Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Blog!

Thanks for checking out my blog! I'm actually moving to Wordpress, so you can check out my new blog at:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

More Baking!

I'm pretty sure my co-workers think I'm out to sabotage their diets... because I've been baking up a storm! I decided to give my latest creation to a different department (my brother's department, specifically. I'm such a good sister!) So I made these babies last night

Chocolate Chunk Coconut Bars

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups oats (quick oats work best)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon canola or veg oil
1/2 - 2/3 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you like things)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon chocolate or coconut extract (optional)
1-3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
1/2 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips
1/4-1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda and powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine applesauce, oil, sugar, vanilla,and other extract (if using).

Add wet to dry and mix until combined. The mixture will be very thick, so add soymilk a little at a time until it holds together well.

Fold in coconut (reserving a small portion for the top) and chocolate chunks. Press into baking dish and sprinkle over remaining coconut.

Bake for 21-23 minutes

They were quite good! I took a picture, but the lighting was very weird, so it didn't do these little guys justice, so I used a photo posted on taken by moonkeymama. These are moist and chewy, like a very soft cookie. (One of the food tasters described it as more of a sweet bread.) They were pretty simple to make, and I'll definitely make this one again!

Dinner consisted of Soy Yogurt, Blueberries & Bear Naked Fit granola, as well as some "Breaded" Zucchini Fries. Kind of a random dinner combination, but I was listening to my cravings!

I really like the Bear Naked Fit Vanilla Almond Granola, but I haven't tried that many different kinds. I like it because it's low fat and doesn't have toooo much added sugar. Anyone else have a favorite granola? I'm open to trying new kinds!

Monday, June 28, 2010

When I get stressed or have a lot on my mind, I like to:
-Play piano
I wasn't feeling like playing the piano, and I knew I'd get my cleaning fix in after baking, so baking it was! First I made some basic peanut butter cookies, which weren't vegan, so I didn't actually eat any of them, but I had a request for them, so I figured I should check those off the list! Then I decided to make Vegan Peanut Butter Cups, from Oh She Glow, which required a trip to the grocery store, because I didn't have any graham crackers, but it was totally worth it!!! These turned out fabulously! Definitely give these babies a try, because I'm pretty sure you could convince your friends that being a vegan isn't difficult, when you've got these treats around!
After I did some baking, it was time to make dinner, and I was trying to decide what to throw together. I realized this month (thanks to that I've spent over $400 at the grocery store this month... $400 is a lot for one person, especially when I'm not even buying meat or dairy! As it turns out, I have expensive grocery tastes! :) I'd say it's worth it. But anyways, I wanted to use ingredients I already had, without taking a trip to the store, so here is what I came up with:

Mediterranean Pesto Couscous
1 whole wheat pita
3 tbs pesto
1/2 cup uncooked couscous
1/4 cup cucumber slices
1/4 cup of tomato, diced

I sprayed the pita with olive oil and threw it on the George Foreman for about 3 minutes (actually maybe a little longer, because it was frozen!) then put the couscous in the microwave with 3/4 cup of water for 2 minutes. I let it stand for 5 minutes and fluffed with a fork. I stirred in the pesto with the cucumber and tomato and then stuffed all that in the pita. It was super simple, and only took about 10 minutes start to finish! The pesto was leftover from the Avocado & Pesto dish I made last week, and everything else I had on hand, so it was pretty simple, not to mention great nutritional stats. Depending on what you use, if you eat everything listed above, it would have about ~450 calories, plus about 13 g of fiber, and 17g of protein. But a lot of it depends on your pita. I use ones that are on the small side, and only have about 100 calories per pita.Pretty sure couscous is one of my new favorite foods! It's so versatile! Sorry for not taking pictures of what I made this weekend. :( Blogger fail!

And now, for a product review!

Better N' Peanut Butter is a lower calorie type of peanut butter. Here are the stats:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 2 tbsp (32.0 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 100
Calories from Fat 18
Total Fat 2.0g
Sugars 2.0g
Protein 4.0g
Fiber 2.0g

Since normal peanut butter has about 190 calories per serving, you can see this guy is a calorie bargan! Nothing against my regular nut butter, but sometimes I want to add peanut butter without adding a lot of calories. (Especially if it's a complete indulgence, like coconut ice cream!)

Price: About $4 a jar, depending on where you get it. When I went to Giant Eagle, it was $6.99!!! But Trader Joe's normally has it for about $4.

Taste: It doesn't taste EXACTLY like peanut butter. It's a little bit runny, and has a slightly sweeter taste. I don't think I'd swap it out for a peanut butter sandwich, but it's great for apple dipping, spread over waffles, or in smoothies (or banana ice cream).
Overall, I LOVE this product! Like I said, it's not exactly like peanut butter (and you can't get a chunky version) but it's great for certain uses! Now go try some for yourself!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Friday!

This morning, I had breakfast with homemade strawberry jam, after being inspired by the recipe posted by Oh She Glows yesterday. Check out her recipe here because it's simple and delicious! I ate it with a huge apple dipped in Better 'N Peanut Butter. (which, if you haven't heard about, stay tuned for the product review coming in the next post...) Sorry for the poor color quality!

For lunch, I brought a Trader Joe's Rice Noodle Bowl, but I was feeling like some salad, so I put this together at the salad bar at work. The only dressing on it is a little olive oil mixed with red wine vinegar. It was so crisp and refreshing, which was nice since the temperatures here in Richmond have been over 100 degrees!

So many yummy veggies are crammed in that salad! Edammme, corn, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, spinach, lettuce. YUM!

Now, who wants some free chocolate? Just check out Love, Veggies and Yoga and enter the Newman's Own Organic Chocolate Giveaway!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Avocado Love

So the boy has a love for all things avocado, and since I'm a fan of healthy fats, I decided we needed to make some dinner that would showcase avocado. (I figure if I'm not making the boy meat, I should at least make something he likes!) I did some googling and came across this Pesto & Avocado Recipe. I'd been craving pesto and decided we should give it a shot. We DID take a short cut, and used this pre-made Medatalia Basil Pesto that I picked up at Whole Foods. Its hard to find pesto that doesn't include parmesan cheese, so I was pretty excited about this! Dinner couldn't have been more simple. Whole wheat spaghetti, tossed with pesto and diced avocados. So how did it turn out?

It was delicious!

I forgot to take a picture of it, but we also had breaded zucchini "fries" which were a healthy take on fried zucchini. Here's what we used:

Breaded Zucchini Fries

1 giant zucchini (from my garden!)
1/2 cup Almond Milk
1 cup Fiber One
Chili powder
Garlic Powder
Black Pepper

I put everything but the milk & zucchini in the food processor and blended it up. Then we sliced up the zucchini, dipped it in the almond milk, and coated it with the "bread crumb" mixture. Baked it at 350 for about 25 minutes and we had a deliciously healthy side dish! (I don't think the boy believed these were healthy, they were that good!) We ate them with ketchup and it was awesome!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Silk Disappointment

So yesterday I was trying to decide what I wanted for breakfast, and something cool and refreshing sounded good. I went for yogurt and frozen berries, and tried out Silk Live! Yogurt.

The color was a little bit darker than I expected, but I figured that wouldn't change the taste. I gave it a good stir (to get rid of the liquid-y top) and added a few blueberries. Unfortunately, the taste was way off. It had a weird tangy aftertaste. Almost like Greek yogurt... but not quite. I'm not sure what was so off about it, but I was totally disappointed. I was glad I didn't waste a lot of blueberries mixed in, because I ended up throwing almost the whole bowl away. Very disappointing.

After throwing that away, I decided to have some protein banana "ice cream".

Into the food processor:
1 frozen banana, chopped
1 packet of stevia
1 scoop Jay Robb Chocolate Protein Powder
about 1/2 cup of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze

Approx Nutritionals: 250 calories, 25g protein

Blend and enjoy. This was so delicious that it made up for the less than stellar yogurt. Plus, the stats are pretty good!

I had that with a Van's Lite Frozen Waffle.

In my opinion, these are the best frozen waffles for the stats. At 70 calories per waffle, these are not only healthy, but also vegan! Yay! I had this smeared with a little Trader Joe's Almond Butter and it was amazing!

In my opinion, Trader Joe's has the best almond butter, but then again, I haven't tried them all!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Vegan Fail

So last night I decided to make Black Bean Brownies from the Happy Herbivore. But silly me, I decided to just write the recipe down, instead of looking at the computer. I put in all the ingredients listed (although I ran out of agave nectar, so I subbed some of it for Maple Syrup... not sure if that was a good idea or not...) and I think it would have turned out well, except that I didn't write down the directions other than the mix and bake at 350 for half an hour. I didn't actually run the ingredients through the food processor. I just mixed it using a hand mixer. So while the TASTE isn't bad, there are bean lumps... secret ingredients aren't so secret when they aren't properly mixed in.

So I can't decide what to do with them. I have a pan of decent brownies. Normally, I wouldn't mind giving some to friends, but I feel like now that I'm trying to make good vegan treats, they need to be great! I'm thinking about just frosting them, as a bit of a distraction, and seeing if people like them.

Regardless of the texture, the flavor is pretty good. They don't taste exactly like brownies, and you can definitely taste the bananas, but they're a pretty good treat. Not to mention that the stats are way healthier than normal brownies. I'd estimate that a normal size piece (say, a 2X2 inch piece is about 100 calories, and there is fiber and protein in there as well!)

So I guess next time, I need to write down the ingredients AND the instructions... *sigh*

Monday, June 21, 2010

Soy Yogurt

One of the few things I thought I would miss as a vegan was yogurt. I love yogurt and frozen berries. I used to always start my morning off with Kroger's Carb Master Yogurt. (Not that I was counting carbs, but this stuff has only 80 calories and 12g of protein! Not bad!) But since the yogurt is not only dairy, but also has aspartame, I had to find a replacement!

Enter, Stonybrook Farms Soy Yogurt.

When I first opened the carton, there was a layer of liquid floating on top, and it was a slightly darker color than I expected. Needless to stay, we didn't exactly get off on the right foot. But after a good stir, it looked pretty good. I added in some frozen blueberries, and Bear Naked Fit Granola and this stuff was great! It didn't have quite the tang of normal yogurt, but this stuff was pretty darn good! My only complaints are the stats, which don't quite line up with my old yogurt. It's 150 calories, and only 7g of protein, but there are no artificial sweeteners in it, so I'd say it's worth the extra calories. I might try adding a little vanilla protein powder, if I feel like I need a little protein kick.

In the end, I'd give it a 9 out of 10. I think it's a pretty good swap for regular yogurt!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Vegan Cupcakes!

Last night I was in a baking mood (Thanks to Food Network's Cupcake Wars) so I decided to try this Vegan Chocolate Cupcake recipe from Everything Is Homemade. I didn't use the almond extract (because I didn't have any...) but they still turned out pretty well!!

I'm still on a quest to convince my friends that Vegan baked goods CAN taste good. I've learned the easiest way to convince people is to tell them that the goods are vegan AFTER they've eaten them. They actually turned out pretty well!

Please ignore the icing smudge from the plastic wrap. I forgot to take a picture until I'd actually wrapped them. My co-workers loved them!

Side story: In order to make the cupcakes, I needed to get apple cider vinegar from the grocery store. That was the ONLY thing I needed. This is what I came home with.

I'm hopeless at staying focused at the store. There are just too many things I want to try!

I was feeling lazy about making frosting, but I didn't want to use canned frosting, because they all had high fructose corn syrup and/or hydrogenated oils. (aka trans fat!) Thankfully, I came across this guy and decided to give it a shot!

I wasn't sure how I would like it, because when I opened the jar it didn't seem thick enough. It was certainly a little bit more difficult to spread, but it tasted delicious! It didn't really "set" like a normal frosting, but it didn't run off the cupcakes either, so I was quite pleased. It's what I used in the picture above (to be fair, the plastic wrap is the reason it smeared!) so I would definitely buy this product again. I also bought their cookie & cake mix, so I'm excited to try those out. I'm glad to finally find some vegan baking mixes!

That's all for now!


Thursday, June 10, 2010


So this blogging thing is harder than I thought to keep up with! It gives me a new appreciation for all the blogs I read regularly. You guys rock!

It's not that I haven't been cooking lately, I've been cooking up a storm! Last night my friend and I made seasoned chickpea tacos a la Happy Herbivore So I was a little late (I think the post was back from 2008!) But the tacos were still delicious. We ate the with some tabouli salad and whole wheat pitas. Our dinner was like the UN of meals. Definitely a random assortment of flavors, but the chickpea tacos AND the salad both had lemon juice... so that tied it all together... ha!

The chickpeas were deliciously roasted in the oven, I'd never had them prepared that way before! For the tabouli salad, I used a boxed mix, and added in onions, cucumbers and tomatoes. It was quite delicious if I do say so myself! I'll try to post some pictures up here soon.

It was yet another successful vegan dinner!

Another highlight of the week, I made some vegan brownies. I took them to a "girls night" on Tuesday, and didn't mention they were vegan until AFTER everyone ate them and said they were good! Why do people assume vegan food isn't going to taste as good as "regular" food?? Needless to say, I think they were impressed!!! I used the recipe linked above, but I only had an 8X8 pan. So I split it into two batches, and for the second one, I added about 1/2 cup of shredded coconut. That was definitely a good idea! It added a nice texture to the brownies. Oh, I also added in about 1 cup of vegan chocolate chips. Can't get enough chocolate! Now go try that recipe!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Camera Shy

So as much as I want this to be a daily food sort of blog, I'm finding its hard to consistently take pictures of what I eat. When I'm at home, no big deal, but its difficult when I'm out with friends or family. I haven't "gone public" with this blog and I'm not ready to explain the constant table photo shoots. How do you guys deal with this? Do you tell people what the pictures are for? I'm sure for you veteran bloggers, people are used to it! But what about when you were first starting out? Just curious if you had any advice on this!

Since I'm at a work event all day, and probably won't be taking pictures of the eats, I think ill do some recent product reviews.

Arctic zero.
This stuff is hard to find in stores (I'm lucky enough to have it stocked at my local Whole Foods, but for those of you out of the distribution area, you CAN order it on Amazon. Anyways, back to the review!

First, let's talk nutritional stats. Its 32 calories per serving. That's right, 128 calories in the whole pint!! Obviously that's what originally piqued my interest... it comes in a new different flavors: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry banana and chocolate peanut butter. I've only tried the chocolate peanut butter, but let me tell you, this is amazing stuff!
Its not exactly like ice cream, more like a really good frozen protein shake. (Oh yeah, the calories that ARE in it come from whey protein. Its also lactose free.) I eat it straight out of the container, but I've also heard it makes a great base for a milkshake. This still is a little pricey (about $4 in the store, but its more expensive on amazon due to shipping and all that stuff.) But id say its worth it! Add some almond butter to it and its amazing!!

Alright, that's all I've got!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Favorite Food Books!

I've been reading some great food books lately. I just finished In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. GREAT book! I highly recommend it. It's not only informative, but also an entertaining read. You'll have trouble putting it down, trust me!

Now I'm reading a Food Politics. This one is much more... scientific. (Is that the right word? I'm not sure.) So it's a bit of a slower read, but it's still very interesting. It's making me very very skeptical about food marketing. There are some crazy tactics out there, and now I see how many of them I've fallen for!

I've also been watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. (I know, I know, I was a little slow to catch up on this one! Thank goodness for Hulu!) It was so cool to see how involved he was in the lives of those families!

Being in the marketing field has definitely made me more aware of advertising tactics, but I guess I never thought they were so... deceptive, particularly with food and health claims. It's disappointing the way government regulations fail to push on these issues.

Does anyone have any other book or documentary recommendations for me?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Grocery Addiction

I spend entirely too much time and money at the grocery store. At 21, I think I'm supposed to be racking up bar tabs, not grocery bills! But I can't help it, I love the grocery store! Yesterday, I went to Kroger to get toilet paper. Just toilet paper. I left with onions, broccoli, soy crisps, make up, garbanzo bean flour and tabouli salad mix. That's right, the one thing I forgot was... toilet paper.

Am I the only one that goes to the store for one thing, and comes out with an arm full of groceries?? I hope not!

The good news is, the tabouli salad came out delicious! Good thing I picked up pitas at whole foods!

turned into:

Please excuse the bite marks and the messy plate. I'm still getting used to the food blogging thing, and I started eating before I remembered to snap a pic! :)

Other highlights of the day:

I finally tried the banana soft serve recipe from Katie and I added in some Dark Chocolate Dreams. This combination turned out to be fantastic!!!

That's all I've got for today!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Deal of the Century!

So while perusing the grocery store, I came across a food processor that was on sale for $2.50. Yes, two dollars and fifty cents! I couldn't pass it up! I have a Magic Bullet Blender, but I really needed something that could do heavy duty blending. So I lucked out on this purchase!

Making homemade almond butter!!

What's your favorite thing to make in food processor?

First Attempt!

Hello All!
I'm Liz! And this is my attempt at living Vegan!! I've been a food blog reader for quite some time, so I thought I'd try writing my own little blog. Please grace me with your patience as I learn my way around this blog situation. So let me give you some background, and explain why I'm even starting this project!

Ever since I was little, I've had very high cholesterol, due to genetics. (Thanks, Dad!) The doctors wanted to put me on medication at the ripe age of 11, but my parents didn't want me to start something like that at such a young age. Eventually, my doctor put me on medication, around age 18, but I only took it for a year or two. While the medication did seem to help things, I'd like to attempt some life style changes, and see what difference that can make before I get back on the meds again. So this is the kick off!

Some Vital stats:

I'm 21 years old, I'm 5' 4", 124lbs. My over all cholesterol is 277... anything above 200 is bad news! My LDL (the bad cholesterol) is 225, and that should be less than 150! My HDL (the good guys!) is 39, and it should be over 50. My main goal in the next 6 months, is to get the total cholesterol and LDL to go down, and to raise my HDL!

I've been a vegetarian for the last 3 1/2 years, but admittedly, I didn't necessarily replace meat with healthier options. If you've ever tried vegetarianism, you know how easy it is to fall into the trap of tossing out meat only to replace it with extra carbs + fat. Yuck! I've been a diet coke addict for awhile, and I'm a habitual snack-er. *sigh*

So here are the new nutritional goals!

1. Going vegan!! I've heard a lot of great things about veganism, and I think for lowering cholesterol, going vegan will help me stay on track. I think the hardest thing to give up will be cheese + yogurt. I've been reading lots and lots of vegan blogs recently, to give me some recipe ideas!

2. Exercising regularly. I have months where I work out religiously, and months where I can't seem to get my butt off the couch. Here's to starting a new routine!

3. Cut out artificial sweeteners. I know the hardest part is going to be giving up my beloved diet coke, but I think in the end it will be worth it!

4. Eating less processed/packaged food. I've always been a fan of the "grab and go" type of food. But a box of wheat thins isn't as healthy as fresh vegetables... no matter what the box claims!

Those are some initial goals, so hopefully I can stick with them!

What are some of your hardest food challenges? Is there a particular food or food category (i.e. salty snacks, ice cream, chocolate) that you just can't stop eating?

Any comments, ideas, and advice are greatly appreciated!