Chai + Protein? Sign me up!

The day before my wisdom tooth surgery, I went to Whole Foods to stock up on drinkable foods and the like.  Every time I pass by the Calnaturale Svelte spiced chai flavor, I want to pick it up, but then remember that I never like protein drinks.  Now seemed like the perfect time to try it, especially because I won’t be getting much protein from a diet full of soup and ice cream.

I poured about a third of the drink in a cup and tasted it.  Holy lord of spices! It honestly tasted like a liquid gingerbread cookie, very sweet and full of spices.  The flavor was good, but too strong for me straight up.  I diluted it with an equal amount of unsweetened almond milk, and it was absolutely delicious. I’ll definitely be buying this again.

I’ve previously revealed my absolute love of anything chai-spiced, and this was definitely no exception.

Do you ever find yourself buying ridiculous amounts of products of a certain flavor?

What I Slurped

So, yesterday morning I had my wisdom teeth removed. I figure that, since I won’t be eating real food for the next couple of days, I might as well take this opportunity to review the soft, creamy foods that I can eat right now.

For lunch I had Imagine Foods‘ Portobello Mushroom, to which I added some sauteed mushrooms for flavor + freshness. This was creamy and mushroomy – pretty good for boxed soup.

I snacked on So Delicious’ Cookies & Cream flavored coconut milk ice cream.  This entire line is amazing, the texture is always perfectly creamy and never icy or grainy.  I’ve tried a few other flavors of So Delicious’ coconut milk ice cream, and this one had the most detectable coconut flavor, which was absolutely delicious with the cookies and cream!

I also drank a bunch of Tazo’s Passion Tea sweetened with a bit of agave. Love that beautiful color! (Did anyone else save those pom tea containers from a few years ago? I’m so sad that they stopped selling the tea in them, they’re my favorite cups!)

Whenever I’m home, I make lunch for my mom, who really doesn’t like to cook.  In my absence, she subsists on bread, cheese, and peanuts (which she is perfectly happy with, by the way).
Even though I can’t chew anything at the moment, I made lunch for her today.  She thinks I’m just a good daughter, but I really do enjoy making food for her, especially when I’m cooped up at home with nothing to do!
For mom: A sandwich on Alvarado St. bread (5g protein per slice!) with hummus, tomatoes, and crisped tempeh.

What’s your favorite slurpable food?

Mayan Harvest Bowl

In moments of absolute unoriginality, I choose to recreate dishes that I’ve enjoyed from restaurants or grocery stores.
I don’t eat frozen meals often, but I absolutely cannot resist Kashi’s Mayan Harvest Bake. So, naturally, I chose to complicate the process of “insert package into microwave and reheat” that comes with the frozen meal territory.
This is also a result of the fact that my parents’ freezer is broken, so I can’t buy any frozen goods.

And this is how I complicate the simple equation of microwave meals:

First, pick a grain, any grain. Kashi’s version uses their own pilaf, a blend of seven grains. I’ve made this dish twice, once using amaranth and then using quinoa. I much prefer the quinoa, but you could use anything from polenta to millet to plain ol’ rice. For three people, I cooked 3/4 cup of quinoa, for a yield of about 1.5 cups cooked.
Get your grains cookin’

Other Ingredients:
– 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
– 3/4 cups black beans, cooked
– 2 cups greens (spinach or kale), chopped
– 1 ripe plantain, sliced about 1/2 inch thick
– 1/2 onion, diced
– 1 or two large cloved garlic, minced or pressed
– 3/4 cup tomato puree
– 1 tablespoon agave or sugar
– Chili powder, cayenne pepper, or hot sauce
– Toasted pepitas, or other seed/nut

In the meantime, saute onion and garlic. Once translucent, add in tomato puree and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to make a looser sauce. Add in a bit of your spiciness of choice: cayenne pepper, Cholula , etc. to taste. Add in 1 tablespoon of sweetener: agave, sugar, etc. Salt + pepper to taste. Let simmer.
Saute sweet potatoes over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. S + P to taste.
Once your grain is nearly cooked, add in 3/4 cup of pre-cooked or canned black beans as well as chopped raw kale or spinach. Continue cooking until the greens are wilted.
Finally, saute sliced plantains for about 3 minutes, until golden brown.

Plate it up: Quinoa mixture, sweet potatoes, tomato sauce, plantains. Top it off with toasted pepitas, sunflower seeds, or sliced almonds for texture!

WIAW: home edition

Being back home has done wonders for my cooking.

Dinnertime is less “let’s saute up whatever vegetables I have in the fridge and call it a meal” and more “ooh! I have people to cook for, let me actually put some effort into this.” It’s fun to remember that I am actually capable of cooking a composed meal that other people will enjoy.

It helps that, on my days off from work, I don’t have much to do (my friends are all still in school), so I can put a lot of time into cooking.

Now, onto the eats.

Before my run, I ate half of a Luna Bar for a bit of fuel.

Afterwards, I enjoyed my favorite green monster combination: Spinach + half an orange + small apple + 1/4 lemon (with peel).  Sadly, the dinky little food processor at my parents house is incapable of pulverizing stuff like my beloved Blendtec, so my smoothies have been much coarser and chewable (appetizing adjective for a drink, eh?)

For lunch I had an open-faced indian-spiced eggplant sandwich with a bit of greek yogurt and some major grey’s chutney.  This. Was. AMAZING. (despite it’s appearance :{ )

Dinner was inspired by Kashi’s Mayan Harvest Bake frozen meal, which is the most original and delicious packaged meal I’ve ever had. I’ll post the recipe for this tomorrow, but it consists of quinoa, spinach, black beans, sweet potato, spicy and slightly sweet tomato sauce, plantains, and pepitas for crunch.

While I’ve been putting a lot more time and effort into cooking in the last couple of days, I obviously haven’t done so for the photographs.  I left my camera in Berkeley and I ought to just use my dad’s, but I’ve been too lazy.  I might bring it back with me after I go back for work this weekend.

Happiness Is:

1. A big a$$ salad beast from Whole Foods:

– beets

– carrots

– baked tofu

– balsamic onions

– tabbouli

– marinated gigante beans (MMM)

– radishes

– cabbage + almond asian slaw

2. GT’s Trilogy Kombucha

3. Vegan “Nachos” (Coming soon!)


What’s making YOU happy right now?

Bars of Gold

>Making these bars was an absolutely perfect study break yesterday. Not only was I able to release my jitters, I now have a supply of delicious bars for breakfast and snacking. I was inspired to make these by my obsession with Chai Bumblebars, which cost a pretty penny ($1.75 each!?). I didn’t try to imitate the texture of the bars. Instead, I went for something a bit crispier. The flavor was definitely right on point, though!

Coconut Chai Crispy Rice and Seed Bars
– 2 cups crispy brown rice cereal (unsweetened)
– 1/4 cup flax seeds
– 1/4 cup sesame seeds
– 1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
– 4 to 5 tablespoons raw coconut nectar (or agave, etc.)
– 1.5 tablespoons almond milk
– Coconut (or other) oil spray, to grease pan
– 1 scant quarter teaspoon each: ginger, cardamom, cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix cereal, seeds, and coconut in a bowl
3. Combine coconut nectar, spices, and almond milk in a separate container
4. Pour nectar mixture over cereal mixture and stir to coat. If the mixture is too dry and crumbly, add a bit more coconut nectar
5. Put the mixture into a greased cake pan, spread out evenly, and press down to compact
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are golden

These were a bit crumbly, but any more coconut nectar would have made them too sweet. They are absolutely delicious nonetheless.

Look at that seedy goodness!


It’s What I Ate Wednesday: FINALS WEEK EDITION!

I put no effort at all into breakfast. I stuffed an apple and a Clif C bar into my system so that my stomach wouldn’t rumble while I attempted to kill the last of my take-home finals. Don’t judge me for it.

I didn’t even bother to take a picture. I’m a bad blogger. Don’t judge me.

I took a 45 minute break to bike to Whole Foods so that I would actually have something fresh in my poor refrigerator. I ended up nearly forgetting to buy fresh vegetables in the midst of coconut milk ice cream and the ingredients for a recipe that was cookin’ up in my head. Don’t judge.

When I got home, I skipped over the veggies I had just bought and microwaved TJ’s dairy free enchiladas, which I mindlessly topped with some tofu for extra protein. Don’t judge me.
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Despite having no energy to prepare myself a proper lunch, I spent 40 minutes cooking up my first original snack bar instead of studying for finals. I have no regrets. (and don’t judge!)

Behold: Coconut-Chai Crispy Rice and Seed Bars
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Sweet lord of snacks, these are delicious! The recipe will be up when I have another spare moment (read: tomorrow while I’m avoiding my impending doom via finals)

At around seven, I was feeling completely overwhelmed after studying for six hours straight, so I let myself take another break to go to the gym. Great decision! I was able to get in 4.2 miles, a bit of strength training, and an amazingly relaxing stretch session.

Dinner was a quick massaged kale salad with carrots and tahini dressing + more tofu. (I usually don’t eat much tofu/soy, but I picked up an unreasonably-sized block and need to finish it before I go home for a few days after finals [!!!])
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And, of course, I topped it all off with [too much of] the ever-distracting coconut milk ice cream (of the no sugar added mint chip variety, which is perfectly sweet with crunchy ribbons of chocolatey goodness)
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What did YOU eat?