Monthly Archives

January 2012

breakfast, budgeting, EAT MORE, inspiration, recipes, snacks

Monday Meals.

Hey folks,

Not sure if you were aware of this but today was blue monday which, if you’re not familiar, is otherwise known as the most depressing day of the year! A buncha researchers somewhere apparently decided that today has just the right combination of failed new years resolutions, holiday debt and wintery weather to make today the official worst day ever. Obviously this can only mean one thing…

You made it!

Bring it on 2012, its all uphill from here…. 😉

On that note I’m continuing on with my EAT MORE series by posting my basic meal plan for today, which I’ve pretty much followed to a T except for my standard grazing on cereal, dark chocolate, frozen berries, nuts, etc. But I have definitely stayed true t the ingredients from my Sunday Shopping List. I’m really excited about how much healthy fat I’ve managed to incorporate and with how balanced all my meals and snacks have been.

Monday
Breakfast Chia Oat Bran + Green Smoothie
Lunch Salad with Ezekiel Croutons, Carrot Ginger Tofu Salad & Avocado
Dinner Corn Grits with Chicken & Collard Greens
Snacks Brown Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter and Sliced BananaCarrots & Raw Fennel

Egg Wrap

Chia Pudding (Before Bed)

I can’t tell you how great it felt to make all my meals at home for a change. I swear that between holiday meals, having visitors stay with me and travelling I’ve spent way more time (and money) in restaurants over the last month than I’d like to admit.  It also felt really good to start off the day with a plan and then actually have all the ingredients I needed to follow through with it. So let’s get on to two recipes from this list, shall we?

First up….BREAKFAST

Thick and Chewy Overnight Chia Oat Bran 

Sure it ain’t the prettiest thing I’ve ever eaten, but since you prep this recipe the night before it is fast, delicious and crazy filling. Clearly these factors trump aesthetics when it comes to Monday morning breakfast.

Directions

Stovetop 
1) Mix together about 1/2 cup oat bran with 1 cup almond milk & 1 cup water and cook on medium heat for around 3 minutes. Add 1 heaping tbsp chia seeds. Cook an additional 2 mins.
Microwave
1) Mix together 1/2 cup oat bran, 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup water and 1 heaping tablespoon chia seeds. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Microwave in a LARGE bowl for 3 minutes. Stir vigorously. Microwave for an additional 2-3 minutes. Stir again.
2) Add mix-ins of  your choosing – I like cinnamon, vanilla extract and sweetener (maple syrup/brown sugar/stevia/whatever you like) – pop it in the fridge overnight.
3) Remove from the fridge in the morning and eat it either cold or reheated, covered in more toppings. Strawberries and Peanut Butter for me, please! 

If you’re like me and you want an extra protein boost in the am, you could serve this with a small green protein smoothie for a complete energy packed breakkins.

AND THEN COMES LUNCH…

I love to prep lunch salads like this one a Monday so I can snack on them all week long. They are perfect in salads, sandwiches, wraps or even eaten on-the-go with a pile of crackers. I make endless variations (like my curried lunch salad)  but today I opted for tofu salad.

Carrot & Ginger Tofu Salad
(to be exact)

Ingredients:

½ cup roughly chopped carrots
2 inch piece of fresh ginger (or sub for 1 tsp ginger powder)
1 clove garlic

1 package extra firm tofu
¼ cup nutritional yeast (optional, but tasty!)
2 tsp oil (I used sesame and flax)
1 clove garlic
1 tsp vegetable boullion (this  natural, reduced-sodium variety is what I use)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sriracha
juice of 1 lime
almond milk (as needed, around 1/4 cup)

Directions:

  1. Process carrots, fresh ginger (if using) and garlic in a food processor. You don’t want them turning into mush, just a few pulses should do. Add tofu, oil, lime juice and seasonings to the processor and pulse to combine.
  2. Add almond milk as needed until the mixture becomes smooth but remains thick.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.Makes about 4 servings.
And no I am not showing what my final lunch salad actually looked like today. It was actually far too ugly to photograph. But tasty as heck. No complaints here.
Whoof….that was a big post. Time to kick back and catch up on Project Runway All Stars while painting my nails with my favourite new Chanel nail polish (this ridiculous colour). Have a great night! And congrats again for making it through the worst day ever. How do we feel about making tomorrow to FUCHSIA TUESDAY?
budgeting, EAT MORE

EAT MORE Sunday Shopping List

My mother has this theory that once its cold enough outside you can’t get sick. She says that not even germs can survive the antiseptic powers of Canadian winter and proceeds to huff the -20 degree air like the poster woman for Vicks Vaporub. While I’m not so sure I agree with her logic on this one (my annual winter flu provides me with a pretty strong case to the contrary) I will say that when I returned home to Toronto this weekend I sort of understood what she was talking about.

Stepping off the plane and onto the icy tarmac I took a deep breath of frigid air and didn’t feel any of the post-holiday/post-25 degree weather letdown I was anticipating. Instead I felt a rush of excitement, of detoxificaton, and a boundless enthusiasm for all the possibilities of a fresh new year living in a city that I love.

The same feeling hit me when I walked into my kitchen and realized that I had not a scrap of food in the house. Normally this would send me into an IMSOHUNGRYFOODRAGE but instead I felt AMBITION! Faced with this clean slate I did something I never ever do: I made a grocery list. Which I actually stuck to. The following is what I came up with based on the Cheat Sheet I created earlier this month. I’ve even included my (very crumpled) receipts to prove I really did stick to it!

Umm I find it oddly hilarious is it that chia, tahini and tempeh all come up as spelling errors…My spellcheck needs to get with the times. 

All in all I was pretty satisfied with the cost of this trip considering I had zero food in the fridge or freezer and I bought some of the pricier items in bulk (chicken, salmon, frozen berries). Because I have most of my bread, grains, beans, nut butters, oils, etc. already on hand the final cost balanced out I think. Either way this is only a very general guide. My budget/list varies a lot week to week based on where I shop and what I happen to run out of.

Anyways I plan on posting breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas all week long that focus on the ingredients from this list. I’m excited to get cooking, hear your feedback and see how it goes! 🙂

blogs

Allergy Kids

Hey folks,
I’m in transit today heading back from Texas to the frozen tundra that is Toronto in January. But since I don’t want to leave you in the lurch I’m sharing this clip from the new season of Portlandia.
Just a friendly reminder that the allergy kids you loved to hate in grade school grew up…and became the hipsters you love to hate today. 😉

cities, community, inspiration, markets, travel

The Urban Locavore: Austin Farmers Do it Right

When people ask me why I identify as a flexitarian my first response is usually to say I have commitment issues. Then I laugh and follow up by adding that, in general, I find a diet that emphasizes option and choice far more appealing than one that focuses on restriction and intolerance.

That said, on my recent visit to the Austin Farmer’s Market I was dying for ways to narrow down my options because I was utterly spoiled for choice. Everything I saw – from the dark chocolate covered cacao beans to the honeydew kombucha – seemed to jive perfectly with my food politics. Organic? Sure. Sustainable? Yup. Affordable? Uh-huh. Ethically produced? Why even ask.

The real kicker for me was that on top of all that, everything was local. More often than not this is determining factor for me and the fact that everyone here just took it for granted blew me away. I mean its the middle of January and for a Canadian gal like me local produce in the winter is a total novelty (unless you’re really into burdock root and turnips…) So when I saw this local produce tasting table I knew I was up for something really special.

Once I’d had my fill of free tastes (and more pickled beets than I’d like to admit) I moved on to the prepared food stands because it was 11 o’clock and obviously time for my favourite meal of the day…Second breakfast.

The first stand that caught my eye was Dai Due.

I was immediately drawn to their locavore philosophy:

Dai Due was created to reconsider what “our” food is and will be.  By using  ingredients that are present in our region, we are able to serve foods that are fresher, buy food that is produced in a fair and equitable way, pay homage to the local culinary traditions, and support farmers and ranchers who are striving to improve the quality of our food.

And of course the food looked incredible…

Did I mention that Dai Due also offers seasonal hunting schools (including one geared specifically to women – !!!) in case you want to seriously walk the walk when it comes to the business of eating locally sourced, ethical meat.

Since they were out of many of their breakfast items I moseyed along and ended up choosing 2 unique sounding vegan dishes to curb my mid-morning appetite: a BBQ Tempeh Breakfast Taco and a spicy cactus tamale.

My BBQ Tempeh Breakfast Taco (left) & Cactus Tamale (right) alongside two mandatory varieties of hot sauce

I may never eat another tamale again for fear it would taint the memory of this masa.

Obviously I am so glad I got to check this market out while I was here in Austin. I left feeling happy, inspired and…ahem…totally stuffed. 😉

What are the factors that influence your food choices (local, organic, dairy-free, gluten-free, animal-free, etc.)?  Are you more influenced by what you do want to eat or what you don’t?

breakfast, fitness, recipes, snacks, travel

The Green Smoothie Morning: Finding Balance in a Sea of Breakfast Tacos

Good Morning, Austin.

While every day spent here in Austin has been different from the last, my mornings have been pretty consistent. I wake up, do some work (yes I’m working from home even while I’m on “vacation”…thats what you get for going out of town right after the holidays right?) and of course I start each day off with big healthy breakfasts. And what signifies healthy start to the day more than a green smoothie? Drinking one of these bad boys before 8am makes you feel like a superhero not only because of the sense of accomplishment you feel chugging down something so strange looking….but because all those B vitamins provide you with the energy you need to deal with whatever your day/night might have in store for you (even if that includes a whole lot of tequila & tacos…)

Simple Green Smoothie

  • 1 small frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • 1 scoop raw vegan protein powder (optional)
  • cinnamon, vanilla & honey

And because I am not a “smoothie for breakfast” type of girl (aka. give me complex carbs in the morning or suffer the consequences) I rounded out my morning meal with 1.5 slices of Ezekiel toast topped with almond butter, mashed banana & cinnamon.

Another thing I’ve been doing since arriving here in Austin is trying my best to squeeze in some type of physical activity before noon. Nothing too strenuous since I want to save my energy for adventuring around the city, but at least a little something. So far I have enjoyed strolls around the neighborhood, light yoga and (on this particularly ambitious morning) a short run to and from the local park.


On this day I went through my favourite interval run. Its a pyramid style workout that is perfect for the outdoors because you can tailor speeds and intensity to match your environment and energy level. It looks something like:

5 minute warm up
30 seconds quick run
1 min brisk walk or jog
45 seconds quick run
1 min brisk walk or jog
1 min quick run
1 min brisk walk or jog
90 seconds quick run
1 min brisk walk or jog
Repeat this series in reverse (Run 1 min, then 45 seconds, etc.)
5 min cool down

Enjoyed some local scenery along the way….


I love how the residential areas in Austin have a bit of a country vibe to them. Maybe its all the succulents in their landscaping? The lawn flamingos? Random windowpanes hanging everywhere? Whatever it is I like it.

Following up that morning activity with some tasty eats at home (making sure to leave some room for my ritual mid-day taco feast)…

Mixed greens & Kale topped with diced red peppers, zucchini, crunchy edamame, almond cheese (my new obsession…more on that later), 1 leftover slice of organic turkey breast & roasted kabocha squash. Plus a side of my favourite ginger kombucha. 🙂

Have a lovely Monday, folks!
Stay tuned for upcoming posts on Free Music Week & the Austin Farmers Market (SWOON!)

 

restaurants, travel

Thrifted Duds & Vegan Grub in Austin’s North Loop

The past few days have been all about getting my bearings in Austin. And (no surprises here) the first thing a gal notices when she’s making her way through this city is its sheer size. After visiting Chicago last summer, I knew what it meant to be in a car city. But this, my friends, is a truck city. Massive 4-5 lane streets plow through every inch of the urban landscape, even the downtown core. Yesterday my cab got on the freeway for a minute as a shortcut… I barely even noticed a difference.

The upside to all this size and space is that when you hit a new neighborhood it feels as if you’ve stumbled upon an oasis of cool in the middle of a truckstop. It feels special and all your own somehow. Or maybe that’s just Austin in general?

The North Loop seems to exemplify this experience best of all. From afar the shops in this area don’t look like much. For the most part they’re just tucked away on the side of the road.

But upon further investigation you’ll find a treasure trove of thrift stores, cafes & of course the long awaited (by me) Austin food truck.

We started our afternoon off with a little thrifting. Snagged a great chair for my friends place at Hog Wild for just $45 (and they deliver!)

And obviously I couldn’t help but try on a few clothing items as well. Basically if it had fringe or a Southwestern print I wanted to wear it. Sadly didn’t snag anything that fit but you better believe I’ll get something before I go. So much turquoise & suede!

And then came the real good stuff…VEGAN FOOD TRUCK! I had heard about Counter Culture before arriving here but had no idea where it was. But apparently I had traveler’s luck on my side because we just happened to stumble across it in our wanderings! I suppose I just hang in areas where the vegan food trucks gravitate…ahem…

Obviously the whole menu was amazing and it was super difficult to make a decision…All healthy comfort food inspired vegan dishes with some healthy raw food options mixed in for good measure.

My choices? Once my friend talked me down from ordering the Almond Butter and Pickle sandwich (you always have my back, Cait) I think I made the perfect choices: BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich with a side of PacMan Kale Salad & a donut hole for dessert.

Jackfruit BBQ Sandwich with PacMan Kale Salad


No seriously there were PacMen in my salad.

Never having had jackfruit before I must say I was pleasantly suprised. The texture was a lot like a mushroom and really worked with the smokey barbeque flavours. Plus it came with pickles…so I got my fix after all. The kale salad was simple but flavourful and offered a nice savoury balance to the sweetness of the sandwich.

Oh yeah and then this …

Raw vegan “donut hole” made of almonds, dates & coconut. Definitely had the crumbly texture and even the flavour of a Tim Horton’s timbit. I might be the first one to make that comparison though seeing as we are in the middle of texas.

Then we ended the day with a stop into Epoch, a 24/7 coffee place that was jam packed with people even in the middle of the day. But it was obvious why as they served up some seriously tasty espresso as well as offering free wifi & outlets literally hanging from the ceiling for plugging in. Oh yeah and they had almond milk for my americano. Best way to close out the day.

That’s all the updates for now! I’m off to catch a random vinyasa yoga class then maybe do some gallery hopping.

Basically my dream Sunday. 🙂

reflections, restaurants, travel

Austin, Tacos…I mean Texas.

When somebody asks me about countries I’ve lived in or traveled to the United States will probably be the last place I mention. Not because I haven’t enjoyed my travels there but because, as a Canadian, a trip to the States just doesn’t feel very adventurous. I mean its a domestic flight for goodness sakes.

Still, when I really consider all the notches I’ve racked up on my US State bedpost – California, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina – I realize that I have had some honest to goodness (mis)adventures across the border. And now that I’m here in Austin, experiencing Texas for the first time? Well there’s no question about it, I am not in Canada anymore.

War history makes me feel all kinds of wrong but even I gotta give it up to the Texans at the Battle of Gonzales
Why couldn’t Canadians have come up with a catch phrase when they stormed Vimy Ridge?

As for my daily eats? Tacos.

20120107-102302.jpg

Like all day every day….

Corn tortillas come standard here as do delicious toppings like the tequila marinated shrimps, freshly made guacamole and perfectly spiced salsa pictured above. I’m sure you’ll see many more incarnations of this in the days ahead…

And because I’m saving my pennies I’ve also been eating at home once or twice a day, a nice balance for my “out” meals.

This salad consisted of some locally raised roast turkey, crunchy edamame, roasted squash, apples, red onion, zucchini, greens & carrots. Plus a poached egg and some Dijon balsamic dressing.

I intend on hitting up the North Loop, the farmers market and terribly trendy South Congress in the coming days… Can’t wait to share more of my Southwestern adventures with ya!

guest post, recipes, travel

Guest Post, Y’all: Gluten-Free Mixed Berry Muffins

Mornin Y’all!

The Healthy Hipster is on the road today…heading to AUSTIN, TEXAS of all places! A little while back one of my closest friends was going through some hard times and rather than let herself get any lower she decided to make a change. She packed up her books and a few sparce belongings and moved to a brand new city, in a brand new country to pursue a new kind of life for herself. While I’ve missed her terribly, I find it so dang inspiring that she did it in the first place I just can’t help but be supportive. And now I’m lucky enough to see her again while visiting a pretty cool city along the way…

Oh and just for fun Urban Dictionary defines the Austin Hipster as:

n. A pretentious, self-ironizing, cool person found in certain areas of Austin, Texas. The Austin hipster can be seen prancing around with a morose, pensive look on his face, while he’s secretly enjoying the urban experience. Aside from corrupting the music scene with his mere presence, this Central Texan herbivore also enjoys lounging around in coffee shops and writing poetry. This retro dork conceals the pride he has for whatever hipster shirt he’s sporting at the moment. While he considers himself a liberal, he’s actually supporting the system with his commercialized non-conformity.
Pahahaha. Enjoyable.
In the meantime, you have not been abandoned. My incredibly talented baking bestie Meg is back again! You may remember some of her delicious gluten-free baked goods from previous guest posts including these peanut butter cookies & this grain free bread (one of the most popular recipes on the blog!) This week she was kind enough to take the blogger reigns and share another one of her magical Gluten-Free, Vegan & Refined Sugar Free recipes with ya. She describes them as somewhere between a muffin and a scone. Since I trust her entirely with all things oven-related so I hope you will give these a whirl!
Mixed Berry Buckwheat Breakfast Scones (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free)
Ingredients:Dry
2 cups light buckwheat flour (Or you can make your own by grinding raw buckwheat groats in a coffee grinder!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon saltWet
1 mashed banana
2 tbls ground flax seed
1 tbls ground chia seed
1/2 cup water
1 cup almond milk
3 tbls maple syrup
1/2 cup olive oil

1 1/2- 2 cups frozen mixed berries *

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. grease a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray
  3. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. In a smaller bowl mash the banana and whisk together with the remaining wet ingredients.
  5. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, do not over-mix.
  6. Fold in frozen mixed berries.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Baking time may vary depending on the size of your muffin tin, for smaller muffins bake only 15-20 minutes.

Serve warm with your favorite spread (almond butter anyone?)
yield: 6 large muffins or 12 small/medium muffins
*frozen berries better maintain their shape and consistency better than fresh when baked.

Can’t wait to update on all my Austin adventures!
…srsly though can a girl survive on tacos, bbq and brunch alone?
EAT MORE, inspiration

EAT MORE FOOD: My Anti-Deprivation Resolution (Part 2)


Click HERE for a Printable Checklist of my EAT MORE 2012 Foods

Selected Descriptions, By Category

Vegetables

I have chosen these vegetables based on this list of the world’s most nutrient-dense foods. They are all readily available, relatively inexpensive and include a variety of different “colour groups” to ensure a broad range of nutrients are represented.

Fats
I’ll elaborate here since these may seem oddly specific…

Avocados: Contain virtually all your bodies essential nutrients in a single serving including B Vitamins
Goat Dairy: Though cow’s milk doesn’t agree with me I would like to eat a little goat’s dairy so that I can enjoy the healthful benefits of calcium & naturally occurring probiotics (yogurt)
Brazil nuts: Even 1 brazil nut a day is very high in selenium which has  well documented cancer fighting properties. Why not, right?
Ghee: This variety of clarified butter is often used in Indian cooking and is known for being a digestive aid, is safe for high temperature cooking and tastes delicious!
Coconut Oil: A high heat cooking oil known for its healthful metabolism boosting properties
Flax Oil: A great way to boost your Omega 3 Fatty Acids, use it uncooked for dressings and sauces.
Chia Seeds: Great for digestion, high in vegetarian protein & higher in Omega 3s than flax seeds. 

Whole Grains, Beans & Starches

Generally I am aiming to eat grains in their minimally processed form. I choose whole rolled oats over quick ones, Ezekiel (sprouted grain) bread over traditional whole wheat & cooked grains  (like brown rice or buckwheat). I also include some quicker cooking grains like polenta & whole wheat cous cous for those days when I need something easy.

Garbanzos and lentils are included because I prefer their taste and they are very high in soluble fibre. Black beans are great too because they also happen to be high in antioxidants which can help reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases.

Starchy veggies like sweet potatoes and winter squash also fell into this category because they fibrous, slow-digesting and most importantly jam packed with beta-carotene and antioxidants

Protein

Because of my activity level I eat a pretty high protein diet. But for health and ethical reasons I limit the amount of animal-based proteins I consume. So in the past this has looked like a lot of eggs, tofu & fish with chicken included maybe once a week and vegan protein powder as a supplement. BUT since this report was updated from Health Canada I have begun to question the type and amount of fish I was consuming and decided to switch things up a bit in the new year. I will still generally avoid pork and red meat (although I have included a little lean beef in this list for diversity’s sake) but will make a concerted effort to broaden my horizons!

I am emphasizing hormone free and local meat although I am flexible for purely financial reasons. The fish I have included are all the most sustainable and low toxicity (source) in my region.

Fruits

Not something I have to work hard to incorporate into my diet since I love pretty much every fruit. So the ones I’ve chosen are generally higher fibre/lower sugar with the exception of bananas which are great for prolonged energy, especially before a workout/high impact activity.

Spices

Ginger: Digestion
Tumeric: Healing & Anti-Inflammatory
Chili Peppers/Cayenne: Metabolism boosters
Cinnamon: Blood sugar balancing
Garam Masala: Basically a blend of all the above

Drinks 

WATER: OMG I HAVE TO DRINK MORE WATER ITS RIDICULOUS. 
Green and Herbal Tea: Antioxidants, stress-reducing, metabolism boosting.
Probiotic Drinks: Support a healthy immune system. 

And VOILA! That’s the plan, folks.

I look forward to following up on this list with some fun and easy recipes, shopping lists and weekly meal plans!

Deprivation-free in 2012. A novel concept, huh?