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Archive for the ‘nutbutter’ Category

I’m not an overly dramatic person (must be the residual effects of my tomboy youth…) but I have to say, the lack of candied ginger in ALL the local Whole Foods stores has me freaking out.  I am officially out.  Like Kyle’s chapstick stash, I had back-ups upon back-ups, but they are all depleted now.  Yikes.  Hoarding fail.

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It gets worse!  The above photo is the last of my carob chip stash too.  Folks, this is a state of national emergency. 

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My pre-packed work eats will just have to do without my beloved ginge. 

More leftover Surprisingly Vegan waffles with frozen bloobs (they thaw by the time I eat/heat it the next day). 

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Plus, some Artisana raw cacao bliss nut butter.  For the record, this flavor needs mega kneading before it’s ready to squeeze, but it’s worth the hand exercise.  Mmmmm…

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Cherries, apple, dried fruit, yadda yadda. 

Not the best snacks for eating on the go, but the weekends are generally slower paced on the weekends so I pack fewer bars and more fresh fare.

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I did have one of my favorite desserts though…easy enough to eat whenever and/or wherever.  Nana’s Oatmeal Raisin cookies are a gift to vegans. 

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My salad is admittedly hideous, so for the record, please ignore it’s appearance.  It has huge amounts of avocado and leftover tofu stir-fry on mixed greens

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Happy weekend all!  Who else is working?  Who is lounging in the sun for me?

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One of the perks of being a food blogger is you get to try new things that you may not ordinarily try.  For free. 

While I was in Europe, I received a Tasting Box by Foodzie

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It had all kinds of goodies including:

Dried Pineapple from Peeled Snacks – Brooklyn, NY
Traditional Alfajores from Sabores del Sur – San Francisco, CA
Lemon Poppyseed & Almond Biscotti from Biscotti Bari – Petaluma, CA
Pure Southern Iced Tea from Pluff Iced Tea – Bluffton, SC
Assorted Fresh Herb Sea Salts from Woody’s Gourmet – Campbell, CA
Classic Seaweed Snack from Sea Snax – Los Angeles, CA

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The peeled snacks were the first to go.  For 12 hour shifts I’m always looking for easy on-the-go eats that are healthy and practical (meaning portable and not messy).  These caught my eye because they were both organic and pure.

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See that ingredient list?  Just one thing, organic pineapple.

You see, when it comes to dried fruit, there’s often some additives involved (sulphur dioxide) and occasionally extra sugar sneaks in, too.  Dried pineapple rings used to be my favorite snack, but the out of control sugar content actually got to be too much for me.  In my opinion, fruit doesn’t need help in the sweetness department, it’s naturally perfect on it’s own.  And as far as preserving the fruit’s color (which is why other companies use sulpher dioxide), I actually prefer eating food that don’t look like it has been plucked from the Land of Oz.  No offense to the Lollipop Guild.

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I was nervous the pineapple chunks were going to be a bit tougher, given the natural state of the fruit, but I’m happy to report they were soft and flavorful.  I could easily see myself snacking on them all day (and night) long without breaking my jaw from chewing. 

Peeled snacks also offers mango, apricot, apple, banana, fig (!!!), and cherry flavors, which I’m pretty excited to try as well.

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As for the rest of my work food…I was on night shift, so it was more snack heavy than my day shift eats are.  I had roasted almonds, candied ginger, Hersey’s special extra dark chocolate, dried apricots, two apples, and a big salad.

My salad was bit of a beast actually.  It had spring greens, roasted butternut squash, bell peppers, edamame, carrots, and those crazy addictive sesame sticks.  I’m 100% certain I could put those sesame sticks in every meal and I’d love it.  Why is salt so good?

After I got home from my 12 hours, I failed at falling asleep right away, so instead I made oats.

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I kept adding more and more ingredients to the oats…

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Unmeasured amounts of:

  • almonds
  • shredded coconut
  • carob chips
  • diced apple
  • mashed banana
  • raisins
  • cinnamon
  • Sunbutter

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Just throw it in the bag…uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh.  [Son I’m from Brooklyn, what it look like!?]

Anyone else thinks of Fabolous when adding multiple ingredients to a pot?  No?  Just me?

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FYI, I don’t cut corners when it comes to nutbutters. 

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Normally I’m not an advocate of food induced comas, but after all-nighters, you gotta do what you gotta do.  And this girl needed to zonk out. 

This bowl (followed by a second one) helped me get into the very necessary sleep state. 

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Because you can’t do a second night shift when you’ve only slept two hours.  Oh wait.  Yes you can.  [It sucks, but it’s doable]

Sadly, I woke back up before noon and had no success napping the rest of the day.  And then back to night shift I went…

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I’m not even sure what meal I’d call this since timing is irrelevant in zombie-night-shift-land.  This combo is a staple for me – carrots, seitan, quinoa, and Bragg’s liquid aminos.  I rarely take pics of it anymore because it’s such a basic meal, but I love it immensely. 

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I also love these caramel dark chocolate almond clusters immensely.  And since they cost FAR too much for the rate I’m downing them (is a box not a single serving?), I’m going to have to learn to make them myself.

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I don’t think it’s overly complicated.  I don’t know if you can mess up chocolate and nuts.  And even if you do, the “mess up” will probably be delicious too. 

Super random question: When you buy a new product, what do you think is the most important thing that determines if you purchase it or not?  Does the cute package catch your eye?  Do you put the nutritional info first?  Are you more likely to buy from recognizable brands (that you’ve gotten other items from) before other lesser known ones?

I used to think that the cuter the package, the more likely I was to buy something.  But nowadays it’s an item’s price and ingredients that dictate what goes in my cart.

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The art of packing food is my specialty.  Much like making my daily work eats (tutorials here), packing food for traveling is a bit of a craft.  Some may find it easier to buy meals at the airport rather than go through the hassle of taking extra baggage through security.  Personally, I’m not one of those people.  I don’t care if it adds 25 pounds of dead weight that I have to schlep by plane, train, and automobile, for me it’s SO worth the energy.  The cost to benefit analysis probably differs depending on your diet and distance, but knowing I won’t have to pay exorbitant prices for crappy food (with limited vegan options) is worth it.  Peace of mind for a peaceful stomach. 

Tips:

  • BYOB (tea bags and empty water bottles) – The way I get around the liquid law is filling up my klean kanteen at the fountain (for free) once I’ve made it through airport security.  Also most places will give you free hot water (some charge 25-50 cents).
  • Skip the salt – Flying causes bloating and there’s no reason to add to that.  I don’t know about everyone else, but I already feel gross within a second of boarding a flight.  So I generally try and ditch the pretzels and salted nuts and drink plenty of fluids.  And get an aisle seat 😉
  • Pack way more than you think you’ll need – This is the same as how I pack for work.  If I have too much stuff, fine, it’s not like I have to eat it all in transit.  Having extra bars and snacks is hardly a disaster.  Being hungry and unprepared, on the other hand, is totally miserable and leads to bad choices due to less than stellar options. 
  • Produce produce produce – Is there anything more portable than fruit?  No.  Apples, bananas, etc. are all naturally ready to bring on the go. 
  • Nibble mindfully – Because of time changes, my body never really knows what’s going on and I end up doing more snacking than eating full meals.  Rather than snack the whole trip long, I make sure I am truly hungry and not just bored.  [In other words, bring lots of magazines, books, movies, crosswords, etc. to keep your mind preoccupied so you aren’t using your mouth instead]

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Veggies, hummus, bread, nuts, dried fruit, cereal, apples, orange, oat bakes, dark chocolate squares.

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Snack central.  Seriously, I have no editing skills.  Just wait ‘til you see everything hidden in that bag:

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Probars, Corazona’s, Larabars, Clif bars, Luna bar, KIND bar, Artisana cashew squeeze pack, Attune bar, Love Grown granola, Udi’s granola, dried fruit

And my latest raw obsession too…

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kaia foods makes really yummy raw foods including sweet things like granolas, as well as savory things like these sprouted pumpkin seeds

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The good news is that I will have plenty of bars leftover to throw in my bag.  So when I’m struggling in Paris, I will have backup options and then some. 

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Hummus and dip-ables (carrots, celery, bread).

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Produce in zoom.  The salad is pretty much just romaine, carrots, corn, and avocado…with Trader Joe’s faux chicken on top. 

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I’ve had these before and they are pretty good.  They remind me of the same “chik’n” that The Veggie Grill makes. 

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It’s soy based with vital wheat gluten too.  It comes with some seasoning on it, which lends itself to a Mexican flavored meal.  Hence the Chipotle-salad-esque meal.  

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I only kept the soy meat separate for commute purposes…it will be added on top once it’s time to dig into the greens. 

Now about those “oat bakes”…

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I decided microwaved “bakes” were a smart portable option instead of oatmeal.  So I turned to Ashley, the queen of breakfast bakes.

The first one I made was a spin on her ba-nilla bake

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I have to say, almond extract is quite an interesting ingredient!  I’m going to have to get some of my own soon (my mom shocked me by having it in her cupboard, but I should have known she’d have it).

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Where my recipe differs from hers is my grain and milk choices.  I opted for oats instead of buckwheat.  I also skipped the almonds and replaced the almond milk with soy.  Since there was almond extract in the bake already, I decided on soy milk.  I also threw in golden raisins and dried cherries because I think tart dried fruit goes so well with vanilla.  Otherwise, it was pretty much the same recipe.

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Mixity mix. 

Ba-nilla Oat Breakfast Bake [serves 1]

*adapted from this recipe

  • 1/4 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1T chia seeds or 1 flax egg [1T ground flax meal + 2.5T warm water, whisked] or 1 egg white
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 1T maple syrup
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1.5 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t almond extract
  • 1/4 t baking powder

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Here it is after just 2 minutes in the microwave.

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This photo steamed up the camera lens, but you can still see how it’s like a baked good as opposed to a bowl of oats. 

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The ease of this is so mind blowing.  Now, I haven’t tasted it yet, but I did lick the spoon, so I am pretty sure it’s going to rock. 

The second “oat bake” I made was my own recipe using up the second half of the banana and whatever I could find in my parents’ kitchen.

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Frozen blackberries?  Sure, why not! 

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Nuts & Berries Breakfast Oat Bake [serves 1]

  • 1/4 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup instant oats
  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 1T chia seeds or 1 flax egg [1T ground flax meal + 2.5T warm water, whisked] or 1 egg white
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 T crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1.5 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t baking powder

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Once they had cooled I packed them up in tinfoil. 

I’m pretty sure I’m covered in the food department.  Now, hopefully I won’t get to Spain and realize I am missing my toothbrush or something. 

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Adios amigos! 

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Very vanilla buttah

I’ve been holding out on you.  I have made two things this past week that were (are) VERY worth sharing. 

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If you like vanilla, this recipe is for you.  It is very very vanilla-y. 

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If you can even call this a recipe, here it is:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups soaked raw cashew nuts (the dry nuts were ~1.3 cups prior to being soaked)
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste (I used this kind, but vanilla extract would work too)
  • 3-4 drops NuNatural’s vanilla stevia
  • 2 tbsp water *

Directions

Soak nuts overnight (or longer), drain and blend in food processor.  Pulse and scrape down the sides as needed until nut butter starts to smooth.  Add in the vanilla and stevia and continue to pulse.  Be patient, it may take a while but will eventually yield a creamy nut buttah.  Slowly drizzle in water through the top pour spout as needed to give the butter the consistency you want. 

*For thicker butter, only use the amount in the recipe above.  For a thinner consistency, add in more as desired.  Alternately, you could use almond or soy milk for an extra rich flavor.  And if you’re a real vanilla fiend, you could use vanilla flavored almond/soy milk.

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Nutty photo montage coming ‘atcha!

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Pre-liquid above, post-liquid below.

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My first taste test occurred straight from the food processor.  But the second was a more legit meal. 

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It was so good I immediately toasted another piece of bread to cover in vanilla butter.

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Optional uses and/or add-ins are endless…cinnamon, cocoa, raisins, banana, orange/lemon zest, etc.

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YUM!

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In other words, I couldn’t have been more pleased with how it turned out. 

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🙂

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Often I have a family sized tub of hummus and [fill in the blank] for dinner and call it a night.

Sometimes I include veggies.

Rarely do I have the suggested portion size.

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Often the same meal plan can be created with nut butter.

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Sometimes I add frozen bananas to my morning oats.

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Rarely does my oatmeal have fewer than three ingredients (nut butter, fresh fruit, dried fruit, cinnamon, stevia, coconut, etc.).

Often I’ll crave nothing but fruit for an entire day.

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Sometimes I eat 4 apples in one sitting (but some days apples are trumped by mangos).

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Rarely do I go a day without eating at least one piece of fruit. 

Often I forget my coupons at home.

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Sometimes I remember and beat the system (look at how my 2 lbs. of loose carrots cost less than the packaged 2 lbs. of carrots). 

Rarely do I forget my grocery bags, thus saving myself an extra 5 cents per BYOB.

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Often I hoard things (like Tropical Traditions’ coconut flakes).

Sometimes I share these goodies with you (coming soon!).

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Rarely do they disappoint me (ok, never).

Often I wonder if my love of tropical fruits means I am meant to live on an island. 

Sometimes I play the lottery (when it’s realllllly high) to win that island lifestyle.

Rarely do I win (ok, never).

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Often I wonder how I’m not orange from my B-carotene themed meals.

Sometimes I wish the self tanning effect of said colored meals would be more apparent.

Rarely does my pale skin cooperate. 

Your turn!  Often, sometimes, rarely…aaaand go!

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First of all, this venti soy misto was FREE, because believe it or not, there are some perks (beyond heart palpitations) to my Gold Card membership and caffeine addiction. 

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I had to go to the hospital on Tuesday even though I wasn’t working.  Enduring an early wake up call and morning traffic without the promise of a paycheck demands a special treat – hence the Starbeezies.

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I had breakfast prepared for the waiting room.

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[Yes I got odd looks as I busted out a tupperware of oats in a waiting room]

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This genius creation was overnight oats with cinnamon, NuNaturals vanilla stevia and frozen strawberries.  But then I added vanilla soymilk and more (fresh) strawberries in the AM.

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Lots of vanilla and lots of strawberries.  Lots of yum.

By the time I got home my one-track-mind was so focused on hummus, my hand was on this tub before I’d even hung up my jacket or set down my purse.

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I found it at Whole Foods and it looked like the most thick, creamy, and dense chickpea dip ever.  EVER!  I still have no idea what company makes it.  What I do know is that it’s raw and contains chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and that’s pretty much it. 

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Can you see that creamy amazing consistency?!?  It was thicker than Jenny from the Block.  It was heavenly.  In all honesty, I could have eaten it with nothing but a spoon.  Instead, I dipped pitas, carrots, and apple slices in it. 

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I know people think I’m crazy for dipping apple slices in hummus (it wouldn’t be the first time people have told me I inappropriately pair hummus with other foods), but I swear it’s good.  Savory and sweet were meant to mingle peeps!

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Turlock whole wheat pitas are becoming available at more and more Whole Foods locations, so please do yourself a favor and find them.  They are the fluffiest pitas I’ve ever tasted.  Like beautiful carb clouds.  Now, my question is this: who in their right mind thinks this tub is going to be more than one serving?  For the record, it’s supposed to be 8 servings.  I finished it all though.  Obviously. 

Afternoon checklist:

  • Run – check!
  • Dessert – check!

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I tried a twist on my log seitan recipe, this time adding in chopped bell peppers

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I admit, it looks like a pair of turds, but dayam, it smelled freakin’ phenom!

I added some to Wednesday’s work lunch.

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Spinach, sprouts, steamed sweet potatoes, carrots, and peppered seitan

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Also pre-packed for Wed…

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Oats, candied ginger, and orange slices.

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When my parents visited a while ago they brought a ton of oranges from their tree…and while I’m not typically a big citrus person, these have captured my fancy. 

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I also had two apples and dried apples that Kyle brought me home last weekend. 

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They had the texture of stale apple rings, but the flavor of fresh apples.  They were so good.  A bit hard to chew, but still, very very tasty. 

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And then, of course, there was my oaty breakfast of champions.  Oats, cinnamon, NuNatural’s vanilla stevia and Tropical Traditions coconut peanut butter. 

Little bit of sweet and a little bit of savory.  Happy belly! 

Million dollar question: hummus vs nut butter?

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To be honest, I have never liked potato salad.  It looks really gross.  That’s probably due to the mayo, which I also never liked.  White creamy condiments give me the heebie jeebies.  Potato salad is kinda the quintessential picnic food though, right?  I can recall many outdoor get-togethers and summer BBQs that had potato salad as a side dish (usually a fairly untouched dish).  It seems so un-American to dislike it.  But I guess I feel similarly about many other “classic American” foods, too…burgers and fries?  I’ll pass.  Why does the US have such crappy food to define our national eating habits?  I wish hummus was a classic American dish.  Maybe I’m meant to live in the Mediterranean?  Anyway, I’m getting off topic here, reign it in Elise!

Back to potato salad.

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To cut to the chase, I don’t know what provoked my decision to replicate the OG dish with a vegan version since I don’t even like the real deal, but regardless, that’s where this post is headed.

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I like things that are colorful, so the purple fingerlings (also known as Peruvian fingerlings) were a nice twist, offering pretty shades of color to make it a bit more pleasing to the eye.

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This recipe is stupid simple (maybe that’s why potato salad is such a popular item?).

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I chopped the taters (so pretty!) and put them in a glass bowl and microwaved them until they were cooked.  I added some almond milk for the last minute so they wouldn’t get overly dried out.  If you aren’t impatient or lazy (like I am) them you could easily steam them, thus preserving the moisture of them.

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The ingredients to make vegan potato salad are below…

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Purple potato salad (this recipe is for one because Kyle detests all things with dill)

  • 7-10 fingerling potatoes, cooked and chopped
  • 2 T almond milk (you could use any non-dairy milk, but I find almond milk has a nice salty aspect to it that works well in this recipe)
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar (this makes a kind-of vegan buttermilk when combined with the almond milk)
  • 1 T vegan mayo
  • 1 tsp dijon mayo (spiciness to taste)
  • 1 T honey mustard
  • nutritional yeast to taste (I used < 1 T)
  • garlic salt to taste
  • shake of dill (can easily be omitted if you don’t like dill – I hardly used any because I’m not a big fan)

Once everything is mixed together, Annie get your gun(s) because those biceps are gonna be getting a workout.  I mashed and mashed and mashed some more, until I had a nice semi-lumpy consistency.

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Now this is a potato salad I can get on board with!

I had some for dinner and the rest got tupp-ed up so it was all ready for school lunches.

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Now that I shared the recipe I promised a while ago, I’ll carry on with this post.

Last I left off, I shared my not so pleasant night shift…after which I came home, showered, and immediately fell asleep.  I woke up around noon and walked out to the living room right as Kyle was walking in the door!

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Little Miss Hawaiian Tropic was just returning from la playa, and decided to bring me some farmer’s market goodies.

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Isn’t my husband a peach?  [And how sweet am I to pay him back by calling him names and making dishes I know he hates? – I believe that’s what they call #wifefail]

So yeah.  I knew whatever was on the menu for breakfast lunch was going to involve strawberries for sure.

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Enter Love Grown Foods.

 

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The Cocoa Goodness Oat Clusters & Love were so fantastic, this time I decided to try the Simply Oats flavor.

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Same pure, clean, whole food ingredients.

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Crispy!

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I’ll take a bowl of yummy please and hold the processed crap.

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That’s what I’m talking about.

The Simply Oats flavor reminds me of my quinoa granola recipe a bit because of the sunflower seeds.  They have a pretty prominent role in the otherwise simple ingredient list, which means they stand out to my taste buds.  Maybe too much?  I like sunflower seeds, but I prefer them in a more subtle role.  This flavor was ok at first bite, but then grew on me a bit…as opposed to the Cocoa Goodness flavor which I loved from the second it touched my lips.

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I still had 3 bowls, though, so interpret that how you will…

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I will now completely contradict what I just said, and show you my next meal, in which sunflower seeds were essentially the star of the show.  I’m literally laughing at myself right now because of how ridiculous my likes and dislikes seem to align in this post.

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Toasted Udi’s bagel with Sunbutter Natural sunflower seed spread and raspberry fruit spread.

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Delish!  Sunflower seeds may not be my favorite in seed form, but in butter form are outstanding.  I actually think it trumps almond and peanut butters. Now that’s a bold statement!  [I’ll probably be singing a different tune tomorrow given my recent pattern of contradictory statements]

So what can we conclude from this?  Making food generalizations seems to be pointless in my case.  Hopefully I’m not quite as bad as Kelly Bensimon (who swears she doesn’t eat any processed food…as she is shoveling gummy bears into her mouth), but I think it’s safe to say, my food preferences are as unpredictable as her sanity.  For the people who don’t watch The Real Housewives of NY, this reference may not make sense to you, but trust me, you aren’t really missing anything.  After all, this is the woman who declared her support for PETA while wearing a fur coat.

Do you ever get surprised by foods you thought you disliked?  Is there anything you hated growing up, that you now enjoy eating?

I hated nuts growing up, but nowadays I’m more of a fan.  I still have a few issues (I rarely touch walnuts, pecans, macadamias, and some others), but cashews and almonds are practically their own food group in my current diet.

Stay tuned for the Larabar winner announcement on Tuesday!! [And in the meantime, make sure to enter]

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