Favorites

Sadly, I left my iPhone in a cab Thursday night, meaning whoever found it probably thinks I have a food fetish since 99.7% of the pictures on my phone are of food.

Lucky them and unlucky us, because now I can’t post the food I ate this weekend. 

So instead, let’s talk about my absolute favorite foods that form the foundation of my best attempt at a whole foods, plant-based diet.

1.   Trader Joe’s. 

This isn’t a food, but it deserves the #1 spot because I think it’s the best grocery store ever.  Anything with the Trader Joe’s label is guaranteed to have no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.  They have tons of organic options at extremely affordable prices and instead of having sales, they just sell everything at an awesome price.  Trader Joe’s has the rep of being a pricey speciality store, but that couldn’t be far from the truth.  The employees love their job, the food is priced right, and they have delicious samples including free coffee.  Items I buy exclusively at TJ’s because of the unbeatable price and/or taste include almond butter, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, vanilla extract, spices, white whole wheat flour, coconut oil, sprouted bread, hummus, frozen fruit, agave, Earth Balance, and quinoa. Go Joe!

2.  Almond milk

The perfect alternative to cow’s milk.  Trader Joe’s unsweetened vanilla almond milk is the best, hands down.  I use it in hot chocolate, smoothies, baking and in cereal.

3.  Almond butter

A more nutritious and delicious alternative to peanut butter with no added salt nor sugar.  Delicious on toast, apples and in smoothies.

4. Hummus

I eat hummus like it’s my job.  I buy two tubs at a time.  Best.snack.ever.

5. Tofu

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Packed with protein and calcium, tofu is a wonderfully versatile option.  Throw it on a salad, roast it with some veggies, or cook it on the stove and serve over thai broccoli slaw. My favorite way to prepare it is to drain it, cube it, and marinate it in soy sauce, garlic, ginger and maple syrup.  Broil  for about 6 minutes on each side. If you’re hesitant, try these tofu dippers–life changing.

6. Spinach

For salads and green smoothies!  Why not throw some in a tuna burger as well?

7. Bananas

Bananas are the perfect way to naturally sweeten a smoothie.  I also love bananas sautéed on the stove with some chocolate chips!

8. Organic eggs

I love scrambled eggs with veggies in a pita with hummus or fried on the stove with toast and smashed avocado.

9. Avocados

Try some smashed avocado on toast for a healthy butter substitute or just mash it up the old-fashioned way with some red onion, garlic and lime juice for delicious guacamole.

10. Dark chocolate

This is by far the tastiest way to get your antioxidants.

11. Cinnamon

Cinnamon isn’t just delicious–it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial.  It has even been speculated to lower blood pressure, so all the more reason to sprinkle it on everything!

12. Chia seeds/flaxseed

Packed with omega-3’s, fiber, calcium and protein, chia seeds are ideal for thickening smoothies and adding nutrition to just about anything you can think of.  I add them to smoothies, oats and cereal.  One word of caution: you won’t get the health benefits of flaxseed unless it’s ground.  Try sprinkling ground flax on roasted cauliflower.  It makes a great, toasty alternative to breadcrumbs.

13. Sweet potatoes

Chop sweet potatoes into fry-like shapes and sprinkle with sea salt and cinnamon. Roast at 400 degrees until spotted.  This is a delicious and much healthier alternative to traditional fried white potatoes.

14. Zucchini

Roasted zucchini is my favorite roasted vegetable. Try it in coconut zucchini tempeh for a complete meal!

15. Finn crisps

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These are one of the only packaged crackers that I eat.  They only have three or four ingredients and they’re downright addicting dipped in hummus.  Great crunch.

16. Whole wheat pastry flour

This is the perfect alternative to white flour (aka enriched wheat flour).  Try it in green protein pancakes!

17. Berries

Packed with antioxidants and fiber and speculated to protect against Alzheimer’s, berries are the perfect snack. Start your day right with a cocoa berry smoochie.

18. Amy’s burritos

The ultimate organic convenience food.  The spinach tofu and non-dairy are my favorite.

19. Ezekiel sprouted cinnamon raisin bread

Why sprouted?

According to their website, “Sprouting is the only way to release all the vital nutrients stored in whole grains. The sprouting process activates beneficial enzymes which cause the grains to sprout and become living and nutrient-rich. Stores of vitamins and minerals dramatically increase over the amount available in flour. Sprouting also converts the carbohydrates in grains into maltose, which is ordinarily done by the body during digestion, thereby predigesting nutrients for you. The enzymatic action enables the body to assimilate the vitamins and minerals more efficiently. Plus, the sprouting process naturally increases the protein content and decreases the calories and carbohydrates found in the original grain.”

If you haven’t tried anything on this list, I encourage you to try something new!

20.  If any one has an old iPhone they’d like to give me before I spend $169 on a new one, I would forever grateful 🙂

 

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Tuna Burgers

Something’s fishy around here.

It may just be that tuna right there, sailing along on a boat of spinach. Must be nice. 

Fish can be pricey. I just spent $4.99 at TJ’s on wild smoked salmon because I refuse to by farmed.  Let me tell you, my salmon snobbiness ends there.  I’m way too frugal to spend more than that on any other fish period, so cans of wild tuna and salmon have been my savior lately.

Just because there isn’t a smoothie involved doesn’t mean I don’t want to turn these green.  A meal without veggies is like a bed without sheets.  Weird, but doable.

Don’t you hate when you get home all ready to go to sleep and there are no sheets on the bed? The nerve.

You’ll sleep better knowing there are covers on your bed and spinach in your burger.

Tuna Burgers

  • 1 can of tuna, drained
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water (or one egg)
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup packed spinach, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 small dill pickle, very finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp bread crumbs (I used panko)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Mix together flaxseed and water in small bowl in order to form your “flax egg.”  Set aside. You can also use a real egg.
  2. Spray a medium pan with cooking spray and heat to medium.  Dice onion, spinach and garlic.  Add onion to pan and saute for a few minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add chopped spinach and garlic to the pan with onions.  Sautee for a couple minutes until spinach is wilted. Season liberally with salt.
  4. Remove vegetables from heat and dump into a medium bowl.  Add the rest of ingredients, including the egg, and stir until well-incorporated.  Season with salt and pepper and form into two patties.
  5. Turn the heat back up on the pan to medium and add a tsp of oil.  Pan fry the burgers until browned on each side (a few minutes per side) Flip VERY carefully, as the flax version will want to fall apart!
  6. Eat in spinach boats or on a whole-grain bun.

Green bean fries make a fabulous side dish.  Dare I say that this burger would be wonderful dipped in, ya know…

Hummus!?

Glad to have ya back, seafood.

Dessert was amazing tonight.  I made my snickerdoodle smoothie into soft serve by using just enough almond milk to make it blend (maybe 1/4 cup).  The almond butter makes it so creamy and delicious that you really feel like you’re eating snickerdoodle soft serve.

This is my new favorite dessert. 

 I’m sure you’ll feel the same. 

WIAW

Let’s pretend that I didn’t just post What I Ate Wednesday when it’s still 11:45pm on a Tuesday.

That’s awkward.  Thanks for the heads up, McCann. 

* * *

It’s What I Ate Wedensday!

Today I went to Trader Joe’s and somehow spent sixty dollars even though my dad had just brought me about every fruit and vegetable in the world  + truffles when he came to visit me on Saturday.

The load included my usual staples like bananas, hummus x2, avocados, kale, almond milk, tofu and organic eggs.  I’m dying to make green bean fries so I grabbed a bag of those as well.  Add in some wild smoked salmon,  Puffins, tuna, oat bran, sprouted bread, enchiladas and shampoo and ding a ling–you’ve reached sixty dollars. 

Grocery shopping is one of my favorite activities so hey, I’m really not complaining. 

Time for eats.

Breakfast

Ezekiel cinnamon raisin toast with almond butter + a unpictured bowl of grape nuts with almond milk + blueberries.  Hello carbs.

Lunch

Romaine with broccoli, tomatoes and tuna mixed with avocado + unpictured bowl of black bean veggie soup.

I snacked on my newest obsession, Barbara’s Bakery Shredded Spoonfuls on the way home .  It tastes like Life minus the BHT (a nasty preservative) and yellow #5.  I try not to eat cereal since it’s sugary and extremely processed, but I gotta treat myself here and there.

Not a day goes by without me eating a fourth of the container of hummus.

Dinner

Roasted sweet potatoes, red onions and zucchini + broiled tofu marinated in soy sauce, ginger, garlic and agave.  I ate half for dinner and saved half for tomorrow’s lunch over a salad.  I love leftovers.

Dessert was an amazingly delicious organic dark chocolate truffle. Thanks mom and dad! You know it’s good when you’ve said “mmmmmmm” ten times before you’re done eating it, right Nikki?  Literally ten times.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a bowl of Shredded Spoonfuls with almond milk as a five-minute-after-dinner-snack.

Hope you ate something delicious today!

Snickerdoodle Smoothie

I heart almond butter.

I didn’t used to think it was that big of a deal, but now I am most definitely obsessed.  Step aside, peanut butter.  You just aren’t that cool anymore. 

I love it on Ezekiel cinnamon raisin toast, on a spoon, and in smoothies like this one. 

You wouldn’t think unsalted, un-roasted almonds would blend into something so sweet and perfect, but trust me, they do.

Since I’ve been really sick of fruit smoothies and not sick at all of cookies, I decided to combine the two.  I’ve been drinking this combo for three days straight now and I’m still not sick of it.  It tastes like a cinnamony snickerdoodle sans all the saturated fat (no offense, coconut).

Snickerdoodle Smoothie

  • 1 sliced and frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any milk)
  • 1-2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 tbsp ground flaxseed/chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

No pre-heating the oven or mixing wet and dry here.  Just blend and sip!

I hope this smoothie makes you snicker.  I’m off to class, where I’ll probably doodle.

Free Northstar Burgers

Funny story.

But first of all, Happy Earth Day!  Try to turn your computer off after your read this and turn the water off after you brush your teeth.  Let’s save the world, people!

Northstar is kind enough to give away free veggie burgers on Earth Day.  These aren’t your average boring-fall-apart-tasteless-frozen veggie burgers.  They look AND taste the part and are healthy to boot.  Plus, you get a delicious little side salad doused in a vinaigrette whose recipe I’d give an arm and a leg for.

Excited to sink my teeth into veggie heaven, I drove over to Northstar, by myself, and proceeded to wait in line for over thirty minutes in this unseasonably chilly weather.

Then it was finally my turn to order. “Veggie burger, vegan-style (love the rosemary foccacia) and coffee please!”

“That’ll be sixteen dollars and one cent.  I have a penny if you don’t!”

Huh? Yep, they aren’t free until after 3:00.  Figures.  Judging by the extensive line, I’d say I wasn’t the only one shocked by this tragic news.

So if you want a free dinner, head to one of Northstar’s three locations since it’s currently 3:09, which means free.

I did find a really great looking nutty dressing recipe while I was waiting, though.  (Trader Joe’s raw, unsalted almond butter on Ezekiel cinnamon raisin toast is currently my favorite snack.)  I’m always down for a good dressing!

If you aren’t in the mood for a free veggie burger, I highly recommend you head over to Explorer’s Club, one of my favorite Columbus restaurants.

The unique cuban-fusion really delivers in taste and quality. I ordered the lemon-thyme tofu with charred vegetables, black beans and brown rice.  I couldn’t even tell it was tofu hidden under the garlicy lemon marinade.  It was so different and so delicious.

My dad ordered the linguine with shrimp and cabbage in a lemon cream sauce. WOW.  Absolutely fantastic.  Clean, lemony, white-wine greatness.  My dad said it was one of the best pasta dishes he had ever had.  That says a lot coming from a Jewish, non-Italian guy, right?

Good food, good family.  Great weekend.

You Either Love It or Hate It

Coconut is one of those things where you either love it or hate it.

Like blue cheese,  mushrooms and Elton John.

And cats.

…which is weird because coconut is a hundred times better than blue cheese.  And it blows Elton John and his cat out of the water.

Coconut oil is a perfect moisturizer and makeup remover.  After I slather it on my legs that are currently peeling, I’ll put a few tablespoons in a big pot on the stove and make the butteriest popcorn sans butter that you’ve ever had.

And after that I’ll use unsweetened coconut flakes in oatmeal, pancakes or just straight into my mouth–no vehicle necessary.  Then maybe after that I’ll grab a can of coconut milk and make macaroons or curry or something.

Then I’ll make the most moist, butterywithoutbutter, sugar-free, grain-free, dairy-free PALEO muffins you’ve ever had.  Buttery, coconut banana bread in muffin form. 

I only put extra coconut on one, in an attempt to only eat one. That failed miserably.

MAN are these good.  Check out Elana’s Pantry immediately to get the recipe for these banana walnut muffins.  Her blog is perfection–filled with glorious gluten-free, whole foods recipes. 

Coconut flour is a little pricey, but well worth it in my opinion.  It is packed with fiber (six grams in two tablespoons) and insanely delicious. 

The coconut flour cost me about six dollars.  Since I think of prices in terms of Chipotle, I would say without a shred of coconut doubt that it was well worth the burrito bowl I could have gotten with that six dollars.

I have been craving sweets like a mad woman, so indulging in a muffin with no added sugar (purely from dates and bananas) makes the satisfaction ten times better.   I also added two packets of stevia in the raw instead of liquid stevia in addition to subbing 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut instead of the walnuts.

 

If you’re bored and don’t feel like baking, I suggest you play a game where you have to think of things that people either love or hate.  You’ll be dying of laughter in three minutes flat.

So far we have onions, tomatoes, pickles, working out, social networking, chocolate ice cream, smoked salmon, roller coasters, tequila, goat cheese, honeydew, salt and vinegar chips, olives, milk, answering text messages, meeting boyfriend’s parents, love, mayonnaise, smoking, black beans, and a woman named Judi that fell off our raft during white water rafting.

Your turn!

 

Food, Fam and Florida

Hellloooo long lost blog world!  Let me start off by explaining why it’s been ages since I’ve blogged.

I went on Spring break to Florida for a week without my lovely computer.

While in Florida, Nikki and I were extras for the movie Springbreakers.  We stood a foot away from Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens.  NO BIG DEAL. See them in the middle in the blue and green bathing suits?  Starstruck.

“I love you like a love song, baby.” But really.

Then I came back from Florida and got sick.

Then I got a tad bit lazy :/

Excuses, excuses. 

Let’s get down for business and make up for lost time.  I know you’re all wondering what  I’ve been eating/cooking/dreaming about eating/cooking, so allow me to fill you in.

  • First of all, I am so excited to say that I was accepted into Ohio State University’s combined Masters in Nutrition and Dietetic Internship program!  By 2014, I will officially be a Registered Dietitian with a Masters in the Science of Nutrition.  Bow chicka wow wow!

  • I am no longer vegan!  I have been eating eggs (usually organic) and fish occasionally.  Being home for Passover meant lots of lox.  I still eat a predominantly plant-based, whole foods diet, excluding meat and dairy.  Many days out of the week, my meals are all vegan.  I pretty much want to focus on whole foods and eat as little out of a package as possible.  So I better finish those egg-shaped dark chocolate covered marshmallows that Natalie gave me in my Easter basket, huh?

  • My dogs like to eat each other and it scares me.  It’s hard to remember that they’re just best friends playing when they look like they’re going to eat each other’s faces off.
  • We went to a raw vegan restaurant in Tampa called Vida de Cafe and let me tell you, the food was fabulous!

  • We also did some healthy grocery shopping in FL.  We pretty much lived on organic eggs, Ezekiel bread, Sabra hummus + carrots, Amy’s burritos, bananas and oatmeal all week.

  • My sister Erin is due July 24th!  How fabulous is that stroller?!

  • I made macaroons, zucchini potato muffins, and roasted vegetables for Passover.  I highly recommend these recipes!  Everyone absolutely loved them.  We also had roasted chicken, brisket and  matzo ball soup.  All homemade, of course.

I hope you all had a great Easter/Passover weekend!