Vegan MoFo Day 31: Peace out MoFo!!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN everyone!!! I love Halloween so much but haven’t indulged in any treats today because I’m preparing for my 30 day cleanse that starts tomorrow. Go figure, I finally get through MoFo (which was so daunting, I can’t believe I posted every day!) and I plan a 30 cleanse to document. I probably won’t be posting every day but I will definitely post a lot to show you what kinds of meals I’m cooking for this cleanse. I’ll detail it for you in tomorrow’s post as well.
I may not have eaten a treat today but I still received one!! The lovely Molly over at Vegan Flower hosted a giveaway for an AMAZING skull apron (it has skulls AND it is pink…couldn’t be more perfect) as well as The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook AND I WON!! October has been such a lucky month for me! This is the second giveaway I’ve won and let me assure you, I NEVER win anything. I’m SO excited, this is by far the most perfect Halloween treat I could ask for! Thanks again Molly!
I grabbed the photo from her blog so I could show you what I won :) Yay!
As I said before, I have been trying to get ready for my upcoming cleanse so I took some time to prepare some veggies for the week…
Why hello there spaghetti squash. How you doin?

Check out the yield on this bad boy! This is a HUGE tupperware container full of it!

A giant tray of roasted veggies. This particular mix has zucchini, mushrooms and eggplant. Noms.
Make sure you stay tuned to see how I use all of this and all of the other clean eats I have planned :)
I hope you all have a wonderful, safe Halloween! To all my fellow MoFoers out there, congrats on a job well done and thank you to everyone for your support!
Last but not least, the final round of the Holiday Baking Bracket!!! Choose one from each of the two brackets please :)
Happy Halloween and have a great night!

Vegan MoFo Day 30: Baked Oatmeal and Chipotle!

Good afternoon dears. In total contrast to yesterday’s apocalyptic looking weather, today was bright and sunny and absolutely gorgeous. I went out a did a little shopping with my mom. We ran to Michael’s because we are craft nerds ;) and to the book store. I drooled over Vegan Table but decided to show some restraint and hold off for now. 
After we got home I decided to go to the urgent care center that is about 10 minutes from my house. They have on site xrays and I figured that I can at least do a set of xrays to rule out the possibility of injury before I get the Dr. situation in order. Let me tell you he was SO nice and SO patient. He had them do xrays on my neck and shoulder. My bones are perfect, no structure issues at all. He believes (along with everyone else) that the problem is a pinched nerve in my neck. He said my neck is in spasm which is what is causing the flare up and discomfort in my shoulder. There isn’t much you can do for a pinched nerve I just need to rest when it flares up so it’ll heal quicker. So I’m taking the week off from all exercise (he said even yoga can hold up healing) and I should be ok. As long as I’m not taking hits my fight training should be ok (!!!!!) and I need to avoid running and jumping because those activities will put pressure on the neck I guess. It was so nice that he actually listened and helped and I feel so much better about everything. So now I can search for a doctor without settling or rushing.
So now it is time for some amazing eats!!
For breakfast today I decided to make myself baked oatmeal. I didn’t go as decadent this time and decided to use raisins instead of chocolate. I made a few tweaks to the recipe as well. This is what I did.
Raisin and Walnut Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients:
1/3 cup oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 packet Stevia
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp choppd walnuts
1/2 banana (mashed)
1/4 cup plant milk (I used Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze)
splash vanilla extract
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 380 degrees. Spray ramekin or baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl.
3. Separately combine wet ingredients.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and thoroughly combine.
5. Put mixture into ramekin and bake for 22-25 mins.
6. After 20 minutes put oven on BROIL and cook for another 3-4 minutes until you get a crispy crust on top.
7. Enjoy!

Mine fell apart a little. Oops!
For lunch I had a super yummy burrito bowl from Chipotle.
No clue what is for dinner but I doubt it’ll be exciting. Make sure you check back for the final round of the Holiday Baking Bracket sometime next week!
Enjoy your Sunday!

Vegan MoFo Day 29: Snow Day and Some Changes

Hello Chickadees <3 First of all, I just want to thank you all so much for your support and well wishes for me. Unfortunately the journey to figuring out what is going on with my should hasn't even begun because I'm still looking for a primary care physician. I doubt I'll have any tests done for at least a month. It is really upsetting and really frustrating but I just have to make sure I stay diligent in my search for doctors and for answers. This has been going on for years and I doubt it'll ever really get better. For now, I think it is a matter of learning how to live with it and how to maintain the most comfort possible while still participating in activities that I love. 
My body has been rebelling against me. I’ve been feeling crappy, never completely getting over my illnesses, my shoulder is flaring up and I am just tired and in bad spirits. I don’t like feeling this way. I’ve decided that for the month of November, I’m going to do a 30 day cleanse. It will be a repeat of the cleanse I did when I decided to go gluten free. For the first two weeks to completely clean my system I completely took all grains, starchy veggies and added sugars from my diet. I ate mostly fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, and a little tofu. It was clean clean clean. After two weeks I felt phenomenal, I had energy and just felt so much better. I added back some grains (obviously gf grains only) mostly in the form of oats and brown rice and tried to limit it. This was for another two weeks. Then I started to use a little more of the added sugars such as maple syrup, etc. Recently with all of the baking I’ve been doing and because of my schedule I’ve eaten more processed food, gluten and sugar than I like so starting on Tuesday I’m ridding my body of the crap and getting back on track.
I found these two photos and they are truly inspiring…they are so beautiful and vibrant and they make me crave fresh produce!!


   
I’ve got a major hunch that my shoulder issues have stemmed from a pinched nerve somewhere. I’m not sure where but I just really believe that’s what it is. I’ve read that posture is key in maintaining comfort with pinched nerves and I know that yoga helps with posture so much. I’m going to try and practice for at least an hour every other day and hopefully the combination of stretching and proper posture will help alleviate it. In addition, over the next two weeks I won’t be hitting anything, just working on core and lower body. I’ll probably only cut down to 2 sessions a week while I have to limit my workouts and then use the other days to focus on yoga and cardio.
It is a really yucky day here in NY. Heavy wet snow is coming down and it is just ugly. I went to the studio to do some work for a few hours and then I just came home to relax. I’m in warm pjs relaxing in bed with tea watching old UFC fights in a UFC Unleashed marathon on Spike. It is an ugly day, but it is a perfect day to rest enjoy a day inside. Now, lets check out the food!
For a snow day treat I enjoyed this slice of GF Carrot Spice Oat Bread and a mug of spearmint tea. It was the perfect treat! I warmed up the bread and the warmth of the spices were really lovely on this chilly day.
To continue the theme of warming from the inside out, I had a bowl of hot and sour soup. Check out all of the chili flakes! Super spicy and delicious :)
Just as a reminder, you can vote in the second round of the Holiday Baking Bracket until midnight tomorrow – Sunday, October 30! Get those votes in! The final round is approaching!
Stay warm and dry everyone and travel safe!

Vegan MoFo Day 28: Food Related Holiday Gifts – Part Deux

Hey everyone! This morning has gone by in a total blur. I’ve been running around getting ready for work and trying to make an appointment with the neurologist and get referrals and a whole bunch of other annoying tasks. I found out that my primary care physician left the practice so now I have to start from scratch and find a new one before I can get an appointment with the neurologist. This is really not the situation I wanted to be in right now. 
So I haven’t had much time to eat, much less photograph anything. Instead, I’ll do another installment of amazing food related holiday gifts I’ve found over the past few weeks.
The first three are from Anthropologie. They are a bit pricey but so fun and beautiful.
How stunning are these measuring cups?! They are great for measuring for baking, but I’d use them to measure out and hold some tasty snacks. A 1/4 cup of nuts? 1/3 cup granola? 1/2 cup of fruit? 1 cup of mixed veggies? Beautiful and practical, you can’t lose. I’ve made it more than obvious to my family that these are on the top of my list ;)

Check out these stoneware “Farmer’s Market Baskets!” SO cute and great for holding your fresh berries and other fun treats.
This gorgeous apron. I love this style of apron and I can totally see myself rocking this while I do a crap ton of holiday baking!
I found these two gifts on Perpetual Kid.
Gingerdead men cookie cutters!
Pac Man cookie cutters! I think I’m on a cookie cutter kick even though I rarely use them. I think I may have to start a collection.
Lastly, this is something I have already and highly recommend to anyone that packs a lunch for work or school every day. Check out the Laptop Lunch Bento Box.
These posts are a lot of fun! I have lots of baking planned over the next few days so I’m excited to show you what I have coming out of my oven :) Happy Friday!

Vegan Mofo Day 27: A Big Bummer

Hey everyone. Such a yucky day today, everyone has been really blah. I’m having a bit of a rough day and I’m really bummed out about it because it is majorly going to impact my training. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it on here but I have a bit of a shoulder issue. We haven’t been able to figure out what it is yet. Last year I had an MRI done on my brain and ruled out anything to do with that but we never progressed any further. I have some flare ups and sometimes it is fine. I don’t even know how to describe it. I don’t have pain per se…it is more discomfort and the feeling that it is out of place. Then I have radiating discomfort down the back of my arm and into my thumb and pinkie.  I’m in the middle of a massive flare up, probably the worst I have had so far. I’m constantly shifting and adjusting my shoulder and it got so bad that I had to stop in the middle of my session and I’m not allowed to hit anything until I have it checked. So now I have to try and get into the neurologist sooner rather than later :( It really sucks and I’m really concerned about how it is going to effect my training.
I do have 2 meals to show you today.
For breakfast today I had avocado on gf toast and a big ol’ bottle of water.
Lunch was a random mixture of things I was craving. I had an apple, carrot, some dolma and a big ol’ half sour pickle. Everything was yummy but that pickle was SO GOOD.
No dinner yet, just trying to figure it out. I have to work a wedding tomorrow and will probably spend the morning trying to get an appointment for the doctor, which will inevitably be a joy.
Hope your day is going better than mine!

Vegan MoFo Day 26: Most. Boring. Post. Ever.

Hey everyone. Let me apologize in advance for how hideously boring this post is. I changed up the work schedule today and got out a little early and did a little cardio with my free time :) I didn’t have a chance to photograph much of what I ate today but I have one meal and 2 snacks.
Salad. I added sun-dried tomatoes before I ate it. The chunks on the side are baked tofu. 

This is by far the most exciting part of this post! I have been looking EVERYWHERE for the blueberry muffin Larabar and the only place I ever found them was in Orlando when I visited my friend earlier this year. I FINALLY found them! The small (not fancy) Whole Foods closer to my house had them. Go figure! Love this flavor :)

I love bananas.
So sorry about the total snoozefest of a post. I’ll have way more interesting eats tomorrow, I promise!

Vegan MoFo Day 25: Recipe Testing – Almond Joy Cookies!!

Hey hey! I’m making up for my lack of actual food pics with some amazing cookies! I decided that since it seems like those Almond Joy Cookies have a shot of winning the bracket, I should probably come up with a recipe for them. I’ve never actually made them before but I LOVE the combination of almonds, chocolate and coconut…in fact, they are my favorite 3 flavors :)
So I got to baking…how do they look?
Coconut flavored cookies (secret weapon is coconut extract)…

Sliced almonds (may trade them out for slivered almonds for more texture and almondy flavor)…

Chocolate chips!

…and shredded coconut for that extra coconut boost!
What do you think? Do they sound good? I’m going to test a different version with a chocolate cookie, shredded coconut and almond. We’ll see which one works out best!
What are your favorite flavors that would work well in a cookie?

Vegan MoFo Day 24: The Votes are In and Round 2!!

Hey everyone! Round 1 of the holiday baking bracket has come to a close and I tallied up the votes to move on to the next round of voting. I decided that instead of narrowing down to four I’m going to narrow down to 2 flavors. I have 2 different kinds of truffles I’m going to make plus a few other treats (including one cookie that I was going to make no matter what and has already been eliminated! eek!) so I’ll add the two chosen cookies to the menu :)
Here are the results!!
Thank you so much to everyone that voted in the first round! I’ll be taking votes for this round until midnight this Sunday, October 30. I’m looking forward to seeing how it narrows down even more. There was only one tie and my tie-breaker chose the “Just the Crumbs” bars over the Citrus Glitters. 
Hope your Monday went well. This weekend went WAY too quick. I woke up feeling a bit run down so I’ve been resting since I got home from work until I have the gym. 
Can’t wait to see what you vote for next! :)

Vegan MoFo Day 23: xgfx Survey!

I am not gonna lie, I’ve been saving this post for a day where I just didn’t have anything to show you. We all hit some ruts and i’m pretty happy with my MoFo progress. I’ve posted every day and there is food in every post somewhere so I figured this survey would help me get through a slump. The “slump” is mainly because I’m working a wedding today and I just haven’t had time to photograph what I’ve eaten today.
I was perusing Manifest Vegan and found this xgfx survey! I haven’t seen a gluten free based survey before so I thought it would be fun to fill out. Here we go!
1. What’s your favorite gluten-free flour?
Of the ones I’ve used so far I’ve really enjoyed oat flour for baking. You all know how much I love my morning oats so this was kind of a natural progression for me!
2. What have you always wanted to deglutenize, but haven’t yet?
It would certainly be quite a victory but I would LOVE to figure out a gluten free, vegan Challah Bread. Challah was one of my favorite breads when I was an omni and I have yet to try a vegan version…and now gluten free.
3. What’s one of your favorite xgfx meals to make?
I’ve been really into simple meals of rice and beans lately. Brown rice with either red or black beans, fresh veggies, avocado and some pico de gallo and I’m such a happy camper.
4. Your biggest gluten-free success that makes ya most proud?
I haven’t had too many gf adventures but my Carrot Spice Oat Bread came out AMAZING and I’m really proud of that recipe.
5. Most “epic xgfx fail”?
I tried to make pumpkin pie truffles and attempted to use gluten free flour in there and it was NASTY. Ew. Still working on the truffles but I assure you there will not be any gf flour.
6. What product do you wish was xgfx that isn’t?
Really amazing fresh out of the oven crusty bread. Mmm.
7. If you could pass along one gluten-free tip to a gluten-free newbie, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to experiment. The worst that can happen is you have a bad batch of whatever. The best that can happen is you come up with something amazing! And every time you experiment you learn which is the most important thing.
8. What’s your favorite xgfx product?
Chocolate.
9. Is there anything you miss being gluten-free?
Really good bread.
10. Any xgfx techniques you’ve learned that have been most helpful?
I don’t really have any tips because I haven’t really played around with baking all that much yet. As far as cooking it is just a matter of adapting gf ingredients to your favorite meals and making them work for you!
11. Have you found a favorite gluten-free pizza dough recipe that makes your heart sing?
I have yet to try gluten free pizza dough. It is funny because I’ve really wanted pizza lately but all gluten free prepared dough I’ve found is not vegan. I just bought some pizza dough flour mix thing so I’ll have to play with that in the future. Hopefully it is good!
12. Xanthan gum. Do you or don’t you? Love it or leave it?
I haven’t worked with it yet but I know it is supposed to make all the difference with baking.
13. Favorite gluten free prepackaged bread.
Now, let me make it clear that no gluten free bread will EVER compare to fresh bread made of wheat. It just won’t happen. However, I did find one kind…Food For Life (I think) Millet bread. It toasts up with a really nice texture and I love the taste of it so it definitely makes a suitable replacement for those avocado toast breakfasts!
14. What’s your favorite way to nosh on quinoa?
I like to throw in some veggies and chomp away!
15. Name five of your most coveted pantry staples.
Almond milk, oats, nuts, dates spices
16. If you could only buy three gluten free flours to last you for three months, what would they be?
Besan (chickpea flour), oat flour and almond flour
17. Any xgfx ingredients you are intimidated about trying?
I’m intimidated by the whole flour mixing situation.  Some recipes call for three different flours and it just seems really intimidating.
18. Favorite place to buy foods?
Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and farmer’s markets
19. Favorite meal when dining out?
I’m a sucker for a good plate of tofu and veggies, or a salad topped with amazing falafel and hummus, OR a yummy plate of rice and beans.
20. Freebee – create your own question and have fun with it!
Favorite xgfx treat (something that you only get for yourself every once and awhile)? (I liked Allyson’s question so I kept it!)
Pre-made Kale Chips. My Whole Foods brings in Kale Chips from a local company and I tried the Sea Salt and vinegar flavor and they are PHENOMENAL. So tangy and noochy. They are just very expensive so they will be a rare treat.

Just as a reminder, today is the last day to vote for the first cut of my Holiday Baking Bracket!! If you have not voted please do so by midnight tonight :) I forgot to mention that I’ll probably have my mom be the tie-breaker in case that should occur. But I hope to get a few more votes in before midnight!
Have a great day everyone!

Vegan MoFo Day 22: Brooklyn or Bust!!

Hey everyone! Happy Saturday! It was so beautiful today and I’m so glad I got to enjoy the gorgeous weather! I woke up early and started off my day with an 8am training session. I don’t normally train on Saturdays but I added on a bonus session this week because I’ve been feeling amazing and I thought a bonus session (4th session for the week, 3rd day in a row this time!) would really be a great way to start off my day. It felt amazing, nothing like a great session to get the blood pumping early in the morning.
After the gym I came home and had some coffee along with breakfast.
I had a slice of my Carrot Spice Oat Bread with the Peach Amande yogurt. Truth be told I wasn’t a big fan of the peach flavor of this yogurt…didn’t even finish the serving. So far, strawberry flavor is in, peach is out. It was still a great breakfast! The Oat bread stayed soft and the flavor is just so amazing. To be honest I may try to make it without white sugar next time. It has plenty of sweetness between the maple syrup, banana, carrots and raisins.
A few hours later I wanted a snack to hold me over so I decided to have a few 5 grain gluten free rosemary and garlic crackers with a half of an avocado. You better believe that avocado ended up on the crackers and it was really good and a super satisfying snack.
Then my friend and I headed over to the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn. We just hung out and walked around and had a really nice day together :) We found a small farmer’s market but it was closing up so they didn’t have much out. Oh well.
Sorry for the horrible pic. I ate about a third of this plate of tofu, broccoli, and eggplant with garlic sauce. I didn’t take my own advice and it was just heavy and greasy. I also knew what was coming up so I didn’t want to fill up on this.
And why would I waste my appetite on that when I can be eating THIS!!!! We detoured to Stogo in NYC and I am SO glad we did. My mission was pumpkin pie ice cream and I had my pumpkin pie ice cream. It. Was. Amazing. I got a small cup with half pumpkin pie and half chocolate chip cookie ice cream. It was so good and it made every minute of my workout this morning even more worth it. I don’t treat myself to decadent desserts often but when I do I make sure it is worth it :)
I hope you all enjoyed your Saturday! I am going to rest up now because I am working a wedding tomorrow. Before I go I just wanted to remind you that if you haven’t voted in my holiday baking bracket, please do so before midnight tomorrow! I’ll post the results next week and we’ll move on the the final vote for the four treats I’ll bake this holiday season! 
Good night!