Two for the Price of One

I didn’t mean for a whole week to disappear without a recipe. This post was actually written yesterday but just as I was going to upload the pictures our wireless router crapped out.  After chatting with Comcast and buying a new router we weren’t back online until late last night. Oh well, today you get two recipes for the price of one!

Just kidding, everything’s free here. But you still get two recipes.

While out on a walk yesterday morning I stopped in at Starbucks. The line was really long so I turned back around after only a few seconds of waiting. However, as I was leaving the barista yelled “blueberry muffin” to someone and that got my empty stomach growling. I walked the rest of the way home mentally checking off the ingredients for my blueberry muffins, check, check, check, eh, wait, no gf flour or blueberries. Sort of key ingredients.

Plan B, improvise. I swapped the blueberries for strawberries which was easy enough as I have a huge bag of frozen ones in my freezer. But, finding a gf flour sub seemed unlikely, until I remembered a bag of Bob’s Red Mill GF Pancake mix that’s been hanging around for a while. Perfect! I think?

Turns out, yes, perfect, better than actually. I prefer these muffins to the original version although I would probably swap the blueberries back in or add them in addition to the strawberries. I also just noticed that I forgot the flaxseed to this version. To be honest, it doesn’t seem to have mattered in the least so we’ll keep it out.

strawberry gluten free muffins

Apologies for the lack of pictures. I was rather absent-minded about it until the batter was already mixed.

Strawberry Muffins (vegan, gluten-free)

1/2 cup gf oat flour

1/4 cup gf oats, whole

1/4 cup almond meal

1 cup gluten-free pancake mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 bananas, mashed

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup almond milk

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup strawberries, cut into bite size pieces

————

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oat flour, oats, almond meal, gluten-free pancake mix, baking powder and salt.

Next add brown sugar, melted coconut oil, mashed bananas, vanilla, milk and apple cider vinegar to the dry ingredients.

Stir until well incorporated.

gluten free strawberry muffin batter

Lastly, fold in chopped strawberries.

Grease a muffin tin. Fill each cupcake hole about 3/4 of the way up.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

strawberry muffins

Yields 8 muffins.

vegan strawberry muffins vegan strawberry muffins

Okay, that’s one but I promised you two. This recipe is for all you runners. With spring springing and longer runs on the horizon I put together an all-natural, preservative and dye-free energy gel over at WalkJogRun. I used chia seeds as the base and offer a couple of suggestions for mix-ins. Check it out if you’re looking for an alternative to those neon colored gums and goos.

chia seed energy gel

Alright, that’s it for me today. More articles to write, a house to clean and a gym to get to.

Have a wonderful weekend.

As always, Enjoy and Exhale!

Coconut Milk Whipped Cream with Vegan Hot Chocolate

This morning Michael and I were talking about what I should write about today. He was rather unhelpful, although very cute, with his only suggestion being that it wasn’t a Things I’m Loving kind of day. I agreed mostly because I currently have just three things on my newest list. One of which is this book that I really want to talk about. Have you read it? It’s crazy messed up.

Gone Girl

Without being any closer to deciding what to post today, Michael heads off the work and I watch him clean off the car…

cleaning off the car

…for a really long time. Then I start to feel cold just watching him and decide it’s time for some hot chocolate.

Now, in a normal world the recipe title would be the other way around. This would be a post about hot chocolate and the whipped cream would be the icing on the cake, haha. But the hot chocolate part is neither here nor there, to be honest I’m still perfecting the recipe. It’s really the whipped cream that steals this show. But I can’t do write a post all about whipped cream, can I?

Maybe I can, but you’ll get the hot chocolate recipe as a bonus. If you’re a lover of whipped cream, make this! It’s like a natural, tastier, more delicious version of cool whip. Put it on cake, on ice cream, eat it straight from the bowl she says, while taking a big spoonful between typing these words. Whatever which way, it’s worth trying soon.

Coconut Milk Whipped Cream with Vegan Hot Chocolate (vegan, gluten-free)

For the whipped cream:

1 can full fat coconut milk, make sure it’s full fat, no light stuff here

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

splash of vanilla extract

For the hot chocolate:

1 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup, depending on your preferred sweetness level

splash of vanilla extract

pinch of salt

———–

First things first, place a can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight upside. Don’t skip this step.

The next morning open the can (right side up). Drain liquid into a separate container for another time. You’ll be left with the coconut milk solids.

coconut milk solids

Spoon the solid coconut milk into a mixing bowl.

coconut milk solids

Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until it resembles whipped cream, about 1 minute.

coconut whipped cream coconut whipped cream

Once whipped cream is done, warm milk, cocoa, maple syrup, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan. Whisk, bring to a low boil and remove from heat.

vegan chocolate milk

Pour into a mug and top with whipped cream.

vegan hot chocolate coconut milk whipped cream and vegan hot chocolate

Enjoy while staring out at the snow or your boyfriend cleaning off the car.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Quinoa

Looks like winter is planning to stick around a bit longer. Everyone keeps saying March is the worst month in New England. It sounds like it should be a spring month and we’re all so ready, but Mother Nature keeps us waiting.

Oh well, at least there are cute pictures of puppy paw prints in the snow…

paw prints in the snow

and lattes…

coffee

and peanut butter and jelly quinoa…

peanut butter and jelly quinoa

but I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

Yesterday’s attempt at a quinoa casserole turned out to be a semi-flop. The flavors were good but overall it was way too dry. I ended up eating it with salsa on top but it still didn’t do it for me. I have some ideas on how to fix it and will keep tweaking until it’s sharable.

quinoa casserole

I also made a basil, pear, pineapple smoothie yesterday. I’d never made a smoothie with basil but I had some wilting in the fridge (like always) and thought I’d try. I don’t know what to make of it. At first sip it was not good, then I had another, the pear was making it gritty, still not good. Then I had another sip and another until the whole thing was gone. Hmm, couldn’t have been that bad. 🙂 It definitely wasn’t ready to share, but with the right fruit pairing I’m sure it can be a refreshing drink.

Okay, where was I? Ah, peanut butter and jelly quinoa, yes.

I love pb&j’s. I ate them almost everyday when I was growing up, except on the days I’d switch it up to have a delectable ketchup sandwich. Yup, I just said ketchup sandwich! I bet my mom is wondering why she ever let us make our own lunches.

This quinoa has the same flavorings as a traditional pb&j but is made with healthy quinoa instead of white or wheat bread, plus, no crusts to cut off! Also, if your quinoa is already cooked it takes less than 3 minutes to put together. Perfect for a quick breakfast or kid’s lunch.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Quinoa (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)

1 cup cooked quinoa

2 tablespoons natural peanut butter

pinch of salt

1/2 cup milk of choice, I’ve been loving rice milk instead of almond lately

1 tablespoon of your favorite jam

————

Cook quinoa according to these directions.

While quinoa is cooking mix peanut butter, milk and salt together. If the mixture is to thick add a little bit more milk.

peanut butter and milk

Place quinoa in a bowl.

quinoa

Top with peanut butter mixture.

peanut butter and jelly quinoa

Then some jelly.

peanut butter and jelly quinoa

Mix. Eat. Gobble the whole thing up like a kid.

peanut butter and jelly quinoa

Enjoy and Exhale!

Week of…

Blogging is a funny thing. I originally set out to chronicle our life here in Boston and share some of my favorite recipes. But like most endeavours, it has turned into something much larger and better than I thought it would. I love sharing my creations and thoughts here with you all, and I love connecting with so many wonderful people, both those I know and those I’ve never met. However, sometimes I struggle with what to write. Some weeks there just aren’t enough new recipes to share or the recipes were flops. Sometimes there aren’t enough Things I’m Loving or enough Little Bits of Random. This is when I contest with whether to write nothing at all or to write about nothing. Yesterday I did the former, today the latter.

I apologize to those of you who follow for the recipes, maybe just skip posts like these? And for those of you who ‘read’ just for the pictures (Sarah, who probably didn’t even get this far), there just aren’t many of those this week either.

Maybe someday I’ll look back on posts like these wishing I hadn’t babbled on about nothing but what can I say, I like to write, I like this blog, I like all of you, so write I will, even without a cohesive theme for this post beyond what happened this week.

Here’s a snapshot.

A Week of Workouts:

There isn’t much rhyme or reason to my workouts. I try to do something active everyday like walk to and from my classes but I purposefully workout five days a week. I try to switch it up and attempt to get in two structured yoga classes a week in addition to my home practice. Running and the gym fall into the other days.

Monday was a rest day except for walking Eli and a little home practice with Guy.

cat yoga

On Tuesday I took to the treadmill. I did an incredibly tedious 4 mile run. I hate the treadmill. Every mile feels like 10 and I’m not one who can cover up the time with a towel and just run. So I watch every minute tick by in agony while I play games with myself like, “run until you hit 1.25 miles then you can stop”, at which point I move the goal to 1.50 miles or to running for 18 minutes or whatever the next milestone is. This trick actually works really well for me but it’s a painful process.

On Wednesday I took a hot hatha class after I taught. It’s pretty much a Bikram class but only 75 minutes and not as hot. I’m not a huge fan of Bikram but it was nice to change it up.

Yesterday I got out for a much more enjoyable run. I headed down to the river and ran 3.25 miles at an 8 minute pace. I thought I was going a lot faster but my watch told me differently. Regardless it felt good to stretch my legs again.

Today I plan to make it over to Baptiste for a power class this afternoon.

A Week of Bites:

I had a lot of Starbucks this week. I’m not sure why but I was craving lattes. This is from Wednesday. Sometimes I like to write and do work away from home, gotta love Starbucks for the free wifi and never kicking you out. It’s also amazing people watching.

Starbucks Soy Latte

I also made a lot of sweet treats.

Beyond these

peanut butter chocolate tart

I also tested a banana cake recipe for my friend’s cookbook. I saved a few slices for myself and shared the rest with my 4:30 yoga class yesterday. I was helping a student with arm balances right after class so I didn’t get a chance to ask how they liked it but the entire cake was gone in two minutes so it must have been good. If any of you are reading from that class please let me know what you thought so I can report back.

banana cake

I also made some banana raisin oatmeal bars. I smothered them with my new favorite Bonne Mamam jam: Apricot Raspberry (Flo, it’s almost as good as the plain Raspberry, almost).

oatmeal bars

Earlier this week I also attempted a not so sweet and not very good cashew cream. I haven’t had much luck with cashew creams. I think it might be my lack of a blender?

cashew cream

Anyhow, that’s about it for the week. Thanks for reading the babble if you got this far.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Triple Ginger Smoothie

It’s been a while since I shared a recipe. Sorry about that. This one was worth the wait!

ginger smoothie

A few weeks ago my aunt and uncle requested a smoothie recipe made with the candied ginger I used in these.

My first thought was a cherry ginger combo but I only had dried cherries and that didn’t sound particularly appealing. I may revisit this when fresh cherries are in season or if I think to pick some frozen ones up.

Then I played around with the idea of a chocolate ginger smoothie but I just made this Chocolate Peanut Butter version and they seemed to similar.

Finally I spotted a bag of dates and figured, why not? I’ve never used dates in a smoothie before but I’d seen it done on other blogs. All I can say is, wow! You’ll be seeing a whole lot more dates around here. They added the perfect amount of sweetness and a creamy texture that blew me away.

I couldn’t take the pictures fast enough and quickly gobbled up the entire thing before the photos had even finished downloading to my computer.

I’m not one to toot my own horn but if you like ginger…Make. This. Smoothie. The fresh, powdered and candied ginger all add a different kind of kick. It was so delicious and refreshing. I’m seriously contemplating making a second one.

Triple Ginger Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free)

1 frozen banana

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

2 dates, pitted

1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced

2 tablespoons candied ginger, finely minced

4 ice cubes

————

Cut the skin from the fresh ginger. Chop fresh and candied ginger into small pieces.

Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth.

Top with more candied and powdered ginger if desired.

ginger smoothie ingredientsminced ginger DSC_0184triple ginger smoothie

Enjoy and Exhale!

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins

I was going through old bookmarked recipes yesterday morning and stumbled on one for blueberry muffins that used all-purpose flour. I’m actually not even sure why it was bookmarked considering I rarely bake non gluten-free baked goods but it must have been meant for inspiration because it got me craving blueberry muffins and I knew I had to give a gluten-free version a shot.

However, after my series of unsuccessful gluten-free baking endeavors over the last few months I had really low expectations for these muffins. Hence why there aren’t a lot of step-by-step pictures; I was feeling doubtful about the outcome and half heartedly took a few photos as I went, just in case.

So glad I did!

vegan gluten-free muffins

These muffins were so tasty. They are not overly sweet, which I really liked. I ended up eating three of them for breakfast and didn’t have that heavy feeling afterward that you often get when you eat butter laden pastries. Of course, you can always add more sugar to the batter if you prefer a sweeter muffin or use sweetened almond milk but I thought they were perfect just the way they came out. I did add a little earth balance to the last muffin I ate just to see how it would taste. Turns out, the earth balance makes it even better. I’m sure that’s a shock. Ha.

For strict vegans you can sub maple syrup for the brown sugar. I haven’t personally tried it but I’m guessing it will turn out well.

Blueberry Muffins (gluten-free, vegan)

2 tbsp flaxseed meal, mixed with 4 tbsp water

3/4 cup gf oat flour

1/4 cup almond meal

1 cup gluten-free AP flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup brown sugar (or maple syrup)

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 bananas, mashed

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup non-dairy milk, I used unsweetened almond milk

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 cup blueberries, I used frozen

————

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a small bowl add water to flaxseed meal. Let sit for a few minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oat flour, almond meal, gluten-free AP flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Once the flaxseed has formed a gel, add brown sugar, melted coconut oil, mashed bananas, vanilla, milk and apple cider vinegar to it. Stir until well incorporated.

dry and wet ingredients

Combine wet and dry ingredients. Mix in blueberries.

muffin batter

Once well mixed, grease a cupcake tin with cooking spray. Fill each cupcake hole about 3/4 of the way up.

blueberry muffins

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out cleanly.

Yields 12 muffins.

gluten free vegan blueberry muffins DSC_0053

Eat with a piping hot cup of coffee or tea for the perfect breakfast.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Winter Running and Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothies

I haven’t talked much about running in the last few weeks but I’m still at it. I try to get out 2-3 times a week regardless of the snow, wind and extreme cold; although I do pay a lot of attention to the weather and try my best to run on warmer days when there won’t be ice on the ground. I’ve found the trick to surviving the cold has been to get a good running hat and layering up on top. Personally, too many layers on my legs is more annoying than helpful.

I can’t say my times have been particularly good but my main goal these days is just to get out there and not worry too much about the pace. Here are some of my latest stats. For some reason I can only get the time on my latest workout to show but I’ve put the pace below the other two.

This was the first run I’ve done without Eli in a long time. I thought I would be faster without him but it seems his excitement fuels us along.

IMG_3747

Run 2. Pace 8.28.

IMG_3748

Run 3. Pace 8.09.

IMG_3750

As you can see, I’m holding steady, not really improving my pace right now. But my hope is that all this winter running will make my summer running faster when the weather improves. We’ll see.

From my love of running to my love of smoothies.

Even with the cold weather I’ve been making a ton of smoothies. They make meeting my daily calcium quota so much easier and the flavors are endless.

The smoothie below has quickly become my new favorite. I’ve made it two days in a row and it was just as good today as it was yesterday.

It tastes a lot like a chocolate milkshake with much healthier ingredients. I’m sure you could add a handful of kale to it as well without affecting the flavor too much if you’re looking for some added nutrients.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free)

1 banana

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp natural peanut butter

1 cup unsweetened or vanilla flavored almond milk

3-4 ice cubes, depending on how icy you want it (see note)

————

smoothie ingredients

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until combined.

Note: I often have almond milk that is about to expire. When I have extra I freeze the milk in ice-cube trays then store in Ziplocs. I often use a couple of almond milk cubes in place of the ice cubes. If I use almond milk cubes, I cut back the fresh almond milk to half a cup.

Also,the glasses pictured below are teeny tiny, this recipe yields enough for one smoothie.

Chocolate Peanut Butter SmoothieChocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie DSC_0127

 

Dessert for breakfast.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Quinoa Smoothies?

Every so often someone searches quinoa smoothies and lands on my site. I had never thought to add this wonderful little food to my drinks before but curiosity got the best of me this morning. I was working to meet my day’s calcium quota with a breakfast smoothie when I spotted a Tupperware of quinoa leftover from yesterday’s lunch. Now seemed like as good a time as any to try it.

I’m sort of on the fence about the results but wanted to at least share the recipe with you so you can decide for yourself. I’ll be honest, the texture was a little funny. For lack of a better word the quinoa made the smoothie a little…chunky. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing. I use chia seeds in my smoothies all the time so I’m used to a some crunch or bite in my morning beverage and prefer it to super smooth smoothies. This may just have been a little too much bite.

Again, to each their own. Maybe this will be your cup of tea smoothie.

Quinoa Colada Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)

1 frozen banana

1/2 cup frozen pineapple

2 tbsp chia seeds

1/2 cup light coconut milk

1/2 cup almond milk

1/3 cup cooked quinoa, using these cooking directions

————

Thaw your banana slightly in the microwave. 20-30 seconds should do.

Place all ingredients in a blender or measuring cup if you’re using an immersion blender.

quinoa colada smoothie DSC_0069

Blend for a minute.

Add extra pineapple and quinoa to the top.

As I type this I am just now thinking a couple of tablespoons of shredded coconut would have been a nice addition to this as well.

Serve in a pretty glass for no reason other than that you can. (Excuse the windows reflection in the glass 🙂 )

quinoa colada smoothie quinoa colada smoothieQuinoa smoothie

Enjoy and Exhale!

Works in Progress

I’ve made three recipes over the last few days. They are all good. Tasty. Consumed. But none of them made my taste buds do handstands and arm balances at first bite. My official taste tester was also less than impressed with one of the three recipes, he didn’t taste the other two. I believe his exact words were ‘it’s a little bland.’ I’m not going to share a little bland with you all.

But, because I still wanted to post something and say hello today I’ll share the works in progress. Not so secretly, I also wanted to show off my new camera which makes my bad photo skills a little more palatable. However I’m still hoping to find a Photography 101 class I can take over the next few months. I don’t think good equipment equates to stunning photos without some knowledge behind them.

On to the recipes or lack there of, I mentioned this beet quinoa salad yesterday. I liked the earthy mixture of the beets with the quinoa and I love the addition of slivered almonds. I also made a cashew garlic cream to go on top which was exceptional on it own. The salad just didn’t sing when everything was mixed together. It has potential and I have another beet waiting in the wings so I’ll work on it. The color is pretty fabulous though right?

beet quinoa salad

Next up, another calcium rich smoothie. Yep I’m making smoothies when it’s 10 degrees outside, God knows why. This smoothie was a mix of banana, apple, pineapple, almond milk and chia seeds. It was perfectly fine. I drank the whole thing this but it wasn’t amazing. I probably wouldn’t have shared it at all if not for the fact that the picture is nice. I’m going to try coconut milk instead of almond milk and may also add some sunflower seed or peanut butter. I’ll report back when I’ve got a winner.

Pineapple Banana Smoothie

Lastly, I tried to make gluten-free banana bread this morning. I wasn’t in the mood for dates so following my recipe for Banana Bread Muffins was out. The recipe I concocted seemed promising as I mixed the wet and dry ingredients separately. When I combine everything though it resembled something oddly familiar. This! It was by far the tastiest of the three recipes and I ate two slices for breakfast but this is not banana bread. It’s more of an oat loaf. It was lacking the airiness of bread with all its heaviness. I think I’ll play around with the flour mixture, maybe try my hand at some gluten-free baking flour that’s been sitting in my pantry since the pancake debacle of 2012.

Banana oat loaf

As you see, a lot of WIPs but not a lot of results. I suppose that’s all part of the process though. You have to cook a few duds or semi-duds to get to the really good stuff.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. It’s still supposed to be bitterly cold here again tonight. But never free, we have a hot date planned with our fireplace and a bottle of wine.

I’m also teaching a bunch this weekend. My usual classes tomorrow at 9 and 10:30 and then subbing Sunday at 9 at Crossfit and teaching a special community class at Athleta on Newbury at 10. The community class is free if you’re not busy.

Happy Friday.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Blueberry, Banana Grapefruit Breakfast Smoothie

There hasn’t been much cooking going on here this week besides Monday’s soup. As soon as Michael started to get over his cold, I got it!  I’ve been sniffling and sleeping my way through the week but think I’m finally turning the corner. After my first restful night’s sleep all week I woke up to sunshine and motivation to have more than just tea.

I wanted something filled with nutrients and flavor that could cut through a stuffy nose while also keeping the Calcium Challenge in mind. This smoothie packs a whopping 46% of your daily calcium needs: 30% coming from the almond milk, 6% from the chia seeds and 10% from the kale. Plus it tastes great. Although it definitely needed to be followed by a hot cup of tea to warm me back up!

The week is finally starting to look up…just in time for the weekend and the playoff games.

Blueberry, Banana, Grapefruit Breakfast Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free)

1 frozen banana, thawed

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Juice of 1 grapefruit

1 cup kale

1 cup vanilla or regular almond milk

1 tablespoon chia seeds

————

Thaw frozen banana in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Place banana, frozen blueberries, grapefruit juice, kale, milk and chia seeds in a blender or use your immersion stick. Blend for 1 minute until everything is well incorporated.

blueberry, banana, grapefruit smoothie blueberry, banana, grapefruit smoothie blueberry, banana, grapefruit smoothie

Serve in a pretty mason jar, optional, but makes it more fun to eat.

Enjoy and Exhale!