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VEGAN MOFO IS HERE AGAIN!


It’s that time of year again — VEGAN MONTH OF FOOD!!

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Every year there is a month know as Vegan Month of Food, or Vegan MoFo, where bloggers all around the world commit to blogging about vegan food for an entire month with the understanding that they will publish a minimum of 20 posts.

I participated last year and assigned myself the theme of Veggie Burgers. I blogged about veggie burgers all month long and posted some great recipes for y’all (at least I thought they were great). If you’re interested in seeing some of them, head over to my recipes page and check out the burgers section.

This year Vegan MoFo is taking place in September instead of November. I don’t want to commit to blogging about just one thing for the entire month again so this year I’ve decided to give each day of the week a theme. I’m not sure yet if I’m really going to blog every single day, but that’s my goal!

  • Monday – Mac n Cheese Monday
  • Tuesday – Tomato Tuesday
  • Wednesday – What a- Salad Wednesday
  • Thursday – Thirsty Thursday
  • Friday – Fruit Friday
  • Saturday – Saucy Saturday
  • Sunday – Something Random Sunday

I went back and forth with some of the daily themes before I settled on the ones above. Fruity Friday or Friday Favorites? I went with fruity since I’m going this 80/10/10 Fruitarian Diet thing right now. Saucy Saturday or Sweet Potato Saturday? I went with sauces because every dish can be made better with the addition of a great sauce!

I am really excited about Vegan MoFo this month. It doesn’t officially start until Sunday but I’ve already got some great ideas lined up for my first few posts.

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DietBet Update #4: Days 9-11


So far things are still going really well and I’m actually enjoying this whole journey! It’s really motivating being a part of this DietBet rather than just trying to stick to my goals on my own. In case you missed my explanation of the DietBet and my first two updates, you can read all of that here, here and here.

As of today there are 414 players participating in our DietBet game and the pot is up to $12,420. I really want everyone to be successful at eating healthy and exercising (and to meet their goal so they’re not discouraged by healthy living) but I also secretly hope everyone else fails so I can have all the money to myself. That’s not too much to ask, right?

Honestly, I really do want people to succeed at this. I make a point at least once a day to get on the message board and encourage as many people as I can.

Here’s my progress for the week so far.

Monday:

Weight: 139.2

What I ate:
Breakfast: Apple pie smoothie (two sliced frozen apples, one pear, 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice) with kale – 342 calories
Snack: 2 bananas – 210 calories
Lunch: 3 mangos – 390 calories
Snack: grapes – 260 calories
Dinner: raw corn and tomato salad and zucchini pasta with mushrooms and homemade tomato sauce – 482 calories
TOTAL calories: 1,686

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Exercise: ran an easy 4.75 miles 

Sleep: It was shortly after 10 when I turned the lights out and 6:20 when my alarm went off. Ross came in the bedroom at 3:00 am (apparently he was still watching TV at that time) and it woke me up and totally scared the shit out of me. I thought someone had broken into our house. It took me a while to fall back to sleep after that.

Water: still peeing a lot!

I went grocery shopping on Monday during my lunch break to get fruits to keep at work for lunch, and then went later in the evening to get the rest of our groceries for the week. Both times the cashiers commented on the volume of produce that I was buying!

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Food for my lunches for the week (plus oranges for juicing at home). Total cost: $29

There were only 4 things I bought that were not produce (windshield wiper fluid, vanilla extract, Gardein chikin tenders for Ross, and something else that eludes me right now). The total for both trips: $113. That should last us until I go to the store again on Monday. I know that it’s a little more than my hopeful $100 per week back from my days of tracking my grocery budget, but it’s still not bad. Maybe next week I’ll see if I can come in under $100.

Tuesday

What I ate: Breakfast: pineapple and mango smoothie with fresh ginger, kale and vanilla – 498 calories
Lunch: 4 nectarines – 275 calories
Snack: 1 pint of blueberries – 189 calories
Pre-workout: corn and tomato salad with lime juice and cilantro, and extra cherry tomatoes straight into the mouth – 230 calories
Dinner: raw vegan chili and a medium sized salad – 350 calories
Dessert: grapes – 175 calories
TOTAL calories: 2,064

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Exercise: I did the new routine that Ross showed me this weekend and I really love it. It took me 55 minutes to get through it all and my back and chest were dripping in sweat when I was done! According to my HR monitor I burned 380 calories in that workout! As of today (Thursday) my triceps are still a bit sore so I know it a was a good workout.

After I finished my routine in the gym I was going to do a tempo run, which is a faster paced run, but my legs were so tired that I only managed a slow 2 miles. I was still really proud of myself for not just quitting and going home given how tired my legs felt at the beginning of the run.

Water: Still doing really well in this area. Except I hate having to wake up in the middle of the night to pee, so I need to figure out how to make that stop happening.

Sleep: Total fail. I don’t think I turned off the lights until 11:00 and my alarm went off at 6:20. I was exhausted and hit snooze until 6:45, which made me late to work. Luckily my boss had meetings all morning so he had no idea that I was late. Although he was there when I rolled in 10 minutes late the day before…

I tried my hand at making raw vegan chili for the first time and the results were pretty good. I wanted to eat it warm so after I mixed it all up I poured it in a pot and heated it to 100 degrees (anything headed under 115 is still considered raw) and topped it with some avocado. I think I’ll make it another time or two before I post the recipe, see if there’s anything I want to change.

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Wednesday

Weight: 137.8

What I ate: 
Breakfast: Green smoothie with pineapple, mango, blueberry, kale, ginger, and vanilla extract – 395 calories
Snack: 2 nectarines – 138 calories
Lunch: 1.5 pounds of strawberries that weren’t very good, and 2 mangos – 577 calories
Pre-run snack: grape tomatoes and green grapes – 295 calories
Dinner: huge ass salad with shredded carrot and homemade dressing – 445 calories
Dessert: watermelon – 165 calories
TOTAL calories: 2,017
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Exercise: Tempo run with some hills – 3.75 miles

Water: still doing well! Drinking lots more than I used to.

Sleep: Again, I didn’t turn off the lights until about 11:00. This has got to stop happening. It’s just hard because I didn’t get home from my run until 8:20 last night, then I had to make my dinner and eat it (takes a loooong time to eat a salad that big), then I had to shower and spend some time with Ross… Sometimes there’s just not enough hours in the day.

My Thoughts

Eleven days in and I’m still feeling really good and positive about everything! I wearing pants today that have been too small for me for pretty close to two years now, so I’m feeling pretty damn awesome! I’m excited to see how I look and feel when this is all over with.

I feel a little guilty that my updates are so positive and that I’m not struggling much, but I honestly find it very easy to stick to this way of eating. Granted, I did practice for two weeks before really committing to it, but I LOVE FRUIT and so I do not feel the least bit deprived by getting to eat as much fruit as I want during the day. My energy levels are great and overall I just feel really good.

I don’t think that I’m going to stick to eating a 100% raw diet forever but for right now it’s really making me happy. 

One of these days I’m going to remember to take a picture of my dinner salad before I eat it. Seriously, the thing is huge. My goal is to eat one pound of leafy green vegetables at least 4 days a week. Ideally it would be everyday, but remember, this is about progress, not perfection! I have faith that I’ll get there one day but sometimes I just like to switch it up and have some zucchini pasta or soup.

At this point I can’t quite polish off a salad that contains 16 ounces of greens (and still add the dressing and any other ingredients) so I’m making a point to have about 4 ounces of greens in the morning (usually in a smoothie but this morning I juiced them) and then making a 12 ounce salad at dinner time. I’m pretty happy with this compromise and Ross still cheers for me when I finish the salad because it is seriously huge.

This weekend is going to be more of a challenge than last weekend was but I’m confident that I can get through it. It’s going to take a bit more planning and discipline but I’m up for the challenge!

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BLUEBERRY ORANGE BANANA BREAD


I have been meaning to post this recipe for a long time now. A few weeks (months?) ago I found a recipe in my Vitamix cookbook for orange blueberry bread that wasn’t vegan and I thought, “I can do better than this!”

I took some with us when we went to Boerne last month for our Triathlon and I made some a couple of weeks ago for Elaine’s baby shower to go with the book Blueberries for Sal.

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Both times I ended up eating way too much of it. I can’t help myself though, it’s so good! And it’s only fair for me to share it with you, so here you go:

Blueberry Orange Banana Bread

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter (Earth Balance or Smart Balance Light) 
  • 1 orange, peeled (cut into quarters first, starting at the top of the orange and then it peels easily)
  • 1/4 of the orange peel
  • 1-2 bananas
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water mixed with 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Mix all the blue ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

2. Add all pink ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

3. Add the flax mixture and pulse until just mixed in.

4. Add all the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

5. Stir in the blueberries.

6. Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan and bake for one hour.

That’s it. Super easy, super tasty!

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DietBet Update #3: Days 6-8


*Note: there is a recipe for low-fat raw vegan sushi in this post! Keep reading! 

I had such a great weekend! Days 6, 7, and 8 of my DietBet went really well and I’m incredibly proud of myself for all of my choices this weekend! In case you missed my first two updates about my DietBet, you can read the first one here and the second one here.

Friday:

What I ate:
Breakfast: one whole honeydew – 412 calories
Lunch: three mangoes – 414 calories
Snack: two bananas – 210 calories
Dinner – Salad and fruit plate at Jason’s Deli
Dessert – Banana ice cream
TOTAL calories: no idea because I’m not crazy enough to take my food scale to a restaurant with me.

Exercise: ran 4.17 miles

Water: Drank lots of it

Sleep: I went to bed around 11 and got up around 7, so not too bad.

Friday was the hardest day for me so far because Friday night is our date night. Ross and I went to Jason’s Deli for dinner because they have a salad bar and a large fruit plate on their menu. Everything I had was just okay so I did have a moment of sadness that there were some really awesome sounding veggie sandwiches on the menu that I was missing out on.

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When we got home I made some banana ice cream and that immediately made me feel better! Luckily, that was the lowest point for me these last nine days and it didn’t last very long. Seriously, the rest of my weekend was awesome!

Saturday:

What I ate:
Pre-run: banana – 105 calories
Breakfast: 4.5 pounds of watermelon – 582 calories
Lunch: Carrot, beet, and fennel salad from Juice Land, and shared a Berry Bliss smoothie and Kale/Durian smoothie with Hannah
Snack: 2 or 3 mangoes, and a green smoothie with orange, peach, and kale
Dinner: homemade raw vegan sushi, grapes, cherry tomatoes, blueberries, and homemade kombucha

Exercise: ran 8 miles

Water: I made a point of drinking lots at Hannah’s and peed many times, so I think I was good

Sleep: It was after midnight when I got in bed on Saturday but I slept until 8:30 on Sunday so I’m okay with that

I got up early on Saturday with the intention of running somewhere between 6 and 12 miles. It was much warmer this weekend at 7:30 am than it was last weekend around the same time so I ended up running out of water around mile 7.5. I decided that was good enough for the day and ran the last half-mile back to my house. I felt great after my run and was really happy.

Around lunch time I met up with my bestie, Hannah, and we grabbed lunch at a little hole in the wall juice/smoothie place. We shared everything we got and it was all delicious!

First up was an orange, fennel, beet salad which was AMAZING!

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The picture of the salad itself does not do it justice. Seriously, it was phenomenal. I can’t wait to go back and get it again!

I’m trying not to eat any vinegar or olive oil while following 80/10/10 for the next few weeks but I knew there was only a small amount in this salad and it was the best option they had, so I just reminded my self that this journey is about progress, not perfection, and enjoyed my lunch. It was so worth it!

We washed the salad down with two smoothies. I wish I had gotten a picture of the menu so I could remember exactly what was in them, but the red one was a berry smoothie that included pomegranate, blueberry, and acai (among other things) and the green one had kale, durian, pecan butter, and some other stuff.

2013-08-24 13.07.32-2The green one was definitely our favorite taste wise — it tasted absolutely wonderful but the smell was really awful. If you’d never had durian before (I hadn’t until this weekend) it’s a really, really, really stinky fruit, but it tastes really good. We had to hold our breath each time we’d take a sip, but again, it was totally worth it!

Later that night we headed back to Hannah’s house and had a girl’s night with our good friend Becca. Usually when the three of us get together the focus of our gathering is food or alcohol (or both) and we end up stuffing ourselves silly and making ourselves miserable.

When Hannah and I went to the store to buy the stuff we’d need for dinner I made a point of buying some healthy finger foods for us to snack on before dinner. I knew we were going to be snacking regardless so why not put in the effort to buy snacks that are good for us?

2013-08-24 18.15.51We hand a great time hanging out, talking, and laughing over silly things while we snacked and I prepared dinner. I decided that I wanted to give the raw vegan sushi another go and see if I could make it even better.

If you’re interested in making it yourself, here’s what I used:

For the Sushi

  • 1 zucchini
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1.5 mangoes
  • 1 avocado
  • fresh cilanto and basil leaves
  • green onions (green part only)
  • toasted nori sheets (not raw, I know, but that’s what we had on hand)

For the dipping sauce

  • 1/2 a mango
  • 1/4 of a zucchini
  • 1/4 of a cucumber
  • 6-10 fresh sage leaves
  • 5-7 fresh basil leaves
  • 2-3 green onions
  • 1.5 tbsp peanut butter

I have this awesome handheld peeler that juliennes the vegetable you’re peeling and that’s what I used to make our veggies into thin strips (it’s the black thing in the picture below and you can buy one here). I cut myself 8 out of every 10 times I use this thing so if you buy one then be careful!

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Once you have everything chopped up, take one single sheet of nori and lay it on a flat surface. Place some of your ingredients on the the nori (don’t forget the green onion, basil, and/or cilantro – they give a lot of flavor!) off to one side. Have a small cup of water handy and generously wet the nori sheet on the opposite side of your vegetables using your fingers. Then roll it all up – the wet nori will make it stick to itself.

2013-08-24 19.13.37I used a serrated knife to cut the sushi and it worked really well!

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For the dipping sauce, simply add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth!

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Hannah and Becca enjoyed their sushi with some champagne, and I enjoyed mine with some of my homemade kombucha!

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Sunday:

What I ate:
Breakfast: some grapes, leftover green smoothie, and some fresh queezed orange juice
Lunch: cherry tomatoes, a nectarine, and a coconut water/kale/banana/raw cacao smoothie from Whole Foods
Snack: grape tomatoes
Dinner: Big ass salad (14 ounces of greens topped with two carrots (grated) and a homemade apple cinnamon salad dressing
Dessert: an apple and a mango

Exercise: strength at the gym then 3.75 miles of hiking

Water: I peed a lot and it was usually clear, so that’s a good sign

Sleep: I went to bed around 10:30 and got up at 6:30, so that’s just about 8 hours!

On Sunday Ross and I got a nice slow start to our day. We did fun stuff like fold laundry while we enjoyed some fresh orange juice made with my brand new citrus juicer!

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For those of you who are interested in juicing, regular juicers do not yeild as much juice from citrus fruits as a citrus juicer does. I normally wouldn’t spend $60 on a machine that basically only makes orange juice, but Ross and I still had a gift card to Crate and Barrel left over from our wedding and we do love orange juice, so I figured what the hell.

I was really impressed with the amount of juice we got from just 4 oranges (about 24 ounces). With my other juicer I’m pretty sure we would have only gotten half that much!

We met up with Becca at the gym around 12:30 and she and I spent some time working out while Ross did paperwork (he’s a personal trainer at the gym). Then we grabbed some lunch at Whole Foods and took Becca’s dog to the Greenbelt and went for a nice 3.75 mile hike. It wasn’t that hot outside considering it’s still August in central Texas, so we had a great time!

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My goals for this week: run Monday-Thursday, workout on Tuesday and Thursday, try to go to Yoga on Wednesday. I also want to get even more sleep! I hate waking up tired and I know that if I can get my body caught up on sleep then one day I’ll wake up feeling well rested instead of tired!

I’m submitting this post to Raw Food Thursdays and Healthy Vegan Fridays!

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WHAT I EAT ON A LOW-FAT RAW VEGAN DIET


I mentioned in my first DietBet update (days 1-3) and in my second DietBet update (days 4 & 5) that I’m attempting to follow a 100% low fat raw vegan diet for the next 4-6 weeks. Ross has been completely supportive of me throughout this process of trying out the 80/10/10 diet. I can’t even begin to tell you what a relief that is! His only concern so far: “But you love to cook… and now you’re eating a raw diet.” That was a little bit of a concern for me in the beginning too, but not anymore!

Now I don’t spend time in the kitchen cooking, I spend time in the kitchen creating! 

I keep trying out new raw salad dressing recipes to see what I like best, new sauces for my raw zucchini pasta, my first attempt at raw sushi… so far I’m still having a blast in the kitchen and the best part is that I use a lot less dishes eating this way, so cleanup is a breeze!

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I’ve got my sights set on trying some new dishes like raw lasagna, raw beetballs, and raw felafel. Following the 80/10/10 way of eating puts an emphasis on the low-fat aspect of the raw vegan diet, so I won’t be relying on recipes that are super heavy in nuts. I’ve got to get creative and that’s what I love doing!

Before I committed to doing the DietBet and sticking to 80/10/10 for four weeks I gave it a shot during the weekdays for the two weeks leading up to the DietBet, to kind of ease my way into it and see if I would like it. So even though I’ve only been sticking to it 100% for this past week I feel like I’ve been doing it at lot longer.

Leading up to my decision to try out this diet I spent a lot of time on Michael Arnstein’s website, watching his videos and learning as much as I could. Then I watched Megan Elizabeth’s YouTube videos until I was blue in the face, and then I bought the 80/10/10 book so I could try it out for myself.

To sum it up, what I eat is fruit all day long. Lots and lots of ripe, fresh fruit. It’s amazing. I love fruit!

Then for dinner I have my veggies – and lots of them!

Most nights I have a BIG salad with my goal being one pound of leafy greens, then whatever other raw veggies I want to add to it, plus a homemade dressing. One pound of greens is a lot of greens, so I’m not quite there yet. As of now my salads are around 13-14 ounces of greens, but I’m getting there!

Sometimes I’m not in the mood for a salad so I’ll make some raw zucchini pasta, and the other night I even tried my hand a raw vegan sushi!

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The sushi turned out so much better than I thought it would, but I still want to work on it a bit more before I share the recipe.

I’m not making any promises that I’m going to stick to this way of eating forever, but I am excited to see how the next four weeks go and to share my progress with all of you! I will definitely be posting some great new recipes as I get them perfected, so stay tuned!

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DietBet Update #2 – Days 4 & 5


In case you missed my DietBet updates for days 1-3, you can read about that here. I’m not sure that I’m going to post an update every single day on how the DietBet is going but I am going to track my progress every day to share with you, so I might not post for a day or two but when I do it will cover all of the days since my last update. I think this will still be a great way to keep me accountable but not overwhelm all of you with my, “This is what I ate,” updates.

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I mentioned yesterday that I have a completely sedentary job but, really, if it weren’t for running I’d have a really sedentary life in generally, which breaks my heart. I love being outside and being active and you would think that summer is a great time of year for that, but I disagree. Let me back up and explain a bit.

It takes me about 30 minutes to drive to work in the morning, then I sit at my desk for 9 hours with minimal walking around (8 hours plus my 1 hour lunch break since I bring my lunch to work), then I sit in the car for my 45 minute drive home from work. So far we’re at 10 hours and 15 minutes of non-activity, which is incredibly depressing but for the most part is out of my control.

I do run five times a week and make it to the gym 1-3 times a week, but I usually don’t do any of those things as soon as I get home. I live in Austin and it’s HOT during the summer, which does not motivate me to want to get moving at 5:15 pm when it’s still 95-100 degrees outside. I’m a whimp and hate the heat unless I’m near a body of water and in a swimsuit. Because of this I end up sitting in front of my TV for another hour or two waiting for it to cool down some before I get up and head to the gym or go running. Then I come home and either watch a little more TV with Ross or read a book until I go to bed. More non-activity.

If you add all of that up it comes to more than 12 hours of my waking hours spend sitting on my ass and only 1-2 hours of real movement. Don’t forget to add in another 8 hours of non-movement when I’m sleeping!

This is probably the only thing about my life right now that makes me unhappy — how little I move each day. I know that it’s not good for my body to be this sedentary. I don’t think humans were designed to sit as much as we do and I know that runners who lead active daily lives see more improvements in their running simply because they move around during the day. Doing nothing for 20 hours a day and then going for a 1-2 hour run is a shock on the system and doesn’t bring about the benefits that I want. It’s also mentally exhausting to just be sitting around so much!

I get in a lot more activity in on the weekends but I don’t really see a big solution to my M-F problem. We do have a big parking lot outside of our building so I have been making a point to get up from my desk once or twice a day when I’m not too busy and just go outside a do a lap around the parking log. It only takes me a couple of minutes and I know it’s not great exercise, but I also know that it’s better than nothing and it does a lot for me mentally.

Alright, here we go with my progress updates!

DietBet Day 4:

What I ate:
Breakfast: Chocolate banana and pear smoothie – 510 calories
Lunch: 2 mangoes – 321 calories
Pre-workout snack: 2.5 bananas – 302 calories
Post-workout snack: 2 bananas and 3 dates – 292 calories
Dinner: Large salad with shredded carrots and homemade dressing, and a green smoothie with oranges, bananas, spinach and romaine – 678 calories
TOTAL calories: 2,110

Exercise: I ran 4 miles, did 40 minutes of intervals on elliptical with Becca, then we cooled down with 10 minutes on StairMaster

Sleep: I had the lights off by 10:00 but I didn’t sleep very soundly. I woke up at 1:45 to go pee and then someone texted me at 4:30 asking if they could buy my wedding dress. Even if I hadn’t already sold it I would have told them no just for having the audacity to text me at 4:30 in the morning!

Water: I think I only peed five times on Wednesday. I don’t remember. I do know that when I got in bed I realized I hadn’t had enough water since we’d worked out, but I was too tired/lazy to get up and get some more.

Weight: I did not weigh myself today! I am going to try to wait until Sunday to weigh myself again, but we’ll see how my willpower holds up! I tend to get overly excited at the beginning of a new diet plan or workout regimen and want to weigh myself every day, even though I know I shouldn’t.

My Reflections:

So far I am still really excited about this DietBet and about following 80/10/10. I know I mentioned last time that 80/10/10 is basically a low-fat raw vegan diet, but more specifically it’s eating fruits all day long and then ending with a giant salad for dinner. And by giant salad I do mean giant: my goal is to eat one pound of greens. Do you know how much lettuce and spinach it takes to equal a pound? It’s A LOT! I’m now using a large mixing bowl as my nightly salad bowl.

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I’ve been completely following 80/10/10 for the last 5 days straight and I feel really good. I never feel deprived or hungry, my energy levels are great, and overall I’m just really happy with it, which I think is incredibly important for any diet that you’re following.

No, it’s not completely easy. Yes, I still see bread, sandwiches, rice and beans, etc. and want them. That happens more when I’m hungry though, and then once I realize I’m hungry I just eat some more fruit and I’m happy. The point of this isn’t to deprive or starve myself, it’s to focus on eating more more nutritious foods in their natural form.

Reason to be proud of me: I’ve resisted eating the samples at the grocery store TWICE this week. That’s a really big deal for me, especially when they’re sampling bread. Progress is being made, folks.

DietBet Day 5:

Almost one week down! Whoo-hoo!!

I didn’t weigh myself yesterday morning and had said that I was going to wait until Sunday to do my next weigh in. I did not hold strong — I weighed myself this morning and saw 140.2 on the scale, which is a full 6 pounds down from my starting weight on Sunday.

That’s almost exactly what I weighed two weeks ago, right before we went to Rockport, so I feel like this is my real starting weight. My goal above all else is to be healthy — eat only foods that are good for my body, drink lots of water, get lots of sleep, exercise a lot… but I’d also like to see if I can lose 4% from here before Hawaii (only five weeks to go!), which is 5.6 pounds and would put me at 134.6. We’ll see.

What I ate yesterday:
Breakfast: 4 bananas – 484 calories
Snack: 1 pint of blueberries – 189 calories
Lunch: 2 pounds of strawberries – 290 calories
Snack: Lots of grape tomatoes – 88  calories
Dinner: Homemade raw vegan sushi and a zucchini/carrot salad, both with a mango/green onion sauce – 239 calories
Dessert: apple with 1 tbsp peanut butter – 211 calories
TOTAL calories: 1,502

Note: technically the peanut butter and almond butter I have are not raw but I don’t have much left of either and I’m not going to throw them away just to buy the raw versions. When I run I out I will replace them but until then there are some things that are just going to have to be close enough.

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Exercise: 15 minutes of intense abs (boy was I sweating!), two 1 minute planks, and some push-ups (I’m ashamed to tell you how few proper push-ups I can do… hint, it doesn’t require any fingers when counting)

Water: I didn’t do quite as well yesterday — I think I only peed four times. I’m going to get back on track today though! CHUG, CHUG, CHUG!!

Sleep: Ross and I spent some quality time together last night so it pushed my bedtime back to 10:30, and boy could I tell this morning. I did not want to get up!!

Friday night is our date night and we usually go out to eat and then come home and watch a movie. This means that I’m generally not in bed before 11, which is okay as long as I still get my 8 hours of sleep in! I want to get up early in the morning to go running before it starts to get too hot though so I might have to call myself an old lady and get in bed at 10:00 on a Friday night!

Tonight will be my first night going to a restaurant as a Fruitarian! I think I’m going to eat some fruit before we leave the house so I’m not hungry and tempted to go crazy when ordering, and then just have a salad for my entree. It’s going to be hard to tell them to hold the tofu or grilled mushrooms, and I know the dressing is probably not going to be 100% raw, but I need to remember that it’s progress, not perfection!!

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A FOODIE BABY SHOWER


This past weekend I co-hosted (co-threw?) a baby shower for one of my dearest friends, Elaine. We have been friends since college, I was one of her bridesmaids and she co-officiated my wedding this past April. She’s the first of my college friends that I’m still close with to have a baby, and even though she was pregnant at my wedding it was still such a shock to see her belly when she walked in the door!

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I don’t normally like baby showers so I really put a lot of thought into this one and tried to make it as fun and not cheesy as I could. I’m pretty proud of myself and my other two co-hosts (Emily and Ginny!) for what we pulled off. The only things I wish I could have changed: We were still getting all the food plated and set out when guests began arriving, and there was a little problem with the onsie decorating, which I’ll tell you about later.

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I spent hours leading up to the shower searching other blogs for ideas and finally came up with a few that I really liked.

Theme: Books!! 

Activities: Onsie decorating and children’s book quiz. 

When we sent out the invitation to the shower we asked that everyone refrain from buying a card to go with their gift and buy a book instead. I LOVE this idea! I think cards are honestly a waste of money and I think that reading is an incredibly important aspect of childhood, and a great way to bond with children.

In my search I also came across a few showers that used the books to determine the menu and completely fell in love with that idea!

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First off we have green smoothies to go with The Adventures of Junk Food Dude, which was written by Green Smoothie Girl’s Robyn Upshaw. We also have cinnamon and honey roasted chickpeas for Winnie the Pooh, Sweedish Fish for One Fish, Two Fish, and some ham sandwiches for Green Eggs and Ham. In case you’re wondering, the green smoothie is made up of peeled oranges, baby spinach, and frozen pineapple. Simple and delicious! 

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Emily made this adorable cake as well as some red velvet vegan cupcakes to go with The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Little note about the baby’s name – Olive Grace. When Elaine and her husband were choosing a name they had a test that the name had to pass. It had to be cute enough for the first day of kindergarten, classy enough for a wedding invitation, and sophisticated enough for a CEO. I think that’s a really great name test and will definitely be using it when the time comes for me to pick out names!

Most of the other food is pretty self explanatory with the book that it goes with.

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This is Blueberry Orange Banana Bread that I made and I am absolutely in love with it! I promise I will post the recipe soon!

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The Sandwich Swap is about two friends who bring sandwiches for lunch. One brings PB&J and the other brings hummus. I had never read this book and honestly bought it just because it was about hummus! It turned out that Elaine already knew about this book and was so excited to receive it! The pairing: Hummus pita bites with cucumber and carrots (I know those don’t look like carrots, but they are).

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The fruit talked about in The Giving Tree is an apple, and we didn’t actually have an apple on our fruit tray, but that’s okay.

To go along with the book theme I also created a 25 questions quiz about children’s books. I didn’t come up with the questions myself but I did scour the internet and piece together three different quizzes to come up with one that I liked. This seemed like a lot more fun than a game involving diapers and candy bars.

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We also had a little station set up for people to decorate onsies. I liked the idea of printing some images on transfer paper and having people build a design and iron it on better than I liked the idea of using fabric and heat-n-bond or fabric paint. I found a lot of great free downloadable images to use, bought some transfer paper from the office supply store, and went crazy printing designs!

You know what I didn’t do? Read the instructions before sending the transfer paper through my printer. I was supposed to flip all images that had letters or words, otherwise they would show up backwards once they were ironed on. After I read the instructions Emily and I spent about 30 minutes going through all the designs I had printed and pulling out any with words or letters. We also tried to look at the alphabet and see what words we could make with letters that are the same forwards and backwards.

This is the only word we came up with, and it still wasn’t really a success…

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Even with that little mistake, I think everyone had a great time at the shower. It was full of love and laughs and the mom-to-be didn’t stop smiling the whole afternoon!

2013-08-21 15.11.00This picture was taken in the exact same spot as a picture we took at the bridal shower I threw for Elaine back in June 2009!

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I was about 20 pounds heavier then and barely recognize myself in this picture. I don’t know why people get so upset about getting older — I think we’re all becoming much better looking with age!

And speaking of age and getting older, today is actually Elaine’s birthday! HAPPY 26th BIRTHDAY ELAINE!!

(note: I wrote this post on her actual birthday but won’t be posting it until the day after, so those who know her shouldn’t think that I don’t know when her birthday is!)

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PROGRESS REPORTS AND MY DIET BET


A few days ago the fabulous Roo posted over on her blog about something called DietBet. She had talked about DietBet on her blog a couple of other times but it wasn’t really something that interested me until now.

DietBet is an online weight-loss game. You pay a certain amount of money and you’re given the challenge to lose 4% of your body weight in four weeks time. If you don’t lose the weight, you’re out the money you shelled out. If you do lose the weight, you get your money back plus a percentage of the money forfeited by all those who didn’t meet their weight loss goal, so you actually have the opportunity to get paid to lose weight.

Make sense? No? Ok, click here and watch this video, then come back and read the rest of the post.

Ross and I are going to Hawaii for our honeymoon in less than six weeks and of course I want to look and feel my absolute best while we’re there, so I decided to give it a shot this time around. I signed up, paid $30 and did the official weigh-in on Sunday, and I even I convinced a friend to do this with me! We’re emailing each other everyday to help keep each other accountable and keep it fun.

Of course I have the goal to lose 4% of my body weight (5.8 pounds) so that I get my money back, but I’ve got some smaller goals that are actually more important to me and will help me get through this game in a healthy and happy way.

My Goals:

  • Get 8 hours of sleep each night
  • Stick to the diet plan that I’ve set out for myself, even on the weekends!!
  • Stick to my running training schedule, which has me running 5 days a week
  • Strength train 3 days a week
  • Pee at least 6 times a day (I like this goal better than “drink X amount of water each day”)

I personally love to see before and after pictures of people (or house renovations). And I love success stories. And I also love to follow along with someone’s progress. So I thought since I’m already writing up a little summary of my DietBet/Goals progress each day to share with my friend I would also share it with you guys as well.

There have been a few times that I’ve shared my goals with you (like here and here) and I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but I’ve never really come back and updated you on my progress or let you know if I met any of those goals.

I tend to get really excited about something and focus all my attention and energy on it, and then a few weeks later I’ll get really excited about something else and shift my focus to that. This is something that I’m working and I think that sharing my progress with you for the next 4-6 weeks will help me to stay focused and actually meet my goals.

The DietBet officially started on Monday but I went ahead and started my journey on Sunday. I weighed-in that morning and was shocked to see the scale was at 146.2. I had just weighed myself a little over a week before and according to this I had gained 6 pounds in 8 days! That’s crazy… I know I ate a lot when I was in Rockport and also at the baby shower I hosted this weekend (pictures coming soon!) but enough to gain 6 pounds? I don’t think so…

In retrospect, I think a lot of that was just water weight. I was on my period when I weighed myself and was feeling incredibly bloated. I’m not one to usually feel bloated when I’m on my period, so this was a new feeling for me and I did not like it.

I weighed myself this morning and I’ve already made great progress  and am down to 140.6 in just 4 days, which is another reason that I think my weight was a little off kilter on Sunday. I’m not really focused on the scale through this process except for the purpose of getting my money back. My real goals are the ones listed above, with emphasis on simply making healthy choices for my body.

If you’re interested in joining my DietBet game there’s still time! You can sign-up anytime within the first 14 days of the game, but you’re still expected to lose all 4% before the game ends. We’re only on day 3 today so that’s plenty of time for you to meet your goal! Click here to learn more and sign up if you’re interested.

So far I’m really excited about this! I’m feeling positive and I can’t wait to see where I am at the end of this process.

Here are some before pictures to give you an idea of where I’m at physically. The swimsuit picture was taken a few weeks ago but that’s still what I look like. The other one is my official “before” picture I had to submit for the game. Please excuse how blurry the pictures are — Ross isn’t very good at using the iPhone camera.

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Here are my progress reports for the first three days of the challenge.

DietBet Day 1:

What I ate:
Pre-run: 2 bananas – 220 calories
Breakfast: lots cantaloupe and watermelon – 515 calories
Lunch: 1 bag of grapes  – 625 calories
Snack: 3 bananas – 380 calories
Dinner: huge ass salad with romaine, spinach, carrot, and homemade dressing – 354 calories
Snack: 1 pound of strawberries – 145 calories
Total Calories: 2,200

Note: For the next four weeks I’m going to be following the 80/10/10 diet, which is sometimes referred to as a Fruitarian Diet. It’s basically a low-fat raw vegan diet. I’ve heard lots of positive things about it and I want to see how my body feels eating this way. I’m using CRON-O-Meter to track my calories and nutrient intake to make sure I’m staying healthy with this new Fruitarian way of eating.

Exercise: Ran 11.6 miles and went on a 1.5 hour hike with Ross.

Sleep: Got my 8 hours!

Water: I peed a lot. I didn’t count how many times but I know I was well hydrated this day.

DietBet Day 2:

What I ate:
Breakfast: 1 whole cantaloupe – 414 calories
Lunch: 3 mangoes – 360 calories
Snack #1: 1 pint of blueberries – 188 calories
Pre-run snack: Chocolate banana ice cream made with the viatmix (just frozen bananas, water, and cocoa powder) – 262 calories
Post-run snack: cherry tomatoes – 73 calories
Dinner: Big ass salad with romaine, spinach, shredded carrots and beets, and homemade dressing – 486 calories
TOTAL calories: 1,792

Note: because I have a completely sedentary job and no dog that needs walking, my calorie goal on days that I don’t workout is 1,425. I eat more on days that I do workout (which ideally is everyday).

Exercise: Ran/hiked 3.36 miles

Sleep: Was in bed reading at 9:30 with the lights out by 10:00, alarm went off at 6:20.

Water: I peed 7 times!

DietBet Day 3:

What I ate:
Breakfast: One whole cantaloupe – 352 calories
Snack: Watermelon – 257 calories
Lunch: Lots of grapes (maybe 2/3 of a bag) – 483 calories
Snack: 2 bananas – 242 calories
Dinner: Raw zucchini pasta with homemade zesty Thai sauce – 277 calories
Dessert: Chocolate banana ice cream – 319 calories
TOTAL calories: 1,933

Fun note: According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, women aged 19-70+ need around 46 grams of protein each day. Today I consumed 41 grams of protein without any meat, dairy, legumes, or protein powders.

Exercise: Ran 4.3 miles and did strength training:  15 minutes of abs/core work, 3 sets of single leg squats, 3 sets of push-ups, and 2 sets of these bridge exercises that strengthen your back/core. I am sore today and I love it!!

Water: I peed 7 times! Fruits that are high in water content (such as melons) are very hydrating and help you to pee more with out having to drink extra water.

Sleep: I turned off the light around 10:10 and it took me a little while to fall asleep. My alarm went off at 6:20 so I probably got around 7.5 hours of sleep. Not my ideal but it’s close and it’s a lot better than I was doing before! Progress, not perfection!

I’d love to hear what some of your goals are and how you’re working to meet them!

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CAN YOU BE HEALTHY ON VACATION?


We celebrated my husband’s 35th birthday this past weekend with some friends and family at the beach. This is something that we do every year and it seems inevitable that my husband and I always end up eating way too much junk food and drinking way too much alcohol while we’re there. Every year I try to be better and make healthy choices but it just seems like it’s impossible.

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To prepare for the trip I decided to really clean up my diet the week leading up to us heading out of town, and so Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of last week I only ate raw fruits and vegetables. I wasn’t depriving myself in anyway — I thoroughly enjoyed what I was eating and I tracked my calories to make sure I was eating enough (1,600 calories on the days I didn’t workout, more when I did), and I also tracked my nutrients to make sure I was getting a variety of the vitamins that I needed (CRON-O-meter is great for this). I was feeling really good about the weekend ahead of us and had myself pretty convinced I was going to try to stick to my super healthy eating since it had me feeling so good.

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We arrived in Rockport, Texas around midnight Thursday night and I was immediately tempted. Ross’s mom never knows what to feed me since I’m vegan but she knows that I love hummus, so before she arrived in Rockport she bought two huge containers of hummus. Seriously, they were huge. She doesn’t like hummus so I knew she bought them just for me. How was I supposed to tell her that I was trying to only eat fruits and veggies that weekend? I couldn’t figure out a way to do it so I grabbed some chips and just dug into the hummus.

Friday morning Ross and I got up early so we could run/ride before our friends started to arrive. I usually hate running in Rockport because it’s super hot, disgustingly humid, horribly windy, and there’s no shade because the only trees are palm trees. While I was grumbling and complaining and putting my shoes on Ross suggested I drive over to the golf course and run in that neighborhood because there’s lots of “real trees” over there. Usually I’m against getting in my car and driving some place just so I can go running but I seriously hate running in Rockport so much that I was desperate.

The golf course area of Rockport is so incredibly different from the little island our house is on and it made all the difference with my run. I was able to get in 3.5 miles without being miserable! For breakfast I had a mango smoothie with just mango and ice, blended until smooth. Delicious!

A few hours later a couple of our friends arrived so we headed to the grocery store to get our eats for the weekend. I went armed with my healthy intentions, but also with my, “this is vacation and I want to eat some of the things that I normally don’t eat,” attitude, so this is what I ended up buying: crackers to go with the hummus, a loaf of ciabatta bread, ingredients for vegan mac n cheese, two watermelons, four pounds of strawberries, two bags of grapes, some kale, a pint of cherry tomatoes, a pineapple, some bananas and some chocolate chips. I had brought with me about 13 mangoes, a bag of grapes, and a cantaloupe from home. I really, really wanted to eat well this weekend, but at the same time I also wanted to indulge.

Rather than giving you a play by play of what I ate all weekend long, let me just sum it up for you. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I ate nothing but fruit until noon and then I ate whatever else I could get my hands on for the rest of the day. I made vegan mac n cheese (with kale!), tofu sandwiches, ordered pizza, ate the entire loaf of ciabatta bread by myself, and devoured almost an entire container of the hummus alternating between crackers and lays potato chips for dipping. I may or may not have also “accidentally” eaten a bit of ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. Oh, and the alcohol… mainly beer and shots. Not too much of either, as I was never drunk the entire weekend, but enough.

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Each night when I went to bed I felt really gross. Not sick, but just really full and icky. I knew that I wasn’t being good to my body and as I lay there trying to fall asleep each night I vowed that I would eat better the next day. And I would, until about noon.

I went running again on Saturday morning before everyone else was up and knocked out six miles. I felt great and wanted to keep feeling great but I seemed to lose all will power around lunch time when everyone would start eating. I was disappointed with myself with each bite that I put in my mouth, saying to myself, “I know I’m not going to feel good about myself after eating this, so why am I doing it?”

I wish I was ending this post with some great advice to you for how to eat healthy when you’re on vacation. I do have some great tips that I always follow, such as:

  • Don’t eat out for every meal or even every day
  • Go to the grocery store and make a goal of buying more healthy food than unhealthy food. Hopefully this will crowd out the unhealthy options
  • Buy healthy foods that you ENJOY eating, so that you’re more likely to actually eat them (i.e., lots of fruit!)
  • Bring appliances with you for cooking if needed (I brought my Vitamix this time and when we went to Florida last summer I brought my food processor and my magic bullet)

These tips are only good if you are able to exercise some will power. 

My problem is that I try to eat so well in my “normal” life that I look forward to vacations (Rockport, specifically) as a time for me to splurge. I really need to work on changing my mindset, and also on not letting others influence my behavior.

I know that I’m not perfect so I don’t beat myself up too much when I make poor decisions about what I’m eating, but I would like to learn from these experiences because I really do have the desire to only eat foods that are good for my body. I just have to keep reminding myself that this is a journey, and after years and years of not caring about the food I was eating it’s going to take time (years) for me to make all the changes that I want to make.

Five years ago if I was going to the beach with some friends for the weekend I definitely would not have gone out running and I probably wouldn’t have bought any fruits or vegetables from the store; my mac n cheese would have contained about four different dairy cheeses rather than kale and cashews, and would have been made with white pasta instead of wheat; my hummus would have actually been queso; my two or three beers each day would have been five or six glasses of wine; instead of fruit for breakfast I would have had donuts, breakfast tacos, or in all reality both; my snacks of grapes and strawberries would have be chunks of cheese and beef jerky.

Some days are much easier than others when it comes to making good choices for my body, but I’m getting there.

Progress, not perfection. 

Aside from my poor eating choices and how crappy I felt when I climbed into bed each night, we had a great weekend and come home feeling relaxed and refreshed!

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5 DELICIOUS WAYS TO ENJOY BEETS


*Note – I am sharing this recipe with Healthy Vegan Fridays and Raw Food Thursdays, even though only 3 out of the 5 recipes are raw. That’s the majority!  :)

I love beets. I was very surprised by this when I first discovered it because for years when I thought about beets I would get the image of these weird red-looking potatoes in my head and they always came from a can. I honestly don’t know if I’d ever tried them before but if you’d asked me if I liked beets I would have told you, “Hell no.”

I think my first mistake was thinking that I had to eat them from a can. The only vegetable that comes from a can that tastes good is corn, and I know that it’s not the best way to eat corn. Still, I had it in my head that all beets came from a can.

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The first time I considered eating beets was around May 2011. My friend Ashlee was living with us at the time and her brother came to visit for the weekend. At the time I considered myself a pretty healthy eater but I was blown away by how healthy her brother was and how I paled in comparison. I was so inspired by him all weekend long and I will always think of him when I think of beets.

Ashlee and her brother had gone to Whole Foods for dinner one night while he was in town and he had gotten some beets for dinner. He came out of my bathroom later that evening talking about how he loves going to the bathroom after eating beets because his pee and poop are purple.

WHAT??

The idea of purple pee and poop sounded completely awesome to me and I vowed right then that one day I was going to eat beets so that I too could have purple pee.

It was a long time before I finally talked myself into eating them, though. I was scared. Finally sometime in like October or November of that year I got the guts to try them. I found a recipe that seemed easy to make and sounded pretty good, even though I had no idea what a beet actually tasted like. I talked Hannah into eating them with me and it was love at first bite.

The next day when I was at work I nearly had a heart attack when I went to the bathroom. I had forgotten I’d had beets the night before and seeing the bright purple/pink pee in the toilet had me terrified that there was something seriously wrong with me. I was ready to leave work and go straight to the doctor before I remembered my dinner from the previous night.

Since then I’ve tried several different ways to eat beets and I have loved almost all of them. They have a sweet but earthy flavor that I just can’t get enough of. Since I know firsthand that beets can be intimidating I thought I would share some of my favorite recipes with you.

Amazingly Unbeatable Beet Juice

  • 1 large beet, peeled
  • 1 apple, cored
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 3 carrots
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 zucchini

1. Send all ingredients through a juicer and serve on ice.

This recipe is great if you want to try beets but you’re still a little too scared to eat them. It does require the use of a juicer though, so if you don’t have one of those then you’re out of luck. I’ve made many, many juices with my juicer and still any juices that I make with beets and ginger are my favorite.

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Roasted Beets

serves 4 – 150 calories per serving

  • 6 small whole beets
  • 2 small yellow onions, cut in half with skin on
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the beets and place them and the onions in a baking dish that’s just large enough to hold them.

2. Cover the dish and bake for 55 minutes, stirring occasionally, until you can easily pierce a beet with a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.

3. Once the beets and onions are cool enough to handle, peel and cut into bite sized pieces. Mix with the vinegar, oil, garlic, walnuts and parsley.

This was the very first way that I had beets and I was so surprised by how much I loved them. This recipe takes a while to make though and I don’t always want to wait an hour+ when I want to eat beets. A few months later I came up with a way for me to enjoy beets without all that cooking time. This way is even healthier because the beets are raw, which is always the best way to eat vegetables, and the recipe doesn’t contain any oil. Remember that healthier doesn’t always mean less calories though!

Shredded Beet Salad

serves 2 – 215 calories per serving

  • 3 beets, peeled
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 2-4 tbsp diced red onion

1. Grate the beets using the grater attachment of your food processor (or just a regular cheese grater, but be careful with your fingers).

2. Add to a bowl with all other ingredients and mix well. The salad pictured below also has some kale in it. Kale and beets go great together!

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Kale Salad with Beets and Carrot

1. Remove kale from thick center stem and chop into bite sized pieces

2. Grate carrot and beet using the grater attachment on your food processor or a cheese grater.

3. Top kale with all ingredients and enjoy!

I absolutely love to add shredded beets to my salad because they add a nice sweetness to balance out the taste of the greens, and I think they go particularly well with this salad dressing. The different flavors really compliment each other well!

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Beet Burgers

Beet burgers are some of my favorite veggie burgers! They are incredibly flavorful and I absolutely love the color. I made them back in October for Vegan Mo Fo when I was blogging about burgers and the recipe I always use comes from Isa Chandra’s Post Punk Kitchen Blog. Since it’s not my recipe I’m not going to share it here but you should definitely check it out and make them. Seriously, they are so good.

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Recently the idea popped into my head to make beet bread, kind of like zucchini bread, but with shredded beets instead of zucchini. Beets are pretty sweet so I think they’d be a great addition and make a really beautiful loaf of bread. If I ever get around to making it I will definitely share the recipe and let you know how it tastes!