Vegetarian Burrito Bowl

I could seriously eat all the burrito bowls! And I, finally, managed to make one at home – I buy a lot of them, so this is a big cost-saver for me.


Here is my super easy vegetarian burrito bowl “recipe”:

Rice
Prepare rice however you usually do, but add:
1/2 lime juice
Cilantro (at the end)

Vegetables
In a frying pan, saute:
Red/white onion
Bell peppers
Zucchini
Any other veggies you like

Beans
In a frying pan, combine
1 can black beans (rinsed)
1 can/cob corn
2 Tbsp tomato paste
Taco seasoning – to taste (I used a store bought one by Simply Organic, but I will, eventually, make one)

Toppings
Lettuce
Avocado/Guacamole
Cucumber
Cilantro
Let your creativity run here!

Layer or divide in a bowl and nom, nom, nom!

I packed this up for lunch with the rice, beans and veggies in one container and the toppings in a separate one. I then heated up the rice container before adding the toppings.

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Dream Salad

There’s a cafe here in Vancouver, Eternal Abundance, that is amazing! They have this Super Salad that I love and will buy on occasion; however, I can’t buy it every day so I’ve made a few attempts at recreating it on my own. I think I did a pretty good job with this one.

Super Salad

Salad:
Short grain brown rice (cooked as you see fit – I kept it simple with just water)
Kale-slaw mix from Whole Foods (Kale, carrots, red and green cabbage)
Red and Green Peppers
Avocado
Sprouts
*I would have also added cucumber and celery, but I kept them separate for an afternoon snack.
**Obviously add any other veggies you want!

Dressing:
Olive Oil
Apple Cider Vinegar
Orange Juice (I cut about 1/3 of an orange off and squeezed it)
Miso (about a table spoon??)
Garlic (1 clove, crushed)
Ginger (1 inch, crushed/chopped)
*Sorry, I have no idea how much of everything I put in, just work it around until it tastes right to you 🙂

A Vegan Experiment – The Recap

As my Vegan Experiment comes to an end and I start to reintroduce foods, what I had hoped would happen is actually happening! I am starting to question What I want, Why I want it, and Do I really want it or do I just want it because I can, and because I had wanted it either before this experiment started or during the experiment.

Throughout this month I have wanted everything, even the things I don’t normally eat and I figured out that I wanted those things because they were magically taken off my options list. Now that I’m looking to eat those foods again, I’m questioning if I actually really do want to reintroduce certain foods, just because I can.

At Whole Foods over the weekend I found myself confused about what to buy; why did I want a salad with egg and cheese? Was that what my body was really asking for or was I tempted by the option of having it? Would it make me feel good after eating it, or would it just make my tastebuds happy? I bought the eggs, but abstained from the cheese; I have yet to do anything with the eggs.

I also purchased two amazing milk chocolate bars, that are currently sitting, unopened, in my fridge… Prior to this month, I had gotten into a habit of eating A LOT of chocolate, consistently; after almost 31 days of (mostly) avoiding chocolate, my habit feels broken. And I’m calling it a habit, because eating chocolate wasn’t for enjoyment, it was because it was there and I wanted it. To be honest, I’m actually scared to break that barrier and have a piece of chocolate.

Overall the experiment has actually been what I needed: insight into my habits and an opportunity to break some of those habits. It also provided me with a better understanding of why diets fail and reaffirmed my belief that the best way to “diet” is to create small, sustainable lifestyle changes that focus on adding instead of taking away.

I am excited to eat certain foods again, but I will eat those foods with more awareness; something I’m hoping will last as this experiment fades in my memory. Who knows, I may pick it back up again in the future, but for now, I’m happy to remove the label! First thing on my list? Salmon! I don’t know if I’ve ever craved it as much as I have for this past month.

A Vegan Experiment

A few months ago my best friend suggested going vegan for a month. My eating habits lean towards clean vegetarian most of the time so I figured it wouldn’t be that hard. Boy was I wrong!

As someone who makes ethical food choices and avoids restricting food (unless there is a physical reason to do so), restricting my food to this level has been more of a mental challenge than a physical one. Even with my busy and active schedule, my energy levels have been fine and I haven’t found any issues recovering from my activities. I also haven’t noticed a change in my mental capacity; what has changed though is my desire for foods I don’t normally eat!

Prior to starting this experiment, I don’t remember the last time I ate cheese; since starting this month of veganism, my brain has told me every day that I want cheese. Thankfully, these aren’t physical cravings (like I sometimes get for DQ Blizzards), but just the fact that “I can’t” means that “I want”.

This experiment is teaching me that, just like when we were children and someone told us we weren’t allowed to do something, when we put restrictions on ourselves, all we want is what has been restricted.

My overall philosophy on food is to eat good, healthy food that is enjoyable, but don’t deamonize “treat” foods.

If you don’t find healthy foods enjoyable, begin by making small transitions, not massive overhauls; and avoid labelling foods as “bad”. When we set strict rules, deprivation follows; and deprivation leads to binging on what has been placed off limits.

If I’m trying to adjust a recipe to make it healthier, I start by substituting one ingredient; if that works, I’ll try substituting two ingredients the next time. This can be done with a recipe, a snack, a meal, a day, a week…wherever you start is perfectly wonderful! It’s all about starting the journey to a life-long, sustainable change.

As for me, I will continue this experiment until February 6. After that I will be back to my normal food habits: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants” (Michael Pollen); “I’m a human, I eat food” (Alannah). When I do eat meat, I try to select healthy, local, organic/wild meat. And I will do my best not to binge on everything I currently “want” because I know I actually only want it because I “can’t” have it.

Cashew Alfredo

Sometimes I get so excited about healthy food that I get overwhelmed and end up ordering take-out…not tonight!

After a morning of sweaty fun (hiked up Grouse Grind then went to a flow yoga class), I was about to drag myself off to Whole Foods to stock-up for dinner when I realized I actually had everything I needed to try Cashew Alfredo on quinoa pasta (I love GoGo Quinoa) with broccoli! Woohoo!

Cashew Alfredo with Broccoli

Cashew Alfredo
1C Raw Cashews
1/2C Water (I used some water and some soy milk)
1tsp Nutritional Yeast
3 Garlic Cloves (mine were small cloves)
1Tbs Lemon Juice
Dash Nutmeg
Dash Chili Flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in food processor (or blender) and blend until smooth.
Cook pasta. I throw the broccoli in a few mins before the pasta is cooked. Drain, return to pot, and mix in Alfredo.

Cashew Alfredo

Simple Sidedish

T’is the season to avoid brussel sprouts! Those nasty green balls always manage to make their way onto every plate on the table…

I am not (was not) a brussel sprout eater. Then I went to yoga teacher training and were food was provided to me and there wasn’t really much choice, but to eat them…or to miss a very large part of that night’s dinner. So I tried them. And, shockingly, I actually enjoyed them, and not just because I was starving!

I know my taste for them wasn’t just because I was hungry because I have since made them at home. The other night I made this beauty of a concoction:

20121220-172555.jpg

Super simple and, I think, enjoyable for all!

“Cheesy” Roasted brussel sprouts and cauliflower

Halved brussel sprouts
Chopped cauliflower
Toss in coconut oil
Sprinkle with garlic powder and nutritional yeast

Bake until browned at 400.

Best “cookies” EVER!

Thank you to a random post on my facebook news feed between two friends, I was introduced to this most amazing “cookie” recipe from Kumquat; she calls them breakfast cookies, but I find myself eating these any time, any place!

My interpretation is as follows:

1 1/2 C Oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free)
1 C Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
1 Tbsp Ground Flax
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 C Pecans (this last time I used Pecans & Walnuts)
1/2 C Dried Blueberries (I usually use a combination of Blueberries, Cranberries, Raisins & Chocolate Chips)
3 Ripe Mashed Bananas (I use my hand blender to get them really mushy)
1/4 C Liquid Coconut Oil
1 Tbsp Agave (I have some Agave that I need to use up, but once it’s gone, I’ll probably change this to Maple Syrup or Honey – here’s some information on Agave)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash/blend bananas, mix in coconut oil, vanilla and agave. Combine with all other ingredients. Press 2 tablespoons of mixture into a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden, rotating approximately half-way through. I store mine at room temperature in an air-tight container for about a week — if they last that long!