Ten in 2010

Social networking is awesome. In 2009, I made a lot of new friends through Twitter and Facebook and blogs. One friend, Lori of RecipeGirl, with the support and encouragement of Twitter friends has started a challenge for the new year. One quick side note. I’ve met Lori in person. She is beautiful both on the inside and outside. She was actually one of my tablemates that encouraged me to ask Rocco DiSpirito out. 😛Lori’s challenge is Ten in 2010: Ten Weeks to Healthy in 2010. I’m always up for joining groups and have some goals I want to reach this year, so I jumped right in. It’s so open and really there are no rules. You pick your own goals. As of this writing, there are over 230 participants from all over the world. See the list of participants HERE. Anyone can join! You should too!

My Goals

  • Lose my vacation/holiday weight gain. Really it’s mostly holiday. I didn’t really gain anything on vacation. I think wearing a bathing suit every day kept me motivated. I gained an embarrassing number of pounds since I returned home smack in the middle of the holiday season.
  • Eat vegan at least 3 days a week. Last year I successfully ate vegan on Tuesdays for my Vegan Tuesdays. Some days easier than others. This year I want to expand it to three days a week, but rotate the days depending on my schedule. There’s nothing like being stuck in the Dallas airport on a Tuesday trying to find vegan food.
  • Participate in the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart. Starting on January 1, I’m participating in the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart. Check it out! There’s lots of recipes, information, and a meal plan. Once the 21 days are over, I’ll start my 3-days a week vegan eating.
  • Train for my half-marathon. Every year I run a half-marathon, but don’t train for it. This year, because I don’t want to be in pain for a week, I’ve actually decided to train for. I’m pretty fit, but not much of a runner. I may even try trail running this year!
  • Re-commit to yoga. Last June I started attending evening yoga classes, I stopped going in November and want to start up again. It makes me feel great!

I go to the gym very early in the morning before work. I usually just grab a bar and eat it on the way. Here’s a great recipe for you to try. Chia seeds (the same ones as Chia Pets) are a great source of omega fatty acids and contain a bunch of good-for-you minerals and vitamins. They actually have more antioxidents than flaxseed and are an excellent source of dietary fiber.

Raw Chocolate-Chia Energy Bars

From the January 2010 issue of Vegetarian Times.
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted dates
  • 1/3 cup raw unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup whole chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup raw slivered almonds
  1. Purée dates in a food processor until a thick paste forms. Add cocoa, chia, and extracts. Pulse until all ingredients are combined. Add almonds and pulse until nuts are chopped and well-distributed.
  2. Place a piece of parchment paper on work surface and transfer date mixture to it. Using your hands, press mixture into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Wrap tightly and chill overnight.
  3. Unwrap block and cut into 8 bars.

Nutrition: 195 calories, 5 grams of protein, 8 grams of total fat, 7 grams of fiber.


my sweet vegan

The day before I left on vacation I was contacted by the publisher of My Sweet Vegan asking if I would like to review the book. I practically squealed my answer. Hannah Kaminsky, the wonderfully gifted blogger, wrote the book and I’m a big fan of her blog–BitterSweet. Of course I would review her cookbook!

Often times when you read a cookbook review on a blog, the blogger has tried a bunch of the recipes and has gorgeous photos to match. I’m more of a real-time blogger–I tend to make something and post it soon after. I don’t have a back log of posts waiting for publication. For one, I’m not that organized and my life is a bit too chaotic. Secondly, I’m not a note-taker and if I don’t write about it right away I will forget about it.  Sometimes I’ll make something and take pictures of it and never write about it. So it goes.  {/paraphrase Vonnegut}

Anyway, starting today and throughout 2010 I will bake from My Sweet Vegan and write about it. Often times when I buy a new cookbook and can’t decide which recipe to make first, I make the very first recipe listed. I’ve made a bunch of first recipes. 😛 Anyway the first recipe from Hannah’s book is:  Better Banana Nut Muffins.

Do they live up to their name? Heck, yeah! The muffins were a huge hit at work. So much so that someone who very rarely ventures into my office came in to tell me how much he liked them. What makes them better? The banana flavor is intense. It shines, it screams it’s presence. These are not wallflower banana muffins. Where does the flavor come from? In addition to the usual mashed ripe bananas, the recipe calls for dehydrated bananas. Genius! Never in a million years would I have thought of that.

I can’t wait to try some of the other recipes:

  • Graham Flour Fig Scones
  • Butterscotch Blondies
  • Maple Pistachio Crèmes
  • Peanut Butter Bombs
  • Chai “Cheese”cake
  • Root Beer Float Cupcakes
  • Wasabi Chocolate Cupcakes
  • Green Tea Tiramisu
  • Plus a bunch more!

If you haven’t checked out Hannah’s blog, BitterSweet, please do. Not only are the recipes killer and creative, but she has mad photo skillz. Also, buy her book: My Sweet Vegan.

Native Foods

Right before I left on vacation, I had to go to a meeting in the Desert. The meeting was on Vegan Tuesday, so I stopped at Native Foods for lunch. Native Foods is a small Southern California regional chain of vegan restaurants.

I ordered the Hollywood Bowl: brown rice, steamed vegetables, marinated tofu spears, and peanut sauce. It was light, tasty, and healthy. Gotta love it.

(Today I am in Bora Bora.)

Vegan Cranberry and Spice Scones

I didn’t realize Thanksgiving was so close. I knew I would be out of the country and wouldn’t have to plan a dish, dessert, or two. I didn’t pay attention to where the holiday fell on the calendar. I was vaguely aware of that the holiday was coming up. It’s hard not to be aware of it with every magazine cover screaming Thanksgiving or all the wonderful blog posts about delicious sounding dishes.

It took me by surprise then when a coworker told me Thanksgiving was next week {I wrote this on November 18}. Really? Next week? Wow.

Anyway, I made these scones and brought them in my last day of work before I left for vacation as a Thanksgiving/Holiday treat. The recipe comes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan Brunch and is an incarnation of autumn flavors and scents. While they baked (and cooled!!) they made my kitchen smell so good. It almost made me a bit sad to be missing Thanksgiving. Almost. Until I remembered I would be sailing the South Pacific today. 😛

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cranberry and Spice Scones

Adapted from Vegan Brunch
  • 1 1/4 cups almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Raw sugar for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together almond milk and vinegar. Set aside to curdle.
  3. In large bowl, whisk  flours, baking powder, spices, sugar, and salt together until well-combined. Stir in dried cranberries. Make a well in center.
  4. Add oil and vanilla to almond milk mixture and pour into dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened and combined.
  5. Use a 1/4 measuring cup or large ice cream scoop to place mounds on baking sheet. Sprinkle tops of scones with raw sugar. Place in oven and bake for 18 to 22 minutes until the scones are lightly browned and firm to touch. Remove from oven and place scones on rack to cool for at least 20 minutes.

Makes 12 large scones.

Vegan Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles

A chocolate cookie with a surprise kick: Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. Really, really good. You take a bite and taste the deep chocolate flavor and cinnamon and then you chew a bit and the cayenne pepper punch hits your taste buds.  It’s unexpected. It’s a surprise. It’s good. Try it. You will like it.

You can find the recipe HERE.