How to make Vinaigrette Dressing

Happy Halloween!!

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Lilly isn’t super excited to be wearing a tutu.

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Last week I made kale chips and it was such a huge bust that it made me want to make up for it by making something extra tasty and extra naughty.

Like peanut butter cookies.

I love baking! It is therapeutic for me! And I figured my boyfriend would enjoy some cookies since I used to make him no bake cookies, chocolate peanut butter rice krispy treats, and chocolate chip cookie dough balls back before I went on that cleanse 3 months ago. Wow time flies.

So I got geared up and super excited to crank out some yummy cookies to get my baking mojo back.

But here’s where the story turns sad. I used a gluten free flour mix just for fun. The cookies looked pretty. But. they. tasted. awful. So they all went into the garbage. What a waste of peanut butter. Le sigh. It wasn’t meant to be I guess.

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So then I SUPER redeemed myself by making a pan of Peanut Butter Bars.

Those bars are basically the best thing in the world so I don’t know why I would waste time making any other treat. I mean really.

But today I really wanted to share a recipe for Vinaigrette. I know that is silly because everyone knows you mix vinegar and oil to make Vinaigrette. But for some reason we all still buy vinaigrette dressing for $5 a bottle in the grocery store. So here’s a little tip: next time you use up a glass bottle of salad dressing save that bottle. Rinse it out. Make your own vinaigrette from ingredients you most likely have on hand, and save a few bucks. Bam.

Vinaigrette
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Put all ingredients into a glass/liquid measuring cup and pour everything into the empty salad dressing bottle. Shake. Adjust ingredients to taste.

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Vegetable Cashew Korma

Avert your eyes now if you don’t want to be exposed to extreme cute-ness.

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You were warned!

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Since it got cold out that’s about all Lilly does now. All she wants to do is snuggle and stay warm. If you sit on the couch you will have a pug on your lap within 5 seconds whether you want one or not.

Ok, scary food of the week.

Oh man does this look scary or what??!!

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Seriously, right? I mean, I know my photography skills aren’t helping anything here, but that is just not a super attractive looking meal.

But guess what, it is SUPER tasty! And so full of vegetables. That’s where the scary part comes in. It has 6 different vegetables in it, not including the cilantro and garlic, so I guess there are technically EIGHT vegetables in this! And not much else, it’s just pure, straight up veggies! One of the vegetable varieties is cauliflower, which I know most people don’t think is scary but I haven’t prepared cauliflower….ever?

I’ve approached this whole scary food challenge head on and I’m finding there are fewer and fewer foods I am actually scared of. I will continue to dislike sea vegetables though.

Where was I? Oh yes, scary but really not scary at all food. I will definitely make this again because it was quick and easy to make, and it tastes really good. I know the ingredient list is long but it’s just veggies and some spices mostly. I used light coconut milk but I’m certain regular coconut milk would be extra delish. I know the raisins seem weird in there but I thought they added some real excitement.

Adapted from Appetite for Reduction

Vegetable Cashew Korma
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 pounds cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
1/2 pound zucchini, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced with the food processor
1/2 pound yellow squash, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced with the food processor
1/2 pound carrots, peeled, sliced with the food processor
3/4 cup frozen lima beans
1 can light coconut milk
1 teaspoon agave nectar (optional)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup chopped cashews
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1 lb prepared tofu

First, prepare the tofu

In a large skillet or pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the ginger and garlic, cook for 1 more minute. Add the spices and salt, stir and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the broth then add the cauliflower, zucchini, yellow squash and carrots. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and allow it to cook for 7-10 minutes or until the veggies are soft. Uncover the pot and add in the coconut milk, agave, raisins, cashews, cilantro and prepared tofu. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes or so before serving over brown rice. Makes about 5 servings.

New Workout!!

Hey look a new workout finally! We did this workout the other day in class and it was AMAZING! Amazing is code for SUPER HARD!

They key with this workout (and any workout) is to do as many reps as possible in the allotted time and really, really push yourself.

The only equipment needed is a resistance band.

Part 1: Warm up with 5 minutes jump rope or jogging

Part 2: Cardio. Set interval timer to 6 rounds of 30 seconds work, 5 seconds rest (to transition to next exercise). Complete 3 rounds, resting only 30 seconds between rounds.

1. Burpees
2. Jumping jacks
3. Shadow boxing
4. Lunge jump switch
5. Mountain climbers
6. Lateral jumps w/ knee tucks

Part 3: Strength. Set interval timer to 8 rounds of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest. Perform all 8 rounds on 1 exercise, then rest 30 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.

1. Bicep Curls
2. Military Press
3. Upright Rows
4. Seated Rows

Sorry the volume is so low in this video…I filmed it by myself with my iPhone 🙂

How to clean a ceramic cooktop

Hey, here is some useful information! This is probably the best advice I have ever shared on here! Someone should pin this to pinterest. For real.

I tried cleaning my ceramic cooktop with a method I saw on pinterest. It didn’t really do anything.

This method WORKS! And all the credit goes to my awesome grandma!

When I moved in to my townhouse the cooktop was toast. It looked baaaaad. I was actually going to replace it because it had so much caked on who knows what.

Then my sweet grandma heard of my sad cooktop and sent me some razorblades!

Here is how it works.

First, start with a dirty, COOLED cooktop, like so:

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Don’t even worry about trying to wipe it down first, it doesn’t matter. Take a razor blade (make sure it’s not pointing toward you-safety first please!), angle it slightly toward the cooktop and start scraping. Kind of like a squeegee action.

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A nice little dust trail will be left behind:

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Last, wipe it down with a damp paper towel.

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Clean cooktop!

Of course, any time you are working with sharp objects such as razor blades, be careful. This works great on my cooktop but I’m sure different manufacturers have different cooktops so I can’t guarantee it will work on every kind. Use this method at your own risk. It’s just what I do. 🙂

Kale Chip: Trick? Or Treat?

My scary food challenge for the week was Kale Chips. I have been wanting to make Kale Chips for quite some time now since they are “all the rage”, or so I hear anyway.

I have been scared to try making kale chips myself though. Not because I don’t like kale, obviously I like kale, I mean who doesn’t? But because of the process. I was scared they would turn out gross and then I would have wasted a bunch of time, not to mention ingredients I spent money on.

Soooooo I mentally prepared myself for this challenge. In the end, I was right to be scared. It was a huge time-taker-uper and they really didn’t turn out all that good. I mean, I ate them. But I wasn’t exactly falling out of my chair going oh my gosh these are so good, where have you been all my life!?

To be honest, this whole process has left me wanting to make a batch of peanut butter cookies. “For my boyfriend”. He he he. After all, why should he suffer through all my “veggie chip” trials?

I know I haven’t exactly sold the idea of baking your own kale chips, but here is the recipe anyway.

1 bunch kale, rinsed, leaves ripped from the stem and torn into bite size pieces (stems discarded)
2 red bell peppers, seeded
1/2 cup sesame seeds
3 teaspoons garlic juice (the liquid from the jar of minced garlic)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons raisins
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon olive oil

Place all the torn up kale pieces in a very, very large bowl. Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a food processor, puree all the ingredients together, except for the kale, scraping the sides as needed. The mixture should be very smooth when done.
Pour the sauce mixture over the kale leaves and work it in to the leaves using your (clean) hands.

Bake at 200˚ for 75-100 minutes. This is where a food dehydrator would have been much better to use. I got impatient after 90 minutes and turned the oven up to 275˚ and then just watched them close to be sure they didn’t burn.

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Mix in a very large bowl.

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Spread on to baking sheets evenly.

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Finished product.

Now that the scary food of the week is behind me, I have other not scary recipes to share soon along with some other useful things.

Have a great week!

A few of my favorite things

This is a bit of a random post…it’s not very food or fitness related.

But here it is anyway.

I really love beet chips.

But last week my friend Tiana brought in some PARSNIP CHIPS, which totally blew my mind! We decided to call them ‘snip chips’, pretty clever, huh?

She made them the same way I make beet chips but used garlic powder, salt, pepper and chili powder. They were amazing. She gave me a bag full around 9:15am and I had them gone by 9:26!

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I know that’s a really good picture.

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Alright, now here are a few of my favorite things.

Nobody ever asks me for fashion advice. Hard to believe, what with my extensive sneaker collection and all. But the one item people do ask me about are my sparkly headbands!

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These headbands actually, really do stay in place. I always wear them running and they never slip off.
They are from http://www.sweatybands.com.

The next thing I love, love, love is my tinted sunscreen/moisturizer. My dermatologist tells me everyone should wear spf30 on their face every day. No excuses. I love this moisturizer because it does everything and yet it’s not makeup.

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I combine 2 kinds and wear a mixture of Estée Lauder BB and Dermalogica ultra sensitive tint.

Now, I am probably the last person who should be giving out beauty advice since I have the worst skin. That’s a whole nother post. And because I break out all the time the only makeup I use is this concealer. And boy do I ever use it. Very rarely will I put powder on my face, but when I do, I use this stuff.

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Neutrogena skin clearing makeup. It saves me!

And last, when I tell people what I eat, one of the frequent questions I get is “do you ever eat bread”? The answer is yes, sometimes. Usually before a run or a bike ride. I don’t eat it every day but when I do have bread it’s this Ezekiel bread. It has wheat and gluten in it but it’s made out of sprouted grains (that means the grains are soaked until they actually sprout so it’s kind of like eating a grain that has turned into a vegetable. Sprouted grains are extra nutritious.) and it never makes me feel sick or puffy.

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I like the sprouted 7 grain and the 4:9 varieties although last week I got crazy and purchased the cinnamon raisin kind and it is delicious!

And of course, my VERY favorite thing is my pug dog!!!

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Have a wonderful weekend! Next week I promise to have a new workout and a new scaaaary food!

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

You know what this cold, rainy fall weather makes me want to do? Nest.

That’s right. Nest.

My Saturday night consisted of grocery shopping at the big Whole Foods in downtown SLC, doing laundry, vacuuming and a little cooking. Pretty wild, huh? I know I just described some people’s worst nightmare, but to me, it’s heavenly.

Friday night one of my friends convinced me to go out to celebrate my birthday. I told her I was reluctant because I had zero desire to put on jeans and actual shoes and oh it would be so much work to change out of fitness clothes. She assured me it would be fun and casual so out I went on a rainy Friday night. It was fun and I stuck it out all the way until 10:30. Yep. I really know how to rage.

I probably have now put people to sleep.

Have you ever seen such a tired face?

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Back to cold weather nesting. When I was at Whole Foods I was blown away by how many vegan, gluten free baked goods exist. And all the vegan, g.f. baking mixes! I mean Holy Cow! I wanted to eat everything! But that’s a slippery slope so I resisted the temptation and stuck to my shopping list which mainly consisted of fresh vegetables. All those baked goods look delicious but so loaded with sugar. No bueno.

Let me just tell you as a side note. Even though I’m off my cleanse I’ve still been avoiding sugar, except when I’m being force-fed cake. That’s a joke. Really truly I haven’t been eating sugar, chocolate, agave nectar, etc and I feel GREAT! I really notice it running. Running just feels effortless…well maybe not effortless, but it feels a lot better than it used to! Even running up hills, I just feel light on my feet. I know that was an annoying statement and people probably want to slap me now. I’m just saying I feel much better not eating sugar. So that gives me motivation to stay away from sweets even though I loved baked goods more than anyone.

Back to food…

This cold, rainy weather also makes me want SOUP! I got the idea for a sweet potato black bean soup from pinterest so I got to researching and combined about 4 recipes to come up with this. This was so fast and easy to make that by the time the soup was done I had my kitchen cleaned up and this soup will be lunch for the week. That’s what I’m talking about.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced small
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chili powder (less if you don’t want it spicy)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 serrano peppers, seeded and diced
1 28-oz can crushed or diced tomatoes (I run them through the food processor so there are ZERO tomato chunks)
3 cups water
6 lbs yams
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch cilantro, diced up stems and all
2 tablespoons lime juice

In a large stockpot, sauté the onion in oil over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. While the onion cooks prep the other vegetables. Then, add the garlic, cumin, salt, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Sauté 1 minute to “open up” the spices. Add the chipotles, tomatoes and water. Stir. Add the yams and carrots. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes add the beans and cook uncovered for another 5 minutes. Last, stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Store in the fridge.

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Conquering Food Fears with Sweet Onion Flatbread

I have a lot of food phobias. Especially when it comes to vegetables. I know that sounds really odd coming from someone who only eats plants.

Let me explain.

In college I lived off cereal, oatmeal, bread, yogurt, apples and peanut butter. No vegetables. Ever.

I tried my first avocado at age 23. I was afraid of them because they were green.

I tried my first beet last winter at age 32. I was afraid of them because they were…red?

I tried my first brussel sprout last winter as well. I was afraid of them because everyone says they’re gross.

I don’t know why I’m afraid of some foods. What is it exactly…do I think I’m going to have an adverse physical reaction? I’ll barf? Will the food actually harm me in some way? I know I’m not alone on this or else everyone would be eating brussel sprouts and rainbow chard the way Americans eat hamburgers and fried chicken.

I have a new goal: To make 1 recipe a week that “scares” me. It could be a raw recipe or something that uses an ingredient I’m scared of. I think my biggest fear is that I’ll try the food and it will just be really gross tasting. But I have confidence that I can turn any vegetable into something delicious. So this is a challenge to conquer fear and turn “gross” vegetables into something that actually looks and tastes good and isn’t a pain to prepare.

This week I am easing into this “scary food” project with an Onion Flatbread. Certainly doesn’t sound scary. The scary part for me came from the tomatoes and the odd preparation of this bread. Pureed vegetables spread onto a pan and baked. I didn’t think there was any way this recipe was going to turn out. I didn’t even take a picture of it spread in the pan, I had no faith.

But it turned out great!! Like WOW this tastes as good as pizza WOW! I’m not even kidding. This bread on it’s own is bursting with flavor. Top it with a vegan cheese (or not vegan if you wish) and it would practically be a pizza! No sauce required! I suppose it could be made into a sandwich but it’s such a yummy snack on it’s own.

Sweet Onion Flatbread
Adapted From Thrive Foods

Ingredients:
3/4 cup roma tomatoes, chopped (about 2)
1/3 cup raisins
1 tablespoon miso paste (I used sweet miso)
1 small red onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup gluten free flour mix (so many options here)
1/2 cup hemp hearts
2 tablespoons flax seeds

Preheat the oven to 250˚. Line a 10 x 14 (approx), rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a food processor, puree the tomatoes, raisins and miso until smooth. Add the onion, garlic, salt and flour and puree until very smooth. Stir the hemp hearts and flax seeds in with a spatula.
Spread the mixture on to the lined baking sheet. It will be very thin and it won’t look very promising. That’s ok. Just try to get it even.
Bake for 1 hour. Then here’s a somewhat scary part. You have to flip it. Place another baking sheet or another sheet of parchment paper over the bread. Holding the two layers together, flip the whole bread over so the new sheet/parchment is on the bottom. Carefully peel away the top layer of parchment from the bread and discard. Bake for another 20 minutes then turn off the oven but leave the bread in the oven for another 30 or so minutes. Slice and nibble as desired!

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Lilly has a stuffed animal buddy, a stuffed Pug. I got this stuffed pug before I got Lilly so this stuffed animal was her first toy. Over the years she has taken very good care of her toy and she sleeps with it every night. She is quite fond of her buddy.

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Here is Lilly and her buddy staring off into the kitchen hoping for a late night snack. Sorry for the dark photo, it was night time. Look at their matching tails!

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Garbanzo Burgers

It has come to my realization that someday I will probably need to invest in a real camera and take some photography classes. How is it that every blogger is just so good at taking pictures? I am a cooker and an eater. Not a photographer. I take a picture as an after thought, like…well, I guess I should take a picture of this. So I spend about 10 seconds “setting up” a shot and then I whip out my iPhone and take a picture. Done son.

Maybe I’ll focus on that more when I’m done with this Yoga Teacher Training I am currently in. I won’t be done until August so until then, it’s more iPhone pictures!

Speaking of Yoga Teacher School. It’s pretty fun and interesting but I have this homework thing now. What is that about? I never have time to read my Us Weekly magazines now. Just kidding. Homework is good. It helps me learn stuff. 🙂

I had my first test today in school too! I can’t wait to see how I did! I am currently doing a 200 hour teacher training but I already know I will want to continue on and get the 500 hour training. That’s just how I roll.

Anywho…

This week for lunch I am eating these lovely Garbanzo Burgers.

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In the future I will double this recipe because it didn’t make enough for a full week of lunches. What I did like about these is that they were super fast and easy to make and because they are made in the food processor and then go straight onto a baking sheet my kitchen was not trashed for a change and cleanup was really fast.

You know what I am really, really wanting? A bigger food processor with dishwasher safe parts. It would make my cleanup so much easier. I love my food processor but it has to be hand-washed!

Ok, back to the burgers. They are really easy to make and if you stockpile garbanzo beans and spices like I do, you probably won’t even have to buy anything from the store to make these!

Garbanzo Burgers

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons soy sauce or liquid aminos
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon sage

Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse several times, just enough to get everything stirred together and the garbanzo beans just slightly smashed. We are not pureeing here.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the flax absorb moisture.
Pre-heat the oven to 375˚. Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Shape the mixture into about 8 patties. Bake for 20 minutes on one side. Flip, then bake for an additional 10 on the other side.

I topped my burgers with Sun Dried Tomato Hummus and served with Wild Rice.

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Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

Gooooooood Monday morning!

I know a recipe is a winner when I stand over my food processor eating it with my fingers…and it’s not frosting.

So it looks like we have ourselves a real winner on our hands here! I was looking through my Veganomicon cookbook for recipes that were easy to make yet healthy and very yummy and came across this dip/spread. I made a couple slight adjustments and wowza is this stuff good!

These are some of the possible ways it could be eaten:
1. As a dip for sliced cucumbers or vegetables
2. As a spread on a sandwich
3. As a topping on pizza
4. As a spread on a veggie burger
5. Dipping your fingers in it as is, served either warm or cold

Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

2 cups sun dried tomatoes (dry ones, not packed in oil)
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds
1/2 cup navy beans
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place the tomatoes in a bowl and pour the boiling water other them. Cover with a plate and allow to soak for 15 minutes.
Place the almonds in a food processor and process until fine. Next add the remaining ingredients to the food processor. Add the sun dried tomatoes and 1/2 cup of the “tomato water” to the food processor. Blend until smooth, scraping the sides as needed.

Store in the refrigerator. Enjoy either warm or cold.

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This is not the most flattering picture of Lilly…she was starting to doze off when I took this.

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But here she is riding in her car seat, just about to fall asleep (imagine that). It’s funny for 2 reasons. First being, she has a car seat. Dog car seats are great, they are like a mobile dog bed that straps to the car and then you can attach the dog to the car seat via harness. It also keeps the car cleaner and free of dog hair. Lilly loves her car seat of course because its like a huge bed that goes everywhere. Wouldn’t that be great?!
The second reason it’s funny is because her tongue is sticking out. It’s not out because she was licking her lips, it’s out because she has lost so many teeth her tongue doesn’t always stay in her mouth any more! I clean Lilly’s teeth regularly, but pugs just tend to lose teeth because their faces are smashed.

I can’t end on that note, that’s a really bad picture of her. Lets on this one. A sleeping pic.

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