Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Opinions, please!

Which of these plate sets do you like? I'm torn between them and would like a second opinion! Thanks!




The last set does include bowls, but they aren't in the photo.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Workin' on My Fitness

No food porn tonight, since I'm enjoying leftover empanadas. Instead, I figured I'd post a few things about my gym routine since I get questions about it.

I *love* to lift weights. However, I do not want calloused hands, because that's gross. I wear gloves to lift weights, but it was really tough to find leather-free gloves. I found Valeo gloves at Vegan Essentials (here).


I do an hour of cardio and 30-40 minutes of weightlifting Monday through Friday mornings, take Saturdays off, and then do an hour of cardio on Sundays (usually bike riding outside, instead of treadmill or elliptical). For the elliptical, I use resistance level 6. For the treadmill, I go back and forth between running 6 miles at 6 mph on 0.5% incline or running 3 miles at 6 mph then running 2.5 miles at 5 mph on 5% incline.

Monday - back
* lat pulldowns 4x15 70-80 lbs (machine) (for reference, this is ~2/3 of my body weight)
* low seated rows 4x15 70-80 lbs (machine)

* close grip pulldowns 4x15 70-80 lbs (machine)
* dead lifts with 25 lb dumbbells (too easy this morning, so this will be increased next week to 30 lb dumbbells)

* bench rows 4x15 with 20 lb dumbbells (this will be increased next week to 25 lb dumbbells)
* crunches 50 total
* oblique twists 50 total with 10 lb weight

Tuesday - chest
* chest press 4x15 with 20 lb dumbbells
* chest flies 4x15 with 15 lb dumbbells

* incline press 4x15 with 15 lb dumbbells
* incline flies 4x15 with 15 lb dumbbells

* assisted push-ups 4x15 (use the weight bench for assistance)
* crunches - 50 total

Wednesday - shoulders
* shoulder press 4x15 with 15 lb dumbbells
* front raises 4x15 with 15 lb dumbbells

* lateral raises 4x15 with 10 lb dumbbells
* shrugs 4x15 with 10 lb dumbbells

* crunches 50 total
* oblique twists with 10 lb weight - 50 total

Thursday - arms
* hammer curls 4x15 with 20 lb dumbbells
* bicep curls 4x15 with 20 lb dumbbells

* tricep pushdowns 4x15 80 lb (machine)
* tricep overhead extensions 4x15 with 20 lb dumbbell

* weight increase needed in the next couple weeks

* bench dips 4x15
* crunches 50 total

Friday - legs
* walking lunges 132 total lunges (66 per leg) with 15 lb dumbbells
* squats 4x15 with 15 lb dumbbells
* calf raises with 15 lb dumbbells

* hip abductor 4x15 80 lbs (machine)
* hip adductor 4x15 65 lbs (machine)

* weight increase needed in the next couple weeks

* crunches 50 total
* oblique twists 50 total with 10 lb weight

After working out, I enjoy a protein smoothie. I use 1 cup soy milk, 1 banana (frozen is the best to make it thick!), 1 cup frozen strawberries (about 6 berries), 1 cup frozen blueberries, 2 tablespoons finely ground flaxseed (for healthy fats), and 2 tablespoons of Manitoba Harvest hemp protein 70. I was using 1 tablespoon of Nutribioitic rice protein, but I eat rice so I wanted something different. The hemp adds a really nutty/savory flavor to the smoothie.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Holiday

I decided to celebrate Easter by riding my bicycle in the Everglades and making empanadas. The bike ride was at Everglades National Park on a 15 mile loop. There was a look-out tower at the 7th mile, so I got to see how incredibly flat Florida is. (Haha.) The first 7 miles were spent biking against the wind, so that was a bit tough, but the last 8 miles were much easier. I saw lots of alligators, including this one with its mouth open.


After showering, I got to work on making empanadas from Viva Vegan!. These empanadas contain grated seitan (recipe in book), diced cremini mushrooms, Kalamata olives, and raisins. Yeah, not a flavor combination I would have put together myself. However, I liked the idea of salty (the olives) and sweet (the raisins) together. The dough recipe says it should make 10 dough circles of 6" diameter. Because I thought I could use my dough press, I made 21 circles of 4". The very first circle was wasted, because the dough press let the middle sink through the center and make a hot mess. I pinched the remaining 20 closed by hand. Yesterday, I prepared the seitan and the dough circles in advance, since I knew I'd be outside in the sunshine today.



Now, for dessert, I'm enjoying some of the dark chocolate bar with mint crisps that I bought a while back at Whole Foods. Nom nom nom. Happy Easter, everyone!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Miss & A Hit

The miss was this tempeh stir-fry. I steamed the tempeh for ~20 minutes, but it was still rather bitter. I tossed the tempeh in the sauce from the recipe and let it sit while I cooked the veggies and noodles. The bitterness of the tempeh is why this was a miss. I only ate about half of the tempeh, but thoroughly enjoyed the veggies and udon noodles. I buy the udon noodles at a local Asian market for $1 per package. I used a bag of frozen sugar snap pea stir-fry mix.


The success was baked falafel from Appetite for Reduction. I freakin' love falafel!! The downside to falafel is that it is usually fried, which would be very messy to do at home. I decided on baked falafel to keep the mess to a minimum. I wish that I had doubled this recipe because it was delicious! I served my falafel in a whole wheat pita with Sabra supremely spicy hummus, lettuce, and cucumber. I know I mentioned before (here) that Sabra had donated to a military unit with a history of human rights violations. I contacted Sabra and was told that Sabra has donated to the unit, but it does not appear from their email that it is an ongoing donation.


I started preparing my Easter dinner today. I'm really looking forward to it. It's not at all traditional, but I get to use a kitchen item that I received for Christmas. I want to go bicycling tomorrow, so I made two of the time-consuming components today.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Out for Lunch

I never go out for lunch. I usually just have a PB&J bagel, baby carrots, a piece of fruit, and a snack (pretzels, nuts, etc). Today, I had a couple appointments in the morning, so I decided to treat myself to lunch. I went for a burrito at Chipotle. I ordered my usual - a burrito with cilantro lime rice, black beans, fajita veggies, corn salsa, lettuce, and guacamole. I always get a side of chips with hot salsa. Love the big salt crystals on the chips.


Chipotle is in the same development as Christopher's Kitchen. I went over there thinking I'd get a piece of chocolate for dessert. The individual little chocolates are $1.50 to $3 each, so very affordable for a treat. I looked into the dessert case and saw a piece of apple pie. A raw vegan apple pie?! Uh yes, please, serve me that! I got a scoop of raw vegan ice cream on top. Nom nom nom.


Look at that! In all its glory, this piece of pie was incredible!! It was also great to see so many people at Christopher's Kitchen for lunchtime, since it's a bit pricey. Maybe it will be successful after all, meaning I should be able to go there several more times. :)

[Edit: This was my 100th post! Woohoo! I celebrated that by changing the fonts on the blog. Nerdy, I know, but I wanted a less formal font that gives the blog a bit of personality.]

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Colbert has a feminist moment!

Now, go read The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. I read that book in college and loved it. It really fits with my values. Hate, hate, hate make-up and the ridiculous number of products geared towards women, creating insecurities when they don't look like photoshopped super models.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Quick Update

This weekend, my friend's mom hosted a housewarming party combined with a party for her daughter returning from Afghanistan. It was a mix of Marines, scientists, engineers, and friends of the host. Good times. I brought veggie lasagna for myself, since lasagna was the main dish. I also brought rice crispies treats made using Ricemellow. I received the Ricemellow for Christmas, so I finally got a chance to use it to make this recipe. I mixed in a quarter cup of Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips.


Yesterday, Cristin and Jess hosted a taco dinner. I brought sauteed soy curls with taco seasoning, Nacho Mom's vegan fire roasted queso (for the tortilla chips served as an appetizer), and Daiya. From all of the topping options provided, I grabbed lettuce, sauteed onions and peppers, and black bean and corn salsa.


Tonight, I decided to make brinner. Love a good brinner meal! I decided to make banana flapjacks and a tofu omelette from Vegan Brunch. Whenever I use banana-based batters, they always seem take longer to cook than the recipes call for. I tend to overcook the first one, then almost undercook the next one. I always get them to turn out okay after the first two. For the tofu omelette, I broke it as I tried to flip it. I ended up making it into a scramble, which I served with sauteed spinach (not pictured) and a mix of sauteed onions, peppers, and Frieda's soy chorizo (squeezed it out of the casing and broke it into chunks). I really liked this brand of soy chorizo, unlike the Lightlife version that I tried in 2009.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Sweet & Sara treats

I recently tried the Sweet & Sara smore, but this time I stepped it up and bought the peanut butter smore. I was at Whole Foods the other day, because I had to run some other errands and it was on the way. (Saving gas by running all errands on one trip!) I bought the peanut butter smore and some Daiya cheese for a brinner meal next week. I was hoping to find pepperjack Daiya, but I didn't see it. There were Rice Vegan pepperjack slices, but I wanted shredded cheese. I will check out the pepperjack slices in the future, because I like the cheddar rice vegan for grilled cheese.


Impressive! The peanut butter is in the crust, so the great vegan marshmallow wasn't changed. Nom nom nom.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lovin' Carbs!

That's how I feel when I eat pasta - in love with carbs. Love, love, love carbs. I honestly can't fathom living a low carb lifestyle! To get my carb fix, I decided to make Cajun beanballs and spaghetti from Appetite for Reduction. I excluded the scallions for topping the dish (because I completely overlooked that in the recipe, but it does seem weird to add green onions to pasta) and I added 1/2 cup finely diced shallots to the marinara while it was simmering. Because I had to work on the tempeh/bean balls, I turned the marinara down to simmer and tossed in the shallots. Very tasty overall and the balls held up quite well. I was afraid they'd completely fall apart, so I didn't toss them in the marinara. I tossed the marinara with the whole wheat penne and zucchini, then plated everything.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Comfort Food Enchiladas

So I've never really had enchiladas before. I'm a burrito, quesadilla, and fajita fan. Somehow I've never had enchiladas (that I can recall, at least). When I was flipping through Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food, I saw a recipe for cheesy enchiladas with variations for one with black beans, one with veggies, and one with faux chicken. I decided to cut back the cheese amount and add lots of veggies and Butler soy curls.

For veggies, I used half a red onion, a jalapeno pepper, a cup of corn, red and orange bell peppers, and a zucchini. I should have sauteed the onion first to soften it up a little. I rehydrated the soy curls in warm water, then tossed them in some enchilada sauce for flavor. I used whole wheat tortillas, because the corn tortillas called for were too small in my opinion. I put a layer of veggies, a few soy curls, and a sprinkle of Daiya cheddar cheese in each tortilla. I wish I had found the new Daiya pepperjack cheese for this recipe! Overall, these were very tasty and the Daiya cheese made it feel even more calorie-rich. The author of the cookbook also runs a blog called Vegan Guinea Pig.


For a little dessert, I had some Manischewitz dark chocolate mint patties. These are by no means healthy, but they taste just like York peppermint patties (which are not vegan)! I found these at Publix with all the Kosher stuff out for Passover.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekend Delights!

Last night, I went to see Limitless and get sorbet with my friend Sarah. For sorbet, we went to Fro-Yotopia in Downtown at the Gardens. They always have one dairy-free sorbet flavor. The flavor changes because it was strawberry kiwi this time and it was mixed berry last time I was there. I topped mine with diced strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, shredded coconut, and a tiny sprinkle of chopped peanuts. So, so good. There are several other fro-yo places in the area to check out, including Menchie's on PGA, Red Mango in Abacoa, and the new place (whose name I cannot find) on A1A and Hood.


This morning, I went to Jupiter Outdoor Center for stand-up paddle-boarding (SUP, as it's lovingly abbreviated) with the Network for Women in Science group! It was awesome! I admit, I was a slow learner on the steering. I crashed into two mangrove trees before I finally figured it out. I was one of the slower paddlers, but I still had fun.


After that, I met up with Jess and we went to the beach to hang out with a few other friends. Because of all this sun exposure, I did not feel like putting forth the effort to bike to Publix to get vegetable broth to make enchiladas. Instead, I opted to defrost some leftover seitan cutlets (recipe from American Vegan Kitchen) and make a stir-fry. I popped some jasmine rice into the rice cooker (1 cup rice to 1.5 cups water!), then got out a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies to heat in the wok. I made my favorite homemade sweet and sour sauce to go with it. This took maybe 10 minutes to prepare, so the longest step was waiting on the rice to cook. Nom nom nom.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Are sweet potatoes and black beans the new pb&j?

Apparently! This flavor combo appears in a lot of cookbooks, but I had never tried it. On Thursday, I got out my copy of Yellow Rose Recipes and made the sweet potato and black bean flautas. It took me forever to track this book down. When trying to do a Google search, the author's blog said there would be no reprints. On Amazon, there was only used copy available for $75 (now marked down to $50). I tried to order it from MooShoes, but they were out of stock. I finally found a copy at Herbivore, who were very helpful over the phone. The only changes I made were to use whole wheat flour tortillas instead of 6" corn tortillas (thought they'd be too small) and to add a little diced red onion once I filled the tortillas. I served my makeshift flautas with pre-made spicy guacamole that I could dollop onto the next bite. I'm happy that I made this on Thursday, because I would have not had the energy today after typing part of a review for publication.


Happy weekend, everyone! I'm off to see a movie and grab sorbet at a frozen yogurt place with a friend tonight - very low key but fun! :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Whomp whomp whompppppp

My roommate has decided to not take on another roommate and instead signed forms to vacate today. The forms to vacate must provide 60 days notice to the complex that we want to move out. We have to cover rent until someone else moves in. There are no other 2/2 units available, so there should be no problem in finding tenants for this unit. Since we will be paying for the 60 days, I can't move until mid-June (unless I want to pay two rents!). Whomp whomp whompppppppppp. I was excited to live alone and now it's postponed. I won't be able to get the 1/1 that I wanted, but there are plenty of other available properties in this area. Now it's a countdown of 61 days! I'll sign my forms in the morning.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Asian Food & Dark Chocolate - Winning Combo?

It seems to be the birthday season! My coworker celebrated his birthday yesterday, so several people from my department went out for dinner at Sushi Jo and for dessert at Kilwin's. Like a dummy, I forgot my camera! At Sushi Jo, I ordered the steamed vegetable dumplings as an appetizer. There were 5 dumplings in the order and they were so light. The lighting was dim, so I was unable to take a photo with my iPhone (it's the outdated 3G). For my main course, I ordered an Ibiza vegetable roll and a cucumber roll. The rolls were tasty, but I should have ordered more. That's the problem with veggie sushi - it never makes me feel full. Everyone else ate family style and shared the Triple Crown roll, the Mexican roll, the Spider roll, Tuna Tataki, and the Red Curry with chicken (ordered a level 1 spice, not spicy at all!). All positive reviews, except for the Lychee martini. At Kilwin's, I ordered a cup of raspberry sorbetto and several pieces of dark chocolate candy. The dessert case was calling my name! The pieces are small, so I ordered a dark chocolate coconut cluster, a dark chocolate filled with raspberry jam, a dark chocolate peanut butter bite, and a dark chocolate raisin cluster. Because the lighting was better in Kilwin's, I was able to get a photo of the dessert case with my phone. (Well, 2/3 of the case. You can't see the chocolate dipped pretzels and Oreos or caramel apples.) Hopefully, you'll understand why I was so drawn to this. I will definitely keep Kilwin's in mind for future dark chocolate "needs." The little raisin cluster was perfect, because I had been eyeing Raisinets a few weeks ago and contemplating making a dark chocolate version at home.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I'm Moving!!!!!!

Instead of waiting 269 days to move out, I have decided to move out as soon as possible. Although my roomie is generally a nice girl, I'm just tired of the mess. I've asked repeatedly for her to clean up after herself, but she acts like I'm twisting her arm. At 25 years old, keeping a room clean so it doesn't stink up other parts of the house, throwing food into the garbage bag (and not into the can itself), washing dishes in a timely manner, and not hoarding expired or molding food in the fridge should be basic life skills. I reached my limit this past weekend when she said holding the trash bag flaps to ensure food lands in the trash bag was a "waste of time." It's a waste of my time to clean up after another adult, so I'm moving so I no longer have to do that. I lined up another roommate for her, a new male chemistry student who should arrive in a couple weeks. Well, it was a little selfish to do that - lining up another roommate prevented me from paying $1000 to break the lease.

On May 7th, I will be opening the door to this:


What am I going to do with all that space (~1000 sq ft) to myself?! The den will serve as an office with my computer desk and bookshelf, as well as possibly a fitness room. My parents are bringing my armoire, so I'm super excited to have a closet that isn't about to explode with clothes. They're also bringing some basic items for the kitchen, my treadmill, and some random pieces of furniture to get the place set up. If all goes according to plan, I'll be graduating in May 2012, so I don't need really fancy stuff right now.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What A Weekend!

I spent part of Saturday afternoon on the beach with the girls. I got a little sun, but not a burn thankfully. We parted ways to shower and eat dinner. I made southwest quinoa burgers, steamed broccoli, and macaroni and cheese. This meal really hit the spot, but the best part was that the macaroni and cheese did not have added oils or margarine. The recipe calls for tahini and white beans instead!


We met up again in West Palm Beach. We started at Blue Martini in City Place and then headed to Roxy's (downstairs for basketball, upstairs for dancing!) on Clematis Street. What a fun night of dancing and getting to see the guys. I haven't seen some of the guys in weeks, so it was great to catch up with them. My friend, Keith, has lost ~60 lbs. He looks great! Another late night meant another lazy day. Today, we had brunch at Jess and Cristin's house and hung out by the pool all day. For the brunch, I brought whole wheat banana waffles, fresh fruit, and tempeh bacon. I haven't really liked the other marinated tempeh varieties, but I did really like these bacon-style strips. It was close enough in flavor that I think I would use it again.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Gratify - West Palm Beach, FL

Last night, I went to happy hour at the new World of Beer on Clematis Street. Our group arrived before 6, so most people had not yet had dinner. After a couple rounds at World of Beer, we walked over to Gratify. The ambiance was nice, they provide fresh cut potato chips, and the server was really helpful. I wanted the mushrooms and polenta dish, but sadly, there is butter in the polenta. The server spoke with the chef and they said they would make a flatbread with sweet potatoes and roasted veggies just for me! I was surprised that the restaurant was so willing to go out of its way to accommodate me, instead of just recommending a salad.


Jess ordered the arugula flatbread, which had arugula (obviously), gorgonzola cheese, and caramelized onions. Jeff ordered a burger and a side of fries. The fries had truffle oil on them! I've never had truffle oil before, so I made sure to grab a few fries to try. It was insanely good. No wonder chefs rave about truffle oil on Food Network. I can't remember the dishes everyone else ordered, but overall, everyone was very satisfied with their meal. After WoB and Gratify, we headed to Paddy Mac's to meet up with Jeff's sister, who recently returned from Afghanistan. It was an interesting night to say the least, as one very persistent guy kept trying to win Cristin's affections. Haha, good times, good times.

Highlight of the night: A text from Scott saying that a lot of our friends commented on how good I looked when I recently visited Baton Rouge. Gee, thanks, everyone! I've lost the ~20 lbs of booze/late night french fry gut that I gained while living there! Scott has lost ~55 lbs and is thinner than when we met! Crazy!