Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Clean out the Fridge" Bowls

Moving sucks.

Everything is in boxes, food choices are limited, eating utensils are paper and plastic, "routine" is nonexistent, to do lists are never-ending, and I'm constantly tired.  But in an effort to clean out the vegetables in my fridge and keep dinner in one pan, I discovered an easy, delicious meal. I may just have to do this on purpose next time.

"Clean out the Fridge" Bowls
serves 2
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 large zucchini squash
  • 2 small yellow squash
  • 6 mushrooms
  • 2 links veggie sausage (I used TJ's Sausageless Italian Sausage)
  • 1 Tb. olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning, divided
  • Salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 425F. Roast potatoes using 1.5 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp Italian seasoning and salt and pepper.

Chop zucchini, squash, and mushrooms. Slice sausage into bite size pieces.

Toss veggies and sausage with remaining 1.5 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp Italian seasoning and salt and pepper.

About 20 minutes into roasting the potatoes, add the veggies and sausage into the mix. Roast for an additional 20 minutes and serve.

Nutritional information (for 1/2): 418 calories, 14.5g fat (2g sat), 55g carbs (8.5g fiber), 22.5g protein

You would not believe how much food that is, either. Those are not the tiny little paper bowls. It's a very satisfying, filling, and refueling meal. Perfect for moving or any other hectic time!

It's been a while since I've updated y'all on my weight loss progress...

That's in just over two months, folks. BALLER. I updated the About Me page to include the first half of this year and there, I highly attribute my current weight loss success to weight lifting. And I cannot rave enough. I started small (about 25 lbs) and just keep adding weight and reps as I get stronger. Here is my current workout, just so you can get an idea of how simple it is.

This is a new approach to weight lifting for me since I've long been victim to the high reps, low weights jabber that women get to avoid "building muscle". I can honestly say that that never worked for me. I always had flab, never looked toned and never really felt stronger. While I have gained noticeable muscle, it doesn't look bad at all! Muscle looks different on women than it does men so those who are scared to pick weights in fear that they'll look like Arnold, have no fear!

Another thing I have noticed from changing the way I lift is that the weight is finally coming off in the right places. Even as I lost weight before, I never felt that it was actually making me look better, not just smaller.

In other news, Mama Pea showed up on my doorstep last night right as I was heading out for a run. Sadly, not the real-life woman, but in book form...which is still pretty cool!

I was a little excited. Since the move, I haven't had much time to completely absorb the book but I did thumb through it to find a margarita smoothie, jambalaya, and blackberry cinnamon rolls. OH. MY. PEAS. (buyitnow)

How do you feel about moving?
I would like to find just. one. person. who enjoys it. I know that's impossible. 

Do you lift weights or have a weight routine?
Tell me, tell me! I want to steal your ideas. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Peas and Thank You Doughballs

I am in full MOVING swing this week. I've packed 3/4 of the stuff into boxes. And I've had to open boxes a million times to find my shampoo, can opener, pizza pan, and other various essentials. Needless to say, the food in my kitchen has not been phenomenal lately. Or even photographed. But a couple weeks ago, I finally took my shot at some doughballs from one of my favorite blogs. And in honor of the book being released today (EEK!), I thought I'd share these lovelies.

Snickerdoodle Doughballs
from Peas and Thank You
makes about 24 doughballs
  • 3/4 cup vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1-3 tsp soymilk
  • Cinnamon and sugar to coat

*Organic sugar is important to note because it isn't as sweet as regular sugar.

Blend together margarine, sugars, salt, vanilla, flours, and cream of tartar. It may seem like it won't come together at first but just be patient.

The final dough will be crumbly but can form balls. Add milk as needed but be sure not to add too much. I added 2 tsp and that's what made my balls flatter than Mama Pea's.

Still beyond tasty, though. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture and place on a prepared baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes.

Nutritional information (per doughball): 103 calories, 6g fat, 12g carbs, 1g protein

Freakin yum. The balls are nice and doughy and taste even more fabulous when cooled. Which, trust me, is almost impossible to let them do.

I am so. beyond. excited. for this to be on my doorstep tonight or tomorrow. I pre-ordered it in MARCH. Because I'm a stalker. BUY IT NOW.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Vegan Carrot Cake

Let me start with a disclaimer: vegan cakes are not healthier than non-vegan cakes. They may have less saturated fat from the dairy...but they're still cake.

Here's another one: putting vegetables in a cake does not make it acceptable to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It's still cake.

Damn good cake.

Vegan Carrot Cake with Vegan Buttercream Frosting
from The Grit cookbook
serves 16
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tb. plus 2 tsp AP flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tb. brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tb. white sugar
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 10 oz crushed pineapple in juice (normally 1/2 a can)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance buttery sticks), softened
  • 16 oz confectioners' sugar (approx 3 cups)
  • 1-2 Tb. soymilk or water (soymilk is much creamier)

The measurements are a little wackadoo because the original measurements were already weird and then I halved it - why? because I don't need 3 giant layers of carrot cake in my fridge! ;)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans and dust with flour. The easiest way to shred 2 cups of carrots is with a food processor! I used 7-8 carrots and had some left over. 

Sift flour, baking soda, spices and salt together into a large mixing bowl. Add sugars and combine with the dry mixture.

Add all remaining ingredients (only 1 tsp vanilla extract, save the other tsp) and stir together thoroughly until mixture is uniform, using a rubber spatula to scrape down sides of bowl. If batter appears too thick, a small amount of additional water may be mixed in. I tried my best to show the optimal consistency in the picture; you're looking for a thickness in between regular cake and brownie batter. 

Divide batter between prepared pans.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or just until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pans and allow layers to cool completely before icing.

Which is hard, trust me.

To make frosting, blend vegan butter, confectioners' sugar, remaining tsp of vanilla extract, and 1 Tb. soymilk together until smooth. It won't seem like it will come together, but just it time. 

You may need to add another Tb. of milk, but don't go overboard. I always "play" with my icing spatula to make sure the spreading consistency is right. 

When cakes are cooled, or when you have had enough already, spread about 1/3 of the icing between the two layers. I do completely recommend waiting for cakes to completely cool before icing but it was already 11 PM and I was cranky. Bahaha.

Place the rest of the icing on top of the cake in a giant mound. Spread the icing out and down the sides. An icing spatula really comes in handy here. I'm normally not a unitasker tool type of person but this one is definitely worth it. And it normally looks much better when you're not falling asleep while icing. I challenge you to make an uglier cake.

But looks don't always matter, taste does. And this baby is a winner. You can garnish with chopped walnuts if you'd like. But that had to wait for the next day.

Nutritional information (for 1/16 slice): 370 calories, 18g fat (5g sat), 52g carbs (1.2g fiber), 2g protein

The one requirement I have for splurges: they have to taste worth it. And this cake was worth every. single. calorie. However, I recommend inviting 15 friends over to help you eat it. Or pass it out to your neighbors. Otherwise, you won't be able to resist.

What's your favorite cake?
Mine is definitely carrot cake. Although red velvet is a close second! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Caribbean Jerk Fries (and the final vote!)

These sound like mean fries, don't they? ;) But really, they're pretty freakin delicious. I tried this seasoning on both russet and sweet fries. Both were winners which makes the decision that much harder...

Jerk Seasoning
from Allrecipes database
makes 1/4 cup
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Combine. Super easy. Not to mention, I could use this in place of the cumin in my black bean burgers. DELICIOUS.  

Caribbean Jerk Fries
serves 2
  • 1/2 bag Alexia french fries*
  • Juice of one lime, about 2 tsp
  • 2 tsp jerk seasoning

*I used 1/2 of a bag because there's only two of can definitely use the whole bag if you're feeding more. Just be sure to double the seasoning too.

Toss fries with seasoning and lime juice. I find that seasonings tend to stick better when the fries have "thawed" for about 10 minutes.

Bake at 400F or 450F, depending on which fry you choose, for 20-25 minutes. (Check the bag!)

This is the end of my fry trials. I have to submit my final fry TOMORROW! Eeek. So, let's review....

Caribbean Jerk Fries - Sweet Waffle or Yukon Julienne??

Disclosure: Alexia Foods has provided me with product coupons and monetary compensation for my participation in this program.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Black Bean Burgers

Summer is all about burgers....which can be hard for vegetarians. I've had my share of veggie burgers. I've tried just about every. brand. possible. There have been some winners and some losers. I've also tried bean burgers at home a few times. They're cheaper (sometimes!) and less processed but they can also be frustrating and mushy. So, after much trial and error...I've learned a few things and found my favorite black bean burger recipe. It shouldn't be surprising that it's from Mama Pea. ;)

Black Bean Burgers
from Peas and Thank You
serves 4
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans
  • 1/3 c. onion, minced
  • 1/2 c. mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 c. oats, ground to a coarse texture
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tb. vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves)

Be sure not to grind your oats too much. You don't want a bread-crumb like powder; you want ground oats with some texture to them.  

Chop mushrooms, onion, and mince garlic.

Mash beans in a bowl until chunky. (Originally, I cheated and used a food processor. But this made the beans wayyy too mushy, so follow directions, unlike me.) Combine all ingredients. Let sit for at least an hour. 

After sitting, form 4 patties. Saute the patties in a skillet over medium heat, flipping half way through, about 7-10 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.

Nutritional information (for 1 burger, without bun and toppings): 172 calories, 1.7g fat (0.4g sat), 31g carbs (8.5g fiber), 9.3g protein

You'll never buy a box of black bean burgers again. It's easy, tastes delicious and is healthier. WIN!

  • Always let mixture set 1-2 hours before forming.
  • Don't mush beans too much or use a food processor (no matter how tempting!).
  • If possible, cook the day before and reheat - this gives the best results. For real!
  • Be sure to get your pan hot enough before putting the burgers in or they won't get that nice crust!
Have you ever made your own bean burgers? Any tips I missed?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"Everything" Fries

Sometimes you have to try some losers...

to find a winner.

"Everything" Fries
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (this should be around 3/4 tsp if fries aren't already salted)
  • 1 1/4 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 16 oz bag Alexia Oven Crinkles Classic frozen fries

By the way, these are the easiest fries ever.

Combine all spices. Toss fries in spices until well coated. It may seem like they won't stick but they will, just keep tossing and turning, continually grabbing the spices from the bottom of the bowl and putting them back on the fries.

Bake at 450F for 20-25 minutes. Viola

Crinkle russets being my favorite so far?! Now that's a surprise

My favorite thing about these fries? They go so. well. with ketchup. In fact, I ran out of ketchup and drove to Trader Joe's at 9 pm to get more. Because I'm insane like that. Wanna see a crazy picture of me with a ridiculously long fry? OF COURSE YOU DO.

You're welcome. And while I'm really enjoying having an excuse to eat a ridiculous amount of fries, I think eventually half a bag of fries every day will have an adverse effect on my waistline. Just maybe.

It's been really hot for my runs lately and I'm starting to sweat off every ounce of sunscreen I put on...which leads to the ever-so-coveted sports bra tan line. It's gorgeous, let me tell you. NOT. I bought new "sweatproof" sunscreen since mine was still from high school...yiiiikes. Can you tell I'm used to a treadmill for the summer?

Do you have a problem sweating off your sunscreen? What brand do you use?
I never have a problem with my face lotion, thank goodness, so I don't get it in my eyes or anything...but my neighbors think I'm kinda weird since I sweat milky white stuff. 

Any suggestions on what to call these fries?!
They remind me of an everything I thought it made sense. But something along the lines of Garlic Peppered fries would be more appropriate? FEEDBACK PLEASE. thank you. :)

For more information on Alexia's "Reinvent a Classic" program and to give more input (yes please!!), see this post.

Disclosure: Alexia Foods has provided me with product coupons and monetary compensation for my participation in this program.

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