Archives for the month of: February, 2013

I know #followfriday is a Twitter thing, but I’ve found some really amazing blogs since I started actively blogging here.  These folks have inspired me, made me hungry, encouraged me to run, and made me jealous with their mad blogging skillz.  I’ll post more of these occasionally as I run into them.

In Vegetables We Trust – This cat is MY HERO!! Amazing recipes, all the time! I am addicted to this blog. Using leftovers from the juicer in a recipe?!  Are you some kind of genius??  Yes.  Yes, you are.

King of the Hills – Are you a runner?  Need some motivation?  Check this guy out.  After reading his posts, I always want to go for a run!  (Also, I’m still an “external runner”, working on that though!)

Andrea Leber – She’s one of the first blogs I started following.  Well written, interesting insights.  She’s my yoga soul sister.

That’s all I have time for right now, but I’ll be back this weekend with another running update and a vegan lasagna attempt.  Wish me luck. 

I haven’t posted much lately because I’ve encountered a bit of a problem that has forced me to compromise quite a bit with some recipes.  The problem has a name:  Rex.  Rex is a black labrador and usually a very lovely, playful companion.  She watches me when I cook, and sometimes comes on shorter runs with me.  Unfortunately, it appears that she’s developed quite a taste for MAYHEM lately!  To date (this is just THIS WEEK), she’s consumed:

1/2 loaf of whole wheat bread

1/2 loaf of rye bread

3/4 of a brick of vegan cheese

My favorite Swatch watch

1 entire package of Beggin’ Strips (which were securely, I thought, up on a counter)

Also, I’m missing an entire box of veggie bullion cubes.  Rex is the prime suspect.Image

The culprit, looking guilty.

As such, I’ve had to make due with what’s left, which, frankly, hasn’t been much.  I whipped up a really good chili yesterday with some canned tomatoes, corn, beans, and some sliced zucchini.  To give it some kick, I cut up some canned chipotle peppers and dumped them, with the sauce, into the chili.  It was quick, delicious, and had a great smoky flavor from the chipotles.  Easy as pie!  Now, if only I had some vegan cheese to sprinkle on top…. (What kind of dog eats a brick of vegan cheese?? I couldn’t even eat a brick of the stuff!)

Needless to say, I will be MUCH more careful with my selections at the grocery store next time around (AND where I store my human food).

As I’ve been overall disappointed with the quality, texture, and flavor of the store-bought vegan cheeses I’ve tried so far, I think this week I will try to make a nut-based cheese.  I’ve spotted some recipes for cashew-based “ricotta” that are begging to be tried.  There may be a lasagna in this girl’s future.

On the running side, I’ve been down and out for over a week!! As I am fully determined to complete the 1/2 marathon, I decided to really, truly give my hip time to heal.  I don’t want to cause permanent or major damage just because I’m being stubborn.  So I am sitting this week out with the hopes of easing back into my training regimen this weekend.  I really think if I’m smart about this, I can still run my upcoming races (and not screw myself up for biking season, which is fast approaching!).

On a final note:  I watched the documentary “Vegucated” last weekend and found it very inspirational!  I really think I just may be able to stay on this path after my 30 day challenge is complete!!

Eat well and train smart, everyone!  ❤

Oy, Valentine’s Day.

I am usually pretty cheerful.  I’m single right now, but there’s something I like about that (usually)!  There’s freedom! I never have to compromise. I cook whatever I want! I run when I feel like it! I sometimes don’t shave my legs.  I like the sense of possibility; of knowing that at any moment, I could stumble into something really fabulous.  I’ve done some dating, but recently decided to take a bit of a break. I met some really wonderful, fantastic guys, but I just wasn’t feeling it.  So, I decided to take a little breather until I was ready to get back into the game.  I’d know when it felt right.

Then along comes Valentine’s Day, making me so constantly aware of my singleness. Making me feel BAD about my singleness:  What’s WRONG with me? Look at all these Happy Couples!  Why am I not part of a Happy Couple?  Oh, I am so terrible and so, so very SINGLE!

To top it all off, my hip has really been hurting me this week.  I ran 5 miles on Monday and have been limping around ever since.  So I decided to take yet another little break to give this strain time to heal up before my 7 mile run on Saturday.  This did not help with the “being sort of bummed out” thing.  By yesterday, I was in a full-on funk.

I woke up feeling very grouchy, which is unusual for me.  I decided to cheer myself up by wearing my favorite sparkly sweater to work.  Before I left, I looked in the mirror:

“Stupid sparkly sweater,” I thought.  “It looks so dumb!”  I wore it anyway.

On my way to work, I listened to Nirvana loudly and ran a red light. “Stupid red light,” I muttered, “you’re not the boss of me!”

After work, I got stuck behind a Dodge minivan embellished with snappy electric blue racing stripes.  “Well done!!” I shrilled to the minivan from behind my steering wheel. “You’ve managed to make the stupidest-looking vehicle on Earth look EVEN STUPIDER! YOU MUST BE SO PROUD!”  And then I yelled some more things that weren’t nice and listened to Nirvana even louder.

When I got home, I decided it was time for an intervention.  This nasty mood had to go.  It was time to pull out the Big Guns, and the Big Guns have a name:  Reuben.  Vegan Reuben.  This is what it took to get the job done:

Rye bread (stupid rye! at least it was vegan stupid rye!)

Sauerkraut (who puts sauerkraut in a bag?! WTF, Kroger?!)

Fake bacon (I used vegan tempeh bacon and IT WAS GOOD, DAMMIT)

Delicious sauce (Nothing snarky to say here, I could drink it:  Veganaise + catsup + celery seed + splash of vegan soy sauce + dill relish)

I toasted the bread with some fake, vegan butter in the skillet, then assembled the sandwich.  When I sat down to eat it, I felt all the vitriol melt out of my heart like the processed vegan butter I used on the rye.  It was…magical. *tear

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Tonight I kept my love affair with processed foods going, making a recipe I’d spied online for a grilled-cheese-sandwich-cum-jalapeno-popper (toasted bread with vegan cream cheese and sour cream and a bit of shaved vegan pepper-jack if you have it, sprinkled with jalapeno slices).  It was also quite delicious, even though it pushed the boundaries of my relationship with vegan cheese.  

Tonight, well into the dreaded V-day, I can say I’m feeling pretty good.  I’ve added TWO solid sandwiches to my repertoire (and I think BOTH of them could even pass muster with non-vegans), and my hip is finally feeling better.  Life’s good.

And I haven’t given up on Mr. Cupid just yet.  You never know what’s waiting around the corner. 😉

I had a pretty good run on Saturday morning! I woke up with the birds to meet my running group at the park by 8 AM.  We did a pretty flat, easy six miler and I was done before 9 AM! Pretty good way to start the weekend! I was feeling really great, until the run ended.  Out of nowhere, my sinuses decided to completely revolt.  AWFUL! Nothing like sinus pressure so bad your teeth hurt!

When I got home, I decided to combat the sinus demon with some spice (also, some Sudafed).  I combined a couple recipes I found online for tofu curry to create a fabulously spicy coconut-veggie curry.  I used tofu, bok choy, bell peppers, mushroom, and tomatoes.  I found the sauce a little thin, so I chucked in a little cornstarch. Poof! Thicker!Image

It did its job in clearing my sinuses. 🙂

Saturday afternoon, I met up with a friend for an early dinner.  My friend is also a vegan (and a runner!), and I found myself nerding out, telling him all about the new vegan recipes I’ve been trying.  It made me wish I had someone to cook for! (My wish was granted that afternoon, when my brother came over and I foisted some curry upon him.) With Valentine’s Day looming, my singleness is not something I can easily forget like usual.  More on that later this week (in a very special Un-Valentine’s Day post)…

I’m really digging this 30 Day Challenge.  I feel good about what I’m eating and have lots of energy.  I am seriously considering keeping it up after the 30 days! I enjoy the challenge of finding and trying new vegan recipes. I’ve even starting collecting non-vegan recipes to see if I can vegan-ize them!  Also, it seems like a very natural extension of the very reasons I became a vegetarian (which I won’t break down on here tonight, but the short version is a very stringent “do no harm” personal philosophy). I’m going to experiment with some cheese substitutes in the coming weeks, and if I can find some satisfying vegan cheeses, I might be on board, kids!  Rut-roh! Is there a convert in the works??

I know it’s not a good idea to run before my hip injury is fully recovered. It’s more a matter of degree – just how bad of an idea is it? I’ll find out tomorrow. I got home from work and ran 5.3 miles!

Back when I first started running, I was afraid to run outside. Once I got off the treadmill, though, I can’t imagine going back. I did 5 miles on the treadmill last Saturday because it was too snowy to run outside.  That last mile nearly killed me.  Today, though, I zipped right through it! I could have gone further, even!

Tonight I tried a recipe I have been VERY excited about. In New York, one of my favorite lunch places is Hummus Kitchen. They have great hummus – so fresh that sometimes it’s still warm. One time I decided to mix it up and tried their “Super Healthy Salad”. It. Was. Amazing. I really miss it, so I decided to try to replicate it.  It’s pretty simple:

Quinoa

Sweet potato

Dried cranberries and apricots

Walnuts

I didn’t have any apricots, but it was fine.  It was better than fine, actually. It was fan-freaking-tasitc. The dressing is the crucial ingredient.  After scouring the web, I found a great recipe for it here.  I made it vegan by replacing the regular yogurt with vegan yogurt. Also, instead of the honey/almond butter combo, I threw in some tahini.  I ended up adding some olive oil as well, because it just wasn’t blending (VitaMix owners, insert superior smirk here).  I would have taken a pretty glamour photo-Instagram snap of it, but I was too busy shoveling it into my face. Sorry!

I DID run into a bit of an obstacle on the ole Vegan Challenge today. I went to a lunch meeting at work.  I picked out my veggie sandwich and plucked off the cheese like a good vegan.  About halfway though, I noticed it had what appeared to be mayonnaise on it. 😦   In that moment, I had to made a choice:  Either make a big deal out of it, or live with it.  I chose to live with it.  In general, I take this route in my usual vegetarian life as well. Sometimes, stuff is made with eggs. Sometimes, without thinking, I eat this stuff. It happens. I get over it. Absolute perfection isn’t possible, and striving for it is an invitation for frustration.

Another observation about this challenge is the Eating Out Thing. I go out to dinner once or twice a week. It hasn’t been a problem for me so far, because I plan ahead. I check out the menu before I go and if there not something vegan (or something that can easily be made vegan without me being a huge pain in some chef’s a$$), I just eat beforehand. I should note, I learned this lesson the hard way. The last time I tried to go vegan, I went to a fancy pants fundraiser at the New York Public Library. There was virtually NOTHING I could eat all evening long. I ended up “dining” on red wine (which the servers refilled nonstop) and some green beans. Needless to say, I got VERY HAMMERED at this VERY UPPITY, proper event.  No bueno, kids! Nooo bueno!

Lessons for the day: Plan ahead! Don’t freak out if you accidentally eat mayo (unless you’re allergic, then definitely go ahead and freak out)! Make that delish salad with the amazing mint dressing!

So far, the vegan challenge hasn’t been too challenging for me. I’m not really following the “30 Day Vegan Challenge” book, although a friend lent it to me (good recipes in there!). I’m just doing what I can to eat a clean, vegan diet for the next 30 days.  That said, today, I ate dirty. 

I ate real dirty.

Last night, I came home from work and did a 4-mile run. It was really cold, and it started to snow as I made my way home, but I was so excited that my hip was okay I just couldn’t stop. Once I made it back inside, though, and the exhileration of the run wore off, I was WIPED OUT! Like, couldn’t-drag-my-sorry-butt-to-the-store-to-buy-that-brick-of-brie-I’d-been-dreaming-about wiped out. So, instead of doing a swan dive into a creamy, cheesy slice of heaven, I spent my last meal as a non-vegan eating…vegan food. Yep. Do I get a Lame-o Prize?? 

I needed something quick that I could make with stuff I already had. I picked the easiest, simplest recipe that I could think of:  Mujaddara.  Rice + Lentils + Caramelized Onions = DONE! I threw some cumin, sea salt and ground pepper into the rice and lentil mixture to give it some kick, but the star of this show is really the onions.  FOR REALS, YO. Sweet, savory, warm, and best of all: done in about 30 minutes.  BEHOLD:

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Today, I had my usual breakfast of oatmeal + ‘nana and the leftovers of last night’s meal for lunch.  After work, I went to my local health food store to pick up some vegan staples – stuff that I see over and over in vegan recipes (which I usually pass on making because I don’t have).  It was hard to get in and out of that place and not spend a million bucks. Just walking in there is enough to give any vegetarian a food boner. TONS of stuff – Kale Chips! Trail Mixes! EVERY SUPERFOOD EVER INVENTED BY WHOMEVER INVENTS SUPERFOODS!! But, I was good. I only bought this stuff:

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And also some Yerba Mate endurance tea for my run tomorrow because a girl’s got to treat herself, y’all! Those are: Split green peas (who’s making some Indian dal this week?? ME!), red lentils (again with the dal), millet (because let’s experiment with grains!), nutritional yeast (in tons of vegan recipes), Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar (which I think will give me superhuman powers, according to the way vegans rave about the stuff), and more Veganaise (which I eat anyway because of the egg thing, I was just out of it).

Oh, right. Dirty! I got home and ate some bread (vegan bread!!) lathered with a faux-healthy peanut butter situation (I think it had granola in it? But I checked the label, it’s vegan. Definitely not healthy or “clean”, but vegan).  All in all, not a bad start!