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Archive for the ‘oatmeal’ Category

Hooray!  I’m so so glad you guys like the new look.  I could never have done it without Julie’s services, so if you’re looking for a blog makeover, she’s your gal.  Seriously.  She took a sketch of a header I drew and made it into the reality that you now see.  It’s amazing.  And she was ever-so-patient with my (nonexistent) technology skills.  Not that it’s over…there are still some kinks to be worked out, but for the most part things are running smoothly. 

Feel free to click around and let me know what you think.  Any feedback is greatly appreciated so I can make my site as user friendly (and pretty) as possible.  Aside from the font, which people have mentioned can be difficult to read, let me hear your thoughts!

Moving on…

Night shift steam rolled on by these past two days. 

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I actually really lucked out with my patient load…not only were they the sweetest group of people, but they were stable and compliant and slept through the night.  In the words of Michael Scott: win win win.

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Now that I’m riding my bike to work, it allows for a more restful day too.  I don’t feel rushed and/or anxious about when I’m going to squeeze in exercise (while still letting myself sleep in some) and my commute time is always the same.  For those unfamiliar with LA traffic, having a constant like that is invaluable. 

Biking to work means I can leave the apartment at 5:45 pm, arrive at the hospital at 6:15 pm, clean up, change into scrubs, relax, and I’m ready to get my nurse on when 7 pm rolls around.  Much better than guessing how the day’s 405/Wilshire drama is going to go down (my commute by car can take anywhere between 15 and 60 minutes, no joke).  That construction is getting to be too much stress! 

Next month they are closing the entire freeway down (July 15-18th) and the hospital is already looking to recruit staff to spend the night.  I predict a riot.  Or maybe a plot for J.J. Abrams’ next movie…

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The only thing you need to know about this bowl of oats is that it was made with almost as much peanut butter and raisins as oats

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The combo of PB&R (not to be confused with the beer PBR) makes breakfast (or early dinner in my case) taste like cookie dough. Anyone else think that raisins are very underrated in the oatmeal world?  Or maybe you never consider the rankings of breakfast ingredients like I do…  Eh.  Your loss. 

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Work eats were packed, as per usual…

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Sidekicks of mixed nuts, Three Sisters honey graham cereal (obsessed!!!), apples, and cherries.

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Salad with veggies and grains galore, topped with chopped seitan

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This salad was an everything in the fridge kind of situation.  In other words, a delicious, one-of-a-kind beast.  It fueled me all through the night.  Also, I had fun coworkers to work with, which always makes shifts fun and fast.

How is your work commute?  Do you drive?  Bus?  Subway?  Is it the same every day or does traffic come into play?

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M is for microwave, what is your favorite microwave meal/snack?

Sweet potatoes are one thing that I’ve always preferred to microwave over cooking in the oven.  It’s faster and yields a very similar (if not better) steamed tater.  [The exception to this is if you are making fries out of them]

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There’s also the matter of oats.  Although I prefer the stove top version (and always make them on the stove when I’m home), I do microwave oats when I bring them for work.

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It’s so simple, it’s hard to knock it. 

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N is for nutrients, do you likes carbs, fats, or proteins best?

This makes me think of Mean Girls.  “Is butter a carb?”  Ha.

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I live on carbs.  My diet is probably 50% bread, 35% fruit, 25% veggies, and 50% hummus.  What?  That doesn’t add up to 100%?  News to me.  So as far as I’m concerned, carbs are the best of the best. 

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Protein schmotein.  Carbohydrates for President!

I don’t want you to get the wrong idea though…I’m talking about carbs in the purest form.  Sprouted whole wheat bread and whole grains (like quinoa, millet, wheat berries, brown rice, etc.) are where it’s at!

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Best in the West baby!

O is for oil, what kind do you like to use?

I prefer Extra Virgin Olive Oil for almost all uses, but Coconut Oil is my favorite for baking.

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I wanted to highjack this truck on our drive to Madrid so badly.  Lifetime supply of olive oil?  Yes please!

P is for protein, how do you get yours?

Uhhh…through food? 

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Beans, grains, nuts, seeds, ‘fu, nutritional yeast, Bragg’s liquid aminos, etc.  One of these days I’m going to actually track the amount of protein I eat in a day just to prove vegans can easily obtain adequate amounts of this macronutrient without giving it any extra special attention.  I bet I eat a day’s worth from hummus alone. 

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Q is for Quaker, how do you like your oats?

I think this is an unfair question.  I eat oatmeal on a nearly daily basis, and I pretty much enjoy it a new way each day.  Most of the time I follow the following guidelines for add-ins:

  • nutbutter/nuts (peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter, cashew butter, coconut butter, etc.)
  • dried/fresh fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, blueberries, apples, bananas, strawberries, pears, etc.)
  • sweetener/spice (stevia, cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa, etc.)
  • extras (shredded coconut, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin puree, cacao nibs)

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R is for roasting, what is your favorite thing to roast?

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Squash.  Especially butternut squash.

S is for sandwich, what’s your favorite kind?

I made a BBQ tofu sammie the other day which will be making an appearance soon…

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T is for travel, how do you handle eating while traveling?

I try and eat as much traditional cuisine as possible (provided it’s not meat or dairy laden). 

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Go big or go home. 

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Kebabs.

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Chocolate con churros.

Of course, we all saw that I had some petite problems with my recent trip to Paris.

U is for unique, what is one of your weirdest food combos?

Hmmm…what do I combine that others think is weird? 

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Well, I can’t think of anything off hand, but I do know that very few others love Kombucha the way I do.

V is for vitamins, what kind do you take?

I don’t take vitamins regularly but I do take herbal supplements (these ones).

W is for wasabi, yay or nay?

NAY.  Very very nay.  My grandpa dared me to eat a marble sized ball of wasabi when I was little and I never quite recovered.  Pickled ginger, on the other hand, I can’t get enough of. 

X is for XRAY.  If we x-rayed your belly right now, what food would we see?

Let’s ignore the medical problems with this question and just pretend X-rays worked that way…you’d see hummus. 

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Lots of hummus. 

Y is for youth, what food reminds you of your childhood?

Where, oh where to begin!  My mom’s quick curry is a classic.  I could list so many, but that dish holds the top spot. 

Z is for zucchini, how do you prepare it?

Kyle detests all things pickle related, which includes zucchini (as well as cucumber, dill, vinegar things, and basically anything resembling a pickle in appearance or flavor). So I rarely prepare zucchini because I have to eat it solo. 

That said, I like it roasted as well as raw (spiralized into noodles).  Hmmm…that reminds me…I should dust off my spiralizer and make some raw pasta for dinner!  

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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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I’m sorry (but I’m not sorry) that I’ve been MIA this week.  Playing catch-up after being on vacay is a never-ending process.  When I haven’t been working or sleeping, I’ve been spending every single extra second with Kyle.  Absence does make the heart grow fonder, FYI.

I also stopped taking photos of my food for a while because my camera couldn’t keep up with my appetite.  I’ve been doing quite a number on the fridge/pantry (it’s as if I arrived home from Europe and immediately felt the need to ravage our kitchen and make up for the 20 days I was gone).  Seriously.  If you want a visual, just picture the Tasmanian devil whirling through the apartment.  I haven’t been uncomfortably out of control, but I do want to get back to intuitive eating.  Soon. 

There’s also that matter of triathlon training…but I’ll get to that later. 

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In the meantime, I found a way to make oats taste like Raisin Bran without using the actual cereal at all.  Raisin Bran is one of my favorite cereals (a fact that means almost nothing since that category has close to 50 occupants).  But let’s pretend that I don’t put cereal before my husband in terms of devotion…and say that being one of my favorites is a highly elite and selective honor.

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Raisin & Bran Oatmeal

  • 3/4 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 4 drops NuNatural’s liquid stevia (or 1 tbsp sugar)

I cooked the oats in the water first, then added the bran and soymilk at the very end. 

True to the OG cereal, I doused the raisins in the sugar separate from the oats.  And just like the actual Kellogg mantra of “two scoops,” I added in just enough raisins to make the ratio fairly raisin heavy.  🙂

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And while we’re on the subject of themed oatmeal flavors…

This is one I packed for work the other day.  It looks like an ordinary tupperware of oats, but just wait. 

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I swear I have more recipe ideas when I’m running than any other time of the day!  It’s like the cardio clears my head and I am flooded with brain activity.  My breakthrough moments aren’t always food related, but they often are.  I can’t tell you how many times I get back from a run and immediately grab a pad of paper to jot down my notes.  Anyone else have this same method of madness?

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(Vegan) Strawberry Cheesecake Oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp vegan cream cheese (I’m partial to Follow Your Heart’s dairy alternative)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or more to taste)
  • 3-4 drops of NuNatural’s liquid stevia (or whatever sugar you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries

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For transportation purposes, I left things unmixed until I got to work. 

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Once breakfast time arrived though, I stirred it all up.  After heating up in the microwave, the strawberries and cream cheese got soft and combined perfectly to make beautiful pink oats with a thick consistency and cheesecake-like flavor.  Mmmm…

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Today, I’m switching it up.

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Apple pie oatmeal with bananas and peanut butter on top.

What kind of dessert have you made your oatmeal into?

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There are one million reasons my mom deserves a party.  The most obvious one is that today is her birthday, but the most important one is that she deserves it. 

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She had the grueling task of raising three kids who didn’t say no to a single activity.  I love you mom.  I will never be able to thank you enough for the years that you devoted to raising us.  Beyond being my girl scout leader, class volunteer, and team mom; the hours you clocked as my personal chauffer, paper editor, lunch packer, and cheerleader are what impacted me the most.  I don’t know where I’d be without your love, support, and guidance. 

[This is easier said in hindsight, because that night you made me rewrite an entire paper because it didn’t make any sense was not one of my favorite moments]

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! 

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I celebrated in my own way.  By sleeping in ‘til noon and making apple pie for breakfast. 

Please note: I am not as lazy as that last statement makes it seem – I worked night shift last night and my body is still completely out of whack from the time change.  Apparently I don’t bounce back from travel as well now that I’m a bit older (I realize attempting to stay up all night in the hospital is probably the most ridiculous thing to do in my situation, too, but that’s life my job). 

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So about these apple pie oats.  I’ve made them the past 3 days now because I’m definitely addicted (and being able to make my own oats is still a novelty after such a rough time finding dairy free breakfast options in Europe). 

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The ingredients don’t necessarily have to be illegally smuggled substances, but it makes it more rebellious and therefore more enjoyable. 

Apple from Madrid, muesli from Morocco (and peanut flour from TJs). 

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup muesli (with dried fruit & pieces of dates)
  • 1/4 cup peanut flour
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp nondairy milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 granny smith apple, chopped
  • stevia (to taste)

Directions:

Add everything except the apples and mix well, then add in apple slices and re-stir until apples are coated in peanutty oaty goodness.

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Microwave for 2 minutes.

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You can add more liquids as needed (if the apples are fully submerged, they cook more).

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Et voila!  Feliz apple pie oats!

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It’s good hot and/or cold – both are equally delish.  My most recent creation was topped with greek yogurt, so you can give that a shot too if you’re down. 

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You will 100% love this.  Unless you’re not a fan of apple pie or rainbows or winning.  In which case, perhaps you should reevaluate things. 

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My flight(s) home were a disaster, but I’m here now! 🙂  I’ve actually been back for a couple of days, but I’m still trying to readjust to the time change.
I was sad to leave vacation mode, but if I’m being perfectly honest, I was very ready to return home.

I plan on doing more detailed posts (most likely in flashback fashion) about my trip and being vegan while traveling through Spain and France, but for now, I’m going to soak up everything I missed while I was away.

Shockingly (or not shockingly, depending on who you ask), what I missed most of all wasn’t even food related.  I’ll spare you all the mushy sentiments, but I missed my beau immensely.

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It’s weird being away from him for such a long time.  I’m very much my own person (cue the Destiny’s Child song), but it’s hard to deny how much he’s a part of me.  Anyway.  I’ll cut it off there so nobody starts gagging (ahem, Laura).

So it was absolutely heaven to be greeted in the terminal by my adoring husband.  With a Whole Foods in his hand.  [seriously]

I actually wasn’t hungry, but then I saw the Kombucha and…my Pavlovian response was embarrassing to say the least.

So here’s my top five things I’m happy to be reunited with:

1.  Kyle

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[awwww]

2.  New running shoes

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[the return to exercise (!!)…tri-training here I come]

3.  Fermented tea

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[and the consequential drain on my wallet]

4.  Home-made oats

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[with apple slices, raisins, peanut butter, cinnamon and vanilla extract]

5.  My kitchen

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[oh cooking, how I missed you!]

I made us both dinner, which we ate together.  This isn’t necessarily rare, but doesn’t happen that often due to our different schedules and slightly different diets.  That said, Kyle is eating very little meat these days and actually requested tofu for dinner.  No problem.

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Asian stir fry with tofu.

Prep time: negligible (full disclosure, I had quinoa already going in the rice cooker).  Cooking time: 15 minutes

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I literally threw the frozen veggies in the pan with water, Bragg’s liquid aminos, sesame oil, and covered it to thaw.

Then I drained and pressed the tofu (not very much though because the excess liquid just cooks off in the stir fry anyway).

Once the veggies were cooking I tossed the tofu in.  Then I added more Bragg’s, a dash of soy sauce, a sh!t ton of ginger powder, and a (really) big spoonful of Tropical Traditions coconut peanut butter.

Simmer.  Done.

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Served over quinoa.  Easy and delish.

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Welcome home me.  🙂

Question: When you go on vacation, how long ’til you get homesick?  Or even slightly antsy for your own bed, shower, friends, family, food, whatever?

I think it varies based on where you are.  In Europe, I think two weeks is when I start getting a bit worn out.  Of course it totally depends how much you are doing.  Our travels were PACKED with very little down time to stop and breathe.  Having relaxing locations without tons of sights to see mixed in with museum & monument heavy cities is ideal.  And if we are talking about Hawaii, forget it.  I could live in a beach paradise for eternity.

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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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