My alarm was set for 6:50 am, workout clothes laid neatly on the floor, and my body was warm and cozy deeply hidden amongst a mountain of blankets. My intentions for the morning were to rise and sweat my tush off at the gym. The stair master has been my choice of cardio equipment for the past few days since I re-introduced the kindle fire back into my life. I loaded up Netflix and Hulu Plus onto this godsend of a gadget and it has me completely consumed and distracted while I torch away calories and build up sweat puddles on those endlessly revolving steps.
The alarm goes off. I’m one of those rare breeds that doesn’t prefer to smash down the snooze button and I don’t have the need for my alarm clock to sound like a fire engine five inches from my face. However, today was a different story and I wasn’t ready to get up and get moving. I’ve been busting my booty, literally, in the gym and outside everyday and this was just my body telling me that I needed rest. I decided to sleep in, have a relaxing morning, and make a comforting breakfast.I burried my way back into the sheets and shut my eyes for what seemed to be another hour. Soon enough fall aromas were going to be perfuming my kitchen and creeping their way throughout the remainder of the house.
Butternut Squash Fall Waffles
These waffles are perfect to share between you and your significant other on a cold and quiet morning. A sprinkle of nuts, a handful of dried fruit, and a ladle of maple syrup on top will be enough to give yourself a foodgasm. Their fall flavors are the perfect match to a steaming, hot cup of coffee.
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 cup roasted butternut squash
- 1/2 cup pecans (optional: sauté pecans in a little bit of coconut oil prior to mixing with batter. It will bring out the flavors in the nut)
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 egg + 2 whites
- 4 tablespoons almond milk
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- pinch of sea salt
- coconut oil/butter (to lubricate the waffle maker)
- Combine all ingredients, except for pecans, raisins, and coconut oil/butter, into mixer and mix until thoroughly combined. The temperature of your kitchen could change the consistency slightly. Adjust the coconut flour and/or almond milk to suit the desired consistency. You want your batter to be thick, but a little liquidy. If it’s too thick, add more milk. If it’s too thin, add more flour.
- Add pecans and raisins to the batter and continue mixing just until combined.
- Heat your waffle maker and lubricate with coconut oil/butter.
- Add batter to maker and cook until done.
- Serve warm, flooded with toppings, and right alongside a mug of your favorite morning beverage.
Topping options: Pure maple syrup, Walden Farms syrup, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, cashews), nut butter, coconut butter, powdered sugar…
Also, I finally made the switch from the url of muddyfootsteps.wordpress.com to muddyfootsteps.com . It’s easier to access, remember, and hopefully share with your friends and family. To make reading my blog posts and having access to new recipes easier, subscribe to my blog and you will receive an email each time I make a new post.
Protein pancakes have been around the block for a while now. I’m not too sure why I was so timid to jump on the bandwagon, but I’ve made my leap and I’m whipping up these pancake recipes left and right. I started out with a basic recipe, finding the right combination of ingredients that produce a quality pancake. I wanted the flavors to stand out, the recipe to be simple, and the pancake to have a decent amount of protein.
I’m constantly playing around with different ingredients and a variety of flavors. Such subtle changes can produce a completely unique pancake to keep you entertained each day of the week. Perhaps my next project will be to create a menu and recipe for a different pancake/waffle every day. How would these flavor profiles sound? Salted maple bacon, pear ginger, spiced chai, espresso, spicy coconut mango, and maybe a chocolate lovers (chocolate waffle dipped in chocolate/coconut sauce.). They’re all just ideas, and I’m hoping it won’t be too hard to find some guinea pigs to taste the recipes.
To be honest, I’m not a pancake kind of girl. I like a crispy, slightly crunchy, moist bite of a waffle. I want to be able to dig my teeth into the surface of the crust and feel a mix of textures. Pancakes seem too flat and soft for my palate. However, I’m not trying to exclude any of you pancake lovers out there. These recipes are easily interchangeable. Cook your flapjacks on a skillet if you prefer more of a soft, smooth texture. If you’re looking for something with a little more crunch, ladle your batter over a waffle maker. Either way, your taste buds should be happy and your belly full.
(Servings: 2 pancakes/waffles)
- 3 tablespoons coconut flour
- 1 whole egg + 2 whites
- 1-2 tablespoons almond milk
- 1/2 scoop protein powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon flax
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of sea salt
Mix all ingredients together and cook with your prefered method. Ideas for toppings: almond butter, maple syrup, Walden Farms syrup, roasted pecans/cashews, fresh berries, coconut butter, sea salt, chocolate shavings, banana slices, bacon, coconut shavings and mango… Be creative with your ingredients and see what you can come up with. You really can’t go wrong when it comes to toppings.
Do you ever wonder why coffee is eliminated from the diet during a cleanse? I’m sure most of you have seen advertisements in health magazines that suggest and/or encourage drinking coffee to help aid weight loss and to boost your energy levels. I’m not arguing against this, but you should be curious as to what harm coffee can do and the negative effects it has on your body.
Our bodies are constantly sucking in toxins from the earth. Whether it’s from the polluted air, chemically enhanced ‘food’ or drugs, our bodies are in contact with toxins on an everyday basis. As you can imagine, having these toxins inside our bodies isn’t the most natural or organic way of living. You’re curious why you always get sick? Well, when our cells have to fight off toxins there are less to help repair, re-build and work on the immune system. The main detoxifying organs in the body are the liver and kidneys.
“I would rather be a good liver, than have a good liver.” Well, that’s only going to get you so far. Let me tell you in the most non-prudish way that pumping down jäger shots and guzzling the booze doesn’t technically make you a good liver. Being in touch with nature, exploring the outdoors, and traveling the world sounds like being a good liver to me. This isn’t to say that drinking doesn’t make you one, but using that line as your constant defense mechanism seems like a pretty good excuse.
Back to coffee. Not only does caffeine stimulate the central nervous system, but it is extremely acidic on the body. Our bodies naturally want to perform in an alkaline (basic) state. The pH scale measures how acidic or basic a substance is. The pH ranges from 0-14 with 0-7 being acidic and 8-14 being basic. (7 is neutral). Cancer cannot live in an alkaline state. When we consume food that is acidic, our bodies have to strip minerals from our bones and other organs in order to balance out the acidity. As hypocritical as it seems, milk is extremely mucus forming and acidic on the body. Yes it contains a high level of calcium, but when it’s consumed our bodies have to strip minerals from our bones in order to balance out the acidity. So when you drink milk, you technically are leaching calcium from your bones. Think about that one.
Since our bodies are naturally in an alkaline state, when we consume acidic food, it throws off the pH system. This is extremely dangerous in that moving our bodies from one level on the pH system to one more acidic can cause serious damage. When an individuals body is mostly acidic, they have a higher chance of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. Our internal organs, metabolism, and immunity all work much better in an alkaline environment.
I understand that some people don’t have the opportunity to get much sleep, or have so much on their hands that nothing but a cup of coffee sounds good. If you have the chance, try switching coffee with fresh squeezed orange juice. The vitamins will stimulate your body and the natural sugar from the oranges will provide you with energy. Try making a green smoothie or fresh vegetable juice. I like mixing kale, spinach, and celery with green apples and pineapple. But if your craving for coffee can’t be submissed, try making a cold pressed coffee. It is less acidic. You can use a Toddy Maker or a french press.
When the day is too cozy, the rain is pounding hard against the rooftop, and you’re snuggled on the couch, go ahead and have a cup of coffee. For me, it’s a treat. I drink it when the conditions are too perfect not to. I’m not going to give up everything in my life just because it isn’t the healthiest thing to do. You have to balance out your life the same way your body needs to balance its pH system. You want to keep it on the healthier side, but allow yourself those indulgences every once in a while.
- 1-2 shots of espresso
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/4 cup ice
- 1/2 banana
- 1 tsp flax seed
- 1 tsp chia seed
- 1 tsp shredded coconut*
- 1/2 tsp cacao powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
*If you don’t care for coconut, you can use another sweetener like agave nectar, honey, or stevia.
Currently the kitchen table is flooded with an assortment of things I’ve stacked on. Multiple water glasses, cup of rooibos tea, a sheet of paper with a few new recipes, a vase full of red roses, a handful of colorful highlighters and my computer.
This morning seemed to follow in the footsteps of my previous morning; good vibes, delicious food, and friendly conversations. My best friend, Jaclyn, came into town today and headed to my place. We talked, laughed, ate some homemade pizza and discussed our plans for the summer. A road trip is in order and we couldn’t be anymore excited. We began working out some details, but decided to save a majority of the planning for winter vacation. We are still in school right now and that needs to be the focus. Once winter break hits, it’s time for fun and time for planning.
I woke up this morning, laced up my shoes, and headed out the door for a 3.5 mile run. An hour later I sat in the kitchen, showered and began digging into a fresh grapefruit. I’ve found myself in a grapefruit craze, trying varieties from all over the city. I’ve tasted ones that I picked right off the tree, I’ve tried ones fresh from the farmers market, ate them from Henry’s grocery store, and sampled from other local growers. They all seem to have a unique flavor in themselves. Some are plump and juicy. Those that are, spray a rainstorm of fruit juice on the countertops. Some are dense, making it difficult to puncture in, even if you are using a serrated spoon. Some are just so perfect that you must go back for seconds.
Music plays on and the sun keeps migrating. I’ve been drowning myself in tea and water. I ate a small slice of homemade vegetable pizza. The herbs were from the garden, the sauce- homemade, and the pizza cooked with a thin crust. I spent time in Italy this summer and I know when I taste a good pizza. The crust must be thin, the flavors standing strong, the ingredients minimal, and it all must be fresh. A plate and napkin are optional. A hand can do the trick. It’s even okay if some of the sauce drips off the pizza and slides down your hand. Food doesn’t always have to be proper, eaten delicately and wiped up with a crisp, white napkin. Just enjoy it.
The clock ticked and lunch seemed to crawl right on by. I seemed to be too lazy to make a salad, not interested in anything warm or cooked, and had a craving for cucumbers. A sandwich solved the problem. Rich sourdough bread, homemade sun-dried tomatoes, pungent mustard, peeled cucumbers, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and a light spread of tofutti completed my sandwich. Nothing too fancy, but just right.
You know those peaceful days where your house is shaded by the large oak trees. Where the wood floors in the living room bring a sense of comfort. When the soundtrack to your day is Bon Iver and artists with similar voices. Where a gentle smoke is rising from a warm, earthy tea steeping in a blue mug. When even though you’ve already ran, showered, and started your day, you end up back in pajamas. When your conversations are nothing but good thoughts, future plans and filling each others lives with hope. When the food is good, homemade and healthy. Today was like this..and I couldn’t be happier.
Saturdays have to be my absolute favorite day of the week. I wish for nothing more than waking up early to a warm cup of coffee, ladled with a small serving of almond milk and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Whether I’m sipping my joe while listening to music, catching up on television episodes, reading the paper, or keeping up to date on my favorite blogs, it’s always an enjoyable time. Breakfast usually follows with a grapefruit split in half and savored slowly with a serrated spoon. A handful of raw almonds find their way into my mouth to hold me over while I make the main course for breakfast. I tend to create a new recipe, eat it everyday for a week, and then move on to another. Last week it was oatmeal, the previous week it was green smoothies and now I’m on to tofu spinach scrambles.
These big daddies are loaded with protein, fiber, an assortment of vitamins and packed with flavor. I’m hooked on nutritional yeast at the moment, so I’ve been adding it to possibly everything. It gives your dish a cheesy/nutty flavor. Who wouldn’t want that, especially if you are vegan and miss your cheese? Plus, many brands fortify it with B12 nowadays so you get an extra bonus.
Today has been such a wonderful day. It’s only 3:20pm. There is still so much left. I met my dad and friend at the farmers market earlier this morning. My town’s farmers market is getting bigger and better as the weeks go on. We did a few laps around the market to find the best prices for what we wanted. Earlier in the week, we did a lot of bulk vegetable/fruit shopping so there wasn’t too much for us to get today. I grabbed a few grapefruits. Not that I don’t have a giant container of them at my house already, but I can always use more! We tried samples, bought bee pollen, rubbed avocado oil on our hands, listened to live music, and then met up with my mom and step-dad. We all met at the cheese shop, and sat outside enjoying fine wine, aged cheeses, olives and a variety of fruits. I opted out for the cheese, but I must admit it did look good. My next recipe experiment is working on quality nut cheeses. But that’s for another day.
The five of us sat outside on the patio with this wonderful spread of ingredients just enjoying each others company. My mom and dad might never realize this, but for me , it’s so wonderful to spend time with both of them together. Today I had a wonderful afternoon with them. My mom even brought me a green smoothie over from the market.
After we all finished off the treats, we headed to the spice store to smell, taste, and check out the latest spices. This store is filled with such pleasant teas, salts, chocolate, spices, grains and everything you could possibly want to fill your kitchen. After navigating through the spice store we headed our separate ways. ‘Goodbyes’, ‘Thank-you’s, and ‘Have a good day’ were exchanged.
Unil next Saturday.
Oh hey! I remember you.
It’s been a while. I can admit to that. Life has been keeping my feet running and my brain pumping to its full capacity. School is in session and it’s taking a wild beating on my body and brain. I’m struggling in a few ways, where education isn’t the first of this matter. On that note, I’m actually doing really well in school. I’ve never done this well in biology, being one of the top students in a 60+ class.
I’m struggling with my life and my outlook on everything. I’m living back at home and back to the urban lifestyle. As much as I wish to admit that I’m not on the computer or watching television (like I wrote about in an earlier post) I must confide that I have been swimming in a mass of media. It’s not that I need it all for school. Heck, I spend 98% of my time with this technology just for the sole purpose of pleasure. Not that kind of pleasure.
I’m wasting my hours, days, weeks away and I can’t dig myself out of it. This is actually the first time I’m admitting all this. I’m hoping that this will spark a fire in my head and get the ball moving in the right direction. Like I said, I’m struggling. I’m struggling with my life in social terms as well as happiness. I work and do school. I workout. Eat. Sleep. Then do it all over again. I can’t say that I don’t have time for other things, because obviously I do. I’m using my free time sitting on the couch hovered over the computer, massaging my iPhone keyboard obsessing over twitter, re-winding/pausing and repeating episodes of Biggest Loser. I need to figure this out.
Needless to say, I have some priorities I need to re-arrange in my life. I feel somewhat stuck in this urban life. I’m doing great in school, finally, and saving a lot of money living at home. I’m focused here and able to succeed in my classes. But I’m not truly happy. Some people may think that college isn’t a time for happiness but determination and a difficult, demanding period in your life. I have to disagree. I think happiness is finding the balance between succeeding in school, work or whatever you are dealing with in your life, and finding peace in the rest of your life. I haven’t figured out that balance yet. I plan on doing another semester or two here and then figuring out a bigger plan for my life. I’m planning on transferring to a bigger school, moving out into my own place, and establishing myself again. I’m ready to meet new people and try new things.
I apologize for the mush of emotions and thoughts throughout this post, but I needed to get them down. They might not flow together as one would hope but I think the message comes across clear. My friend Lacey recently replied to one of my messages stating “Niki, why are you so perfect?” Oh boy, is that far from the truth. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. According to the tweet, my strength happens to be in the form of health. I’m cool with that. I’m passionate about health and it shows in the way I choose to live my life and the foods I consume. I’ve got that down. But I have so many other things I need to work on in life. As we all do.
I just need to learn to take a deep breath sometimes, step back from the computer and get outside for a walk. Sometimes you just need that fresh air to screw your head back on straight. I know I’m not going to get rid of twitter or using the computer for personal sources, but I can manage my time a bit more wisely and live my life to a fuller potential. I know this is the temporary and things will get better from here.
To end this on a slightly positive note, I’ll show you a little something I’ve been feasting on lately. This my friends, is kale. Super green filled with so many vitamins, enzymes and nutrients your body screams with excitement. When eaten in its raw state, it can provide you with a substantial amount of nutrients for optimal health. I eat this super green every single day. I have no recipes for you today but I can give you a lineup of what I eat on an average day.
Breakfast: Grapefruit & a Tofu scramble Organic spinach, organic firm tofu, carrots, garlic, onion, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.
Snack: Carrots/Hummus & Nuts Either a small handful of raw almonds or a small serving of walnuts mixed with craisins.
Lunch: Kale salad- Huge kale salad filled with sun-dried tomatoes, sprouted lentils, sprouted quinoa, mushrooms, lemon juice, sea salt, and raw apple cider vinegar
Snack: Fruit- Usually some type of fruit, whether it’s a peach, banana, apple, or grapefruit
Dinner: Variety- Usually a combination of lunch, with cooked lentils, quinoa, spinach, and/or sweet potatoes.
That’s just a sample of what I generally eat on a regular day. Things vary but that’s the majority of it. I do make green smoothies a lot, green juices, veggie burgers, oatmeal, and hummus. I drink coffee on occasion, but it’s very acidic on the body so I try to limit myself.
Well I’m going to stop feeling sorry for myself, get my butt of this couch, sign off twitter, yahoo, wordpress and any other accounts I have and run to the gym. I’m going to try to prioritize more efficiently and make better use of my time. I’m hoping to make blog posting a bigger priority while not letting it consume a large portion of my time.
I’m extremely happy and fortunate to live in sunny San Diego. The weather is beautifully contagious year round and the outdoor activities are endless. Other than trekking my way around the world, I don’t think I would be any bit happier living in sun-filled areas like these.
I do have a deep yearning to make my way over to Colorado and do some backpacking through those areas. I would love to see more of the neighborhood friendly, outdoorsy, and communal parts of the states. The next break I have from school and work, if that comes, I plan to explore more of my American territory. One of the factors of my future living situations is in a warm and sunny climate the majority of the year. I’ve been blessed living in southern california where exposing my bare feet on a daily basis and strutting the streets with a tank top and jeans is anything but rare. I love the snow and the cold but I momentarily don’t have the desire to live through it year round.
I think it’s because my accustomed climate is so sunny and wonderful that I can appreciate the days that are not. The days where the clouds roll in hanging deep above your window. The days where the slightest bit of rain floods the floors of the earth. The days where nothing but sipping bold espresso and settling into a comforting book sounds better.
Today is one of those days. I’m on round 3 or 4 of coffee, while managing to gulp down gallons of water to help detox my body. I’ve been fiddling with my camera today, mixing with different settings and experimenting with different shots. I’ve tasted gelato by the spoonful and sneaked sea salt into the mixture. I’ve stayed in my pajamas the entire day and am completely content with it.
Sofia and Jake are lying low today as well. She is currently in the kitchen with painting supplies spread out across the kitchen table. Jake is on Matrix 2 of his movie marathon with his feet propped up and McDonalds by his side. I hop back and forth between devouring one of David Sedaris’s latest novels and fingering my way on the keyboard keeping my eyes and mind completely entertained.
I enjoy these days. I take pleasure in the rarity that they come and acknowledge that it’s okay to hang low and be lazy. It’s okay to stay in pajamas all day. Well, that’s what I keep reminding myself. Tomorrow’s forecast is sunny and warm. Our agendas are minutely planned with hopping on a bus and traveling to a local town. Renting bikes and pedaling throughout the city is as far as we got. Well, and gelato will find its way into the day.
There are so many combinations for chocolate. Just chocolate by itself is a beautiful thing. However, this ice cream needed a side kick other than dark, rich cacao. I’ve tried mint in the past and for some reason I can’t make it work. Mint chocolate is one of my favorite sweet combinations on the planet. It just seems to flop whenever I try to create something with it. Chocolate and orange is a beautiful mixture, but it doesn’t do much justice when you have no oranges. Lemon? Hmm..maybe next time. I cross back and forth through the kitchen opening up cupboards and pulling out endless drawers in the fridge, meanwhile a lovely stainless steel espresso machine patiently awaits my arrival.
Ice cream is a fun dish to make. There are endless varieties you can create by adjusting any small ingredient. Nowadays, it isn’t rare to walk into a shop and find an olive oil or wasabi flavored ice cream. People are taking risks and putting a unique spin on a traditional dessert. I love it. Vegan ice cream can be incredibly easy to make. It sounds daunting and that there must be some crazy hippie ingredients in it, but it’s fairly simple. Frozen bananas. These suckers are the key ingredient to a delicious, healthy and satisfying dessert.
- 6 frozen bananas
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 shot of espresso
- 2 Tbl whole espresso beans
- 1 Tbl almond milk
- 1 Tbl agave nectar
- pinch of salt
Transforming the bananas from being whole, frozen fruits to an ice cream consistency is easy. There are two different methods that you can choose to use; sending the bananas through a juicer or putting them in a food processor. They both come out roughly the same consistency.
- Juice or process your bananas into an ice cream consistency.
- Melt dark chocolate chips with the almond milk and then add to the banana mixture.
- Pull one shot of espresso and combine to the mixture immediately. The flavor of espresso changes quickly after being pulled. Typically you don’t want to use a shot that has been sitting longer than 15 seconds. Adding the espresso to another substance immediately will ‘save the shot’.
- Process or mix the batter for 30 seconds.
- Add the espresso beans and process for 1 minute.
- Place the ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze until the mixture has hardened.
- Pull it out when you feel you’ve waited long enough and scoop into a bowl. Try smooshing it between two cookies for a delcious treat.
Baking is such a wonderful thing to be involved with. Not only is cooking and baking something wonderful to experience, but challenging yourself in those fields can be surprisingly fulfilling. Anyone can bake. I believe it. But not anyone can create healthy recipes that taste good. It’s a hard thing to accomplish a balance between valuable nutrition and delectable taste. I truly enjoy experimenting in the kitchen with new ingredients. I enjoy the satisfaction of mastering a dish with so many bountiful nutrients that can heal your body. I love the satisfaction of spooning a bite of food into my mouth and having my taste buds dance on the tip of my tongue. I love it all. That’s why I continue to do this. It’s enjoyable, it’s challenging, and it makes me happy.
What an ugly week it has been. Fortunately to my benefit, I had this past Sunday off. What better way to spend it than heading down to good ol’ San Diego. I grabbed my sweatshirt and scarf and headed out the door with my camera in hand. It was a cozy, grey day that couldn’t have been more perfect than paired with a couple sips of espresso.
Snooping around at REI was first on the list. Checking out the latest climbing gear and searching through racks of clearance clothes occupied my time, while my dad was checking out digital maps. We left with some maps in hand as well as a couple of raw energy bars to hold us over for the day.
With The Beatles playing in the background, our ride to SD was smooth sailing. We walked around downtown for a while, checking out art galleries, stopping for espresso, maybe a little urban outfitters mixed in there; something like that. Two skirts later and it was time for lunch. We sat down at this cute, little, italian shop; Chocolat. http://www.chocolatsandiego.com/ Salads, crepes, panini’s, and plenty of gelato were served there. I wasn’t in the mood for something too heavy, so I ordered the Panzanella salad. It did me good. It was a bed of arugula topped with onions, tomatoes, roasted peppers, homemade croutons and a red balsamic vinaigrette. My dad went for an italian style crepe, stuffed with ricotta, spinach & Parmigiano.
We couldn’t leave this place without having a little bite of homemade gelato. Well unfortunately, the small size could only be one flavor and I just couldn’t choose. We bumped it up to the medium size and split the dessert between mint chocolate and a berry sorbet.
We drove around the town a bit, snapped some photos and enjoyed the cozy weather. The rest of the night was eventful; a sweet potato for dinner with sun-dried tomatoes, jumping into my pj’s, and catching up on some reading.
Tata for now!