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.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Braised Rutabagas (vegan, paleo)

Every once in a while, I feel the need to try a new food item. Until a few months ago, I had never had rutabagas. The student-run convenience store on campus sells curried butternut squash. My friend started making it at home, and encouraged me to do the same. The beauty of it is that you can use any root vegetable.

Once you look at the recipe I've posted, you'll notice that the recipe is not for curried rutabagas. Why? Because I make curry everything all the time and sometimes, I just want to not smell like curry. So, when I made this meal today, I went through my spices and improvised this blend.

Braised Rutabagas (vegan, paleo)

About 1 lb or 1/2 kg cubed rutabagas
1/4 cup veggie broth
1 tsp parsley flakes
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp herbes de provence (or other herb blend, if you can't find it)
1/2 tsp onion powder
Garlic salt to taste
Oil for frying

Heat a bit of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the cubed rutabagas and toss around for about a minute. Add in the rest of the ingredients, reduce to medium low, and cover. Cook for about 45 minutes, or until the rutabagas are nice and soft.

Serve over rice.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Thyme Mushrooms (vegan, paleo)

This last week has been physically rough. I feel like I'm getting next to no sleep and working long hours. A cold has been making its rounds around my work, and it appears to have found its way to me, unfortunately. I guess that's what happens when you don't take care of yourself.

If you're having a better week than I am and are able to socialise, you might be having all kinds of parties and fancy dinners. If you want to bring along a little plate to share but are lacking inspiration, try these thyme mushrooms. They're effortless and flavourful, making your job nice and easy.

I'm not going to lie, I made these right when I got home from work last night and wolfed them down because I was too hungry to savour them. You don't have to, though. Grab a toothpick and slowly enjoy this mushroom plate.

Thyme Mushrooms (vegan, paleo)

1 package button mushrooms
1/4-1/2 tsp thyme
Splash of cooking oil
Salt to taste

Heat a bit of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Throw in the mushrooms, cap-side down, and sprinkle thyme and salt. Leave the mushrooms to cook until the cap is nice and toasty, then toss around for about a minute to pick up the extra thyme and share juices.

Remove from heat and enjoy!