Strawberry Spring Fever Salad

I have a fever.

Whew! Thank goodness it’s the spring kind.

People are posting this week’s weather forecast on facebook like it’s going out of style, so I’m sure you know all about the 72 degree spring weather coming up.

spring fe·ver

Noun: A feeling of restlessness and excitement felt at the beginning of spring.

Yep, I have a bad case of self-diagnosed spring fever.  Flower shoes, strawberry salads, the whole shebang.

This salad is delicious.  Light, sweet, salty, creamy, crunch, and healthy– all tied up with a ribbon champagne vinaigrette.  It will most definitely cure your feverish symptoms. 

And maybe even the snow that’s bound to fall in April.

Strawberry Spring Fever Salad

-Serves two as an entree and three as a side.  This would be wonderful topped with grilled tofu or chicken!

Ingredients:

  • One 10 oz bag of chopped romaine lettuce (or one large head of romaine, chopped)
  • 1/2 pound of strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 an avocado, cubed
  • 1/4 of  a red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinaigrette (I used Trader Joe’s)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well. Enjoy!

Spring in a bowl.

 Take a bite.

Spring fever approved. 

Spring break diet approved.

*  *  *

If you’re bored after your salad, check out this video that I’m featured in on veganism and vegetarianism.  I speak a minutes 1:05-1:55 and 2:56-3:45.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXMlWIucaHM&feature=youtu.be

 

 

Coconut Pancakes for One

My mouth was exploding with happiness tonight.Seriously, people.  Exploding.

I had an awkward amount of coconut milk left and I’m not one to let all that deliciousness go to waste.  I wanted something sweet and coconnuty and man, these delivered. 

 They taste like coconut cake doughnuts with a warm crispy crust. Complete and utter perfection.  This is actually my favorite recipe on the blog to date.  Whole wheat, vegan, and nothing short of fabulosity.

Pretty please go to Trader Joe’s and get coconut oil.  It’ll only set you back six dollars.  Plus, you can use it as a natural moisturizer, eye makeup remover, and high heat cooking oil… pretty much the best six dollars you’ll ever spend.

Topped with toasted coconut, nutmeg and maple syrup, these pancakes are heaven in your mouth.

 I only ask of you three things:

Don’t skip the coconut oil.   Don’t nix the nutmeg.   Don’t change a thing. 

 We don’t want to mess with perfection now, do we?

Coconut Pancakes

-serves one

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour/whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 packet stevia (or 1 tbsp sugar)
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut + more for toasting and garnish
  • dash of sea salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg + more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup lite coconut milk (from a can)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (or butter), melted
  • coconut oil for cooking*

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat.  Melt about a tsp of coconut oil in the pan.  *This gives that fabulous crispy coconutty crust, but if you don’t have any coconut oil, then butter or cooking spray will do.

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Pour in wet ingredients (including the tsp of melted coconut oil) and stir until just combined.  Spoon batter onto pan, forming three pancakes.   If the batter doesn’t sizzle, then the pan isn’t hot enough!  Cook until pancakes begin to slightly bubble and lift from pan.  Flip and cook about a minute or so longer, but don’t overcook!

After you remove the pancakes, add a small handful of coconut to the pan.  Toast for about a minute, stirring frequently to avoid burning.  Remove from pan once golden brown.Generously sprinkle some nutmeg and coconut onto the plate and then add your pancake stack on top.  Top with more toasted coconut and maple syrup.

The last bite on my plate was really a low point in my life.Who needs pina coladas on the beach in 80 degree weather when you have warm coconut pancakes at your fingertips?

Okay, I wouldn’t mind the beach.

Finals Are Bananas

Finals?  What are finals?

The more appropriate question is, what do we do instead of studying for them?

We grab our black bananas and bake deliciously divine chocolate chip banana bread.  It’s whole wheat and vegan, but shhhh!  You’d never know that there wasn’t a stick of butter and a cup of refined white sugar in there.

We’re following that low carb/low sugar spring break diet, ya know?

Funny joke.

Then the rest of the roommates swarm in and we bust out the Earth Balance and maple syrup.  It’s serious. Warm, dare I say moist banana bread with melty butter dripping with pure maple syrup?

Luckily lentil sloppy joes on a toasty bun with mustard is on the menu as well.  Waaaaay better than standing out in the cold waiting for pizza.

You’re very welcome, Lauren.

I once again pose this important question: what are finals?

If black bananas and black lentils were my final exam… I’d ace it.

Just sayin’.

Coconut Cream Pie Overnight Oats

It’s gray and rainy outside.  Ya know, one of those days when I wear my “waterproof” Target boots and come home with squishy, wet socks.

In about a week, lots of us college kids will say goodbye to finals and rain and hello to hot sun and poolside piña coladas.  

I hate to burst your bubble but that’s still a week away.  So let’s use breakfast as an excuse to prepare for the many coconutty, sugary, who-cares-how-many-calories drinks to come (in a healthy, not so sugary, not-too-many-calories kind of way).

Cheers!

Coconut Cream Pie Overnight Oats 

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup lite coconut milk (from a can)
  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 ripe banana, sliced
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut
  • 1.5 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • dash of stevia (or sugar) to taste
  • walnuts to garnish (optional)

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients.  Don’t leave out the chia seeds–not only are they a great source of omega-3′s, fiber and protein, but they also are neccesary to soak up the liquid and give a creamy texture.

Cover with saran wrap/tin foil and place in the fridge overnight (or for a few hours).  In the morning, you will have perfectly delicious, creamy oatmeal that is ready to eat. No cooking required!  Overnight oats are not meant to be eaten warm, but I like to let mine sit at room temperature for a while before eating.  Alternately, you can heat them in the microwave for a minute until warm.

The banana gives this oatmeal wonderful natural sweetness, but feel free to add stevia/sugar if desired.  I was so pleasantly surprised at how authentically coconutty this tasted.  It’s rich, creamy, sweet and indulgent without the caloric price tag.

 “If you like piña coladas,

and getting caught in the rain. 

If you’re not into health food,

and you have half a brain….”

I’m two for four this week.

Pretty sure I’ll have the last two covered by next week.

Wake Me Up Banana Berry Smoothie

If you know me at all, you know that I am always hungry. 

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It’s not veganism or vegetarianism making me not full– even in my carnivore days, I had a fast metabolism that allowed me to eat more than any one else in my family and still rarely be too full.

After all, my fun fact for Alpha Phi recruitment was that “I never get full, except on Thanksgiving….sometimes.”

Let us not ignore my other commonly used fun fact, that “I was on the TV show Zoom when I was little, and I had to do a really awkward dance for the ‘come on and ZOOM!’ dance at the end.”  I then proceed to actually do the awkward dance, get a few laughs, and then more than a few “WOAH! Wait, were you really on Zoom!?”

Yes, true on both accounts.  It may also be true that I wore an ugly striped turtleneck and had a double chin.  #sixthgradeawkwardphase

Were the turtlenecks necessary?

I can’t say they were.

The smoothie recipe I’m about to give you is great because it’s quick, easy and chock full of nutrients to get the day started.  Smoothies don’t fill me up, but I love leaving for work without my stomach grumbling and knowing that I started my long day on a healthy note.

Wake Me Up Banana Berry Smoothie

  • 1 cup milk (I used Silk unsweetened almond)
  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds/ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Blend milk and frozen spinach first until you achieve an even green color.

Blend the rest of the ingredients and enjoy!

Smooth, creamy, cold, sweet, healthy perfection.

Yes, quite healthy perfection.

At work, around 10:30am, I had four whole wheat blueberry pancakes as my “second breakfast.”  I like to have a little something before I leave for work around 7:15am and something more substantial around 10:00am.  Then I’m not a ravenous beast when lunch rolls around during my never-ending business class in which I am currently blogging.

I’ve also learned to always be prepared with snacks.  I left fairly early this morning and I have work/class til 4:00 + working out + studying all night at the library for finals.  That means I have to pack breakfast, lunch and snacks (I’ll buy dinner at RPAC).  Today I packed pancakes for breakfast, an Amy’s burrito for lunch, raw almonds and dried cranberries, cucumbers and hummus, two oatmeal bars, and an apple for snacks.  Always be prepared for when hunger strikes! 

That way, you won’t have to buy decaf coffee with soymilk and a crappy vegan energy bar at the library tonight like last week.

Aaaaaaaand it’s about that time–hunger is striking. 

source

Thank God I’m prepared.

A Healthy World

There aren’t many things I regret about my college experience.

But tonight, I thought of one.

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I so very much regret not taking advantage of Yoga Circle’s Vegetarian Cooking Workshop. Each Monday evening from 7pm-9pm in Ohio State’s RPAC’s demo kitchen, they prepare wonderfully unique and healthy vegetarian cuisine.  I could not think of a more enjoyable and interactive way to learn more about cooking, plant-based health, and the ethics and philosophy behind vegetarianism.

We even got a free cookbook!

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The cooking class and delicious dinner is all free of charge. The Yoga Circle team generously donates their time (after a full day of work) as their way of giving back to society.  I haven’t met such kind, genuine people in quite a long time.

We often forget to honor our food–instead we devour it in the fast-paced manner that is our lives.  I do it myself everyday.  Today for lunch I managed to eat a huge salad with rice and beans, Finn crisps and hummus, some tempeh, and a zucchini muffin in the fifteen minutes that I had to spare before babysitting.  The last thing I thought about was honoring or celebrating the food.

Tonight, surrounded by sincere people and incredible food, I made up for lost time and took more than a few moments to truly be thankful for what was in front of me.

We had creamy broccoli soup, scrambled tofu burritos, basmati rice and beans, fried plantains and blueberry halva. You can see a collection of wonderful recipes from their website here.

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Everything tasted and smelled spectacular, but I especially enjoyed the broccoli soup.  It was simple–steamed broccoli, water, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and….

 …the secret ingredient? Veganaise! It’s made with grape seed oil instead of eggs and it truly added the perfect tang.

The secret ingredient for the scrambled tofu was definitely the black salt, which I had never cooked with before, and turmeric. I absolutely loved the depth of flavor.  As for the blueberry halva, the combination of toasted cashews, plump raisins, brown sugar, berries and farina made for the perfect porridge.

Did you know that turmeric is excellent for the brain and for preventing Alzheimer’s (and has stronger healing effects than garlic)?  Or that ginger aids in digestion?  Or that cayenne is great for the immune system?

source

Encouraging plant-based foods is slowly showing up in everything I read.  Just today in my nutrition class, we discussed the main ways to prevent cancer:

Choose mostly plant foods.  Limit red meat and avoid processed meat. Be physically active every day.  Aim to be as lean as possible without being underweight.  Avoid taking supplements–studies show that they can cause more harm than good.  Isolating the nutrient will not aid in cancer prevention–eat the whole food instead.

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If you are an OSU student, I HIGHLY encourage you to take advantage of this one of a kind opportunity.  You will be amazing people, enjoy incredible food that you’ve never tried before, and discover a newfound appreciation for the food you put into your body everyday.

“Be the ingredient to create a healthy world.”

WIAW #7


My group and I just spent hours finishing our hospitality management paper on a make-believe frozen yogurt shop called “The Yo.”  Glad that’s over.

My legs are killing me right now. Jamie Eason whooped my butt today.  Literally.

ImageThat’s today’s workout.  Can you believe I made it to Week 5?! Me either.

I just noticed I have calluses on my hands.  Woah.

I can’t wait to go to bed, but I couldn’t bare to hit the sack without showing you my eats first!

Breakfast

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Pumpkin smoothie made with canned pumpkin, vanilla almond milk, chia seeds, frozen banana, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla brown rice protein powder + sprouted bread with sunflower seed butter.

Mid-morning snack

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Homemade oatmeal square from Mama Pea’s cookbook.

Lunch

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Kale salad with almonds, cucumber, dried cherries, chickpeas and a little falafel.

Snack

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Unpictured boatload of hummus and finn whole wheat crackers +two bowls of puffed brown rice cereal with almond milk and a little agave.

+ peppermint tea and an egg  and a clementine while I babysit.

Dinner

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Mushroom Chickpeatza with a huge sauteed zucchini.  SO filling (probably because it’s packed with so much fiber and an impressive amount of protein, too). I ate this around 830pm so I didn’t do my usual late night snacking of hummus/crackers/popcorn/eggs/bread + peanut butter/dessert.

I was actually shocked how long the pizza kept me full.  I usually can’t go more than two hours without eating after dinner.

Okay, maybe I had a macaroon. Or two.  Dipped in melted chocolate chips.

ImageThese macaroons are GOOD.  It’s amazing how buttery coconut makes things.  Even when I make popcorn on the stove with coconut oil, every one thinks there’s butter.  It’s like ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” without a trillion chemicals!

Goodnight fergilicous foodies!