Ever since my time-off work started I have been promising myself that I would be more creative with my morning eats. After all, breakfast is my meal of choice. Instead, I’ve been sticking with these:
While concocting my pumpkin with peach oats below this morning, I realized that pancakes, vegan french toast, and tofu scrambles would all be faster to make. But there is something about the ritual of oat-making while I sip my warm lemon water that soothes me. In my opinion, it takes less prep and thought than the others. I don’t have to measure flours, baking powder & soda, or cut veggies and measure spices. I do measure the oats, water, and almond milk, however, I simply splash in vanilla and shake in cinnamon. I spoon in flax or chia seeds at the beginning, but leave the toppings for the last 2-3 minutes. In that 20 minutes of free time between starting the oats and finishing them off, I read my favorite blogs and prepare coffee. It really is an ideal ritual, don’t you think? I know many of you share such warm wonderful ones as well.
So, instead of switching up my breakfast in the morning, we had breakfast for dinner. It was this recipe for double dipped french toast made with cinnamon raisin ezekiel english muffins topped with pumpkin butter and maple syrup. I didn’t get the camera out to document because V and I were much too hungry and they take a little longer to cook than your average egg-y french toast. I’ve made them before with bread, but I preferred the english muffin version we had tonight.
Oh, but I must show you the delicious savory roasted tiny taters we had with our lunches today.
These tiny potatoes covered in a mix of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, cayenne, cumin, and nutritional yeast had such a kick we swooned over.
After they roasted, we dipped them in organic dijon and ketchup.
The chickpea cutlets are no longer.
A simple salad for me. It is pretty self-explanatory: baby spinach, carrots, cucumber, chickpea cutlet, and balsamic vinaigrette. Some avocado was added as well.
For V, I made a hummus, daiya mozzarella, pesto, chickpea cutlet quesadilla on a brown rice tortilla.
Oh, how we loved it. I must try one for myself ASAP.
-Do you have a favorite veggie chili recipe? I definitely am thinking something similar to this Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili for tomorrow night.
I just can’t help myself. Maybe it is because I spent all summer out of the kitchen, but baking is reigning supreme over my recent days. Today it was this beauty.
Banana Bread is such a comfort food. Still working on the bag of vegan chocolate chips, this became a walnut, dried cherry, and chocolate chip Banana Bread. Instead of Amanda’s delicious Blissful Banana Bread that I made (and loved) before, I went with a classic favorite from Veganomicon. If you want to find the recipe and are without the wonderful cookbook, check out The Baking Bird post here where Kylie also raves about the recipe. I am pretty sure I remember VeggieGirl being a fan as well. Always opting for more banana than less, I went with three incredibly ripe ones on my counter top. The recipe differs from Amanda’s because it incorporates applesauce to lower the fat, but you can’t tell because it still has 1/4 cup oil. For my flour, I used Whole Wheat Pastry until I ran out. Luckily, I had some lingering quick oats to make up the last 1/2 cup of dry ingredients.
So really, make this Lower Fat Banana Bread recipe. I promise you will love it. If you are like me and prefer to have a moist (ick, I know it isn’t a choice word) loaf, only cook it for 45 minutes and use 3 small to medium-sized bananas. Oh, and please don’t forget about the molasses. Not only do they add some warmth and unique flavor, but they provide much-needed calicium, iron, and other grand nutrients (read about it here).
With the Veganomicon cookbook open and some already cooked chickpeas in the fridge, I turned to the Chickpea Cutlets page and whipped up a batch uber-quick. Here is a photo of them formed, but before I pressed them down to form cutlets with my palms.
Although the recipe claims to make four cutlets, I always end up with more. The only thing I swapped up from the original was using our fresh rosemary instead of the dried thyme that was called for.
I swear these aren’t baked goods. Apparently V thought they were tasty with peanut butter, but I wouldn’t recommend it. They are a savory snack or meal component that taste superb with bbq sauce, marinara, gravy, etc. I made a sandwich to go with some freshly made pesto, tomatoes V picked today, and baby spinach on sprouted bread.
Other things happening in my kitchen today:
I made a double batch of Ashley’s Roasted Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter. YUM!
They key to making your own nut butters is definitely patience. I wanted to make coconut butter as well today, but my patience just wasn’t there.
I did make Coco-Cashew Hazelnut Butter though.
Coco-Cashew Hazelnut Butter
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup raw hazelnuts
- 2 T maple syrup (organic grade b is best)
- 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 t vanilla
- T coconut oil or coconut butter (optional)
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread your nuts throughout. Roast nuts for 10-15 mins, stirring frequently to prevent burn. Let cool 10-15 minutes. Pour nuts into food processor with remaining ingredients. Process for about 10 mins, frequently scraping down sides to evenly mix.
This recipe still needs some tweaking, maybe some more cocoa. As a former nutella addict (hello, netherlands 2006), I really hope to create a vegan chocolate hazelnut spread. There are a few recipes throughout the web (like this one) but they all seem to use confectioners sugar. Maybe I should just buy some Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut butter already…
-What is your favorite kind of quickbread? Pumpkin, banana, zucchini, etc? I’ve always been the biggest banana bread lover, but this pumpkin gingerbread by Angela looks completely drool-worthy. I am thinking that must be next and what a coincidence that miss Kelsey made it today.
-What is your favorite kind of cross-training? I am getting back to running right now and it seems like I am known for doing too much too fast. I am aiming to incorporate in more cross training but get bored with the elliptical. I did just sign up for 10 Bikram Yoga Classes and am pretty excited considering it has also been much too long since I’ve let myself go with the flow with yoga.
Sometimes a day doesn’t need much reflection. I have tried to make the best of my current situation but it is such a hard boundary to distinguish between focusing too much on the future vs. too much on the day-to-day goings on. I had a few distractions to keep me occupied but the constant desire to know my future, even just the next few months, wasn’t letting up. The morning was spent gazing at my computer screen at pages and pages of productions being filmed around the country. I wish I was at the point in my career where I could simply take off to a new destination when someone needed me to fill a position. Hopefully this will someday be my future. For now, I am relying on the benefit of the doubt and the words spoken by those I trust.
My sister and spent the morning sitting computer screen to computer screen. She is already incredibly interested and eager to find her next path. Within a week of graduation she is looking for the who, what, where (and wear?) answers of her future.
Scrolling through pages of PDF’s is not ideal and I thought eating outside with my computer in tow would be a great attempt for a somewhat cheerful morning. It was already becoming quite warm out and sitting in the shade was the perfect chance for me to savor my oats while browsing future prospects. The steel-cut variety of oats was cooked with unsweetened almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon, chia seeds, flax seeds, and half a banana. The organic raspberries were a special treat mixed with more banana and vanilla almond butter. This was definitely a winning combo that made my morning much better than imagined.
Don’t you love how oats keep you satisfied for so long? To this day, I am still impressed by their lingering staying power.
When a break was needed, my sister and I cracked open a new Honest Tea Kombucha to try. The Apple Jasmine flavor was just as delicious as the Lemon Ginger, but much more subtle. We enjoyed it while brainstorming dinner plans with tofu and veggies in mind.
Lunch was an easy choice after much success with the Veganomicon Chickpea Cutlets the day before. One was broken up and stuffed into a sprouted wrap filled with spinach, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, and goddess dressing. This was truly delicious, although maybe not so aesthetically appealing. I was hoping it could be eaten like a quesadilla but the lack of panini maker made a messy lunch with most of the filling spilled all over the plate. An orange was split as well.
Another attempt to distract myself from my immediate future happened in the afternoon when I finally opened an issue of Grid Magazine that I picked up in Reading Terminal in Philly. I had no idea what I was getting myself into because The Food Issue was AH-mazing. The whole slow-local-sustainable food movement in Philadelphia is one of the best I have read about so far. This magazine had my full attention for much too long and I learned so much about a city I have only visited a few times. As a magazine writing major in college, I still feel that nothing penetrates me like a well designed and well written piece of material. Don’t get me wrong, I love the online media world so much. This is obviously why I blog. However, there is no feeling like holding a piece of art in your hand. A piece of fiction or well researched nonfiction to be completely engulfed by, separating you from your surroundings, is what makes me most happy. These days I stray from my past fashion focused issues in favor of the foodie ones. Feeding my belly seems to be more important that feeding my inner stylista at this moment. This may change, so I can’t make any promises. I will forever be molded by the fashion magazines I read growing up. I will never forget the day my mother first told me I must part with my stack of Vogue’s. But that is another topic for later discussion…
As I was saying, Grid was the perfect magazine for me to pick up randomly. With the help of the organization, Fair Food, they compiled lists of farmer’s market’s, restaurant’s, CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture), and institutions that support the local and sustainable food system. Reading about the city’s new composting company whom helps restaurants and institutions not supported by the city’s waste management encouraged me to start composting myself. An article on canning had me compelled to make my own jam with fresh berries this summer for the following fall and winter months. One man’s bread making path had me feeling as though I must break into the hobby and put my fear of yeast behind me. An Urban Farmer had some great words to say about the importance of inner city agriculture:
We can create thousands of jobs with this new kind of farming, with urban agriculture. Just think of all the categories of jobs: you’ve got installers, carpenters, plumbers, truck drivers, accountants, electricians, aquaculturists, planners, architects. In a rural area, you don’t need these jobs. Industrial agriculture gets rid of jobs; the machines do everything.
This is hand work, it’s communal work, which is important and fun for all of us, all the generations, from little kids to school-age kids to teenagers to college kids. Everybody is involved. Now politicos are involved, corporate companies send their associates to volunteer and corporate companies have foundations to supply some of the money. We also need reporters and publicity people, because one of things that we haven’t been able to do is be proactive and get the word out. All of these wonderful projects are hidden away. We need the public.
It is up to us to shape the importance of local and sustainable food. Even at the age of 24, I am sometimes worried about the future of our country and the world from the overabundance of factory farming, and what this mean’s for our children and their children. We need programs like this that educate the younger and younger about self-sustaining and attempting to make resources available to low-income families.
I made my way through the issue with some help of Green & Black’s 70% Dark Chocolate for a wonderful afternoon snack. In the compilation created by Fair Food, I found some great places I can’t wait to visit next time I head to Philly. I also found out that FARMiCiA and Fork, two out of the four restaurants we ate at while in Philly, help support small local farmers and sustainability. Another place I have yet to mention is Mugshots. This fair trade coffee shop and cafe was right around the corner from my sister’s apartment and I wish I had more time to enjoy it instead of packing. They have delicious coffee and tons of vegan treats, (get the cowboy/girl cookie, it is the biggest vegan cookie I’ve ever seen filled with oats, nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate) as well as a Vegan BLT and chili, if you are in the mood for comfort food. The local buying club is also a great way to purchase local, sustainable food from them without having to go through the farmers. You can pick your own order instead of a large CSA type share or trip to the farmer’s market.
For dinner, I went with a simple vegetable stir fry using chili garlic sauce, tamari, ginger, and lemon. For the tofu, I loosely followed this recipe from Vegetarian Times, opting to bake it for 30 minutes at 350 degrees before adding to mushrooms, carrots, and bok choy in the wok.
Although the veggies were more than beautiful when chopping, I wish I went the raw route as the original recipe states. In the past I have made this recipe with much success as a bento bowl layered with an array of fresh produce and brown rice, but tonight I felt like stir frying all ingredients to spread the sauce evenly. This may not have turned out as well as hoped, but the flavor was still as bold as before. The bok choy was simply overcooked, but the tofu, brown rice, other vegetables, and seasoning were spot on.
Dessert was coconut milk yogurt topped with a new-to-me cereal Kashi Cinnamon Harvest (had a Whole Foods coupon for Kashi cereal and this had the least amount of ingredients-it was good, but not as good as Puffins), Puffins, raspberries, and a small spoonful of chocolate hazelnut spread. I ate this while reading about sprouting in an old Vegetarian Times. I think I am going to start some mung bean sprouts tomorrow, I love the crunch in salads.
-Did you grow up influenced by the fashion world? If so, what is your favorite high fashion mag? If not, why do you choose not to read them? Disinterest? Annoyance of the price of clothing included or too much emphasis on current trends?
I first interned at Harper’s Bazaar in college and loved it immensely. One of my best friends is someone I met there and I was shaped to understand the in’s and out’s of the magazine publishing world. I will never forget the amount of freedom and hands on experience I was given that summer. My editor let me attend press previews solo with a camera in hand and was given freebies on many occasions. However, as I am sure you know, the fashion world can be a catty one and that has to be my least favorite aspect. There are some definite genuine people, but many who take the fashion world much too seriously. Ironically, most of the designers I’ve met have been more humble than the fashion magazine editors. That phase of my life has been put aside for now, but I will never shut it out. I love the art and history of fashion too much to never return.
-Do you have a local magazine that you grab often? Does your community have a strong slow-food movement?
After living in California, Boston, and New York, I sometimes struggle to find more places and resources that emphasis the importance of local small farms and sustainable practices. In New York, there were many restaurants that place emphasis on using organic ingredients as much as possible, but in the area I am in now, it seems as though organic is only available from grocery stores and one or two restaurants. I have yet to find a local magazine I enjoy.