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A new love and a recipe: Polenta Pizza


Oh Polenta, where have you been all my life?

I am not sure what it is about polenta that I love so much but I am very happy that I’ve discovered it. It’s not so amazing that I would declare it the best food I’ve ever had or anything drastic like that, it’s just simple, delicious, and the possibilities of what to do with it seem to be endless.

The first time I ever had polenta was at Hyde Park Bar and Grill a few years ago. It was deep fried and amazing and Ross and I loved it. Since I had never even heard of polenta until that night I had always been a little too intimidated by it to try and make it at home. As you all know I finally got over that fear last week when I made some simple grilled polenta. Seriously, it was wonderful and left me wanting to make it again soon.

I’m sure there are a lot of people who have no idea what polenta is, so let me fill you in a bit.  Polenta is cornmeal mixed with water and cooked. How simple it that? Sounds almost too simple and possibly not good, right? Well, whole wheat pasta is just flour and water and it’s pretty good, and polenta is kind of the same in that way. When I made polenta last time I went with the pre-cooked store bought variety and it was very easy to work with and tasty, too. You literally just slice and cook.

Store-bought pre-made polenta – found in the pasta aisle.
Uncooked, sliced polenta
Simple (and delicious) grilled polenta

I have been hesitant to cook new recipes lately because I’m really working on cooking through the boat loads of food in my pantry before buying anything new. Lucky for me I just happened to have some cornmeal in my pantry leftover from some cornbread I made a few months ago.

When I make a recipe that is inspired by someone else’s recipe I like to give credit to who gave me the idea.  This one was inspired by one of my favorite blogs, Daily Garnish (and I believe she got the idea from the cookbook Clean Food). It’s pretty simple and really the only thing I used from her recipe was the idea for polenta pizza and how much cornmeal I would need to make the crust. From there I made it into my own creation. You should still check out the original recipe here though, and see how hers turned out! Also check out how pretty her blog is! She’s been doing this for years though so I try not to compare myself to her too much.

Polenta Pizzaserves 2

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 ¼ cups water
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 recipe tofu “feta” (recipe below) OR Daiya mozzarella shreds to top pizza
  • Other pizza toppings of your choice
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and bring the water to a boil in a medium sized sauce pan.
  2. Mix the cornmeal, salt, pepper, and garlic powder together and pour slowly into the boiling water.
  3. Whisk quickly and constantly as you pour and continue until the polenta starts to look more like dough and is kind of sticky.
  4. Remove from heat and scoop the polenta into a sprayed spring form pan (a pie pan would work too, but a spring form pan allows you to remove the sides of the pan and cut it like a pizza).
  5. Spread the polenta to the edges of the pan, making it a little taller near the edges so it resembles a pizza crust.
  6. Drizzle the olive oil on the polenta and spread around with a spoon. This will allow the crust to get crispy when baked.
  7. Pop it in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. While it’s baking you can make the tofu “feta” and prepare the rest of your toppings. I used sliced tomatoes, a little make-shift pizza sauce (optional, more or less, recipe below), diced red onion, tofu feta, and diced sun dried tomatoes.
  8. After the polenta crust has baked for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and top with your desired toppings, ending with the cheese of your choice. I had a little tofu left over after topping my pizza and I spread it on a few tomato slices for a little snack. Yum!
  9. Return pizza to the oven and allow to bake an additional 30 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes before removing the sides of the spring form pan. Cut and serve!

Tofu “Feta”

  • ½ of a 14 ounce block of firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Juice of 1 lemon (fresh lemon juice really makes a difference in any recipe)
  • 1 tbsp various Italian spices – dried basil, oregano, a pre-mixed Italian spice blend, etc.
  • Salt to taste
  1. Slice the full block of tofu in half; put one half in a storage container with the liquid and back in the fridge.
  2. Slice the other half into 4 equal slices and lay them flat on a dish towel. Cover with another dish towel and place several heavy books on top to press out some of the water. Remove after 3-4 minutes.
  3. Tear tofu into chunks and add to a bowl with all other ingredients. Mix with a fork, breaking the tofu so it has the consistency of feta cheese and all the ingredients are mixed up. Taste and add more salt as desired (I may or may not have eaten a few forkfuls of the tofu mixture at this point).

Make-shift Pizza Sauce

  • 1/3 of a cup of jarred pasta sauce
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • A few pinches of various Italian spices – dried basil, oregano, a pre-mixed Italian spice blend, etc.

Put all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir. Add more spices as needed by taste.

First I spread the sauce on, then put down a full layer of sliced roma tomatoes, sprinkled on some red onion, added my tofu feta mix, and then added my sun-dried tomatoes. Next time I’ll let them re-hydrate in some water before adding them to the pizza. Still good though!

The pizza before I popped it in the oven. Sorry the lighting is so crappy in these photos. I get zero natural light in my kitchen and it was dark outside when we ate this.
The pizza after it baked. Nice and crispy!! The black things are the sun-dried tomatoes. Ross was very worried that they were olives!

This pizza did not disappoint me and I ended up eating over half of the pizza myself! I started with three slices, Ross had two, and Meghan had one, so there were just two slices left.

Honestly, this is one of those pizzas you eat with a fork.

I waited approximately 45 seconds after finishing my first three slices before going back to get a fourth. Then I thought, “How well is this going to reheat? I should just eat that last slice while it’s fresh, just to be safe.”

I couldn’t just leave this little guy behind.

So I ended up eating 5/8 of the pizza. Luckily it’s healthy pizza, so I really didn’t feel that bad.

These nutrition facts are for HALF of the pizza. Since I had 5/8 of it my calories actually came in around 540. Not too bad for dinner after a 4.6 mile run.

Of course no dinner is complete without dessert, right? So I helped myself to three of the oatmeal cookies I made this weekend. They’re healthy too!

I can resist buying junk food and dessert type foods at the store but once it’s inside my house I have zero willpower. That’s why I don’t bake very often (though you can’t tell from my blog posts lately); I feel obligated to eat everything I make! I ended up sending the rest of these cookies to work with Ross the next day so they would be out of my house. Now that they’re gone I’m considering making a loaf of pumpkin raisin bread! I know that I shouldn’t but the recipe just sounds too good, and I love pumpkin! : )

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Fabulous Farmer’s Market Finds


I have been looking forward to Wednesday for several days. Not because it’s hump day, or because that means that my work week is halfway done and I’m that much closer to the weekend. I look forward to Wednesdays because that means I get to go to the Farmer’s Market after work! I go to the one at The Triangle, and it’s held on Wednesday afternoons from 4-8 in the spring and summer, and 3-7 in the winter and fall.

I haven’t been going every week but I think I’m going to try and change that. It’s really important to me to support local business and know where my food comes from and I can think of no better way of doing that then by shopping at the Farmer’s Market! I love all the vendors, the other patrons there picking out their produce for the week, the kids and the dogs running around, and sometimes they even have a band playing. Being there really makes me feel like a part of the community and I have a big grin plastered on my face the whole time I’m there!

You may remember from my previous post that I have a serious grocery shopping addiction. This is not just limited to HEB and Whole Foods; it also causes a big problem at the Farmer’s Market. Luckily I have to have cash to shop at the Farmer’s Market, otherwise I would just keep handing my card over and wind up going home with more fruits and vegetables than my tiny kitchen will hold. In the past I’ve set out with just $20, but I always find myself stressing over how to spend that $20. Should I get this beautiful purple eggplant, or should I get these amazing red tomatoes since Ross doesn’t like eggplant?? I decided to take $40 with me this week; this would give me a little more shopping freedom but still keep me from going wild.

I started by taking some pictures as I was walking around, but then I got too excited about picking things out and my camera was quickly forgotten.

Beautiful summer squash! I won’t be able to get these much longer.
Persimmons! Tons of them!

And that’s about where the pictures end. Do you see all of those beautiful persimmons? The first time I had a persimmon was at this same Farmer’s Market last October. They have a table with samples so you can try things you’ve never had before and decide if you want to buy it. I sampled all three types of persimmons and fell in love with one of them! I was so excited when I saw them today, it was definitely the first thing I purchased!

I have a hard time remembering when I’m browsing the market that they are here every Wednesday, and I don’t have to stock up on every fruit and vegetable that I love. I just need enough to last me one week and then I can come back and have some more fun! Ross is a very picky eater so most of the time it’s just me eating whatever goodies I take home, which is another reason that I should try and keep my excitement reined in.

After I had spent $38 and got what seemed to be enough produce I headed over to the booth selling Kombucha. I am obsessed with Kombucha lately! You can read about Kombucha here, but it is purported to have healing benefits, be alkalizing to the body (which is good), it’s a probiotic (which is good for your gut), it’s natural and I think it tastes great. I don’t know if all of the claims of its healing benefits are true or not, but I do know I enjoy drinking this stuff, its low in calories, and it just makes me happy! So I dug through my purse to find $2 in change so I could get myself a $4 cup as a great end to my Farmer’s Market adventure.

I sampled three different flavors and this is the one that stood out to me.

Once I got home I thought I would try and take advantage of the little bit of sun left in my front yard and take some pictures of my loot for you. Sassy was there helping me, and in the process I got SIX mosquito bites on my butt. They didn’t bite me anywhere else, just my butt. It was not pleasant. (Before you all start picturing me pants-less in my front yard let me tell you that I was wearing a dress. Either the fabric was too thin or they flew right on up.)

This is our kitty, Sassy. She showed up on our doorstep one Sunday evening in February and she’s been living in our yard ever since.

I thought that the lighting would be better outside, but once I got all the pictures I wasn’t really sure I liked them.

Look at all of that produce! I consider that $38 well spent.

 

Two kinds of kale: Dinosaur Kale and Curly Kale.
Butternut Squash. These guys are actually smaller than they look, maybe the size of a really large pear. They’re often huge in the grocery store but since Ross doesn’t like most vegetables I don’t always want the big ones.
Persimmons! I’ve already eaten 6 of these since I bought them yesterday : ) Note: This is the only type of persimmons I like. I never buy the other shapes.
Tomatoes. I love tomatoes from the farmers market because they honestly have more flavor than those from the grocery store. I also appreciate their flaws because I know they’re natural and not engineered to be pretty.
Some kind of summer squash
Sweet potatoes. These were the smallest, cutest sweet potatoes I’ve ever seen!
Red potatoes! These might be my favorite of the white (on the inside) potatoes. They’re so creamy when cooked.
Three kinds of eggplant. I plan on roasting these babies!
Pears. I’ve already eaten two of these.
Three tiny peppers. I’m going to use these for potato enchiladas for Ross (along with the red potatoes).

Then I headed back inside for a second photo shoot to see if the light would be better in there. I don’t really think it was, but I’ll share them with you anyway!

Kale.
Butternut quash.
Persimmons.
Tomatoes.
Summer squash
Sweet potatoes.
Red potatoes
Eggplant.
Pears.
All my loot.
I can’t wait to eat all of this!

I think I need a new camera, as well as some basic photography knowledge and a kitchen with some natural light! Can I put all of that on my Christmas list?

Once I finally got all my goodies put away I was in desperate need of a snack before I hit the trail for my tempo run. What a great excuse to eat some of my fresh produce!

Pear, persimmons, and tomato! I cut it all up and just ate it. So delicious!

Nothing exciting to report about my run. For tempo I did 35 minutes with my HR at 81% and averaged 12:15 per mile. Definitely not fast but better than my slow run pace of 15:15 per mile (which is slowly improving!). I wasn’t excited heading out for my run and I got worried that maybe I’m getting tired of running so much. That would be a big problem considering I want to run a marathon in February and I’ll be doing a lot more running between now and then!

After some thought about it I realized that I was eager for the run itself, I just wasn’t exciting about leaving the house. When I get home from work I get so excited about cooking dinner and I kind of view anything that gets in the way of that as an unwelcome intrusion in my life. Last night my run felt like it was getting in the way of me doing the other things I wanted to do, even though I also wanted to run! Kind of weird.

Back home again, I decided to go simple for dinner. I had a nice salad with some fresh tomatoes and a tofu sandwich on my favorite sprouted bread! Yum!

Salad – spring mix, tomatoes from the farmer’s market, and homemade dressing.
My favorite crispy tofu in a sandwich. It’s only been in the last month that I’ve really started eating tofu, other than as a tofu scramble with lots of veggies.
Yum!!

I made the dressing myself using this neat little guide from Whole Foods. I used frozen blueberries, cashews, balsamic vinegar, and almond milk. Pretty darn good!

I also ate some roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes that I didn’t get a picture of. They were great too : )

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There’s a new peanut butter in town!


I am so excited to share this post with you! The other day I posted about some of my favorite things, one of which is peanut butter! Mmmmm, so good! I could seriously eat peanut butter with every meal and the only thing that keeps me from doing it is the fact that it’s so high in calories and fat for such a small amount of food.

2 tbsp = 200 calories and 16 grams fat. This is a healthy source of fat and is a better choice than something like potato chips, but do you know how easy it is for me to devour 2 tbps of peanut butter?

Well, I think I may have found a solution to my problem! Introducing PB2!

Could this be my new favorite peanut butter??

I try really hard to avoid eating processed foods on a regular basis so when I first learned about this product I didn’t think much of it, assuming it was some kind of “diet” peanut butter containing artificial sweeteners and such. I kept hearing about more people using it though so I finally decided to check out the website for it myself.  This stuff is really cool. They slow roast the peanuts and then squeeze out the extra oils so they’re essentially left with powered peanuts.

The top of the jar tells you how it’s made, then the ingredients are listed under the nutrition facts. Looks pretty good to me.

The ingredients are nice and simple: peanuts, sugar, and salt. While I usually don’t buy peanut butters that have added sugars, a serving of PB2 has just 1 gram of sugar so I figured I’d give it a try. I really love peanut butter and this stuff is a quarter of the calories, has 85% less fat, still has a good amount of protein, and doesn’t have scary ingredients. You can buy it in regular peanut butter and chocolate peanut butter flavors. Here’s an easy to read picture from their website with the nutritional breakdown for both flavors.

This doesn’t seem scary at all!

Once I realized this wasn’t some chemically engineered peanut butter I placed my order and literally squealed with delight when it arrived in the mail. I immediately opened it so I could do a taste test and was pretty nervous! Directions – mix 2 tbsp of PB2 with 1 tbsp of water. Ok, that’s easy enough. I spread it on some toast and I was really surprised with how good it tasted.

It even looks like peanut butter on the bread.

It doesn’t taste exactly like peanut butter, but neither do most of the peanut butter flavored foods that I like (Peanut Butter Captain Crunch anyone?). It’s a bit sweeter than the peanut butter I’m used to but not too sweet, and it’s not quite as sticky a real peanut butter; I’d say it’s a bit creamier. Overall I was really pleased with it! I’ve also tried the chocolate flavor, and while it’s good I think I prefer the regular flavor better. Since I have 2 jars of the chocolate stuff I’ve decided that I’m going to add it to smoothies and oatmeal rather than just eating it on bread, apples, or a spoon.

Steel cut oats, chocolate PB2, slivered almonds, and sour cherry jam.
I am pretty sure this is my new favorite breakfast!

For a snack today I had the regular PB2 with celery. It would have been a lot better if my celery wasn’t kind of old and chewy. That’s no fault of the PB2 though.

This is really the only way I like celery. Though hummus is a good topping too.

I ordered my PB2 straight from the website and if you do that you have to order in bulk. There are several options and I went with two jars of each flavor.

I wonder how long it will take me to work my way through all of this.

It was about $16 for the 4 jars, which isn’t bad but then it’s another $11 for tax and shipping! Ouch. $27 for 4 jars of peanut butter still isn’t outrageous considering I’ve seen jars of almond butter in the store that are $10 a piece, but it’s still more expensive than the peanut butter I buy right now. However, with as much as I love peanut butter and considering how much lower in fat this stuff is I think it’s still worth it for me. More good news! PB2 is also available for purchase at Wheatsville Co-Op on Guadalupe here in Austin! It’s barely cheaper ($5.99 per jar) but this way you can buy just one at a time.  On another note, I also saw Butler Soy Curls there, so you can also buy those locally and individually if you want to try them out! OR, even better, you can head over to my Favorite Products page, which will take you to my Amazon Associates Store and you can purchase the PB2 and the Soy Curls mentioned in my post about Chipotle Chikin Mac-n-Cheeze! You can also browse the rest of the store and see what some of my favorite items are that I use on a regular basis!

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Recipe: Smoked Paprika Lentil Soup


I am completely in love with this soup. I made a smaller batch than I normally make (serves 4 instead of the normal 8) thinking that 4 servings would be enough. My fiance, Ross, doesn’t like this soup because it has lentils and chickpeas in it, both of which are a no for him. Once the soup had finished cooking and I tasted it I knew immediately that I had made a big mistake. Four servings was definitely not going to be enough, even if I didn’t have to share it with Ross.

Smoked Paprika Lentil Soup serves 4

  • ¾ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ¾ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¾ tsp regular paprika
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup red lentils (must be red lentils – they have a different consistency when cooked than other lentils and that’s really important for this recipe)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes with juice
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  1. Heat your soup pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add onions and cook until they start to brown.
  2. Add the minced garlic and 1-2 tbsp of water – just enough to loosen the onion from sticking to the pan without leaving extra water in the pan. Continued to cook 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the dry spices and cook another 1-2 minutes. The spices will start to stick to the pan and that’s okay!
  4. Add the veg stock to the pot and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen up the onion, garlic and spices that are stuck to the bottom.  Turn the heat up to high and add the remaining ingredients.
  5. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer with a lid on, stirring occasionally, at least until the lentils are soft (about 20 minutes). The longer it cooks the better the flavors so I always shoot for around 45 minutes, sometimes an hour depending on how hungry I am!

A great source of protein, fiber, and carbs, and low in fat! You can lower the sodium content by using low sodium vegetable broth.

I also submitted this soup to Healthy Vegan Fridays, Tuned In Tuesdays and Whole Foods Wednesdays!

I had a half serving of this soup as a “snack” before meeting my friends for dinner at a restaurant, then I had the other half as a snack the following afternoon before going shopping. When I returned home I proceeded to eat another full serving of the soup, paired with some awesome crispy tofu. Absolutely delicious.

Not the best picture but it tasted so good. All my chickpeas are at the bottom of this bowl.
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Lovely weekend and my triathlon practice run


I had another great weekend and I’m really bummed that it’s already over! Emily, my old roommate from college, came into town this weekend to celebrate the birthday of my other good friend, Becca, who’s also my little sister in my sorority. Becca had some plans with co-workers Friday night so that gave Emily and I the chance to hang out just the two of us, something I don’t think we’ve done in a couple of years!

I’m not sure what’s going on in this picture. This is me and Emily on Becca’s birthday last year.

We started by grabbing dinner at Maoz Vegetarian and each got the original meal deal, which is a freshly baked pita pocket filled with steaming hot felafel balls, hummus and eggplant, along with sweet potato fries and a side from the salad bar. It was so good but so much food!

Sweet potato fries, overstuffed felafel pita, cold chickpea salad, and the condiments: tahini sauce, ketchup, and curry ketchup.
Look at how crispy those fries are! Seriously some of the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had.
Inside the giant pita: Eggplant, felafel balls, and hummus.
It doesn’t look that exciting but I also poured on some tahini sauce before I ate it and it was spectacular. Neither Emily or I were able to finish all our food.

After that we headed over to one of my favorite vegan dessert spots, Sweet Ritual. They were hosting a $5 build your own ice cream Sundae night and there was no way we could pass that up! I got a brownie with mine for $1 extra and it was delicious!

Chocolate brownie with vanilla soft serve ice cream, topped with slivered almonds, salted peanuts, Oreo bits, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, and peanut butter (that’s what looks like a worm on top) served in a waffle cone bowl.
Don’t worry, I DID eat all of this : )

Once we were sufficiently stuffed we headed over to Wheatsville to get all the ingredients to make Becca some cupcakes for her birthday! I found a great recipe for Cinnamon Chocolate Cupcakes, which were delicious! I won’t post the recipe because it’s not mine, but you can find it here. I didn’t make the candied walnuts to put on top, and I had to use coconut oil instead of butter for the frosting because I ran out. The coconut oil made the frosting much thinner and more liquidy, but they were still yummy.

Miss Emily helping me bake. When we lived together she was the baker and I was the cooker.
Mixing up the frosting with my 20 year old mixer (it seriously is at least 20 years old).

Chocolate cinnamon cupcakes with pumpkin spice frosting. This picture isn’t that great but the flavor was! You can see the frosting wasn’t quite as solid as we would have liked.

Emily and I stayed up until 2:00 talking so I ended up getting up a little later than originally planned for my long run on Saturday. Emily came with me to the trail to sit and read while I ran and she’s a trooper because my run was 1 hour and 50 minutes! It felt great and my pace is slowly but surely improving. Emily headed out to go meet up with Becca for birthday festivities while Ross and I met up with Lynn at the gym she he could get us set up with a new strength routine. He has us doing super-sets right now, which I love! They make me feel like I’m really working my butt off when I’m at the gym and as of Sunday night I was still sore.

We got finished at the gym much later than I expected so I rushed home to quickly take a shower, grab a snack, and get dressed to go meet up with the rest of the girls. I talked to Becca once I was all ready to go and she told me that they were in the middle of getting pedicures and then heading home to get showered/dressed for dinner so I should just wait and meet them at the restaurant. It was about 4:30 at that time and I was already dressed to go.

I was in a hurry to get ready and meet the girls so I didn’t have time to do my hair.

Becca said it would likely be 8:00 before they’d be able to meet me at the restaurant for dinner since she only had one shower for 4 girls to use, and I was honestly a little annoyed at that point. I like to eat dinner around 6:00 and I was already in my dress, so what was I supposed to do for the next three and a half hours? I did what anyone would do in that situation. I started cooking. First I made some hummus and chopped up some carrots so I could have a snack while I waited.

A little snack to tide me over until dinner.

Then I made some pasta rustica for Ross. He was out doing his long bike ride (three hours!) and I knew he’d be hungry when he got home.

Pasta to give Ross some energy after his long bike ride.

After that I made one of my favorite soups, Smoked Paprika Lentil Soup. This stuff is so damn good so of course I had a small bowl of it before heading out to dinner.

One of my favorite soups! Smoked paprika, fire roasted tomatoes, red lentils, and chickpeas.

I’ll be sharing the recipes for the hummus and the soup later this week, but I’m still working on the pasta one. It actually worked out well that I had such a large gap before dinner because the food I made was really good, and I always have fun cooking! I didn’t bother to change out of my dress to cook, and I also didn’t think to put an apron on, so it’s a good thing I didn’t make anything super messy.

At 7:45 I finally left my house to go meet everyone at Chez Zee for dinner. I’d never been there before and the food was really good, but I think it was definitely over-priced for what I got. I don’t think I’ll be going back there.

They gave Becca a free slice of birthday cake, which you can’t even see in this picture.

After dinner we met some more people at a neighborhood karaoke bar for some drinks and fun. There were a lot of middle aged drunk people there who were highly entertaining! Our friend Crystal came in from San Antonio for the weekend and I love getting to see her! (Side note about Crystal: She went out and bought purple potatoes after reading my blog and seeing how pretty they are! Love it.)

I love these ladies!

I had a great time laughing with everyone and it was nice to get too see people I hadn’t seen in a while. I didn’t have anything to drink and called it a night a little after midnight since I planned to do my practice run for the triathlon on Sunday.

I got up around 8:15 Sunday morning and of course was really nervous about my run! The whole point of this practice run was to see how fast I could go, regardless of my heart rate, and I was terrified that I was going to be slow. Ross told me I shouldn’t really have a goal for this run since I really had no idea where I stood at that point, but I couldn’t help but hope I would finish the 4.5 miles in close to 45 minutes.

When I got to my trail I started with a 10 minute warm-up run at a 70% HR, and then set my RunKeeper app to record the next 4.5 miles. I changed the settings so it would only update me on my distance every 0.5 miles, but not tell me my time or pace. I wanted to see how fast I could run based on how I felt and not be influenced by trying to run a specific pace. I felt really good the first mile and actually had to keep myself from running faster; I knew that if I went too hard that first mile then I would waste all my energy and my pace would suffer towards the end.

When I got to mile three I could tell that I was definitely running slower than I had been the first mile, but I still wasn’t sure what my pace was. When my phone told me I just had 1 mile left, I started to pick up the pace a bit, which was a little hard. When I just had half a mile left I really stated to give it my all. I was so incredibly tired when I reached 4.5 miles and nervous to see how I did.

This app shows me my average pace for the full distance in the upper right corner, the current pace I was running when I pressed stop, and also the breakdown of my average pace for each mile. “Mile 5” was just the 1/2 mile that came after mile 4.

I was so happy that I did it with an average pace of less than 10:00 per mile! When the buzzer went off to tell me I was done, my pace at that point was 8:27! That’s so fast (for me anyway)!! Maybe one day I’ll be able to run a 10K with that as my average pace for the whole race! I still have one more long run (2 hours and 5 minutes) and 3 more tempo runs before our race, and I’m hoping those will help me improve my running even more so I’m able to maintain a 10:00 pace for the full 6.2 miles.I’m getting really excited about the triathlon but really nervous too! This is going to be the first race I’ve run where I actually care about how well I do. I blame Ross and Lynn for that – they’re both much more competitive than I am and it must be rubbing off.

After I got home from my run and got all cleaned up Ross and I went to Austin Java for brunch. I got a big bowl of steel cut oats with strawberries and blueberries, and a breakfast taco with potatoes, black beans, spinach, and avocado. It was all delicious and I ate every last bit of it. When we got home I suddenly felt exhausted, like I hadn’t slept in days. I laid down and took a two hour nap and then got up and made oatmeal cookies!

These cookies were nice and soft, and full of flavor!

I used a recipe from Veganomicon but of course I made changes to it. Once the cookies were done Hannah and I made a quick trip to Ikea to get some random things, and then I came home and made dinner. Crispy tofu with some of the lentil soup I made on Saturday!

This dinner brought a smile to my face : )

So incredibly good! I think I have my crispy tofu technique perfected but I want to make it a couple more times before I share it with you guys. Stay tuned for the other recipes later in the week!

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My crazy family and THANKSGIVING!!


Is anyone else already thinking about and planning for Thanksgiving? No, just me and my crazy family? Well, that doesn’t really surprise me. I come from one of the most food-centered families I’ve ever met so naturally Thanksgiving is a big deal to us. I am always surprised when other people’s family gatherings are not focused on cooking and/or eating food, simply talking about food, planning out the next meal, discussing new dishes that they’ve made recently, etc. I personally love it; Ross thinks we’re a little crazy.

My family has been asking me a lot over the last few weeks what my plans are for Thanksgiving. Last year Ross and I spent Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with his family, and boy did that cause a lot of drama! My family was NOT happy to give me up for Christmas, but they did and Ross and I had a wonderful time with his family (and then came home and spent a belated Christmas with my family, which was also wonderful). Even though there was a lot of stress leading up to the holiday I still say it was a success!

One thing that I love about my family is that we’re really small (just 5 adults and 2 young kids, 6 adults if you count Ross) and we are really big on traditions. We seriously freak out a bit when our traditions are tampered with, which is why my family wasn’t completely on board with me not being around for Christmas last year. What I love about Ross’s family is that they are so nice and really laid back. Laid back is definitely not a phrase used to describe my family, and sometimes nice isn’t either. When we get together there is always arguing and what Ross calls yelling (we just think we’re talking to each other) and it’s overwhelming for people who are not used to it. Once you get used to us you just laugh and roll your eyes because you realize that’s just how we communicate with each other and we really do love each other. I enjoy spending time with my family but it is a nice treat to spend time with Ross’s family because they are so different from ours. It does weird me out a bit how little they seem to care about food though.

I told you all of that just to say that this year Ross and I plan to spend Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with mine. Even though my family knows I’ll be with Ross’s family this year they still keep asking me about Thanksgiving. So it’s really not my fault that I’m thinking about this amazing holiday over 2 months before it arrives.

I’m not entirely sure what the plan is yet because one of the many differences between my family and Ross’s family is that we are super planners and they are not. I am trying to get a feel for what’s going to happen and where, and I think that Ross and I will be driving to Dallas on Wednesday night and then coming home Thursday after dinner. I hate to make such a short trip but Ross is most likely going to have clients that want to train on Wednesday evening and on Friday, and they pay the bills.

We’re actually going to be with Bobby’s family in Dallas (see the Who’s Who page if you don’t know who Bobby is) and he has a niece who is vegetarin, as is her husband, but I’ll be the only vegan. Rather than just bring my own food with me like I did at Christmas, I want to bring a couple of dishes with me that everyone can try. I’m thinking I’ll play with that Cranberry Quinoa Lentil Loaf some more and see if I can get it more loaf like. It’s a very festive dish and I think it will go over well. Then maybe a roasted butternut squash soup? Not really a traditional Thanksgiving dish, but still delicious and uses seasonal produce. I’m so excited for the possibilities!! : )

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My first tempo run and new found love for Polenta!


First things first: I AM GETTING MARRIED 7 MONTHS FROM TODAY!!!

Yesterday was such a great day! I signed up to be a blogger for the Vegan Month of Food (aka Vegan MoFo) and I’m really excited about it! More details about that later.

I usually bring my lunch to work everyday and just eat in the office to save money (and because I make good food and really enjoy eating it as leftovers) but every now and then I like to treat myself to Whole Foods for lunch. Yesterday I went by myself and got the usual:

Rice and beans, sprouted wheat sourdough roll and Kombucha, paired with a good read

Whole Foods has a great deal where you can get the day’s flavor of rice and beans for $2.99 so that’s what I get every time I go for lunch. It’s super affordable and as you already know, I love rice and beans! I also can’t help but get a roll for 79 cents, and some Kombucha. I was a bit disappointed with yesterday’s rice and beans. The flavor was ok but not great, and it was a little on the dry side. Regardless, I ate the whole thing.

Brown rice and what looks like cannelloni beans and peppers. Not my favorite, but I ate it all!

I was nervous and excited all day yesterday because my run that night was my first tempo run in my base training. All of my runs lately have been done slow enough to keep my heart rate around 70% of my max HR and yesterday was the first day that I could run fast, or at least faster. I was excited about this because I miss really running, not just jogging, but I was also nervous that I was going to be super slow.

My goal was to keep my HR around 80% for 35 minutes. Since my focus was on my HR and not my time or distance covered I’m not really sure why I was nervous. But I was. While I was driving to my favorite trail I had butterflies in my stomach like it was the first day of school. Ridiculous.

I did a 10 minute warm up at 70%, then my 35 minutes at 80%, and then an 8 minute cool down (I stopped when I got to my car). I am happy to report that I felt GREAT for those 35 minutes and I know that I could have run faster! I had to keep slowing my pace to make sure that my HR didn’t get too high. The point of a tempo run isn’t to run balls out, it’s just to run at a faster than normal pace for a certain period of time or a specific distance. Here’s what my run looked like:

12:29 per mile certainly isn’t fast, but it sure beats the hell out of a 15:46 pace!

That made me really happy because my run on Monday was 65 minutes at a 15:46 pace, and also because I knew tell that I could have run faster and longer so it made me feel more confident about my upcoming practice 10k run.

Speaking of which, I completely misunderstood Ross when he told me that he wanted me to do a practice for the 10K. I thought I need to run the full 10K distance (6.2 miles) as practice but he assured me that is not the case. A practice race before a real race is never the full distance. It should be half to three-quarters of the distance that will be covered in the race, run at race-pace to see how well you’re coming along in your training.

So my practice run is this Sunday and I’m going to be covering 4.5 miles as fast as I can maintain. Even though my tempo run made me feel a little better I am still really nervous about this practice run. What if I’m really slow? I know that I shouldn’t be that concerned with it, especially because I’ve always cared more about miles covered than pace, but I will be upset if I’m slower after 5 weeks of base training than I used to be. I still have 3 more tempo runs between my practice run and my race, which should help me to improve my pace before the day of the race, but I’m still really nervous!

After my tempo run I headed home for a quick shower and began preparing dinner. My dearest Hannah was coming over for dinner with her boyfriend Jordan (who’s currently redesigning the My Healthy Chef website) and I knew we were all hungry! I made a pretty simple meal for us and it was delicious!

I made grilled polenta, roasted broccoli, and sautéed portabella mushrooms. Ross had to work a little late last night so he didn’t join us for dinner, which is good because he doesn’t like mushrooms OR broccoli.

Ingredients: Water, Organic Yellow Corm Meal, Organic Dehydrated Garlic, Salt, Organic Basil, Tartaric Acid (A Naturally Occurring Acid Used to Control Ph.), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Beta Carotene (Vitamin A).

I bought this pre-packaged polenta, sliced it ¼ to a ½ an inch thick, sprayed my indoor gill with cooking spray, and grilled it up right there in the kitchen. I also prepared a tangy tomato sauce to top the polenta with, which was really good but a little over powering. According to the package of polenta there are 5 servings in the package at 70 calories each. Realistically I’d say there are 4 servings at 88 calories each. Still not bad!

Polenta before it’s cooked
Polenta after it’s cooked

I actually roasted frozen broccoli instead of fresh last night and it turned out really well. It was my first time roasting frozen veggies and I was definitely pleased with the results – just a good as fresh! I spread the frozen broccoli on a plate and left it on the counter to thaw while I went out for my run, and then roasted it in the oven at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes. I just sprayed it with a little olive oil and topped it with a generous helping of sea salt, and the result was yummy!

For the mushrooms, I marinated them in a mixture of equal parts liquid smoke, soy sauce, and red wine vinegar and sautéed them for a few minutes on each side. I also made some garlic bread with some leftover rolls we brought home from my parent’s vow renewal party.

My full meal before I devoured it all. Not pictured: My homemade hummus that Hannah and I spread on the garlic bread. Why not?

Before tonight I had only ever had polenta once and it was deep fried. Everything tastes good deep fried so I wasn’t sure how much I really liked polenta. It turns out that I LOVE polenta! I can’t wait to buy it again, and I think next time I’m going to use it in lasagna in place of the noodles. I’ll let you know how that turns out : )

Tonight I’m working out with Lynn again. We don’t usually work out on Thursdays but this is a make-up session because she was sick on Sunday. I don’t usually run on Thursdays either, but Ross says that I can run 6 days a week if I want to so I just might go for a run too! Don’t really have a plan for dinner…  Leftover veggie burger for me and pasta for Ross? Maybe I’ll get inspired on the drive home. If y’all need some inspiration you can always check out my Recipes page or head over to the My Healthy Chef Facebook page and browse the yummy food pictures I have there! Go ahead and “like” the page while you’re there : )

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Last night’s dinner and pictures of my workout


I had a great 65 minute run on Monday and while it wasn’t raining like it was the day before it was still nice outside. Someone had also trimmed the trees along my trail so I didn’t have to duck and maneuver around them anymore. Thanks tree-trimming strangers! Lyndsey came out and joined me for the last 15 or so minutes of my run and agreed that it was a little hard to run at a pace that slow. I’m kind of used to it now so it feels normal to me. I hope she enjoyed the run enough to join me again sometime!

Yesterday was one of my off days from running and of course I was disappointed. It makes me happy that I love running so much right now, because I have definitely gone through phases where that was not the case. I had plans to meet Lynn at the gym at 7:45 so I cooked up a nice dinner for me and Ross before I had to leave. I decided to make this curried quinoa dish from a Whole Foods Cooking Class that I took back in January. It’s got toasted almonds in it (which I love), peas (which Ross doesn’t love so I have to dish some up for him before adding the peas), and this time I added corn, really just because Ross doesn’t like peas and I wanted there to be something else in there. I’m not going to post the recipe here, but I’ve got it on my recipes page if you want to head over there and check it out. I also sautéed up some crispy salt and pepper tofu. I loved it but it wasn’t quite flavorful enough for Ross. He likes his food over-seasoned.



After dinner Ross and I went for a quick 30 minute walk before I had to head out and meet Lynn at the gym. It was so nice outside! This is my favorite time of year and it really makes me miss living in Syracuse. The cooler temperatures here are great (when they happen) but they’d be better if they were paired with colorful leaves falling from the trees!

At the gym, Lynn and I are nearing the end of our 4-week long routine that Ross set us up with, but before we start something new I thought I would share with you what we’ve been doing.

We start by doing some stability and abs work, and then move on to agility and plyometrics. We didn’t get pictures of that stuff but I’ve listed it here for you  so you can Google it if you don’t know what it is. There’s a YouTube video for everything, right?

  • Opposite arm/opposite leg lifts (2 sets of 12 reps, increase # of reps each week)
  • Ball abdominal twists (2 sets of 12 reps, increase # of reps each week)
  • Planks (2 set at 30 seconds, increasing each week by 15 seconds)
  • Romanian Dead Lifts (2 sets of 8 reps, increase # of reps each week)

Then we move on to agility and plyometrics.

  • Jump and hold (2 sets of 10 reps)
  • Sprints (3 sets)
  • Sprint, shuffle, back-peddle (3 sets)

Now we’re to the good stuff! The stability work and agility is important to do but the weights is what really makes me feel like I’m working out. The next 7 moves we do in a circuit, meaning that we go through all 7 activities once as quickly as we can and then we start over and do all 7 again. Lynn and I workout together twice a week and we’re supposed to do this for 4 weeks, making 8 sessions total. The first 3 sessions we did 2 sets with 15 reps, the next 3 sessions we did 2 sets with 17 reps, and the last 2 sessions we’re doing 2 sets with 20 reps. NOTE: This was all set up for us by my fiancé Ross, who has his master’s degree in exercise science,  is a certified personal trainer, and works full-time for 24-Hour Fitness.

We started with Step-Curl-Press with a step that has 5 risers under it. We step up, balance on one leg, curl the weights, and then press over our head. This works on balance, biceps, and shoulders. We do half the reps balancing on one leg and the other half on the other leg.

Next is Chest Press on the Stability Ball. The ball rests under your shoulders and neck for support, and you keep your butt lifted to try and make flat table-like surface from your shoulders to your knees. Keep the weights above your diaphragm and push up. This works your chest.

Then we do Rows with the resistance bands. Stand back so your band is relatively tight but still has enough give that you can pull back with a rowing motion. You should keep your shoulders down and your hands near your belly button while rowing, and pull back to try and pinch a pencil between your shoulder blades. Push your chest out too, that helps. This move works your back.

After that we do what Ross calls Y-T-A and what Lynn calls Y2K. You make a motion with the weights like the letter Y, then lower it to the letter T, then lower it like a capital A, and again try and pinch a pencil with this motion. These moves all work your shoulders.

Next we do basic Bicep Curls on one leg. Do half the reps on one leg, and switch and balance on the other leg for the rest of the reps. Start with the weights down by your sides and bend only your elbows to bring the weights up close to your shoulders. You want to keep your upper arm from your shoulder to your elbow in a straight line by your side as your curl the weights up.

Then we do Tricep Kickbakcs on a stability ball. The ball should be closer to your hips than ours are in these pictures (Ross pointed that out when I showed him the pictures). Here is the link to the video of me doing the kick-bakcs: http://youtu.be/Cm_8LmrKDMY and here is the link to Lynn doing them: http://youtu.be/So0aRHHxTfM. Then we also have some pictures right here.

Last but not least we have Lunges!

Lynn and I are doing this routine one more time on Thursday and then Saturday Ross is going to get us set up with something else. I’m ready for a new routine because I’m really starting to getting tired of these exercises. They’re still a challenge because we keep increasing the reps, but I’m ready for new moves!

When I got home I was thrilled to see that Ross did the dishes for me! Makes me so happy every time : ) I was hungry again after my workout and it’s always a good idea to eat a little something after working out, 100-200 calories with around 10 grams of protein in it, so I heated up a piece of the tofu from dinner and had it on a piece of my favorite toast with some low-fat vegan mayonnaise. MMMmmmmm, so yummy!

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Recipe: Chipotle Chikin Mac-n-Cheeze


I finally signed up for Twitter! You can follow me there, subscribe to my blog by email, or like my Facebook page, all by clicking the handy links on the right side of this page!

I am really excited to be sharing this dish with you (and Healthy Vegan Fridays)! It’s seriously one of my favorites. I’ve had it for lunch the past two days and I think that’s been the highlight of my day! Here are the things you’ll need.

INGREDIENTS: – Makes 4 large servings 

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp light miso
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (fresh makes a big difference over the bottled stuff)
  • 1 can chipotle diced tomatoes OR ½ tsp of truffle oil
  • 4 servings dry whole wheat pasta of choice (I prefer bowtie for this recipe)
  • ½ bag Butler Soy Curls

Some quick notes about the ingredients list:

Raw cashews are sold in bulk at some HEBs, Sprouts, Whole Foods, Wheatsville, or most health food stores but they’re not really sold prepackaged that often (you’ll usually see them roasted rather than raw). I highly recommend buying a big bag of raw cashew pieces (pieces are cheaper than whole cashews) because these babies come in handy for other things, like sauces and dressings. You can use roasted if that’s all you can get your hands on.

Nutritional Yeast is also sold in bulk at the above stores, or sometimes pre-packed. Nutritional yeast is not the same as brewer’s yeast! It’s an inactive yeast that is flakey in texture, contains vitamin B12 which is important for those following a plant-based diet, and for 2 tablespoons it’s just 50 calories and 8 grams of protein. Did I mention that it has a cheesey flavor and I love this stuff?! Definitely a good purchase.

Nutritional yeast kind of looks like fish food but I promise this stuff is amazing!

Miso  is usually made from fermented soy beans, but you can also get miso made from other grains such as barley or rice, and also from chickpeas. The darker the miso the stronger the flavor. Miso is typically used in Japanese style soups but is a great addition to many sauces and dressings. Miso contains all of the amino acids, aids in digestion, is a probiotic, strengthens the immune system, is high in antioxidants, and on and on… It’s good stuff. Look for miso in Asian grocery stores or the refrigerator section of your local health food store (Sprouts, Whole Foods, Wheatsville, Natural Grocer, etc.).

Butler’s Soy Curls. These little things are one of the few meat substitutes I don’t feel guilty eating, the other two being tofu and tempeh, because they’re not overly processed. They’re made using the whole soy bean, are non-GMO, and actually less processed than tofu, which has been around for hundreds of years. I usually order my soy curls online and get 6 bags at a time. Totally worth it. When cooked this stuff has the consistency of chicken. In addition to using them in this dish I also make fajitas and jambalaya with them and Ross (my omnivore husband) loves it all!

I love that they’re non-GMO and 100% natural!
I like the simple ingredients list. Nothing scary that I can’t pronounce.

Ok, now that you’ve got the low-down on some of the less common items that this recipe calls for, let get to the recipe.

1. Start by getting a big pot of water on the stove to boil and preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Then get your cashews and add them too your food processor. Process until fine and crumbly, like so:

Process until crumbly and powder like, but don’t let it turn into a paste.

2. Add in the nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic cloves, salt, and garlic powder. Pulse a few more times to get it all mixed together.

3. Put your soy curls in a big bowl of warm water to rehydrate them.

4. Pour your non-dairy milk or water into a small sauce pan and whisk in the cornstarch. Bring to a simmer over high heat and then reduce to medium. Stir frequently to prevent clumping, until the sauce begins to thicken. Turn the heat down to low to keep warm. Stir often to prevent sticking or burning.

5. Your pasta water should be boiling so add the pasta to the water and cook until al dente.

6. The soy curls should have absorbed a good amount of water by now. Take a handful at a time, squeeze out some of the extra water, and chop them into bite sized pieces.

Soy curls on the left have been chopped, those on the right are still big and better suited for fajitas.

7. Get out a large baking dish and spray with non-stick spray.

8. Remove the nondairy milk/cornstarch mixture from the stove and slowly pour into your food processor while it’s running. Let it blend for about 30 seconds, then add in the miso one tbsp at a time, and then the lemon juice. Turn off the food processor, scrape down the sides, and blend some more.

This is what makes it “adult” mac-n-cheese

9. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and return to pot. Stir in the mixture from the food processor, the soy curls, and the can of diced tomatoes with juices. Once it’s mixed well, transfer to the baking dish and bake for 20-30 minutes.

The dish before it’s baked. Look at how creamy it is :)

Sometimes I’m too impatient to wait for it to bake and just eat it as soon as it’s mixed up. I do promise that it’s better when it’s been baked — the flavors meld together better and the top noodles get a little crispy. You can also sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs before baking if you’d like.

After it’s baked and a little crispy on top
Into the bowl and then into my belly!

Recipe Note: The chipotle tomaotes give a little kick to the dish without making it too spicy. If you want a more traditional mac-n-cheese type dish you can always leave them out, as well as the soy curls. This is delicious as well! If you do this, add another ½ cup of water or milk and 1 tbsp. cornstarch to your pan when you begin making the sauce. I also add ½ tsp of truffle oil to the food processor right at the end. This stuff is expensive but a little bit goes a long way so one bottle should last you a long time. I also add a little truffle oil to my tofu scramble sometimes and it’s great!

Chipotle Chikin Mac n Cheese

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Cooking all day and running in the rain


This weekend was one of those weekends that’s so perfect and relaxing that you really don’t want it to end.

Friday I got to have lunch with one of my best friends at one of my favorite restaurants. John and I were BFFs in college and now he’s living in NYC working in the Presbyterian Church USA as an LGBT advocate. He’s pretty amazing and he’s actually going to co-officiate our wedding with another friend of mine from college. To catch up on what’s being going on in our lives we went to Clay Pit to enjoy some yummy Indian food. I didn’t get any pictures of the food because the lighting was bad (really I just forgot, but they would have been terrible anyway because the lighting really was bad). I stuffed myself silly with the vegetarian buffet just like I always do when I go there.

Me and John. Please excuse my crazy hair.

After work I hurried home so I could get in my run (60 minutes) and eat some dinner before Ross and I had to head out to meet back up with John and some other other people at a local bar to really celebrate him being in town. Ross and I both had a long run/ride planned for Saturday morning so I just had a tonic with lime and he had a beer. My dearest Hannah was there too so of course we had a great time.

I love these two people and am sad that we don’t all live in the same city anymore.

We had a cool front come in this weekend which was wonderful because that meant that I got to sleep in on Saturday and not worry about it being hot when I went out for my long run. I got up around 9, ate a big bowl of  my new favorite cereal for breakfast and headed out around 10:00 to tackle my 1 hour and 35 minute run. It was overcast the whole time and just perfect!

My cereal starts with some frozen blueberries and frozen banana slices, microwaved at 70% power for 1 minute so they’re still cold but not frozen.
Then I add in 3/4 cup of Rips Big Bowl and top it off with some almond milk. Seriously my favorite weekend breakfast.

When I got home I had to rush to make more of that spicy blue potato salad for my parents’ vow renewal, which I figured out is much less spicy after it’s had time to sit for a few hours. I used the left over purple potatoes to make mashed potatoes for lunch — so pretty! I got several compliments on the dish from people at the party and my cousin even told me that it was the best thing on his plate. That pretty much made my day : )

How freaking cute are they?

When we got home from my parents’ party I just about conked out for the night. I curled up with The Starch Solution and read that for a while, but it wasn’t long before I just called it quits and turned off the light. I slept until 9:00 again on Sunday which gave me 11 hours of sleep! I’ve been staying up way too late during the week lately so I really needed a catch-up day.

I spent most of the day Sunday cooking, which is my favorite way to spend any day and it was AMAZING! My friend Jordan is in the process of redoing the My Healthy Chef website and he wants some food pictures to go along with the Sample Menu Choices page. I’m nervous about using my pictures on the website because a) I don’t know anything about photography, b) I don’t have a very good camera, and c) I get zero natural light in my kitchen. Take a look at the tiny space I have to work with every time I want to have some fun in the kitchen.

I have a galley style kitchen that I pretty much hate. It’s not the worst kitchen I’ve ever seen, but it’s way too small for the amount of cooking that I do. I took this picture from the doorway of the kitchen, so really what you see is what you get.

I put my photography doubts aside though and got to cooking! I started by making Ross some banana bread because he’s been begging me to make some for a few weeks now. Someone gave me this nifty pan that makes 12 mini loaves and I love it! It makes it so easy to grab a little bread and take it to work with you.

Delicious banana bread.
Tiny loaves, easy for food on the go. There are only 11 in this picture because I ate one as soon as they were cool enough not to burn my mouth, cut in half and smeared with Smart Balance Light. Mmmmmmm…

Next I set out to make roasted sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts to be paired with my yummy veggie burgers for a photo. The potatoes were super easy – some chopped garlic, some fresh rosemary, and a little spray of olive oil to help it all stick for the roasting.

The ingredients all mixed up before roasting.

I also made some oven roasted fries for Ross and I to snack on while watching football and I threw some taco seasoning in for these to give them a little more spice. For both sets of potatoes I roasted them in the oven at 450 degrees for about 45 minutes, flipping once half way through. They turned out perfect!

These came out nice and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, just the way I like them!

Once I’d eaten my half of the potato snack I set out to make one of my absolute favorite dishes – Chipotle Chikin Mac-n-Cheeze. I seriously love this dish and could eat it every day. I consider this a grown up, healthy version of my favorite childhood dish. I get compliments on this it every time I make it, even from the most skeptical non-vegans. I’ll post the full recipe for you guys tomorrow.

The Chipotle Chikin Mac-n-Cheeze before it’s baked. Doesn’t it look creamy and delicious?

After I finished the mac-n-cheeze I decided to take a cooking break and headed to the gym and then outside to do my run. Sunday’s run was 65 minutes and it rained the entire time – I loved it! I think the keys to running in the rain are: 1) wear a hat so the water stays out of your face, and 2) pick a route that doesn’t have a lot of puddles. Running with wet socks is never fun.

When Ross saw me he said, “Wow, you’re really sweaty.” Umm, have you not noticed that it’s been raining for the past 8 hours straight? This is not sweat.

I covered 4.13 miles and felt great the entire time. There’s one part of my trail that is pavement and as I was running over it yesterday I heard a CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH. Damn acorns. I looked down and discovered that I wasn’t actually stepping on acorns, I was stepping on snails! I felt so bad for the little guys; every time I got to the paved part after that it looked like I was doing a cross between running and tap dancing trying to avoid them. It was still a great run and I seriously wanted to keep running. I knew that I should stick to my training schedule though, plus I had to get home and do some more cooking!

Once I got home and was freshly showered I decided to try out a recipe from The Start Solution (click that link and watch a video that sums up the book!). Ross is a much pickier eater than I am and that really limits the things I can make that we’ll both enjoy, especially now that I don’t eat meat. Flipping through the book earlier that I day I came across a recipe for Potato Enchiladas. I skimmed the ingredients list and was thrilled when I realized I already had everything needed to make them AND Ross likes everything on the list! Double win.

The recipe called for whole wheat tortillas, which were good, but I think I’ll try the recipe with the more standard corn tortillas next time and see how that turns out.

These were seriously easy to make and delicious too. Meghan was there for dinner and the three of us all cleaned our plates and even when back for more. But you know what’s even better than the food being delicious? Ross did the dishes after dinner without me even asking him! Acts of service is my love language and him doing the dishes always makes me feel loved : )