Something about this rich, dark chocoalte has got my head spinning. I’ve been craving for a deccadent chocolate recipe lately. Whether it’s a brownie, cake, or even chocolate mouse; I want it. I happen to be working one day on the register at Whole Foods and an interesting selection of ingredients came through. I’m constantly exchanging ideas and recipes with customers. This particular customer happen to tell me that she found a new chocolate cake recipe that looked “so delicious” and “incredibly simple to make”. For the majority of customers coming through Whole Foods, many of them are aware and practice gluten-free methods in their kitchen. As soon as she mentioned that it was gluten-free, I was hooked.
As customers were piling up at the line behind her, I was somewhat frantic at the fact that I would not be able to attempt this recipe or even see it for that matter. She kindly grabbed her groceries, folded away her dollar bills, and stepped aside to a vacant check-out stand. There she pulled out her phone and an empty piece a paper, and scribbled away some seriously important information. We exchanged a few words and then she was off. Only two more hours and then I could do my digging on this chocolately goodness of a recipe.
After a few short minutes of getting home and unpacking the laptop, I had the Chocolate Quinoa Cake recipe up and running on my computer. Sarah from ‘Making Thyme for Health” is the creater of this delicious cake. Not only is this beautiful lady the one who designed this dark and rich perfection, but her other recipes and photos are all uniquely inspiring.
I followed her recipe, but added sliced blackberries in the center as well as on top. I whipped up some coconut cream and put a dallop on the top of my slice. My dad has always complained to me that I never ‘follow’ recipes. I’m always trying to re-due them in my own way without testing out the original recipe first. My reason for this is because I want to adjust the ingredients to my diet as well as taste. However, I’m slowly learning that trying out the original recipe isn’t such a bad idea after all. My next attempt at this chocolate cake will be to replace the white sugar with a healthier version. I’ve researched into xylitol and to be honest, I’m not a fan. For me, I’ll stick with ‘all natural’ sweeteners like honey, agave, maple syrup, bananas, and dates. Now it’s just a matter of balancing out the sweetness as well as the getting the texture just right.
But in the meantime, head over to Sarah’s blog, Making Thyme for Health, and make this chocolate cake for yourself!
It’s been a while and what better way to end a blogging fast than by introducing a new recipe. I’ve been hooked on lentils lately, not just because their filling qualities or their endless food combinations but the amount of nutrients stored in these small pods.
I’ve been introducing a variety of vegetables and grains to the lentils to produce different meals to keep my taste buds constantly entertained. The most common players are quinoa, sun-dried tomatoes, and tofu. Tonight was a great combination that was full of nutrients, flavor, satiety, and energy for my late night workout.
This dinner is much easier than you would assume, cheap to make, and uses only 5 ingredients! Let’s dig in.
Veggie Lentil Bowl
- 1/4 tsp kosher/sea salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 cup dried lentils; cooked
- 8 large brussel sprouts; quartered
- Soak lentils in water while you prepare the pot to cook them. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot (with a lid). Rinse lentils and add to the pot. Continue the boil for 2 minutes and then reduce to a simmer. After a few minutes, take the lid off and simmer for an additional 10-20 minutes.
- Add oil to a skillet and heat on the stove top. Add chopped brussel sprouts and a little bit of water. Cover and let cook on medium heat for 2-4 minutes. Remove the lid and continue cooking until brussel sprouts get a golden color on some of the sides, but remain green on the majority of the vegetable.
- Combine brussel sprouts, cooked lentils, sun-dried tomatoes and salt to a bowl and mix.
I enjoy drizzling balsamic vinegar on top to further enhance the flavors and give the meal a unique twist. If you think you’re not a fan of brussel sprouts, try roasting them. Experiment with other ingredients. Add garlic, quinoa, and carrots. Try making a breakfast bowl by combining tofu, spinach, and roasted walnuts. Enjoy!
So I know I’ve been jumping back and forth a great deal on vegan food and foods regarding animal products. This is mostly in result to flying out to Europe. Generally if I’m on my own, it’s fairly easy to continue eating vegan food, whether I’m making it for myself or going to a restaurant. However, when I’m staying with a family or large group of people, I don’t want to be a hassle. I transition to vegetarianism and eat as much vegan food as I possibly can get my hands on.
Fast forward one month later and I’m back to the states and back to my comfort food. One of my favorite dishes are the Spicy Quinoa Cakes with a Sweet Mustard Sauce. The only downfall is that they are not vegan. So my quest is to veganize them. This version of quinoa cakes are a bit different. I used some similar flavors, but added cashew cream to the mixture to give it a unique texture. I made them thinner and flatter than the original version, hence the name, Quinoa Flats. They are also baked (healthier & more nutrition) instead of pan fryed. Don’t be fooled by the list of ingredients. Most of them are very common household spices. Besides the preparation of soaking the quinoa and cashews, this recipe is very simple and easy to make.
- 3 cups quinoa; soaked 3 hours-overnight; cooked
- 1 cup raw cashews; soaked 3 hours-overnight
- 1/3 cup raw apple cider vinegar
- 8 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes
- 5 tsp diced jalapeños
- 2 tsp olive oil; infused recommended (garlic, herbs, sun-dried tomatoes…)
- 3 tsp tahini
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 400.
- After your quinoa has been soaking, you want to rinse thoroughly through a small strainer. If you don’t have a strainer with small enough holes, lay a cheese cloth on top of the strainer and rinse through that.
- I like to cook my quinoa with a 1: 1 1/2 ratio. Some recipes call for more or less water at a desired time, but I find that this gives the grain a perfect consistency. Depending on how long you soaked your quinoa for, your measurement will be different because of the water absorption. If you soak your grains overnight, you will have a larger product of quinoa. I ended up with 3 cups of soaked quinoa. Combine your quinoa with water, according to the ratio 1 quinoa: 1 1/2 water. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 20 minutes.
- Drain the cashews and rinse them thoroughly. Blend them with the water and vinegar.
- Combine remaining ingredients, except for quinoa and 3 tsp diced jalapeños, with the cashew mixture and liquify.
- Transfer mixture to a large bowl and combine quinoa and remaining jalapeños.
- Spoon flat cakes on lined cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Drizzle Sweet Mustard Sauce on top of flats.
How to explain the things rambling through my mind…These last few months have been a whirlwind. It’s weird but I’ve slowly been sinking into a life of monotonous agendas, routines that I could do blind folded, and eating food that my stomach recognizes so intently that it could cook itself, blind folded.
Moving back to a ‘city’ where a car is needed to get from A to B and all the way to Z is somewhat exhausting. I dislike driving, I always have. I don’t like the idea of dropping $50+ in that tub of oil that is fueling my vehicle to puff out fumes and exhaust in the streets. I would much rather be riding my bike, walking, heck even jump roping to do these routines. But in a city where I live twenty minutes driving distance away, have hills that when you climb them you can see your gas tank drop, and gym bags full of shower care to clean me up after I sweat a pound or two, it’s difficult to manage all that while rollerblading to school or work. It’s not just driving that has gotten to me, but the technology that is consuming my life.
I think I’ve fried my brain of technology. To be honest, I don’t watch tv. I think it’s a waste of time, makes you lazy and should only be used for limited pleasure, on occasion. However, the computer and internet consume a lot of my time. I don’t like that. I tweet, facebook and check my email too often to be true. This glow on my computer screen has practically turned into a night-light. I used to be this adventurous girl, rafting class 5 white waters, climbing 200 foot walls in between a high flowing waterfall. I used to ride my bike everyday to class, use the outdoors as my gym, play softball and football on a regular basis. My closest connection to the outdoors is nature sounds radio playing on my phone as I fall asleep. I’m extremely blessed to be in a beautiful home, a room to myself, my own bathroom and fireplace, warm blankets and an amazing view to come home to every night. Not that I’ve taken advantage of this lifestyle, but I think I’ve lost my appreciation for it and forget that I’m lucky to have a roof over my head.
I’ve had debates about today’s technology numerous times. I think it’s amazing the things that our world has created, developed, and we continue to push the limits. However, I think most of us have abused the technology. It’s here to make our world easier but not to consume us. Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler helped create the first car, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, Charles Babbage was the first to conceptualize the computer, and without these inventions we wouldn’t be where we are today. But this isn’t for us to take over our lives. It’s to help make things easier, more convenient, and let you run the rest of your day with ease.
This past week I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I took a day to myself and went in search for inspiration; inspiration for my life, for my future career, for my education, and for today. I was guided in the right direction and began to explore it. I found this saying, “the secret of a better life is: eating right, working out, sleeping well, indulging responsibly, and reading.” I would have to add laughing often, to complete it.
My goal from here on out is to focus on school. I need to finish my college education so that I don’t need to be working out a coffee shop any longer. I’m going to limit my computer time for school, the occasional blog post and indulging in the social media in small amounts, well smaller than what I’ve been doing. Riding my bike to school and work isn’t an option for me right now, but I’m going to try to minimize my driving time as much as possible. When I eat, I’m going to eat. I’m not going to check out twitter, update my facebook status, drive, put on make-up or do anything else but focus on what’s happening at that moment. Now don’t think I’m turning into this crazy hippie, I’m just trying to get back to my roots, to things I truly enjoy in life, and feel better about the way I chose to live my life. I’m working on an article for a magazine my school is creating. The title is ‘simple eating’. If I strive to eat foods with simple, healthy ingredients, shouldn’t I be living my life that way as well?
Today is a new beginning and now it’s my turn to focus on the present. I want to leave you all with a quick meal that I whipped up for breakfast. After I submit the ‘publish’ button, it’s my time to get the day going.
High-protein breakfast scramble
Eggs (cage free & organic) *
Garlic oil or sun-dried tomato oil (optional)
Cook your quinoa as directed on the box. Near the end of the cooking process, I like to add garlic oil to the quinoa. If you roast garlic cloves in a baking sheet, covered with olive oil, it will emit a wonderful liquid that can be used as you would olive oil. Plus, it has an incredible taste.
Whether you choose to use a can of black beans (rinsed, of course) or cook your own, heat them up in a separate pan, drizzled with your choice of oil. Don’t be afraid of olive oil. I use a small amount, but it’s healthy fat. People are so afraid of avocados, olive oil, and nuts but decide to eat a snickers bar sometime during the day. Our bodies need healthy fat. Don’t be afraid of it.
Combine the black beans and quinoa and crack an egg or two over the mixture. Sometimes I scramble them and other times I keep them sunny-side up.
Top with fresh basil.
*You can find this list somewhere on the internet but there are 10 foods that should ALWAYS be consumed organic. Eating 100% organic is amazing but not many people can afford to eat this way. However, eggs made the list and should always be consumed as organic.
Speaking of hypocrites. Sorry folks, but today I took a fat bite out of the hypocritical cake.
On a regular basis it’s important to eat balanced meals so that you are getting plenty of vitamins and nutrients. If you work out on top of your usual routine, it’s imperative to get plenty of protein, calories and electrolytes. Well this past week has been a fun little doozy for me. Last Thursday I had 4 wisdom teeth pulled. Good times.
So this week I’ve been laying off the gym and living off bananas, sweet potatoes, and soy yogurt. I’ve somewhat gotten to a point where I’m tired of eating and making food. I can hardly open my mouth and can only chew with my front chompers. It’s exhausting and I’m sick of not being able to eat properly. Needless to say, I haven’t been getting enough nutrients and calories. I went to bed hungry last night and woke up hungry. Unfortunately bad timing because I had training at the gym at 6:30 AM. I live 2o minutes away and I like to get there early to warm up. This meaning, I have to wake up extra early to be there on time. I managed to shovel down a banana and take literally two sips from a protein drink. Let’s just say the end of the workout wasn’t so swell. I actually managed to do the entire workout pretty well for the mind and body set I was in, but I was somewhat a mess afterwards.
I’ve learned my lesson.
So from this experience I would like to share with you guys this healthy dish. It’s perfect for a post-workout meal and filled with plenty of protein.
When you exercise and work out muscles, you are literally tearing the tissue apart. You NEED protein to help build the muscle back. Each element of this meal has a good source of protein.
- Black beans
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Olive Oil
- Salt(Kosher or Sea Salt ONLY)/Pepper
- Prepare the quinoa accordingly to the box. Make them a tad bit undone because they will be cooked further later in the meal.
- Cook your own black beans or strain/wash a can of organic black beans. Combine the black beans and quinoa in a medium sauté pan. Add a portion of sun-dried tomatoes with a tablespoon of olive oil to the combination. Sprinkle with salt and crackle some black pepper over top. Once everything has been warmed, transfer your dish to a plate.
- Fry up two eggs in the pan and place on top of the black bean/quinoa mixture. I like to cook them just enough so that the yolk is still liquid, so that when you transfer them on top of your mixture, you can slice the yolk and it will run throughout the rest of the food.
I hope this dish seems as appetizing to you as it does for me. Now it’s time to get my butt back into gear and eat plenty of food!