Monday, August 18, 2014

Sesame Noodles (vegan)

This week, I have orientation for nutrition school. I'm quite excited. Reading my nutrition book has taught me a lot. One of the most important things I learned was that there is a such thing as a noodletarian diet. Why is that so important? Because I love noodles, that's why. My nutrition book actually condones eating a lot of whole grain noodles. These noodles of course need to be accompanied by the other required nutrients.

Since reading about the noodletarian diet, I've had a really hankering for noodles. I went to the natural food store by my apartment and bought a few different kinds of King Soba noodles. I bought a black rice variety, a brown rice/pumpkin/ginger one, and a brown rice and wakame type. They cook quickly and have a great texture.

In order to satisfy my noodle craving, I made sesame noodles. These are great as a side, or can be turned into a whole meal by adding some kind of veggies. I really gobbled these up.

Sesame Noodles (vegan)

250g (about 9oz) whole grain noodles of choice (I used King Soba Brown Rice and Wakame)
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Sesame seeds to taste

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse noodles. Add the other ingredients and mix well. Makes 2-3 portions

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Spicy Double Chocolate Cookies (vegan)

Have you ever tried that Lindt Chocolate Bar with jalapeno? I quite like it, but because of the dairy, I try to avoid eating it (though I do sometimes indulge in chocolate with dairy). I'm a fan of the combination of spiciness with chocolate.

Today was my first day off in a while. I had just worked seven days in a row, and the days off I'd had before that were spent studying for the last exam of my degree. I was able to relax for the first time in a long time. I got in the mood to bake, and I thought of Fettle Vegan's Dark Chocolate Rosemary Cookies. I made these once, and they were quite tasty. However, because I've been craving spicy chocolate for a while, I decided to use the base for that recipe, but to change up the spice. By the way, if you ever do want to try making rosemary cookies, I strongly recommend you try Fettle Vegan's recipe.

These are addictive, so make sure you have people to share these cookies with. The spice proportions I provide are just enough to give the cookies a bit of a kick, but if you want the cookies to actually be straight up spicy, you're going to have to increase the amount of cayenne pepper.

Spicy Double Chocolate Cookies (vegan)

1 cup teff flour
1 cup almond flour
2/3 cups cocoa powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp flaxmeal
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or up to 1/2 tsp for spicier)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup water or non-dairy milk
2 tsp vanilla
Chocolate chips to taste (I used 1/2-3/4 cups mini chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine all the dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients and mix well. Spoon out cookie dough balls on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 11-12 minutes. Let cool for a minute or two, then transfer to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chocolate Nut Butter Chia Balls (vegan)

It feels weird to say that at this time tomorrow, I will have sat through the last class of my undergrad. I think I was a little worried I wouldn't make it. My final exam will be next Monday, and then I'm really actually done. Last week, I officially got my spot in nutrition school. Things are finally coming together. It feels good!

I decided to ride the "high" and make chia balls after work. These really don't require too much work and are loaded with nutrients. They make good detox snacks. Also, because the chia seeds aren't exposed to much liquid, they'll expand in your stomach to keep you feeling full longer.

Chocolate Nut Butter Chia Balls (vegan)

1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup nut or seed butter of choice
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp cocoa powder

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then roll into balls. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Green Tea Muffins (vegan) + A Reflection on Body Image

I usually keep my posts nice and short, but this week, I want to bring up the issue of body image. If all you're looking for is a muffin recipe, scroll down to the muffin picture.

For a very long time, society has told us that beauty meant being thin. While the definition of beauty has been expanded to include a bigger variety of body types, there still seems to be this ideal in place that being thin is attractive.

I raise this issue from the position of a small girl. I'm 5'2" and wear size 00 or 0, depending on where I shop. It's not that I'm unnaturally skinny; I just have a small build. I have what some people would call an "ideal" body shape: a small waist, and curvier hips.

So, what's the issue? Let me give you a few examples to demonstrate my concern. I work in retail, and my store has recently relocated. The new location has skinny mirrors, mirrors that are designed to make people look thinner. I personally dislike the mirrors, but many customers seem to become excited at the sight of them.

Clothes shopping feels like an ordeal to me because I have such a hard time finding things in my size. Yet, when I complain to friends or coworkers about it, they'll often take a sarcastic tone and reply something along the lines of, "Oh, poor you, you're thin".

Sometimes, conversations will turn to the topic of complaints we have about ourselves; "My feet are too big..." or "I'm so small that I never get taken seriously, since I look so young...". What shocks me about these conversations is when someone's complaint is dismissed with "Yeah but men like that".

That should be plenty of examples to illustrate my concerns. Simply put, we are still letting society think for us. Rather than accepting our unique, beautiful bodies, we get stuck on how to fit a practically impossible mold in order to be perceived a certain way by others. That becomes exhausting quickly. Or maybe that's just me.

The only person standing in your way is you. I know you've heard this many times. I feel that it applies here. Think of how much time to truly accomplish yourself would open up if you stopped getting stuck on the size of your thighs. On your deathbed, you won't complain about how you wish you had toned your belly muscles more.

I have a lot of work to do that in that regard, but it's always good to reflect upon these things. Hopefully, you'll join me in my reflection in order to unleash your potential!

Green Tea Muffins (vegan)

1 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
3 tbsp potato starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
3 tbsp organic cane sugar or alternative
1 tsp matcha powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 6 cups of a muffin pan. Avoid using muffin liners. No, seriously. The muffins will stick to the paper.

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients and mix well. Spoon into the greased cups of the muffin pan.

Bake for 20 minutes.