What I Ate Today ~ Monday

21 May

BREAKFAST

Vegan Blueberry Pancakes and Strawberries

MORNING SNACK

thank you google image search for providing me with this picture 🙂

Banana

LUNCH

Leftover Pad Thai

AFTERNOON SNACK 1

Homemade Blueberry Energy Bar

AFTERNOON SNACK 2

Lettuce mix, tomato, hemp seeds, chia seeds with homemade balsamic vinaigrette

DINNER

Soft Shell Taco & Salad with All Homemade Ingredients

Mexican-style crumbles, black bean and corn salsa, guacamole, lettuce mix, tomato, black olives

Dressing: tiny amount of vegan sour cream mixed with salsa (not homemade)

DESSERT

3 dates + 1 strawberry

Until tomorrow…

~ Happy and Healthy Eating

What I Ate Today ~ Sunday

20 May

Damn, I ate a lot of fruit today!!! A photo journal really puts things in perspectives. I definitely need to up my veggie intake.

I am glad that I didn’t eat any junk food today and am hoping I can stay strong through bedtime.

BREAKFAST

Whole Wheat Toast w/ All Natural Peanut Butter and a drizzle of honey. Strawberries and one banana.

MORNING SNACK

Lettuce mix, tomato, hemp seeds, chia seeds with homemade balsamic vinaigrette

LUNCH

photo courtesy of Happy Herbivore

“Tuna” salad on multi-grain tortilla with lettuce, sprouts, and tomato

You can find the recipe online – it’s very delicious.

AFTERNOON SNACKS 

I’m not sure what time I ate all of this but it was definitely spread out over several hours.

Strawberries, cantaloupe (1/2 melon), homemade blueberry energy bar, dates, and cherry tomatoes

DINNER

From my favorite Thai Restaurant!

Coconut milk soup, tofu in prik prow sauce, vegetable pad thai

 

So that is what I ate today. I am still amazed by the amount of fruit I ate… I am not concerned about it though, I have a crazy sweet tooth and if I need to eat a lot of fruit to get over my cravings for processed sweeteners then that is what I must do. Moving forward though I will definitely want to add in more dark greens to my diet.

Here’s hoping to not eating anything else today 🙂

~ Happy & Healthy Eating

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

19 May

So I basically dropped off the blog-sphere about a month ago, you may have wondered where I’ve been.  Well the fact is that I hit a rut… it’s been bad.

I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue after several months of not feeling like myself. While I should have been happy that there was a reason I was feeling so run down and unable to reach my fitness goals I fell into a dark place full of self-loathing, self-pity, and a serious lack of motivation. To top it all off, I hadn’t found a new fitness routine since I stopped attending Boot Camp. Although 4:30am is an ugly time to wake up every morning I loved sweating with my friends and having time to myself during the commute.

Since my last post I passed my Certified Personal Trainer test and started working out with CrossFit. I should be feeling accomplished and on top of the world but instead I am feeling weak. A personal trainer should eat right, exercise regularly, and be a role model to individuals interested in fitness…. I certainly have fallen off the wagon in that regard. As for CrossFit, I thought I would walk in there and impress the pants off the coaches, in reality, I cannot keep up.

What’s a girl to do? I certainly do not want to spiral out of control… I want my life back, I want to increase my strength and continue on the path of consistent healthy eating.

So I plan to utilize Wheatgrass and Sassafras as a venue to hold myself accountable and hopefully inspire my followers to get back on track if they have fallen off the wagon. I will continue with my current fitness routine (Power Yoga 2x week and CrossFit 2x week) and for the next week I will post a photo of every meal I eat. My hope is that by putting my meals out there I will more likely be able to eat only healthy meals and get back on track once and for all.

So that’s it… stay tuned and I will start posting my meals tomorrow 🙂

I’m interested to hear from you, what do you do when you fall off the wagon and how do you keep yourself on track?

Remember, it’s about progress not perfection!

~Happy & Healthy Eating

Weekly Menu – May 5, 2012

6 May

Although it’s been quite some time since my last post I am looking forward to sharing weekly menus with you again. I am currently preparing some new posts about cookbooks, vision boards, and fitness but I was wondering if there were any topics you’d like to see covered in the future. This blog not only exists to chronicle my journey but to also help you find health, wellness, and balance in your life so I’d love to hear from you what you’d like to know more about (topics, types of recipes, etc.).

This week’s menu features a trip to my favorite Indian restaurant along with some delicious, homemade meals.

  • Fried Matzo
  • Crab Cakes & Broccoli
  • Taco Salad with Beef Crumbles
  • Zucchini Pancakes with Kasha Salad
  • Springtime Barley with Roasted Carrots and Beans/Greens Soup
  • Tuna Salad
  • Caesar Salad with Bacon Bits
  • Energy Bars

~Happy & Healthy Eating

Weekly Menu April 7

7 Apr

I’ve been cooking out of Chloe’s Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli for a couple of weeks now but sadly I’ll need to return the book to the library early next week, but, that isn’t going to stop me from making a few more of her recipes for dinner this week.

  • Southern Skillet Black-Eyed Peas with Quick Buttery Biscuits
  • Portobello Pesto Panini with Easy Peasy Pasta Salad
  • Mandarin Peanut-Crunch Salad with Crispy Wontons
  • Enchilada Casserole from Oh She Glows

~Happy & Healthy Eating

Mission Impossible: Vegan Eclairs

4 Apr

I have been conducting research on people’s favorite bakery item(s) and then working to master recipes that have been veganized. Well one of my good friends (who’s identity has been concealed to protect the innocent) said she loves, loves, loves chocolate eclairs but she hasn’t had one since going vegan 3 ½ years ago.

It just so happened that her birthday was going to arrive in two short weeks so I had no choice but to make a batch for her celebrations.

First things first – what are the components of an éclair?

  1. Pate a choux: A pastry dough made up of water, butter, flour, and eggs. When it bakes, the high moisture content of the dough creates steam and puffs the dough creating a hollow center.
  2. Pastry cream: A sweet, pudding-like filling made of milk, eggs, sugar, flour, and cornstarch that is piped into the center of the pastry (pate a choux).
  3. Chocolate ganache: A mixture of cream and chocolate used to make truffles, frosting, and top the cream filled pastry of an eclair.

So Ă©clairs are definitely vegetarian, but how do we make them vegan?

We are going to have to replace a lot of butter, eggs, milk, and cream.

But first, let’s take a look a decadent (non-vegan) eclair. Mmmmmmm!

Having never made pate a choux or pastry cream before I was a bit nervous.  So I started pouring over recipes and found what I believed were the best.

Wheatgrass & Sassafras Factoid: I actually really enjoy researching recipes, so although it sounds tedious, I had lots of fun.

Let’s start with the pate a choux.

Yikes! That isn’t what it’s supposed to look like. The shape can be attributed to poor piping skills but the inside is very doughy and dense, not hollow at all.

You know what that means…

Some kitchen disasters are relegated to the garbage.  Too bad I didn’t take an action shop of me dumping them, HAHA! 🙂

After spending some time researching non-vegan pate a choux recipes I set out to make a second batch.

The word failure comes to mind.

Although I tried a different technique the results were the same.

Since that fateful day I’ve seen an episode of Good Eats which walks you step-by-step through the pate a choux making process.

So what have I learned that can be applied here?

NOTHING!

Ordinarily I would have thrown my apron on the floor and stormed off but I already started making the pastry cream while the pate a choux was baking.

It is one of the yummiest things I’ve ever made!!!

So creamy and sweet. It’s like eating vanilla pudding but so much better than anything you’d get out of a box.

I could easily eat an entire batch in one sitting, just me, a spoon and a bowl of pastry cream.

Consider this your warning and only make this recipe if you are prepared to indulge or have more self-control than I do.

Pastry Cream (adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking)

â…“ cup granulated sugar

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

4 Tbsp cornstarch

ÂĽ cup water

1 â…“ cups almond milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

  • In a mixing bowl beat together sugar, flour, cornstarch, and water on high speed until creamy (about 2 minutes) then set aside.
  • In a saucepan bring the milk to a simmer. Add ⅓ cup of the warm milk into the sugar mixture and stir thoroughly to combine. Add the sugar mixture to the saucepan and whisk constantly over medium-low heat.
  • It will begin to thicken immediately. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pan as you whisk.
  • Cook until it begins to bubble then whisk as vigorously as you can for 30 seconds.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  • Transfer to a bowl and cover with waxed/parchment paper and let cool to room temperature.

Note: If you are going to use the pastry cream to make my Chocolate Éclair Cupcakes do not let it cool.

The pastry cream was so amazing I needed to figure out a way to serve it to the world. No longer having pate a choux as a vehicle for delivering the pastry cream I reverted back to my first baking passion… the cupcake. I could easily make a Chocolate Éclair Cupcake recipe, all I needed to do was bake up some vanilla cupcakes and get going on the ganache. Easy peasy!

I came across this recipe for Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes online and it just so happens that the recipe was adapted from a recipe written by my new favorite vegan Chef Chloe Coscarelli . I’ve been cooking from her cookbook for a couple of weeks now and each recipe is better than the last. I have a huge girl crush on her and cannot wait for her to release a second cookbook.

Vanilla Cupcakes (adapted from www.colleenboucher.com)

1 3/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup unsweetened non dairy milk

2 tablespoons vanilla

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • Heat the oven to 350ÂşF and line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Whisk until thoroughly mixed.
  • In a small bowl, combine the oil, milk, vanilla, and vinegar.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix completely.
  • Fill each cupcake cup 2/3 full. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

As it turns out these were some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever made. The taste and texture was perfect.

The only thing left to make was the Chocolate Ganache.  I remember seeing a recipe for Vegan Hostess Cupcakes from Post Punk Kitchen and thought that the chocolate topping would be perfect for my cupcakes. I would have liked a thicker chocolate coating but for the first time making ganache without heavy cream I was pleased.

Chocolate Ganache Icing (adapted from Post Punk Kitchen)

â…“ cup almond milk

4 oz vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips

  •  In a small saucepan bring the milk to a simmer then mix in the chocolate. Turn off the heat and mix until chocolate melts and icing is smooth.

So now that you know how to make the cupcake, pastry cream, and ganache all you need to do is assemble these amazing Chocolate Éclair Cupcakes.

  1. Bake your cupcakes and let cool completely. Once the cupcakes are cool carve out a hole to hold the filling, create a larger hole than you think is appropriate because you’ll want lots of filling but be care not to damage the bottoms or sides. Discard the cake that you’ve removed  (in the garbage or your belly).
  2. Once your cupcakes have been prepped you can move on to making the pastry cream. You’ll want the cupcakes ready to go because it’s easier to fill them with warm pastry cream rather than when it’s at room temperature. Just spoon the filling in to the cupcake holes and smooth the top with the back of the spoon or an off-set spatula.
  3. Now that your cupcakes are filled with the pastry cream go ahead and prepare the ganache. While the ganache is still warm dunk the tops of the cupcakes into the chocolate. Don’t worry about the pastry cream falling out, it should have set up enough while you were preparing the ganache to sit firmly inside it’s cupcake enclosure.
  4. Let the cupcakes cool and serve immediately.

Note: I suspect that using a melon baller or small ice cream scoop would make steps one and two super easy.

Let me tell you, these cupcakes were a huge hit! I brought them to work and everyone ate them up, despite them being vegan 🙂

I had to make another batch for my friend’s birthday party and over that weekend she ate somewhere in the ballpark of around nine cupcakes… NINE! Can you believe it? I admire her passion for chocolate eclairs; the fact that she consumed nine chocolate éclair cupcakes is really quite amazing! Now more than ever I am convinced she has a hollow leg 🙂

The moral of this story is that when life gives you lemons (bad pate a choux) make lemonade (cupcakes).

And don’t forget that cupcakes should only be an occasional treat and I do NOT condone  anyone eating NINE in one weekend. Don’t worry “friend,” that message isn’t just for you, it’s also for husbands and other “friends” 🙂

~ Happy & Healthy Eating

Weekly Menu ~ March 31st

31 Mar

I cannot believe it is almost April! Where the heck has the year gone?

I’ve been super busy lately and was really thankful that I prepped all my meals over the weekend. I didn’t have to cook anything during last week which left more time to get bikini ready.

I started working out with my friend Kyra aka The Get In Shape Girl and I am having so much fun. I also signed up for a two week yoga membership at Raffa and have gone to five class already… who knew that I’d love yoga?!

This week I will try and go to 5-6 yoga classes and will continue with the GISG workouts all while trying to study for the Personal Training exam that I have coming up in a few short weeks.

The bottom line is that I need to have a week’s worth of menus that I can prep in advance in a short amount of time.

This is what I came up with:

  • Spinach Pasta with a Garlic Cream Sauce
  • Barley Bliss Casserole (from Chloe Coscarelli’s new cookbook)
  • Seitan Piccata
  • Jewish Comfort Food ~ kasha and shells with potato latkes
  • Red Pepper & Broccoli Stir Fry with Miso Soup

~ Happy and Healthy Eating