Monday, January 21, 2019

Cats & Buns & Tortillas!

Now that Fuel Cafe is closed, my friend Don of Lulu's Food is back to selling his baked goods every Saturday at the Cooper-Young Farmer's Market (and he's still hosting pop-up brunches in the Fuel space!). I got there right at opening time this Saturday and scored my favorite savory bun — Smoked Carrot Bacon & Cashew Cheddar. This heavy bun is made of soft, pillowy dough that's similar to a croissant. Perfect pre-yoga snack. And Polaris liked it too. 

Don also made corn tortillas this week, so I bought six and enjoyed them over the past couple days with pinto beans and Spanish rice (made with brown rice) and lots of avocado. Simple meals like this are my fave.

Speaking of tortillas, I used some of the Sprouts Artisan Corn Tortillas (they contain some wheat, which makes them super-soft) to make Lentil Taco Meat Taquitos with more of that Spanish rice on the side. 

Yesterday afternoon, Paul, Megan, and I had a race — the WC Johnson 5K — as part of the Memphis Runners Track Club Winter Off-Road Series. I had a big bowl of Oats with Blueberry, Banana, & Walnuts that morning as fuel.

Later that evening, Paul and I celebrated our race with cocktails at Art Bar at Crosstown Arts (where I work — yes, I hang out at work on my off days!). I had a Pay de Nuez cocktail (tequila, maple syrup, pecan liqueur, and turmeric), and Paul had a Memphis Made Fireside Amber ale.

I was off today for MLK Day, so I slept in until 7:30 am! And then I had a bowl of Koyo Lemongrass Ginger Ramen with Tofu, Edamame, Corn, Peas, & Carrots. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Burger, Sandwich & Workout Meals

Now that I'm caught up on review posts, I'm back to sharing random meals. Last week, I created the most delicious Red Bean & Brown Rice Burger using the No Meat Athlete veggie burger formula as a guide. It's not a recipe at all — just a good formula to help you understand the best portion of beans, veggies, dry ingredients, spices, and flavors. You try any combo of beans and veggies and it'll come out perfectly every time!

That burger was great on a bun with pickles, lettuce, and tomato, but I also enjoyed a patty crumbled atop a Burger Salad with pickles and cashew ranch.

Here's a Fried Green Tomato & Tofu Bacon Sandwich that I made using air-fried green tomatoes. Oil-free!

And now for some weird food! Since I did Health Made Simple a few months ago, I've really shifted the way I eat most of the time. Not only am I low-oil at home and sticking with whole foods as much as possible (not all the time!), I'm also following the No Meat Athlete recommendations for pre- and post-workout nutrition. After my workouts, I immediately follow with quick-digesting carbs, like white rice, banana, or juice. White rice is my fave though, and I especially love it with Green Tea Leaf Dressing (made with spent green tea leaves, rice vinegar, a smidge of sesame oil, and soy sauce). Looks weird, tastes good. A recipe recommendation from my friend Madelyn! 

I follow that was a whole foods smoothie about an hour later. I also take in quick-digesting carbs pre-workout. Before short runs, that's a Larabar or a banana. But for longer workouts, I've been enjoying Steamed White Potato about two hours prior to the workout. 

Workout nutrition is weird, but I love to nerd out on protein-to-carb ratios! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Review: MaryRuth's Vegan Omega Gummies

Over the holiday break, I received a mysterious package on my doorstep. It wasn't anything I'd ordered, so I ripped it open to find this big bottle of MaryRuth's Vegan Omega 3-6-7-9 Gummies!

I don't remember being contacted by this company to review their products. But it happens sometimes that a company will have my mailing address and just send me review products with no warning. And lucky me — I was fresh out of vegan omega supplements.

I had been taking omega supplements a few months back, but when they ran out, I didn't get more. And I keep meaning to! Isn't that always the case with vitamins??

Anyway, these are awesome. They're orange flavored and they have the same gummy texture that SurfSweets vegan gummies have. So basically, they're candy but they're vitamins. Win-win. They're also non-gmo and gluten-free.

The omegas come from sea berry omega-3 powder and flaxseed oil. Good stuff! I will definitely pay for more when I run out!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Review: Sneakz Protein Powder

I don't consume protein powders all that often these days, now that I'm trying to base most of my day around whole foods. But I do believe protein powders have their place and can be helpful. I used to be a diehard protein powder fan, and I had protein smoothies after every run to help with quick muscle recovery.

But then I did the Health Made Simple plan and realized that I don't need THAT much protein every day. I learned that a handful of walnuts or flax seeds is plenty for my level of activity. I'm not body building after all. However, there are days when I put in a REALLY hard effort (like a long run of 10 to 20 miles) or days that I know I'm not going to be eating well (like when traveling or just really, really busy). On those days, I still consume protein powder.

And it was on one of those days recently (pretty sure I was extra busy that day!) that I tried Sneakz Organic Chocolate Protein Powder in a smoothie with banana, spinach, and extra cocoa powder.

Sneakz sent me this powder to review months ago, right as I was starting my whole foods journey. So it took me awhile to try it. But I've had it a few times since then, like last weekend after a 7-mile treadmill run that left me feeling weak and sluggish all day. Pretty sure I overheated a bit on that run, and I was getting over a cold too. I figured I could use a protein boost that day!

Sneakz, when mixed with liquid, tastes like chocolate milk. But it's made with a simple blend of whole organic foods, including sweet potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, spinach, and beets (1/2 serving of veggies in every scoop). Plus, it has 14 grams of pea protein, probiotics, and 10 essential amino acids.

Sneakz does contain some organic cane sugar, which I think some protein powder fans would prefer. But I'm firmly in the stevia camp for my protein powders. Consuming sugar in my smoothie makes me feel like I'm having dessert for breakfast (and I'd rather save dessert for dessert time!). But the sugar does make it taste pretty great. This would be an awesome product to deliver protein and veggie nutrition to picky kids!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Sandwiches! Bagels! Tacos! Treats!

Last Tuesday, I made the best Air-fried Avocado Tacos! I made avocado fries in the air fryer and topped with cashew cream and veggies. And I made some Chipotle Lime Street Corn in the air fryer as well. Taco Tuesday!!

I'm sticking with whole foods almost all the time at home these days, and I'm saving my plant meat and junk food splurges for eating out. But sometimes, a girl needs some Beet Puffs. These Vegan Rob's puffs are made with pretty wholesome ingredients (like whole grain sorghum flour), so as junk food goes, they're not bad. And I had a healthy BLT with Tofu Bacon on sprouted grain. So I feel pretty good about this meal.

Here's a totally whole foods-based Tofu Stir-fry I made last night for dinner with broccoli, bell pepper, and mushrooms over quinoa. I feel best when I'm eating this way.

But treats in moderation are a-okay! My friend Don of Lulu's Food has gone back to selling his vegan baked goods at the Cooper-Young Farmers Market. He posted a mouth-watering menu of vegan croissants and savory buns, as well as cookies, baguettes, pita, and morning buns, on Instagram the night before this Saturday's market. It opened at 9 am, and I was there by 9:15 am. And he was almost SOLD OUT!! All that was left were cinnamon morning buns and cookies. I opted for a Chocolate Chip Cookie and a Morning Bun (both AMAZING!!). Next week, I'm getting there right at 9 am!

And finally, here's a Whole Wheat Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese from Otherlands coffee shop that I ate yesterday morning. I had to get some freelance writing done, and I work best outside my house. I enjoyed this with a soy latte. Good stuff. They use Dave's Bagels (the best!).

Thursday, January 10, 2019

What I Ate When I Was Sick

I'm back with a special soup edition of "Stuff I Ate." Late last week, I came down with a cold. I rarely get sick, which I like to attribute to my daily fire cider shots. Who knows if that actually helps boost immunity? But I tell myself it does. It seems like everyone I know is either sick now or has been sick over the past few weeks, and I guess it was just my turn.

I felt it coming on last Thursday, the same day I had lunch plans at Global Café with a few co-workers. Global Café is in Crosstown Concourse, where I work, and they provide jobs to refugees and immigrants and give them a space to showcase their countries' cuisines. I'm a huge fan of the Nepalese booth, where I typically opt for the amazing veggie chow mein. But since I was feeling a little funky, I went with the Thukpa Noodle Soup. This has a spicy, garlicky broth with noodles, veggies, jalapenos, red onion, and cilantro. So very good. I will probably always order this when I'm sick now.

By Friday, I was feeling AWFUL. Definitely the worst day of my cold. I'd planned to have leftover lentil sloppy joes for dinner that night, but that didn't even sound good. What did sound good was No Chicken Noodle Soup and a Grilled Cheeze. So I dumped a can of Amy's No Chicken on the stove and made a quick grilled cheeze with Daiya and Earth Balance. I always keep a few cans of Amy's No Chicken in the pantry for emergencies. Doesn't look appetizing but, trust me, it's what you need when you need it. 

I was feeling a little better over the weekend but still very congested. Paul and I were signed up to run the MRTC Winter Off-Road Series Overton Park 3K on Sunday, and I managed to run despite feeling icky. A 3K is less than 2 miles, so I knew I could do it no matter how bad I felt. But afterward, I just wanted to sit on the couch and watch a movie and eat soup. We did stop for beers at Crosstown Brewing Co. first, but I eventually got my wish. Takeout Mandu Guk from Crazy Noodle and Birdbox on Netflix (I loved it!). The mandu guk has veggie dumplings, Korean rice cakes, veggies, and broth. Spiced up with a little sriracha.

I'm much better now, but I'm not feeling 100% yet. Still have lots of snot, and my nose is all raw from blowing it 50 million times. Plus, it's cold AF outside, so soup is still calling me. Today for lunch, I got the Thai Green Curry Bowl from the cafe at Crosstown Arts, where I work. This isn't soup, but it's soupy so it counts. Brown rice, tempeh, squash, eggplant, kimchi, and enoki mushrooms in a coconut curry broth. Perfection. Washed down with an iced chai tea.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Some Breakfasts I Ate

Here are some things I've eaten for breakfast lately. I'm still all up in my smoothie game on week days, a habit I started when I was doing the Health Made Simple meal plan back in October/November. Most days, I drink my smoothie while I'm getting ready for work.

But for part of last week and earlier this week, I was fighting off a cold and opted to skip my workouts in favor of extra sleep. That meant I had time to sit down to breakfast, but I still wanted to have smoothies for nutrition. So what's a girl to do? Smoothie Bowls! Here's one from yesterday with a base of banana, pineapple, strawberry, and spinach, topped with banana, walnuts, coconut, and chia.

Most of my week day smoothies are pretty simple — banana, water or almond milk, other frozen fruit, walnuts or flax seeds, spinach. But Megan included this Moon Juice Beauty Dust in my holiday gift, so I added that to a Berry Banana Green Smoothie one day!

On weekends, I tend to have a heartier sit-down breakfast (typically on my couch while watching Netflix). I love bagels, but I'm trying to focus on whole foods. I found these Smart Bagel whole wheat bagel thins at Sprouts and love them. They're certainly not as awesome as REAL bagels, but they'll do. Very good with a Tofu Scramble! I spread a little Daiya cream cheese on this one because we had some leftover from the holidays.

And here's a Whole Wheat Bagel with Berry Jam & Seitan Bacon. I've not been buying much plant meats lately (trying to save those for special occasions), but this Sweet Earth Benevolent Bacon was leftover from Christmas breakfast.

This past weekend, I took a more whole foods-y route and made Tofu Bacon in the air fryer, served with more bagels (spread with BE-Hive garlic soy cheese, locally-ish made in Nashville).

And finally, here's a Breakfast Sandwich! A fun weekend breakfast with tofu egg, Benevolent Bacon (again, leftover), and spinach. Not quite as satisfying as a sandwich on a fluffy Dave's Bagel but still very tasty.