time for a hill

Today was really stressful. Not for any particular reason; I don’t have anything huge going on at work, I have an exam tomorrow but I’m not really worried about it. I just woke up with this gut-wrenching anxiety. I hoped that maybe once I got to work and was distracted it would go away, but it hung over my head all day. I just felt this extreme anxiety about nothing. I came home and went to spinning, where I got to thinking about how life is a lot like spinning. After each hill, or sprint, or painful endless flat, you hope that you’re done. You hope that you can take a five minute break, even. But the break never comes. You have to push up that fourth hill of the night harder than you pushed up the first hill, but when you’re done it is all worth it. And that’s kind of how I’m feeling about this whole “alone-in-the-world” anxiety I’m having. It’s painful, and it’s hard. But I know it won’t kill me. I know that I will get through it. And I know that when I do, it will make “normal” life all the better.

I’m also upset about this anxiety because I was really looking forward to seeing how I felt after the meals I had today. I think today was the most fruit-and-vegetable-centric food day I’ve had in a while. I started my day with juice from half a lemon in 8 ounces of water. I’m trying to form a habit of doing this, as it alkalizes your body and acts almost as a mini cleanse to get your digestive system off on the right track for the day. After my lemon water, I had a green monster smoothie that had frozen mango chunks, a banana, 1/2 a cup of flax milk, 1/2 an avocado, and 1 cup of raw spinach.

I put it in my recently purchased blender bottle… I am in love. Even though the blender ball in it only works to smoothly blend protein powder or really-easy-to-blend things, I pour my pre-blended smoothie in them at night and let it sit in the fridge so I can just grab it in the morning. I shake up my blender bottle and it’s ready to drink! It keeps it from separating. I also love it when I just want a simple protein shake, because it gets out all the clumps and does away with that sand-like texture that a spoon just can’t compete with. Oh, and did I mention it was only six dollars?!

For lunch, I had a big salad with romaine, red onion, avocado, ground flaxseed, chickpeas, and marinated portobellos, along with some plain soy yogurt with raspberries mixed in.

After work, I was dying of hunger (I think I need to get some more protein in my breakfasts), so I made a quick protein shake with a cup of flax milk and a scoop of my Amazing Grass Amazing Meal chocolate protein powder. I (of course) used my blender bottle and it was quick and super easy. It gave me enough to energy to tide me over through spinning. After kicking some serious butt at spinning, I made an italian veggie sandwich and some chickpeas on the side.

Italian Veggie Sandwich

Ingredients:

2 Slices of Sandwich Bread (I used a hunk of a baguette)
3 1/4 inch slices of eggplant
1 Cup raw spinach
1 roasted red pepper, sliced into 1/2 inch strips

Cut the slices of eggplant in half and sautee them on low heat in olive oil with a little balsamic. Sprinkle on some garlic powder too. Once done (5 to 10 minutes), remove from heat and sautee spinach in oil for about 1 minute, until just cooked. Don’t over cook! The more you cook spinach, the less nutrients are available to you! Once done, stack your eggplant and spinach onto your bread. Add your sliced roasted pepper, and enjoy!

This sandwich would also be really delicious with broccoli raab in place of spinach, or portobellos in place of eggplant. Of course, you could always pile them on in addition to everything else, too.

Hope you had a great last day of January!

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simple vegan pizza

Happy Monday, everyone!

Mondays are generally pretty busy for me, so I like to plan dinners that take under half an hour to prepare, and if possible, eat. My usual solution is grilled cheese or cereal, but tonight I wanted to throw together something I could feel good about. Something that would make me feel good, but still have that Monday night element of fun. Vegan pizza it is!

My fifteen-minute vegan pizza is so ridiculously simple and easy, making it perfect for a busy night. On any other night, vegan pizza would involve kneading dough and letting it rise, boiling down a delicious and spicy sauce. Not tonight. This pizza uses store-bought flatbread and tomato paste!

Fifteen Minute Vegan Individual Pizza

 Ingredients:

1 Flatbread (store-bought!)

1/4 C Tomato Paste (or any pizza/pasta sauce you have on hand)

1 quarter-inch slice of eggplant, cut into quarters

1/2 of a small zucchini, sliced

1 canned artichoke, cut into quarters

2 white mushroom caps, sliced

10 kalamata olives

1/4 C of raw spinach

2 tsp vegan pesto

1 Tbsp olive oil

*Feel free to use whichever pizza toppings your heart desires! These are just the veggies I happened to have in my fridge today.

Preheat oven to 350. Spoon your tomato sauce onto your flatbread and spread it evenly, leaving about 1/2 an inch around for a “crust”. Place pesto in “dollops” around the pizza. Add your chopped and sliced veggies, topping with the raw spinach. Drizzle the olive oil over top. Grease a cookie sheet or use a pizza stone, and cook at 350 for 10-15 minutes, until veggies are heated through and crust is crispy.

I managed to do my workout today as planned, so I’m feeling really good about getting this week off on the right foot. Tomorrow is spinning class, which I’m always excited for!

Hope you had a wonderful Monday!

v-day is right around the corner…

I know a lot of people hate Sundays because they are the first sign of Monday, but I really do love Sundays. Today, I slept in (9:30 woohoo!) and drove to my parent’s house around noon. I went to A.C. Moore and spent way more money on way more things than I originally intended. I baked, went to Spinning, and prepped my lunches for the week. Sundays are so productive!

The most appealing product of my Sunday was definitely my Valentine’s Day Themed Mini Cupcakes.

One of my unplanned purchases from A.C. Moore was a mini muffin pan. I see myself getting so much use out of this thing. The only problem with mini cupcakes is that I eat way too many of them since the fact that two mini cupcakes = 1 regular cupcake does not register in my brain.

My first experiment with my muffin tin was these beautiful little Valentine’s Day cupcakes. They’re vanilla cake and vanilla frosting, but when I make them closer to February 14th, I’m going to use chocolate cake and raspberry frosting.

I adapted Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s vanilla cupcake recipe and baked the cupcakes at 30 degrees less than the recipe stated and for half the time. They came out perfectly!

Next time I use my muffin tin, however, I’ll make sure to fill them less. I filled them to 3/4 full like with normal cupcakes, but these are cuter when they’re flatter on top, so 1/2 full does the trick perfectly.

Vegan Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients:

2/3 C of Softened Earth Balance

3 to 4 C of Confectioner’s Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Tbsp Almond Milk

In an electric mixer, beat softened earth balance until it appears whipped. Add sugar slowly, mixing in each cup as you go, starting with 3 cups. Add almond milk and beat on high speed. Add vanilla extract, and once mixed in taste frosting. If it’s too “buttery”, add another cup of sugar. If it appears to dry, splash an additional teaspoon of almond milk in. Continue to beat on high speed to achieve whipped and creamy consistency.

I added pink food coloring, but feel free to add whatever coloring you’d like. You can also use different extracts. Next time I make these, I will omit the vanilla and add raspberry extract instead.

These mini cupcakes were a huge hit with all of my roommates and family! They’re a cute little treat to celebrate Valentine’s 🙂

Have a great Monday!