fun facts friday

I’ve seen this done before (*ahem* Chelsey), and it was about that time that I start doing it, too. Who doesn’t love some fun (random) facts on Friday?! I kinda love it, so let’s go!

1. Since my acorn squash soup is all gone now (sad face), I bought a pair of new wooly socks today. Don’t fret, I also bought the husband a pair, too.

2. I think I might have overdone it on the caffeine today – tea and then a latte. I might need an intervention soon, but anything under 600mg/day is still acceptable…right??

3. I’m happy to say that the snow from yesterday’s snowfall was hardly anything. This was yesterday afternoon:


And this morning was pretty much the same amount – commuter’s heaven when snow is minimal.

4. I did the worst thing possible today – brought a curry dish on campus and probably annoyed everyone within smelling range. I’m sorry people, but it was delicious.

5. Ok, I actually take back that apology because I’m not sorry that I finally found a microwave on campus thanks to a fellow classmate. For once, I got to enjoy a hot meal without succumbing to one of my goal‘s I had set back in September, vowing to never purchase a meal on campus since they already took enough money from me! Plus, who really suffered – me or them? I’m the one that had to walk around with garlic/curry breath all afternoon.

6. I have a thing for Sorel boots and want a pair ASAP.


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7. I’ve had a mad sweet tooth for the past few days with no chocolate in sight – that’s about to change tomorrow. I’m making these (the best default cookie ever!) and might eat a few dozen too many.

8. I ran on Tuesday night for the first time in 2 weeks – it just about killed me, but felt so good and refueled the fire.

9. My next big purchase (besides Sorel boots) are to transition/switch to organic shampoo and conditioner. Compared with regular shampoo, I’d say it’s acceptable to call it a big purchase, like the boots :).

10. Tomorrow’s another new post of the once a week vegan!! Who is going to make one vegan meal a week?!!

Have a great weekend!


7-ingredient acorn squash soup

I don’t know about you, when it starts to look like this outside…


I go into permanent shiver mode, put on wooly socks and a sweater and crank the heat (sorry husband).

Although, I’m well aware that living in Canada means that it should have started snowing in August (I kid, kind of), I’m glad it decided to truly hold off for as long as it could (we’ve practically had very little snowfall, so far).

I promise I will be prepared for the time when that big snowfall comes because snow never hurt anyone – especially if I double up on the socks.

To be prepared, when my toes aren’t in wool sock (or even when they are), I like a big bowl of soup to warm me up on these frigid days.

So, to continue keeping these toes warm, I came up with an acorn squash soup that has only seven ingredients, that’s sure to please your taste buds and your tummy.

The husband might even get lucky and I’ll turn the thermostat down a degree.

7-Ingredient Acorn Squash Soup


Serves: 3 – 4
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 – 40 minutes

7 Ingredients: (start counting them – minus S&P because it’s more for taste!)

  • 1 small organic acorn squash (about the size of a small melon), peeled, deseeded and cubed
  • 1/2 yellow/sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Start but cutting squash in half and scrape the seeds out. Then begin to peel it (I understand this type of squash has deeper ridges, but just get in there and get as much as you can – a little peel never hurt anyone, either ;)).
  2. In a medium to large pot over medium heat, add a splash of oil (I used canola), add the garlic and onion, and saute for 5 minutes, until tender.
  3. Add the cubed squash to the pot, along with the liquids and spices (hold the salt and pepper until the end of cooking time).
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for approx. 30 minutes.
  5. Once the squash is tender, remove from heat and either leave soup chunky or use an immersion blender to puree it.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.


The simplest soup I’ve ever made (in terms of prep and ingredient list) and the most blown away I’ve been at how something so simple can turn out so good!

If you don’t find me enjoying this soup, then the next best place is to check the sock drawer – I’m sure I could find a way to make myself fit.

Warning: After eating this soup, it might make you reconsidering going to buy those wooly socks – trust me, you’ll still need them…unless you decided to triple or even quadruple the recipe.

Now there’s an idea…

 


blah days

Nothing takes care of a blah day better than a smoothie!


(frozen strawbs, kuji mango orange juice, big scoop of vanilla coconut milk yogurt)

After I saw the hubby putting juice in his smoothie last night, I thought about how I hardly ever put juice in my smoothie (it’s always almond milk). So, I decided to give it a try and it tasted like dessert…so I made another again today 😛

There’s suppose to be flash freezing here this evening, which makes me so happy (not) that I’ve decided I’m not attending crossfit at 5:30pm and running later. I decided that I’ll skip the crossfit, since it will keep me indoors longer!! I’m definitely not skipping the run since it’s been 2 weeks and I think I miss it a little bit.

Plus, if I run, then I’m allowed to make Katie’s cake, right?


We made two of these the other night (it’s nice having your own individual cake – that way you know your getting the same amount as your husband) with some homemade vanilla frosting and they. were. delish. So delish that I think I deserve another after my run tonight. Am I jumping the gun? I think you would too if this was staring you in the face…


I also have some homework I should be getting to, but homework is just so boring, especially since the blah day is passing on it’s blah-ness to me.

I guess this is where I learn to “suck it up” and finish the assignments I have so that a big zero doesn’t slap me in the face so early in my winter semester.

Question: What do you do to keep you going on blah days??



once a week vegan – week 1

Unfamiliar with what this challenge is all about?! Find out more here or here!

Ok, so here’s the deal: I’ve left three recipes below, where you can either choose one to prepare this week (or all three ;)) or if none appeal to you, then I encourage you to find one that speaks to you! [If you’re seeking your own recipe to try, I’ve left some good resources to make it easier!]

If you’re choosing to prepare one of the recipes I’ve left below, I left three super easy ones, where you most likely have 75% of the ingredients anyways (veggies, potatoes, garlic, oils).

One thing: don’t discount a recipe because it has something in it that you don’t particularly like. I suggest you make a swap for something more enjoyable to eat (vegan-friendly, of course)!

And for those unsure about making good/healthy swaps (or even what to swap), you could always email me. In the near future, I plan to create a new tab under the once a week vegan page which goes into more details about the types of vegan foods we’ll be working with and what alternatives are available (suitable to taste!).

One more thing: I’ve included one noodle dish and 2 soups – if you feel like soup is not a substantial meal to prepare for dinner, then try it for lunch or pair it with something else (say, a vegan recipe you found?!) to help make it more filling.

Your vegan protein swap-in’s this week are:

  • extra-firm tofu (organic)
  • green and/or yellow split peas
  • red lentils

Are you ready?

Like, really ready?

Start choosing your meal!

Recipe #1: Pan-Fried Tofu, Veggies and Rice Noodles
Original recipe from here.

This recipe doesn’t appeal to you? Jump to recipe #2!!

Note: If you’re in a hurry to make a meal, this one needs 30 minutes for tofu to marinate, so prepare in advanced (ie: place tofu in marinate before work and let it absorb the flavour all day long!)



Serves: 2.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 package of extra-firm tofu (buy organic – for one organic package, I pay $2.29, and that feeds 2 people…not expensive)
  • 1 head of kale (I buy organic – $2.29)
  • Any other veggies you like you – I normally add the following chopped ones, as well: 1/2 an onion, 2 stalks of celery, 2 carrots, 1 small bok choy, 1 container of baby portabello mushrooms
  • 1 package of rice noodles (so many varieties, so pick one and try it – last one I used was black rice noodles!)

Tofu Marinade

(ie: this is what you’re going to put your tofu in and let it absorb the flavour for about 30 minutes before actually cooking)

Suggestion: Prepare this and the dipping sauce at the same time as they both have pretty similar ingredients!

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari (I use tamari – $1.00 off coupon on this website for San-J brand)
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp of oil (I use canola, but any oil should work)
  • 1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (found in ethnic section of grocery store usually – around $3)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Sriracha or Hot Chili Sauce (a huge bottle lasts a long time and adds some nice heat, so if you like a little spice add more than 1/4 tsp!)

Dipping Sauce

(for the tofu once meal is prepared, or if you’re like me, you’ll just pour it on your whole plate!)

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp Sriracha (or more, like I do!)

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How to press tofu (the easy way):
If you’re new to tofu, I’m going to make this super easy for you to press it – I never take more than 2 minutes pressing my tofu and it always turns out amazing.

Tofu is like a sponge and it comes vacuumed in water. So when you first open the package, try and squeeze as much of the water out as you can (without breaking it), but it’s firm so give it a little press!

NEXT, take a few good sheets of paper towel (or a regular towel if you’re fine with getting one dirty) and wrap the tofu in it. Now that the tofu is wrapped, press down on it on a flat surface – give it a few good presses! The towel/paper towel should start to get damp as it absorbs the water that was in the tofu.

Voila, tofu is now pressed!
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Now cut up your veggies!

Directions:

  1. Prepare the tofu marinade in a large bowl (so that when tofu pieces is placed in it, there’s room for them all to get covered by the marinade). Whisk it all together.
  2. In small bowl, prepare the dipping sauce (ie: pouring sauce in my case) – same thing, whisk it together.
  3. Cut the tofu into triangles/cubes/circles/whatever! (I’ll normally do 8 large ones, or 16 small ones) and place in marinade. Put into the fridge and make sure to flip tofu to coat the other side about 10-15 minutes later. OR, if tofu was marinating on one side all day, same thing, give it a flip and let other side absorb for 10-15 minutes. Give tofu a good 30 minutes in marinade.
  4. Grab a medium-sized pot (for boiling rice noodles) and a large frying pan (for cooking tofu). Place both on stove.
  5. Boil water for noodles, check label to see how long they should cook for and cook them! Once done cooking, strain and run cold water over them to stop further cooking. Set aside until we’re reading to reheat them!
  6. Meanwhile, in frying pan, over medium to medium-high heat, add a little oil (canola is what I use), then place tofu pieces in it, let cook for 5-10 minutes per side. Along with the oil I add the tofu marinade to frying pan (add half the marinade to frying pan when tofu first put in, then once I flip the tofu, I add the other half of the marinade) – this makes them nice and crispy.
  7. Once tofu is done cooking, let them ‘rest’ on a plate while you fry up your veggies.
  8. To the same frying pan (heat and all) add all your veggies and let them cook for desired amount of time (my frying pan is usually overflowing with kale-which shrinks, like spinach as it cooks-plus, all the other goodies, so it takes about 10 mins).
  9. Once veggies are almost done cooking, add those cooled noodles to the veggies in the frying pan to get them reheated.
  10. Start plating the veggie/noodle combo and then I like to pour the dipping sauce over it, then add my tofu. Plus, use a little more Sriracha to kick it up more!

There you have it – meal #1! If this is the one you’re planning on preparing, please leave a comment or email letting me know your thoughts on it.

Personally, it’s one of mine and my hubby’s faves. We eat it practically every week…no joke!

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Recipe #2: Vegan Split Pea Soup
Found in the 30 Day Vegan Challenge by: Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

If this doesn’t appeal to you, then go to recipe #3!

Note: Allow a good hour before ready to eat because the peas need to simmer and soften for about that length of time – go get your workout in while this cooks! 😉

Note: This soup is super easy and so delicious. It’s great if you want something easy for leftovers – sometimes the sole purpose of why I make it!

If you feel like it won’t be enough food for the meal, pair with a salad or anything non-animal based. But I’ll tell you this, it’s pretty misleading – this can fill you up pretty good!



source

Serves: 4 to 6.

Ingredients

Note: it may seem like a lot of spices going into it, but it builds the flavour so well! All I did before I made this for the first time, was go to the Bulk Barn to get them, which didn’t cost me much at all!

  • 2 cups green split peas (sometimes I do 1 cup of green split peas and 1 cup of yellow split peas – use what you can find in the store or if you have one over the other in your pantry)
  • 6 – 7 cups of water or vegetable stock (I prefer using veggie stock as it adds more flavour – try and get reduced sodium if using veggie stock – usually only need one box of it for the soup, if more is needed and you don’t have any, just use water)
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
  • 2 yellow potatoes (I’ve used yukon gold and russet before), diced
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke, optional –> but highly recommended – this reeeeeally makes the soup and I don’t stop at 1/2 tsp; I usually add a few TABLEspoons! (I found mine at my local health food store – here’s a link to get an idea of what it actually is + pic below of the one I use)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste




Directions:

  1. Rinse split peas, checking for any impurities (ie: just rinse in a strainer), such as stones/residue. Place all ingredients except salt and pepper in a large pot, and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook under peas are cooked – about 1 hour or longer
  2. Check and stir often to make sure water hasn’t completely evaporated (this has never been a problem for me – just make sure all the ingredients are covered in liquid before you start cooking and it should be fine!)

Soup should be thick and creamy, with split peas broken down and mushy after cooking for an hour. BUT, if you want creamier soup you could use an immersion blender to really blend it.

I’ve done both and I like it better without using the immersion blender. I like the chunks of potatoes, onions, carrots and celery, along with the mushy peas. Your preference though 🙂

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Recipe #3: Curried Red Lentil Soup
From Vegan Family Meals by Ann Gentry


Serves: 8 to 10 (makes about 10 cups)

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups of water
  • 2 cups red lentils, picked through and rinsed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped (I don’t peel mine)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt (any salt should do)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 lemon, halved

Directions:

  1. Combine the water and lentils in a heavy pot. Bring to a simmer over high heat, skimming off the foam that rises to the top. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils begin to soften – about 5 mins.
  2. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, ginger, olive oil and the 2 tsp salt and cook – stir occasionally – until most of the lentils are falling apart – about 20 mins.
  3. Stir in cilantro, curry powder and cumin. Cover and cook until vegetables are very tender and soup thickens slightly – about 20 mins.
  4. Ladle soup (unless you’re me and still ladle-less!!) into bowls. Squeeze a few generous drops of lemon juice into each bowl of soup and serve.

The soup will keep for 2 days (mine actually kept longer – but if you don’t wanna chance it and have leftovers, just freeze it!), covered and refrigerated, or 1 month frozen.

To be honest, this one isn’t as good as the split pea but I found I really liked how the flavours developed in this after a few days. It also depends, too, if you like curry flavour (not that it’s overkill here) or a more savory smoky flavour – that’s if you were choosing between the 2 soups.

But, like I said, I’m not going to put recipes on here that I don’t like myself – that’s just cruel!

So, there you have it – your first 3 vegan recipes ready to go!

Remember to have fun while preparing them and leave any comments or questions you may have!

Happy week one of being a once a week vegan!


‘once a week vegan’ challenge

I can’t ignore it any longer; I want everyone to try delicious, vegan foods. So what’s the dilemma that most people think when they hear the word vegan?

It’s limiting.
I can’t eat the foods I want.
Where do I get my protein?

I’m going to challenge all those questions and concerns that people have by offering the:

ONCE A WEEK VEGAN CHALLENGE.

What It Is:
It’s a challenge that gives you a chance each and every week to try one new vegan meal – normally a dinner. And, just to make it so simple and effortless, I will be the one posting a few vegan recipes each week that you can choose from – all you have to do is buy the groceries!

If, say one week, there aren’t any recipes that appeal to you, then I challenge you to look on the internet, in books, magazines, the paper, etc for your own vegan recipe or under the tab for this challenge, look at recipes from past weeks that might inspire you.

None of the recipes will overcomplicate things and I promise to only post recipes that I think are worth it (ie: tried, tested and true).

I’m going to begin with dinners (which can be lunches as well), since I think it’s a great place to start and might even help you in your meal rut!

So if you can do me the favour of becoming a once a week vegan, I promise it is well-worth your time, money, effort and health.

Plus, you get some pretty fantastic and savory meal ideas out of it!


And just a quick note…

Inspiration For It:
I do a lot of reading, especially when it comes to nutrition and more specifically the vegan lifestyle, which is more recent. So when I was reading a chapter from The Veganist this morning, I started thinking about all the people I love; are they eating to maximize their time here with me? Call me selfish, but I want the ones I love to be around me as long as they possibly can be!

I really believe that a plant-based diet is the closest way to maximizing time here – void of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

After finishing my chapter I thought that if I could convince people to try a vegan meal at least once a week, I would be taking a step in the right direction (for them). So, I thought to text my cousin/best friend/closed love one this:

Question…would you consider trying one vegan/vegetarian recipe a week if I sent you super easy ones to prepare?

Her response:

Of course! haha

And that is where I got the idea from.

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If you choose to participate, I totally encourage you to say that you’re a once a week vegan – you making the effort to try new things, especially eliminating animals products for even one meal a week is totally a conscious and compassionate move on your part, which is vegan in essence.

Note: I will be posting the ‘once a week vegan’ recipes every Saturday so this gives you time on the weekend to get the items you need for that recipe for the week.

You can choose whichever day works best to prepare the meal and I encourage you to email me or leave a comment on any post below saying either,
i) a little bit about yourself/why you wanted to do this;
ii) what you liked about the meal;
iii) what you’d like to see in future recipes, and/or;
iv) what was the most satisfying part about the meal.

OR send me anything else you have to say about it!!

And make sure to post any comments each week about the meals you tried, if you want, to help others out!

I love suggestions, so if you’re serious about doing this, send as little (or as many) as you want for me!

charonamission [at] gmail [dot] com

I look forward to meeting all those who choose to participate!


back at it!

Today marked the start of my second semester back at school. Snow was working on my side (temperature, we have to work on you a liiiittle more) as I got back in routine of my 40 minute commute.

My day kinda looked like this:

First up was ‘Introductory Foods’ and that was just what it was – an introduction. That’s the thing I love about the first day back…is it really a first day back? Hardly ever do the prof’s get right into the lecture. Heck, more than half the people haven’t even bought their books yet, let alone are preparing to learn the first day. We got the handout, went over the important numbers and dates, then did an outline of what the course is going to look like. Voila – 50 minutes gone, just like that!

Now, has anyone ever signed up for a course to take, whether mandatory or not, not having the slightest clue on what it’s about?! Please tell me I’m not alone…

Insert ‘Introductory Foods’ – do you know what it’s about?! I took a guess and figured it was about going over the food basics. Hardly.

It’s got some elements of chem and math involved and the class average is between 65-70% with a failure rate of about 6%!!! You know what I’ll be studying for…apart from the chem and stats – so basically my other courses.

Next up was the lab component of ‘Introductory Foods.’ I chose the Monday lab section because
a) I want to get any lab (no matter what the course) out of the way as early in the week as I can
b) I’d like to pile up Monday, so that Wednesday and Friday’s are a ‘breeze’ (and by breeze I mean, just attending lectures accompanied by a few ‘huh?’s since I don’t grasp the material from the overloaded Monday)

The fun part about an ‘Introductory Foods’ lab is that you actually get to make food. It is dedicated to you learning how to prepare food. The not-so-fun part about lab is that it’s hardly vegan friendly. In fact, I’m the only vegan in the class…awkward. Oh and did I mention that all the recipes from today were not vegan. And, I looked ahead at upcoming labs and I can eat about 1 out of 20 recipes.

This, I don’t mind because it doesn’t bother me to eat before, but I’m not a fan of being the only one not going up with a plate to get food. I’m not big on being singled-out…or of the questions. Those dreaded questions that follow you telling someone you’re vegan.

Is it a personal choice?
What can you eat?!
Why are you vegan?

Gaaaaah! Oh well, at least all my lab partners know now! So looking forward to upcoming labs of eggs, milk and cheese, meat i and meat ii…not.

After that I was moving onto Chemistry…my exbestfriend. Now remember that thing I said above about prof’s not getting right into lecture the first day…well, I lied. This one caught me off-guard and actually began teaching after going over the outline – how dare he!

Needless to say, I didn’t print the notes and was writing them on the back of my class schedule. Win

And finally, was onto Stats. Lucky for me it’s right across the hall from Chem – I coulda crawled there and still made it on time to class. I love when it works out that you’re not hustling across campus!

This prof is going to be really good, I can already tell! She took majority of the time going over course stuff, but had she decided to start right into lecture like Mr. Chemistry, I would have been prepared because she took the liberty of printing 56 pages of lecture notes to get us started. Ultimate win.

After that I quickly sped home to heat up my leftovers and hit up some yoga, as it’s one of my goals for the new year (speaking of goals, I should probably post those soon!)

Sorry for the pictureless post, but it’s kinda like me going to school sans notes (damn you, Chemistry – yes, I hold a grudge).

Question of the day: Are you back to your routine of work or school for the new year? I know I’m not entirely there yet…



look what i got!

I now see why dedicated bloggers post at least once or twice a day…a lot can happen in that span! Since before yesterday’s post was on December 12th, I have a lot of catching up to do! There’s finishing my first full semester at school, going on a cruise, Christmas, traveling around Florida, New Year’s and the most obvious…talking about food along the way!

But, because all of those could be long and boring (minus the food, of course!), I’ll skip right to the good part; what Santa the husband got me for Christmas.

Now I know it has nothing to do with me being a good wife because I realize how much of a handful I can be. So, if it’s not because of that, then it must be because he wants something out of it…

Is your mind super in the gutter yet?

Well, then get it out!

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He got me a KitchenAid stand mixer!!

And just for him, the very first thing I used it on was to make cookies!


I told you his intentions were somewhat self-benefiting. He got cookies, I got an easy and super cool way to make cookies. We’re both clearly #winning.

I’m pretty sure cookies and the stand mixer are a match made in heaven, too!


I put the cookies right by it’s bud, that way when the container’s empty, I’ll know what I need to do and where it needs to go. It’s somewhat of a vicious cycle 😉

I think I need to name my mixer – does anyone have a clever name for it?! I don’t think ‘bud’ will cut it.

Another ‘look what I got!’ is in favour of my nemesis…ok that might be a bit harsh, so let’s say, my ‘addiction.’


Some might immediately know where the congratulatory message is coming from and others might still be puzzled – if you’re the puzzled one you should pat yourself on the back and hope to never receive this in the mail!


It’s the Starbucks gold card (or GOLDMEMBER as I labelled it on my account online – I can name a card but not a mixer…who am I?!).

I shouldn’t say getting this card is all bad, it’s actually pretty good but it also signifies how many drinks I’ve actually gotten at Starbucks (with the help of my husband), and actually lets you know how many drinks you need to get in order to keep gold status – an evil countdown.

I was doing good with my consumption; I even set goals to keep my Starbucks spending in check, but somehow I still ended up with this little card – I blame the husband!

Question: Do you have any eating/drinking out habits that you need to break? If so, what are they!