Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Month, New goals

Tomorrow is a new month, and a new month seems like the perfect time to start a new goal. Today my husband and I signed up for a gym membership. So to get our moneys worth I'm going to make an effort to get there regularly. In order to do that, I need a little motivation. My motivation is going to be you, or at least this blog and keeping track each week. I have a few goals. The first one being to get to the gym 3-5 times a week. The second is to drink about 64 ounces of water a day, which of course is the recommended amount. I have a 20oz cup that I will fill 3-4 times. My third goal is just to feel better by the end of the month, and get addicted to exercise. :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Vegan Magic Cookie Bars

If you haven't had Magic cookie bars, then what have you been doing with your life?? They are so delicious and addictive. We used to make them, prior to being vegan, and these are so similar it's incredible. Again, no picture but basically it is like a giant cookie in a pan.. you get the idea. This recipe is from the Post Punk Kitchen, but it is essentially the standard recipe for "magic cookie bars". I thought it pretty genius to cook down the coconut milk with brown sugar to make a similar product to sweetened condensed milk, which is what we used to make these with. I'm going to try this with other recipes. I'm sure it'll work great. Anyways, here it is:

Vegan Magic Cookie Bars
From: PPK

1 14oz can coconut milk
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs*
2 tbsp organic sugar
1/2 cup melted Earth Balance vegan butter
1 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
On the stovetop in a pan bring the coconut milk and brown sugar to a boil over medium/high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. remove from heat and set aside.
Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted Earth Balance until it is well incorporated.
On a parchment lined 9x13 pan press the graham cracker crumbs into the pan starting in the center and working your way out to the sides. Be sure to cover the entire bottom and press very firmly.
Pour the coconut milk mixture over the graham cracker, add a layer of chocolate chips, coconut and then nuts. Press ingredients down with your hands ensuring the coconut milk mixture is absorbed into the upper layers.
Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.
Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator and allow to cool for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Cut into bars, remove from pan.

*I felt that it needed a little more than 2 cups to fill the pan.
**Also I didn't quite measure the chocolate chips, coconut and walnuts that I put on top.. I just put what felt right :) but use this as a guide especially for the first time.

Month 6

So far this blog hadn't been much of sharing a journey as sharing some recipes we've tried. But I would like it to be. I want to share where I'm at since starting journey to being healthy and vegan.
It has been 6 months since we decided to make the change to a healthier, vegan lifestyle. Okay, so far we aren't the healthiest, but 99% of days we eat a vegan diet. I admit that I've had desserts with eggs, butter and milk, and also I've had a delicious Soy Caramel Macchiato (for which the caramel sauce contains cream), from Starbucks, for those of you who have tried to "catch me" eating something I'm "not supposed to". =P It is a choice to change my eating, but at times it is difficult journey. I don't want to sugar coat it for any of you who want to try to eat a vegan  diet. At times it is very hard. Honestly... I had a dream about a pepperoni pizza last night!! I couldn't believe it when I woke up, I think I was actually salivating. Eww?
Eating out with friends is difficult, probably more so for them. I wonder if it is embarrassing to be out with us?Tho I'm not embarrassed at trying to be vegan. I'm just not a huge fan of confrontation. Went out to lunch with my mom, brother and his gf last week to a mexican restaurant we used to go to almost every week. My mom wanted to know if she could get an order of nachos without the cheese and sour cream... but all the other good stuff, beans, jalepenos, onions, peppers... the waitress looked at her like she was the craziest person alive. Nachos.... without cheese? Can't be done. I guess. I ordered rice and beans, safe bet. But we never asked if they put lard or anything in the beans. Who knows? That is a battle for another day.
Exercise is on my mind every day but I cannot find the motivation to start. I need someone to push me. This dark winter is getting to me. I've been pretty down lately. When we first started eating this way I had so much energy! I'm really hoping it is just the weather. I've been making sure I get enough of the very important Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D2. Need to work on water intake.And getting 3-5 good 30 minute sessions of exercise in each week. That should significantly improve my mood. We shall see.
Thanks for listening.
What are your tips or tricks for getting enough water? Also, how do you make sure you get your dose of exercise each week?

Sweet New Background!

You may have noticed (or not) that the background has changed recently. Pretty awesome right? This is credited to my brother-in-law, who as of now does not have a site for you to see the rest of his work. But he was nice enough to spend the time to make this for me. Thanks Nathan!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lemony Roasted Potatoes

"Lemony Roasted Potatoes" is a recipe out of "Veganomicon - The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook" by Isa Chandra Moskiwitz and Terry Hope Romero. It is delicious and super easy to make. All you need is about 1 1/2 hours for prep and cook time. But it is so worth it, and in the mean time you can make some delicious "Chickpea cutlets" (recipe/blog post to come), also out of Veganomicon. Just round out your meal with a nice salad, and maybe some delicious vegan cupcakes for dessert (recipes also to come) and bon appétit!

Lemony Roasted Potatoes
(Credit to Veganomicon by Isa and Terry)

2 1/2 pounds Russet potatoes (medium to small potatoes work best)
1/3 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice*
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
1 tsp tomato paste
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley or dried oregano (optional)
1/2 tsp rosemary**

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel the potatoes, slice in half lengthwise, and slice each half into wedges no more than 1/4-inch thick.
In a large, deep baking pan or casserole dish (at least 10 x 17-in or bigger), combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, vegetable broth, oregano, salt, and tomato paste. Add the peeled, slice potatoes. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and toss the potatoes to cover with the sauce. Cover the pan tightly with foil (or use tlid of casserole dish), place in the oven, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the potatoes are almost done. Several times during the baking process, remove the pan from the oven, uncover, stir the potatoes, place the cover back, and return the pan to the oven.
Uncover the pan one last time, stir the potatoes again and back, uncovered, for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until most of the sauce has evaporated and some of the potatoes have just started to brown on their edges. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and/or more dried oregano before serving.

*I found this to be just a little too much lemon juice but maybe tone it back to 1/3 cup lemon juice... just slightly less
** We added a sprinkle of rosemary to the top and it worked really well with the lemony aspect. YUM!

I apologize for not having pictures, they didn't stick around long enough to be photographed ;)