Tag Archives: food

His Plate/Her Plate #3 Chili Cornbread Jars

My friend Bianca introduced me to a website called The Kitchn (yes its spelled that way) the other day, and while I was reading it I stumbled upon this idea for chili topped with cornbread baked in mason jars.

I have a TON of jars, and I like all the other things so I figured I’d try to make them into a vegan and Jake suitable version.

I figure everyone has their own chili recipe, I kind of make mine up as I go along.  But the basics of mine is a can each of black, kidney, and pinto beans, tomato paste, canned diced tomatoes, chili seasoning, and for this one I added chopped onion, garlic, bell peppers, and yellow and green squash.

chilicornbread3-rtFor Jake, I sautéed ground turkey with some chili seasoning in a separate pan then scooped some of the vegan chili and mixed it in, so it was super easy to make the veggie version into a meat-eaters version!

After I made my chili, I made a cornbread batter.  I was originally just going to make it from a boxed mix, but I only had time to go to a conventional grocery store and they only had the standard Jiffy brand and Betty Crocker.  Personally I like to only buy organic corn because corn is one of the most genetically modified foods that we eat and I try to avoid GMO’s.  On top of that did you know that the Jiffy mix had LARD in it!!! um ew.  It also had hydrogenated oils and a ton of other gross things so I left that on the shelf and walked away.  While I was at the store I googled for recipes and came up with an easy vegan recipe that I of course tweaked. hehe

chilicornbread1-rtBasically for this recipe you need

  • 2 cups Organic corn meal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (even better if its your own)
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 3 tbsp of maple agave nectar or raw agave nectar
  • 1 cup of organic corn

First you want to add the apple cider vinegar to the almond milk and whisk it until it is foamy and set it aside,  then sift the dry ingredients together in another bowl. Once you have sifted the dry ingredients add the coconut oil and agave to the almond milk mixture whisk again then add it to the dry ingredients and stir them together.  Add the corn if you like corn bits in your cornbread and mix enough to get them mixed but be very careful to not over mix as it will make your cornbread tough.

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Once you get the cornbread batter mixed, fill the mason jars (i used 16 oz jars) a few inches under the mouth of the jar then top with the cornbread batter, just make sure that you leave about an inch of space for the bread to rise a bit.  After all, part of the cool thing about these is that you can just put the lid on the jar and take these to go so you you want to make sure the lid fits!

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After I filled my jars, I placed them on a baking sheet and baked them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until they were lightly browned.  Also make note, this batter makes more than what is needed for the 4 jars, so either make more chili jar, or just make muffins or a pan of the rest of the cornbread!

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Jakes turkey chili on the right and my vegan chili on the left

One thing is because the cornbread doesn’t have eggs in it, its not going to brown as much as a normal recipe would.  Jake liked it, but he did say that they were missing a bit of the creamy-ness that the lard gives to it.  Either way, he better get used to a lard-free life because thats just gross and bad for you.  I think if I make this recipe again I will make the salt 1 full teaspoon as I felt it was lacking a bit of seasoning.

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I made 2 for each of us so we each had lunch for the next day.  Jake took his to work and heated it in the microwave which is safe to do, just make sure that you take the lid off of course since its metal!

I have to say that I am a little obsessed with these now and I am already brainstorming what other jar dinners I can make.

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Raw Pasta

I am not usually one for pasta but for some reason the other day I was craving it.  I used to love pasta, until a few years ago when one of my roommates and I were trying to save money to get a new apartment and literally ate pasta for almost a month.  Since then I kind of equate it to being poor. lol.  Not that I was poor but being a freelance artist makes it hard to get a new place in New York City, no one believes in you so we had to have a lot of money in the bank to prove that we could pay for the apartment without consistent paychecks coming in.

Since I wanted pasta but didn’t want the carbs I decided to try to make a raw zucchini pasta.  I ordered this spiralizer on amazon and two days later I was making my own noodles!

484889_10200414608303133_987730281_nI made my raw marinara in my ninja which was super simple. Here are my ingredients

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 7 sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 of a shallot
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • fresh basil to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

rawpasta2-rtNow obviously this is a raw dish so you eat it cold.  I know some people won’t totally be into it but if you still want to try, warm up the plates a little first and it will make the whole dish not feel so cold.

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One thing to note is while yes, you certainly can make this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge you don’t want to combine the two until you are about the serve it.  The salt in the sauce will make the zucchini expel its water and you will be left with a watery mess which won’t be so pretty, or good for that matter.

And the best part about this dish,  look how few calories it is!! This is for way more pasta than is shown in the photos keep in mind, so you can totally splurge and not feel guilty at all!

531692_10200414816148329_1073062467_nI do have to say I am addicted to my new spiralizer, Jake and I just cut up sweet potatoes to make baked curly sweet potato fries, and I also bought huge carrots to try also! Can’t wait!

 

 

 

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Maple Walnut Shake

In my quest to make different flavored protein shakes I stumbled upon maple flavored agave and figured I would try it out.  I had also been experimenting since my Soak Your Nuts post on how I can dehydrate my nuts and things without a dehydrator.  I was correct about my oven it roasted the almonds I put in there even on the warm setting.  But then it came to me.  I have a gas stove and the oven is always a little warm because the pilot light is always on.  So I soaked some raw walnuts laid them out on a baking sheet and went to work, when I came home they were almost dry and a few more hours later they were perfect!

So now I had a bunch of walnuts to use, so I decided to make a maple walnut shake which turned out really good.  I suppose you could use regular maple syrup if you wish but I never really have any on hand and I like using agave syrup anyway.  So here is what you need

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I of course made this in my single serve cup with my Ninja Pulse Blender.I have found when using this blender I usually start with half the liquid then put the powder and all the other ingredients in, then top it off with the other half of the liquid works best.  When I would just start with the protein powder a bunch of it would get stuck to the top and then I would be left with little lumps.  You can of course adjust these amounts of these ingredients to your taste or to what you have in your house but this is just how I liked it.

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So let me know what you think of this one!  And don’t forget to soak the walnuts if you are using them raw!

ps, I had a hard time getting these photos right as you can tell, so many bland colors lol, but it gets the point across so forgive me, there is a definite learning curve going from being a film photographer to a hairstylist and then switching to a fancy digital slr lol.

 

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Healthy Vegan Shamrock Shake

Well its shamrock shake time at McDonalds.  I never eat at McDonalds, but I can’t help but to love the shamrock shake.  I usually get one a year just to get a taste of it but this year I decided to try to make my own.

Sure there are a million recipes online and I suppose I could have just followed one of those, but a lot of them had ingredients that I just wasn’t into.  I don’t want to drink an avocado, and I cannot stand bananas, and pistachio pudding? was in one of them.  Maybe there is pistachio in the original but all I taste is a sweet mint, so I went with that.

I drink a Vega One shake for breakfast every morning and usually I just mix peanut butter with it, but after about a year it can get a little boring so now I am trying to switch it up.

All you need for my version of the shamrock shake is:

ingredients

I used my Ninja Pulse Blender for this and it made it perfect.  You can of course adjust these measurements to taste this was just how I liked it.  The Vega One and spinach will turn your shake green by itself, not neon green like at McDonalds, but do we really need that? No way

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fresh mint garnish look limp? use spinach instead!

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Gym buddies and a Dinner Date

Today my good friend Bianca Alexis came by after she was done work and we had a work out day and I made dinner for us.  I am sure by now you are noticing a trend that I like to feed people, I love to cook and it is way more fun cooking for more than one person!

Bianca loves her cardio so I wanted to get lots of strength in so we concentrated on arms and back.  The gym was packed so we didn’t get to do everything in my plan but we got most of it done, plus a half hour of cardio and burned well over 700 calories.

As I have said before Bianca and I were both goth club kids so we share a lot of the same clothing choices, we both bought the same underarmour capris in our signature colors and have planned for months and months to work out together in them and take pictures.  Fast forward to today and we finally got to do it, although by now my pants fall down when I do strenuous cardio and when I bend over which makes me sad… they are my favorites!

workoutworkout2We both have good calves in our shots lol.  And this was AFTER our workout so don’t go all judge-y that our hair is out of place because it should be! We worked our butts off!

After the gym we came back to my place and that is where the magic happened.  Not that.. food!  Bianca is an omni, but she is open minded so I made an all vegan meal.  The highlight was the sriracha marinated sweet potato “fries” which were AMAZING!!!

IMG_0216I didn’t follow a recipe of course, but it was super easy!  Just chop up a few sweet potatoes into fry shapes, then throw them in a ziplock bag with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, TONS of chopped garlic, and even more sriracha and shake it up! I let them sit in the fridge while we were at the gym, I don’t know if it made a difference or not.  Then I laid them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment (easy clean-up!) and baked until they were done.  Don’t ask how long because I don’t know haha, I just cooked them till they were soft and had some burnt spots, I mean brown spots.  To dip them in (and because you can never have enough sriracha!) I mixed sriracha with some roasted garlic veganaise.

I also went for my other staples, sautéed kale with garlic and lemon and mixed vegetables (red, green and yellow pepper, zucchini, red onion, and cherry tomatoes grilled on my George Forman grill.  And of course on the side I had to make a fresh juice so I ran some watermelon and mint through my juicer!

IMG_0223rtNo meal would be complete without desert so Bianca stopped at Dean and Deluca and got us each a cute tiny chocolate.  It literally tasted like christmas… dark chocolate with caramel, cinnamon, and cloves, yum!

IMG_0242rtPs. Notice my photos getting better?  I built this little light box today out of cardboard, poster board, tissue paper, and tape lol…

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But who cares what it is made of, it really made a difference!  The other difference… I didn’t take the photos, Bianca did… she is more handy with the digital camera than I am not to mention I am a little out of practice (meaning a lot, its been years since I have picked up a SLR)

Today was an awesome day, bummer it is pouring now, and I have to clean up my cooking mess, the worst part of cooking.

So thanks to Bianca for coming out to Brooklyn to visit me, and taking the photos, and helping me with photoshop, and my lightbox and the chocolate!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Soak Your Nuts

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Since I have gotten my juicer I have started making my own nut milks.  Of course you don’t need a fancy juicer to make your own nut milks but you at least need a fancy blender.  I drink a Vega One shake pretty much every morning and I always mix it with almond milk.  Packaged almond milk, while it is convenient contains added ingredients that you just don’t need such as thickener and stabilizers.  Not to mention it is pasteurized so all the beneficial enzymes are gone.  By making my own milks I can ensure that my milk is still raw which is awesome.  But this post isn’t about making your own nut milks, or why the ingredients in store bought milks aren’t good for you thats for another day.   This post is about

soaking your nuts…

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I’m sure by now everyone knows that raw nuts are the best for you, they contain live enzymes that are great for your body and are a great source of minerals, protein, and healthy fats.  But what isn’t so great for us is something that nature set up for these nuts survival.  Raw nuts contain enzyme inhibitors, phytates (phytic acid), polyphenols (tannins), and goitrogens.

So why don’t we want to eat these?  Phylates in nuts (as well as grains!) can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc in the intestinal tract and make it impossible for them to be absorbed which can lead to mineral deficiencies as well as bone loss and can also wreak havoc on our digestive system.  Enzyme inhibitors keep the enzymes in the nuts basically inactive until germination (which we are mimicking by soaking).  Tannins also inhibit digestion by binding to the proteins and interfere with the absorption.  Goitrogens interfere with iron intake and can suppress the function of the thyroid gland and can result in an enlarged thyroid.  Sure all these facts make raw nuts sound scary but we can get rid of all these issues just by soaking them.

Soaking nuts also increases the amounts of vitamins, especially the B vitamins that are so important especially to vegetarians.  It makes the digestion easier, prevents mineral deficiencies and helps neutralize toxins in the colon.  Even better soaking nuts like walnuts can take away some of the bitterness and I think it makes them taste sweeter.

But you are probably wondering, do you just eat them wet?  Sure, you can… but other people like to dry them in a dehydrator or in the oven at the below 150 degrees.  I have to admit I don’t really snack on nuts much so I don’t dry them I just use them soaked making either nut butter or nut milks.  I also don’t want to own another appliance, the space in my kitchen is so limited and all these appliances are getting crazy and I don’t trust my oven to stay low enough, but in the summer months you can leave them in the sun with a cloth over them to dry, though it will take longer.

I typically soak my nuts overnight, its just easier for me to put them in the jars before i go to bed and then when I get home from work I take them out.  But here is a great chart that tells you how long you should soak nuts, grains, seeds, and beans! So give it a shot, give your body a chance to absorb all those great nutrients and see how much better you feel!

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soaked almonds on the left, un-soaked on the right..

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This was supposed to get easier?

So maybe you have noticed that recently my blog posts have been kind of different.  I don’t want you to think that I am losing focus because I am not.  Its just that well, things are harder.  In the beginning of this blog I was in the early stages of my weight-loss.  That was easy, pounds were flying off left and right, my workouts results were improving and showing so much faster… and now here I am a year in.  I wouldn’t say that I am struggling because I am not, things are just different.  That first 30 pounds were easy (even though I wouldn’t have said that then!) I didn’t have to work so hard to see results and now i do.

It might seem like I am slacking now.  When I first started this whole thing I was an avid user of myfitnesspal.  While the app is awesome and helpful it really made me crazy.  I would spend so much time entering everything it drove me nuts and at the end of the day as long as I eat healthy my calorie consumption wasn’t an issue.  I never struggled keeping a balance or keeping myself at a calorie deficit, after all I eat a plant based diet and keep my plates colorful so it is naturally pretty easy.
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Also now my focus is a little different.  In the beginning I just wanted to lose weight and be a smaller dress size, now I am focusing more on my strength and toning.  Before I did tons of cardio so the pounds were flying off, now with the strength training sometimes the scale goes the wrong way, but I am still seeing differences in my body which is good but they are smaller.  I used to want to just wear a single digit dress size but now I want a good butt, strong legs, and strong arms.  I guess everyone wants a good butt, but you know what I mean hehe.

So what does this all mean, my “wow look how much weight I lost” posts are less, and now I am opening myself up to the different sides of this journey.  I am having fun with the his plate/her plate posts and you will probably see more of that especially now since it is still winter.  Plus food is an important part of this whole thing anyway.  If you don’t eat right you won’t be successful, your food plays an important roll in your workouts and your body.
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This spring and summer I have my races planned out and am planning on doing more outdoor things which will be more exciting and focus more on fitness and “my fit decision”.  But lets face it, its cold now, there was a little snow, a lot of wind and its tough to get out there. (stop thinking those are excuses!)  I always say that I hate summer because its too hot and I like winter better.  But I guess now that I changed my life around I also changed that.  I am bored and I can’t wait until spring so I can start doing fun things again and start having more adventures.

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