually missed a day last week (which is allowed), so I have to take two classes today to make up for it.  9am class done… now it’s time to refuel and prepare myself for an afternoon class.

Normally I am so not a coffee drinker, but for some reason after class the idea of coffee sounded so good to me.  Maybe it was that Starbucks I walked by on the way home… Anyway, I knew that buying a soy latte was probably the worst thing to do after a 105 degree yoga class, so I decided on the next best thing… a slushy Coffee Smoothie in a Bowl!  Here’s what I used:

  • 1/2 a very large banana I had in the fridge (frozen would be even better!)
  • 5 ice cubes
  • handful baby spinach
  • 1 date (pitted) – to add some extra sweetness
  • 1 tsp instant decaf coffee (I use Mount Hagen brand)
  • 2-4 drops vanilla extract
  • a pinch salt
  • 1 tsp psyllium husk (to add a little fiber for fullness factor)

Using my Vitamix and the handy temper tool, I blended everything until it was the consistency of soft serve ice cream and scooped it in a bowl.  Normally I use frozen bananas to make it more like ice cream, but since I had none on hand I stuck my bowl in the freezer to firm up a bit while showering.  So, so good – it brings a whole new meaning to “iced coffee”.   ;)    

Well guys, I’m going to relax for a bit after my tough class this morning.  I always have more trouble in morning Bikram classes because I’m all stiff from just waking up.  It’s totally worth it though because after it I feel energized, yet so calm and ready to face the day.  Especially after doing so many days in a row now, I just feel as though my energy levels have gone up so much – not making me hyper though – just making me feel like I can never tire.  I love it!

March 26, 2011 at 11:19 am 1 comment

Vegan Coconut Ice Cream

Happy Daylight Savings!  I always get kind of mixed up around this time… is it really 11 or 10am?  Maybe it’s partly because I got waaay too much sleep last night!  Whenever I sleep 8+ hours I always feel more tired than I did in the first place.  My long night’s sleep made my stomach extra rumbly this morning!  I wasn’t quite in the mood for my standard morning options though, but wanted something fruit-centric so I figured “why not ice cream?” ;)

I know it doesn’t sound healthy, but I promise you that this version is fit for breakfast or dessert!  No sugar, no dairy, no artificial stuff… how could you go wrong?  You could even add a little baby spinach for some added nutrition like I did in my Earth Day Ice Cream.  There are so many different variations you could try based upon this recipe, but this morning I wanted plain ‘ol coconut.

Coconut Soft-Serve (makes 2 large portions)

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 4 drops coconut extract
  • 6 ice cubes

If you want something a little sweeter, you could add stevia or something, but I love this as is.  Just throw everything in your vita mix and blend using the temper to push all of the ice cubes into the blades until soft, but not too long or it’ll be all melty!  I decided to make it extra decadent and mixed together a little coconut milk, raw cocoa powder, agave nectar and a pinch of salt for a rich chocolate sauce.   

That’s what I call a good reason to get out of bed in the morning!  Off to yoga now… I’m on day 14 of a Bikram 30-Day Yoga Challenge right now.  30 yoga classes in 30 days, and while you can miss up to two days, you have to make up the classes by doing two doubles (ie. 3 hours of HOT yoga in one day).

I’ve tried this once before, back in September, but I had to bow out after day 19 because I had missed three days and only made up on of them.  This time I’m hoping to get through straight through without missing any days – wish me luck!

March 13, 2011 at 12:27 pm 4 comments

Just like 31 Flavors!

Oh. My. Gosh.  So this morning after my bikram yoga class I decided to make a smoothie as usual, but was bored of my normal flavors.  So what did I do?  Hopped over to my girl CCK’s blog to test out of of her milkshake flavors.  The choice was easy… mint chocolate chip ice cream was allllways my fav growing up (even if I did have to eat lactaid pills before I could eat it).  These days though I’ve shunned dairy altogether due to allergies and well just not liking the whole process behind how it’s produced.  This smoothie brought me right back to my childhood though!  I made a few small adjustments off the original recipe based on what I had on hand.  I also wanted more of a pudding consistency so I could eat it with a spoon, so I added in a healthy dose of xantham gum and some psyllium husk.  Here it is pre-blending:  

And then post blending!

I love, love love this!  And it’s even a little sinful bc I was out of cacao nibs so I added some Rice Dream dairy free chocolate chips :D  So sinfully delicious (ok, it’s actually not sinful at all) it could almost be dessert!  Here’s my tweaked recipe:

Mint Chocolate Chip Pudding (since it’s probs too thick for a straw)

  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 c. unsweetened coconut milk
  • tiny dash salt
  • tiny dash stevia powder
  • handful of baby spinach
  • 1-2 tbsp dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum
  • 2 tsp psyllium husk powder
  • 2 ice cubes
  • 2-3 drops peppermint extract
  • 1-2 drops coconut extract (I LOVE coconut)

So so easy – just put it in the blender and blend until smooth!!  I actually put mine in the freezer to chill while I dried my hair and cleaned up a little.  Oh yah… and don’t forget your spoon!   ;)       

By the way guys – in light of the recent Tsunami in Japan, I wanted to pass along a link to Americares.  I really love this organization because they donate almost 100% of their profits to their causes, keeping operating costs under 2% so that you know your money is going to where it’s needed and not someone sitting behind a big desk.  I sincerely urge you all to think about donating here:  DONATE, please!

March 12, 2011 at 10:57 am 2 comments

Savasana & Stew

Today I was lucky enough to have a day off from work, so after waiting for the arrival of my Wedding invites (they look awesome!!) I decided to take advantage of all that free time and head over to my Bikram Yoga studio.  I don’t know what got into me, but after my first class with Kara that was amaze, I decided to actually stay and participate in the next class with Lorenza!  I had never done a back to back double, but let me tell you, three hours of Bikram in a 100+ degree room is intense!  During the 1/2 hour break before the second class started I grabbed a Zico to get some electrolytes back into my body and then sailed through the second class.  It seriously went by so much faster and my concentration was outta this world!  Of course… final Savasana was maybe my favorite pose of the day.   ;)

When I got back home I was happy I had prepped dinner the night before.  I was making a variation of Mark Bittman’s Braised Lentils with Celery listed in “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian”, although I’ve changed it SO much (mine’s actually more of a stew bc I like it soupy), that I will post it here for you guys.

Celery Stew – serves 4-6 

  • 1 head celery, chopped including leaves
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 c. green/brown lentils
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup red wine (or more broth)
  • 1/4 lemon, juiced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • water as needed to thin
  1. After prepping all of the veggies, heat the oil in a deep stock pot and throw in the celery, onion and garlic.  Cook for about 6-8 minutes until the veggies begin to soften.
  2. Pour in the veggie broth, lentils, bay leaf, lemon juice and wine (I actually used sake this time simply because it was on hand) and bring the pot to a boil.  Immediately lower the heat so that the mixture is simmering and cover partially.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Simmer the stew about 30 minutes until the lentils are tender, but if you have more time keep it on the stove!  Soups and stews always improve over time.  If the stew doesn’t seem soupy enough to you, add some additional water and heat through.  I almost always do simply because I love the earthy broth.
  4. Pour into a bowl & enjoy!

This is soo good along with some whole wheat crusty bread, but since I has none on hand I just ate it on it’s own.  It was magical.  Okey, I am officially spent so I’m going to go zone out in front of some Law & Order – enjoy your night!

February 21, 2011 at 8:03 pm Leave a comment

Welcome back squash!

Tonight the butternut squash that’s been hanging out on my counter was calling out to me, so I decided to make some butternut squash fries.  Haven’t had then in sooo long and man have I missed them!!  They tasted just as I remembered them…  

Alongside my fries I made a tofurky sausage along with some saurkraut.  I have always loved sausage… I used to get this same meal back when I ate meat, except I can’t say I miss it bc the part I loved most was the ‘kraut.  I have a soft spot for the sour crunchiness of it all… definitely have a sour and not sweet tooth!  

I rounded out the meal (you know, to add some pretty colors in there) with a green salad with olives and some balsamic dressing.  Oh yah… and some pudding! 

Coffee Pudding – love it!  I used the normal agar agar base a la CCK.

  • 1.5 cups coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 3 tsp. agar flakes (mine were actually labeled kanten flakes – same thing though)
  • 1 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch salt
  • 1 drop almond extract
  • 10-15 drops vanilla stevia (NuNaturals)
  • water to thin (as needed)

Mix together the coconut milk and agar flakes in a pot and let it sit on the stove until absorbed (without the stove on) for about 10-15 minutes.  Then bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat and stir in the nutmeg, coffee, salt, almond extract and stevia.  Then let the mixture cool a little and put in the fridge to set for a few hours before blending.  I made it this afternoon and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours and then blended with my hand blender (adding a splash of water to thin).  It was perfect – tasted just like a strong cup of coffee!!

February 20, 2011 at 8:27 pm 3 comments

An ode to MorningStar

Dear MorningStar,

How have we never met until tonight?  I love you deeply.

xoxo,

Catherine

Oh dear lord friends, for whatever reason I have neglected to try the many vegan meat alternatives out there, but tonight after a particularly grueling Physique 57 class (beware the intermediate level classes!!) I made a stir fry with bell peppers, broccoli, Worcestershire sauce and some asian BBQ sauce along with MorningStar Chick’n strips.  It was like a party en mi boca.  I am so definitely making this again tomorrow night!!

For dessert I had some delicioso Vegan Strawberry Yogurt complete with some probiotics added!  I swear I haven’t been stealing all of CCK’s recipes lately…  For the yogurt I used 1/2 box of Mori Nu silken extra-firm tofu, a little over 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1/4 cup almond milk, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract and a packet of Stevia.  Crack open a probiotic pill, whirl in the Vita Mix and put in the fridge! 

I made this last night and when I cracked into it tonight it tasted so so yummy.  All in all a great night!!

 

February 8, 2011 at 8:29 pm 5 comments

Hey there sports fans!

So while I did watch the Super Bowl yesterday with the fiance I can’t say we did it in a uh traditional sort of way.  Football, veggies, wine… who says you need beer and wings to enjoy the game anyway?  I made a simple balsamic dip for the veggies in my vita-mix that was a-maze (if I do say so myself), and served some hummus and olives alongside everything.

Basic Balsamic Dip

  • 4 cloves roasted garlic
  • approx 1/3 c. balsamic vinegar (I kinda didn’t measure)
  • approx 1/4 c. olive oil (or as much as desired)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Herbs de Provance
  • 1 wedge lemon; squeezed
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • salt & pepper to taste

Just give it all a whirl in the vita-mix and adjust the seasonings as you see fit!

I also made some roasted cauliflower nuggets baked at 425 for about 20 minutes thanks to the inspiration of Ms. CCK – sprinkled with a little Spike seasoning and dipped in BBQ sauce that was out of this world.  I just love Spike seasoning…

Then I helped the fiance make his very own homemade chicken nuggets that rival the elusive McD’s McNuggets.  For serious people.  I didn’t partake as I choose not to eat meat, but this was a recipe I had made up a few years ago and since I don’t feel it’s fair to impose my beliefs on others, I had no problem explaining the recipe to him so that he could enjoy.  Don’t crucify me for this… I choose not to buy or eat it, but he eats chicken, so I wasn’t going so sit with my arms folded not giving him a recipe just for that fact.  Recipe below…

Cat McNuggets (serves 2-4 as an appetizer)

Nuggets before frying...

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp minced, dried onion
  • 1/8 tsp died oregano
  • 1 c. panko (plus more as needed)
  • olive oil for frying
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. In a bowl mix the chicken, garlic, onion, oregano, salt and pepper to distribute all the seasonings.
  2. Throw the chicken mixture into a food processor and pulse until it begins to form into a ball.  There should still be small chunks visible, you don’t want it to become a paste.
  3. Using about a tablespoon of the chicken mixture, roll into balls and then press into oval shaped nuggets no more than 1/2″ thick.
  4. Drop the nuggets into the panko one by one, coating completely.
  5. Heat a pan with a thin layer of olive oil and fry until golden on each side and then remove and drain on a paper towel.  You could also bake these to make them a little healthier if you choose.
  6. Let cool so you don’t burn your finger and enjoy!

    Take that McNuggets!

Although I don’t eat this, I wanted to include the recipe because I think it’s important to save recipes and since I know the fiance will make these again in the future, I wanted to put it down in writing for him.  The proud chef w/his creation (he ate all of them!): 

Serious Question: If you are a vegan/vegetarian, are there any foods you still miss? I ask this, because while I choose not to eat meat/dairy/eggs, occasionally I miss the ease of being able to order anything off a menu in a restaurant and get frustrated because while I love the food that I eat, sometimes it just feels difficult.  Also, I am very allergic to dairy, so part of me is annoyed that even though I am happy not to eat it for ethical reasons, I know that even if I wanted to I just plain can’t.  Sorry – enough ranting for now!  Have a good night all!  :)

February 7, 2011 at 9:54 pm 3 comments

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