Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I decided to use up the last of the dried pinto beans I had in my pantry. Soaked them on Saturday night, cooked them in the slow cooker on Sunday, and made them into low-fat refried beans yesterday. I used the recipe from Appetite for Reduction. The secret to the low-fat beans is tomato sauce instead of oil. I also made the nacho cheesy sauce from The 30 Minute Vegan. I layered the beans, cheesy sauce, sliced mini sweet peppers, and green onions in the tortillas. I folded them over and popped them into the oven at 350*F. When one side looked crispy, I flipped them and waited for the new top side to also look crispy. I served these with a dollop of spicy guacamole. I bought the 100 calorie packs by Wholly Guacamole, because I can use a little guacamole without worrying about the rest turning brown or going bad.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Last Week's Runs

Taking today off from exercising, but I had some pretty good outdoor runs this last week. Tryin' to change it up from just the gym. I did some weight training at home after some of these runs, like shoulders and legs, using the dumbbells I have at home. It was nice to have my running partner say he thought our pace was a little faster on Sunday, plus we were able to chat through most of the run. Usually, we quit talking about half-way because we're focused on the run. He was recently out of the country, so we had a lot to catch up on during the run and at dinner afterwards. Overall, a decent week last week. This week will be a little different, because I have my thesis defense on Thursday. I plan to only work out for 3 days this week, instead of 5. I haven't been sleeping particularly well, which makes morning work outs more difficult. That should change once the defense is over. :)

Tuesday - 3.1 miles in 30 mins + shoulder exercises
Friday - 3.1 miles in 35 mins (felt like I was running through quicksand, just not feelin' it)
Saturday - 2.9 miles in 29 mins, then walked 1 mile (was lost in my neighborhood, now I know where to go on a new route!) + leg exercises
Sunday - 3 miles in ?? mins (no timer - he guessed we were running an 8:45 min/mile pace, but I'd say a 9:15 or 9:30.)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pasta Alla Carb-onara

This recipe always looks so simple and tasty in Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites. I decided to finally give it a try. I did not use the hemp almond parmesan called for in the recipe (it's another recipe in the book). I took a shortcut by using the last of my container of Parma. I skipped the lemon zest, since I used the little plastic lemon as my source for lemon juice. You add the lemon zest and/or juice to taste, so I used the lemon juice hanging out in the fridge. This recipe doesn't contain a protein source, so I cooked some Gardein scallopini cutlets to serve with this pasta dish.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Black Bean Chili & Cornbread

I don't really remember eating cornbread before about a year ago. I really enjoy it with chili now. I've seen the light! Now, one day I'll buy a cast iron skillet and make it in a more traditional Southern manner. I was flipping through Appetite for Reduction last weekend when I was trying to plan a menu and write a grocery list. I saw a black bean chili with lots of vegetables, which was a great way to use up most of the dried black beans lurking in the pantry. I soaked 1 cup dry black beans two days ago and cooked them in my little slow cooker yesterday. That made it easy to make the recipe today, which called for canned beans. The recipe also called for agave nectar, but I left that in my mom's fridge in February. I used sugar instead. I decided to serve the chili with cornbread, so I went back to the table of contents to look for a cornbread recipe. The one in the cookbook uses corn kernels and green onions, which sounded like a good mix. This recipe called for agave or maple syrup, so I used maple syrup. For the non-dairy milk, I used the new Flax USA flax milk! This has lots of omega fats, which are good for you. I add Flax USA milled flax seed to my post-workout smoothies (bought in bulk at Costco! woot!), but I *had* to buy this new non-dairy milk at the store last weekend. It was something new! I think the milk has less omega fats per cup than the 2 Tbs serving of flax seeds that I add to my smoothies, but it could be a great option for people who need healthy fats in their diets. Overall, this was very good, but I think a pinch of chipotle chili powder would spice things up. I wanted a little kick, so I'll add a pinch of that to the leftovers. This made a lot of food, so I'll be eating this for three days total.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pot Pie

Well, my plans to go to Crossfit yesterday were cancelled. Went for a run outside (3.1 miles in 31 mins) and did some ab/core exercises instead. Today, I went out for a run (4.2 miles in 45 mins) and did some body weight exercises. It was nice weather, perfect for a morning run outdoors. Good little change of pace from the gym. :)

Since I decided to take the weekend off work, I wanted to make something more complicated than my normal dinners. I decided to make a tofu pot pie. It was awesome! Perfect comfort food for the weekend. I guess that shepherd's pie would have been the more festive choice, but I didn't even think about that until I was spooning the filling into the pie pan. Oh well, there's always next year for shepherd's pie.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Vegan Nutella

I submitted the final draft of my thesis to my committee yesterday, so I used today as a personal day. I went to the gym, ran some errands, cleaned house, did laundry, and did some research on Crossfit. My morning juice must have been spiked with crazy yesterday, because I agreed to join Cristin at her Crossfit class tomorrow morning. She has written great things about it on her blog, plus my friend Sarah raved about it all the time when she was going. It gets results and promotes confidence. They're focused on strong and healthy, which is a nice change from the shallow bullshit in the media. I hope I don't injure or embarrass myself. I think it looks like fun (although the challenge might kill me!) and I've been thinking that it might be a great way to meet people when I move later this year (for a postdoc position at some undetermined university...). Now that I'm not tied to my work computer, I can finally take a few minutes and update this blog. :)

I found Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter at Target last weekend. I went to return some tights that didn't quite fit (weren't long enough) and picked up a few grocery items, so I wouldn't have to go to multiple stores. My friend had posted an amazing photo of a waffle slathered in the Justin's hazelnut butter on fb earlier in the week. I wanted to try it, so I grabbed one of the single serve packets to try. It was different, but delicious. I might buy a big jar in the future, because I've seen some awesome recipes with Nutella on Pinterest.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Chili Mac

I made chili mac - it sounded like a fun recipe. I soaked a cup of dried pinto beans, then cooked them in the tiny crockpot to use in this dish. I also used spinach instead of chard, since I had some spinach left from the salad I served with the quinoa bites. This was pretty good, but I think I'd like a little more spice if I make it again. I'm going to keep this short because I just want to relax. Completed a bunch of the small things left to do on my thesis today at work, so I'm a little checked out... Tomorrow, I'll work on my poster for an upcoming conference, then work on my presentation.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekend Brunch

I didn't set my alarm clock this weekend, so I ended up sleeping WAY later than I expected. I took it as a sign that I was more tired than I realized and I decided to skip the gym. Sleeping in was the perfect start to a relaxing weekend to recover from crazy work hours over the last week. I made a turnover-style treat and smoothies for my brunch. I started with a GoodBelly Big Shot. I saw some of these products reviewed on VeganCrunk (post here), so I bought the Big Shots when I saw them at the health food store. I don't really like the vanilla chamomile flavor, but they're small enough that I just chug it. You have to shake them really well to ensure that everything is in solution. I made cheater turnovers using crescent rolls, Galaxy soy cream cheese, and raspberry preserves (1 tsp/turnover). These were such a nice treat for brunch - totally not healthy, but very fun to make and eat. You can see I bit off the corner of two in the photo, because I wanted to make sure the dough was cooked all the way. I was concerned that the recommended cooking time might be short because of the filling, but they cooked perfectly at 375*C for 12 mins. I made smoothies using a cup of Almond Plus milk, two frozen bananas, and strawberry almond yogurt. I bought the strawberry flavors of Amande and Almond Dream yogurts, which are made from almond milk. I thought the texture of Amande was weird and the Almond Dream was too sweet. I had intended to just eat the yogurt, but I decided to make smoothies instead.





Friday, March 9, 2012

Thesis Done

I completed my thesis today. After having two days' worth of work lost because Endnote crashed, I finally managed to get the references done yesterday. I put together all of my figures today, but most were pre-made from when I was working on my manuscripts for publication. I only had to make a few figures from scratch. I converted my text document and my powerpoint into PDF files, then combined them and reordered the pages in Acrobat X. The page numbers are off now, but I can fix that on Monday. I need to write my table of contents, abstract, and figure out the correct page numbers for my figures list. I am so happy that I managed to get it sent out to my group and my advisor today. It's due to my committee next Thursday, so this gives them time to offer feedback. My boss read the chapters separately a few weeks ago, so he said he didn't want to read it again until it was all together in one document.

I have 3 interviews scheduled for April, 2 phone interviews this month, and a few invitations for interviews lurking in my inbox. I am also meeting with a faculty member next week to learn more about his work. There's some temptation to join his group, but we'll see if it's a wise choice to ask him for a job after we meet and go into the nitty gritty details of his research.

I've been stress-eating like a mofo the last two days - 88% cocoa squares, Clif Z bars for kids, Mambas (a knockoff of Starbursts), and Coke Zero. It'll be great to get back in the gym tomorrow after taking the last two days off. I plan to do some outdoor running, shopping, and cooking this weekend. I defrosted the black bean burgers that I made and froze recently so I would have an easy dinner yesterday and today. I was at work on Wednesday until 1 AM the next day, so I wasn't sure how late I'd be at work the last two days.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mexican Stuffed Shells

This recipe has been very popular on Pinterest, so I knew I had to veganize it. (Apparently, I wasn't the only vegan who wanted vegan Mexican stuffed shells.) It looked good, but I knew I could make it without all the animal products. I used TVP for the ground beef - 1.5 cups dry TVP + 1.25 cups vegetable broth makes the equivalent of 1 lb of beef, according to this forum. I used the link to homemade taco seasoning, scaling everything down to just 25% of the amount listed. I used Galaxy brand soy cream cheese, since it had $1 off coupon on the tub. I'm sure Tofutti brand would have worked fine too. I used Daiya mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, but I was hoping to find Daiya pepperjack. NutritionSmart was out of the Daiya pepperjack, but I didn't want to drive over to Whole Foods. I didn't top the shells with soy sour cream after they were done, because I forgot to dig it out of the fridge. The shells smelled so good that I couldn't wait to eat them! They're definitely not health food with all the cream cheese, cheese, and salt in the salsa and taco sauce. Nice splurge though!


Monday, March 5, 2012

Cheesy Quinoa Bites

I've seen this recipe floating around Pinterest. I used flax seed for the egg (1 Tbs ground flax seed + 3 Tbs water) and Daiya mozzarella for the parmesan. I didn't shred carrots, I just chopped matchstick carrots into smaller pieces in the food processor. These bites were just okay. I reheated them today and squirted some sriracha on them. I served them over a salad containing the most adorable mini peppers. Three tiny peppers for just a dollar?! Sure!



Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sampling New Vegan Goodies

Over the last week, I've tried a few new vegan products. So Delicious started making a Greek-style yogurt made from coconut milk. I tried the strawberry and blueberry flavors, which were quite good. The yogurt was very thick, just like Greek yogurt is supposed to be. There are other flavors, including chocolate, raspberry, vanilla, and plain. It was a nice change from my usual Wildwood soy yogurt, which I can't find online right now (hope it's not being discontinued!).


I had to watch my boss's house and dogs the last couple days. He has a toddler, so the pantry had lots of little packets of snack items. I found a Peanut Butter & Co Dark Chocolate Dream packet, which I tried on apple slices and toast. It was so good. It has added palm oil, so it's not as healthy as plain ol' natural peanut butter (the ones containing just peanuts and salt that need to be stirred; the "natural" no-stir varieties have palm oil). It was awesome though! I would definitely consider buying a jar (or more single-serve packets) for snacking.


Today, I bought the new Almond Plus vanilla almond milk and Fig Newmans (the purple dairy-free wheat-free version is the vegan variety). The Almond Plus comes in plain and unsweetened varieties too. The vanilla almond milk wasn't as sweet as most vanilla soymilks I've tried, but it was fine to drink. I'll use the rest in smoothies this week. The Fig Newmans definitely hit the spot for the Fig Newton cravings. Thanks, Publix, for putting Fig Newtons on the end cap where I would see them and then be sad since Fig Newtons aren't vegan.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Crispy Baked Tofu

I knew this crispy baked tofu recipe would probably be pretty good, since it was written by Angela of Oh She Glows. I chose whole wheat bread crumbs, but I'm sure panko would be great too. When I looked over the breading ingredients, I was a little surprised to see cinnamon included. As these were baking, I could detect a hint of cinnamon in the air. They were very good, plus I was pleasantly surprised by the other flavors I could taste. I would recommend these, although I wonder if I could marinate the tofu strips to get a little more flavor in the tenders. The cornstarch solution really helped the breading stick, such a genius idea!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Homemade Black Bean Burgers

I used this recipe as an inspiration for these burgers. I soaked 1 cup of dried black beans, which produces a little more than 2 cups when cooked. I used ~1/2 cup of matchstick carrots, 1/2 green bell pepper, 1 white onion, several cloves of garlic, and ~1 cup of panko bread crumbs. I put everything in the food processor, even the beans, to ensure that I'd get a mash to form patties. I got 8 patties with all these ingredients, instead of the 4 shown in the recipe. I used the seasonings from the original recipe, but I think the cumin was the only flavor I could taste. I baked them until they were dry/firm enough to lift off the parchment paper without falling apart. I served these on whole wheat buns with sweet potato tots and mixed vegetables.