Saturday, February 28, 2009

Homemade Falafel (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Despite my lack of success with cookies today, I decided to go on a cooking adventure tonight and make my version of falafel. I have actually never made it before so I studied up on all the different ways people made it to come up with a version that was both Vegan and Gluten Free. It was so easy to make - it took less than 15 minutes to prep and only 6 minutes to cook. I used up the rest of my butternut squash for "fries" in my quest to clear out the fridge.

Here is how the falafel turned out......

02/28/09 Vegan/GF Falafel
Vegan & Gluten Free Falafel


14.5 oz can Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas) , rinsed and drained
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley or curly parsley
2-3 Tbsp handful of cilantro
1 small red onion , roughly chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp dried oregano
1 teaspoon lemon juice
A few dashes of hot sauce
2 tbsp flour (I used gluten free)
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp canola oil

Optional toppings: Serve with lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado and top with your favorite salsa. I used Trader Joe’s Pineapple Salsa. You can also serve this up in a pita for a nice variation.

Drain, rinse and pat the chickpeas dry with a paper towel. Place them into a food processor along with everything else through salt & pepper. Blend until fairly smooth and shape into four patties with your hands.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a non-stick frying pan, add the burgers and cook them for 3 minutes on each side until lightly golden. Serve with the toppings of your choice.

Makes 4 servings

I calculated the NI using

Nutritional Information per serving:
Calories 195.9, Total Fat 9.2 g, Saturated Fat 0.9 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 5.0 g, Monounsaturated Fat 1.8 g, Cholesterol 0.0 mg, Sodium 293.6 mg, Potassium 72.8 mg, Total Carbohydrate 21.2 g, Dietary Fiber 6.9 g, Sugars 1.1 g, Protein 6.9 g

This was so incredibly tasty and full of flavor. I tried to combine the flavors of my favorite hummus and the ways I've been enjoying chick peas lately ("Surprise Tacos"). This is a definite keeper and I will be making it again.

02/28/09 Vegan/GF Falafel bite
Butternut squash fries.....Yum! I made them thicker this time.

02/28/09 Butternut Squash Fries
With all the toppings (romaine, cucumber, tomato, avocado, Trader Joe's Pineapple Salsa) and butternut squash fries. I devoured all of it with my sparkling lemon fizzy water.

02/29/09 Dinner
The Husband liked it as well, but, he continued on with his Vegetarain adventure of grilled cheese with avocado for color (he's funny) and Pacific Foods Organic Roasted Pepper and tomato soup. Yup, those are Annie's Cheddar Bunnies in the bowl and swimming in his soup.

02/28/09 The Husbands Vegetarian
Ok ~ this post was super long, but, totally worth it to share this recipe. I will save my product review for tomorrow to spare you from having to read more :D. I highly recommend you trying this recipe out. It's movie time again and tonight I saved room for dessert!

1 Point Vegan/GF Chocolate Chip Cookie Flop

I set out with good intentions today of making a Weight Watchers 1 point Vegan/Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie. The recipe said you get 2 cookies for 1 point which in my mind equalled a pretty good bargain. I think I need to tweak the recipe a bit still. I substituted the flours using All Purpose Gluten Free Flour and Vegan Butter. I used a flax meal/water mix for the 1 egg white. The cookies spread out sort of funny and I personally could taste the flour. The Husband on the other hand loved them and proceeded to eat about half of them lol. The funny new thing is The Husband is starting to get into the whole vegetarian thing. He even used my Almond Breeze in his coffee and liked it - wow!

Here is what my cooke flops looked like:

Vegan/GF Chocolate Chip Cookie Flops

I had 2 to test them out for my snack.

Shopping & Using Up The Fridge

My breakfast really held me over this morning. I didn't have a snack while we were out and just sat down to have lunch 5 hours after breakfast - woohoo! Banana Nut oats are awesome. We spent the morning running errands and doing some shopping. I picked up the latest Eating Well Magazine and a "secret" book that I will be reviewing in a month or so. More on both later.

The highlight of our purchase however was buying a new printer that does it all from printing amazing pictures, scanning, copying and can be used as part of our network or wireless - no cords required. It is an HP7280 and they had it on sale with a manufacturing rebate at Costco - score! I can't wait to play with it but it might have to wait until later so I do not get distracted from my todo list.

Lunch was a combination of things to clean out the fridge and get ready for a new week of stuff. We actually did pretty good at eating up alot of the stuff I bought last week. What a difference it makes eating your meals at home.

I started with leftover salad topped with Maple Grove Fat Free Balsamic:

02/28/09 Lunch Salad

Then moved on to a slice of last night's Vegan & Glute Free Pizza! This stuff is so good the next day but I do recommend reheating it in the oven versus the microwave so it gets crispy again.

02/28/09 Lunc Leftover Vegan/GF Pizza

And dessert was all a combination of fruits we needed to use up in the fridge.

02/28/09 Lunch Fruit

Ok - I am off to check more things off my list, maybe make another VG/GF cookie or muffin recipe and figure out dinner.

Banana Nut Oatmeal

We ended up watching Way of War with Cuba Gooding Jr. last night. It was probably one of our least favorite movies. I hate it when movies jump all around and flash back/forward between different scenes both past/present. I actually had to get up about 1/2 way into the movie to read the cover since I still couldn't figure out the plot. Not one we'd recommend.

This morning I woke up thinking about how fabulous those waffles were yesterday. I decided to see if I could make my oatmeal taste like them by making Banana Nut Oatmeal. This was seriously an awesome bowl of oats and it was just as good as the waffles. I did save the rest of the waffles in the freezer for another day.

Banana Nut Oats

Today's mix included:

1/2 cup Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
1 c Water
1 T ground flax seed
2 T wheat berries
1/2 banana
1/2 oz "toasted" chopped walnuts
1 tsp unsweetened organic coconut
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup warmed for 10 seconds and drizzled. It goes so much further when it's warmed up so you use less.

All together with a nice BIG cup of Toasted Coconut coffee.

02/28/09 Breakfast

Day 6 Recap ~ Wow, it's almost been a full week and I haven't spent a single day counting down for when the challenge should be over. I did indulge a bit more today than I needed to ~ as in I usually do not drink my calories (POM Spritzer) and I had 2 slices of pizza, but, it was ALL worth it. I still burned enough calories to be in a deficit but will work on being more aware of my eating today. I need to eat only when truly hungry, not because it tastes THAT good or because the food is there.

Calories burned: 3,235, Steps Taken: 15,820
Calories consumed: 2,011
10% Protein, 61% Carbs, 29% fat

Today I am working on my todo list to see if I can make it go down. Enjoy your Saturday, I know we will for sure!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Vegan/Gluten Free Pizza Rocks!!!!

I have been waiting ALL week to make a fun Friday night dinner for The Husband and I. The key was to get him to buy off on having a veggie only pizza (he didn't need to know the VG/GF part). He was actually all for it and helped put everything together, including going to the store to pick up a few last minute things. I had 1/2 a banana bread Lara Bar for my afternoon snack while we were out (not pictured).

While cooking dinner, I made myself a juice spritzer using some Calistoga Lime Fizzy Water and Pom - Blueberry/Pomegranate Juice - Yum! This made me feel so healthy drinking it and The Husband kept stealing my drink.


The Husband made us cute salads - I LOVE how he chops vegetables - it always makes me smile. Arn't they guy like?

02/27/09 The Husban'ds Salad

Now onto the Pizza!

We started off using Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Pizza Crust. I added a little garlic salt and italian seasoning to the mix to flavor the dough. I substituted ground 2 Tbsp ground flax seed and 6 Tbsp water for the eggs. I sprinkled a little garlic powder on the dough before pre-baking it at 425 degrees for 9 minutes.

While the dough was rising, The Husband chopped away getting the pizza toppings ready. We cooked all the vegetables on the stove for about 5-7 minutes to get the water out. This is so important so that they do not make the pizza soggy. My favorite pizza sauce is made by Roni and the recipe is here. This sauce is so amazing, even just on pasta or bread. I freeze it in 1/2 cup servings and just take it out of the fridge as needed. I ended up buying some store bought sauce because I couldn't remember if the sauce I made was vegan or not - I am so glad to know it is after checking the recipe.

Adding the veggies

The vegetable mix included:

1 summer squash, quartered
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 green & 1 orange bell pepper thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms
2 cloves minced garlic
small handful chopped basil
1 teaspoon dried italian seasoning
1 pinch crushed red pepper
dash of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp EVOO

After adding the pizza sauce and and veggie mix, we topped it with Veggie Shreds Mozzarella and olives. This cheese is so good you can't tell it's Soy.

Before going into the oven

After baking it for 15 minutes, we topped it off with some halved organic grape tomatoes and freshly chopped organic basil.

Vegan & Gluten Free Pizza Yum

Here are my 2 gigantic pieces that I "almost" couldn't finish. This pizza was seriously so amazing, you couldn't tell it was Vegan. When I ate the crust by itself I could sorta taste the gluten free part and I didn't finish my crust since I was full at that point.

02/27/09 Dinner Pizza!

I am more than satisfied and off to watch a movie with The Husband. I am sad that I think I will be too full for that Chocolate Soy Ice Cream, but, I'll be sure to let you know if that changes. :)

Night all!

Some things are just better the next day...

Today is truly such a beautiful day outside ~ the sun is shining, it’s warm and there is a nice little breeze that cools you down as you run. We went another 4.42 miles before lunch and I just have to say it was another highlight to my Fabulous Friday!

Lunch was a combination of leftovers and crunch. I had 1 serving of Snobby Joes on a slice of GF Rice Pecan Bread ~ this stuff gets even better the next day! Seriously, I thought it was good last night but today it was seriously awesome.

02/27 Snobby Joes

Then for some crunch some veggie tray veggies and Lundberg Sea Salt Rice Chips. Ok, I dipped back into the bag for another serving about the same amount.

02/27 Lundberg Sea Salt Rice Chips

I made sure to fill up the rest of my plate with more vegetables ~ leftover Trader Joe’s colorful Chard – Love it!

02/27/09 Lunch

I was wanting a little something sweet to finish off my meal. I usually get tea when I want something but then I remembered I had brought my Vegan Chocolate Chips with me as I was thinking of possibly adding them to the waffles this AM. They didn’t make an appearance for breakfast but somehow they jumped out of the bag and onto my desk for lunchtime dessert :D

02/27 Vegan Chocolate Chips

This morning I didn’t manage to drink more than maybe ¼ of my Soy Latte. I think it was just too sweet for my liking and it got cold before I could finish it. I did switch to regular black decaf though ~ Yum. I also snacked on some sweet pineapple:


And had a couple of these spicy peanuts ~ maybe about 10.


We have a super fun and delicious dinner planned for tonight and I might even think about “testing” the chocolate soy ice cream I bought ~ Yum, can’t wait!

Today's Adventure: VG/GF Banana Nut Waffles & Soy Latte

While cooking dinner last night I was pondering what I was going to make for breakfast. I really wanted something different. So I opened up the Veganomicon Cookbook once again and came across Banana Nut Waffles. Yup, my mind was pretty much made up at just reading the title. I am not sure if I can post the recipe so for now I will wait. So I prepped the waffles last night using a mix of Gluten Free All Purpose Flour and Oat Flour to make the GF as well. They smelled amazing cooking, it was hard not to dig in right then.

Veganomicon Banana Nut Waffles

But, I resisted and this morning I heated up one of the beautiful Banana Nut Waffle Circles.

02/27/09 Banana Nut Waffles Close Up

Toppings included:

1 teaspoon of Earth Balance Vegan Butter Spread
½ sliced banana
A few cut up strawberries & blueberries (Thanks Rachel – loved the color they added)
A sprinkle of unsweetened shredded organic coconut (maybe 1 tsp)
1 Tbsp toasted chopped walnuts*
Drizzle of Real Maple Syrup (about 1-2 Tbsp)

* Quick tip for toasting your nuts in the microwave. Simple put them in a little bowl and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute – tadah! They are so good this way and no oven or stove is required.

I also decided to put this whole VG/GF thing to the test today with Starbuck’s. I ordered a Tall Decaf Soy Latte and was pleasantly surprised when I saw they used Vanilla Soy Milk. I like how frothy it was when I got it and it sort of reminds me a bit of a vanilla marshmallow – not sweet, but, just a hint of that. I am not sure I am sold on having a latte this way, but, I will savor all morning and let you know if I make it through :D

Here is Breakfast all together:

02/27/09 Breakfast

Day 5 recap:

5 days down, 2 to go! Wow, it’s hard to believe I have been doing the whole Vegan & Gluten Free thing for 5 days now. I have honestly enjoyed this and now realize it isn’t as hard as I thought to do both. I think I am realizing my personal preference towards being Vegan, but, not so much towards being Gluten Free. My next step is deciding what to do when Sunday rolls around ~ Do I continue? Do I add back one thing at a time? I love the way I am feeling and I am curious to see the impact this has on the scale. I feel like I am able to balance healthy eating with a few treats. Ok, yes, the cupcakes are gone or will be today when The Husband eats the last two :D I enjoyed my eats yesterday and am looking forward to today’s just as much. That is really a great feeling

Calories burned: 3,290, Steps taken: 16,329
Calories consumed: 1,736
Protein: 12%, Carbs: 57%, Fat: 31%

Happy Friday All! Today is going to be awesome ~ the sun is shining bright in California and the weekend is just around the corner.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Snobby Joes & Butternut Squash Fries

We had such a fun dinner tonight. I have been wanting to make Snobby Joes with Butternut Squash Fries all week. The Husband learned from experience on Tuesday with the Surprise Tacos when I asked him if he wanted to have Snobby Joes with me. He said "Oh, you mean snobby with beans...." He did take a bite and said it was ok but was all too excited for his 7 minute Tri Tip he found at Costco lol. Anyway, here is how dinner went down:

Butternut Squash Fries

They are so easy to make. Preaheat your oven to 400 degrees. Simply cut your squash in halve then seed and peel it. Cut it into "fry shapes" sorta large but not too thick or they will not get crispy. Toss them in a bowl and spray with nonstick spray and sea salt even. I also line my baking sheet with foil and use a napkin to rub a little canola oil. Line them up into a single layer and bake for 30 minutes or until crispy flipping half way through.

Here is what they looked like going into the oven:

butternut squash fries going into the oven

I think next time I need to make them bigger as they shrunk quite a bit while cooking. So maybe I need to make steak fry shapes. Here they are all done - so good and tasty!

butternut squash fries

I made sure I stole a couple of The Husband's Home Fries to compare:

home fries

I really enjoyed the Snobby Joes and found them to be very filling. I served them open faced on the Gluten Free Vegan Rice Pecan Bread I bought. I topped them with a little soy cheddar and put the "cheesy bread" under the broiler to get crispy before I topped them with the Snobby Joes Mix. I think they are pretty tasty and will get better the longer they sit as the flavors blend together.

02/26/09 Dinner ~ Snobby Joes

And all together served up with Trader Joe's Colorful Chard - this is probably one of my favorite veggie mixes.

02/26/09 Dinner

I have this over two hours ago and I am still very content/satisfied. I prepped my "fun" breakfast for tomorrow so be sure to check in for my Day 5 recap and breakfast. It's another recipe from Veganomicon~ I LOVE this cookbook. I may just have to buy it.

Have a great night all!

Take A Break ~ You decide....

I waited ALL day with 4 of these beautiful cupcakes sitting next to me on a plate for snack time! I couldn't wait to dig into another one of the Vegan/Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream frosting that I made. I had this with a nice hot cup of decaf coffee and savored every bite. I just think they might be better the next day.

Vegan & Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcake w/butterbream

While making dinner, I snacked on some hot & spicy peanuts since I knew it would be awhile before it was ready. I just LOVE these nuts......They are a good change from the raw nuts I usually eat.

Hot & Spicy Peanuts

Quick & Fast Lunch on the run....

Today it is ALL sunshine even though the forecasters said rain. This really was the perfect weather to get outside and be in. We ended up going 4.42 miles and burning 589 calories on our lunch-time interval run/walk – woohoo! I LOVE working out for the way it makes me feel after. However, I definitely think having a buddy to chat the time away makes it so fun while running.

I whipped up a quick lunch after we returned. Today’s lunch included leftover Black Bean and Corn Soup:

02/26 Lunch Black Bean Soup

With ½ serving of Mary’s Gone Cracker Original ~ these are really growing on me – love the crunch!

02/26 Lunch Crunch

And a vegetable tray salad topped with Benissimo Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar & a small drizzle of EVOO

02/26 Lunch Veggie Tray Salad

In the mix:

Baby Carrots
Snap Peas
Grape Tomatoes
Persian Cucumber
½ mini box organic raisins
1 ½ Tbsp sunflower seeds

I feel so healthy after eating this lunch – it’s the perfect post workout fuel.

This morning on my way to my meeting I grabbed a quick snack of Trader Joe’s Fully Cooked with Sea Salt Edamame and 2 cuties ~ I LOVE Cuties for the little sticker messages they have on each one. Well that and they are so good!

02/26/09 Snack

I do not eat the Edamame shell ~ just these cute little soy beans inside – Tasty!

02/26 Snack Up Close

I am pretty excited about my afternoon snack and dinner. Oh, did I mention I talked my running partner into trying a “Green Monster”. It’s her afternoon snack :D See you all for dinner.

Some things are worth repeating

Day 4 ~ Still going and Still loving it. I have to admit, I was thinking I wouldn’t be able to eat anything and this week was going to be pretty unjoyable foodwise. But, I have to say – the exact opposite is true. I am finding myself really enjoying the entire experiment and I couldn’t agree with Kirwin more ~ I feel lighter, healthier and just full of energy. No afternoon slumps or anything. I wonder if it’s the gluten or vegan part contributing to that. What do you think?

Calories burned: 2,737, Steps Taken: 10,378
Calories consumed: 1,854 (but that cupcake was worth it!)
Protein: 11%, Carbs: 59%, Fat 30%

Some things are THAT good that they are worth repeating. Today I was craving two things ~ Almond Butter & my Red, White, & Blue oats. All served up with my decaf coffee, SIGG and my favorite brand Sweet Cactus Agave Nectar. This brand is the only one that has only 15 calories per teaspoon versus the 20 calories in other brands. It doesn’t take much as it is very sweet, usually about ½ a teaspoon to cover this lovely bowl of oats.

02/26/09 Breakfast

I excluded almond slivers today and had a big spoonful of WF’s Freshly Ground Organic Almond butter on my spoon so you get a little taste with each bite ~ Yum!

02/26/09 Up Close

Today is a pretty busy day, but, we will be heading out at lunch for a nice long interval jog, can’t wait!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Cupcake Experiment

THIS was the reason I knew I had to get on the treadmill when I got home today. I made a deal with myself ~ If I wanted to fully enjoy "The Cupcake Experiment" then I had to earn it. I want to make sure I cover all my basis in our VG/GF challenge which includes dessert, right? This morning when I saw that Jenna made Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Fluffy Vegan Buttercream Frosting, I knew that would be part of the plans for tonight. After a quick 30 minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) run on the treadmill, I popped these in the oven. I used an All Purpose Gluten Free Flour I found at Whole Foods to make them meet the challenge.

VG/GF Chocolate Cupcakes

After dinner while The Husband did the dishes ( I LOVE HIM!) I made Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Frosting for them. I didn't use any shortening and only used 1 stick of Earth Balance Vegan Butter. I wish I used my Almond Breeze for the milk now instead of plain soy milk for more flavor.


I made up a quick pot of TJ's organic decaf coffee and sat down to enjoy with The Husband!

Up Close

All I can say is Wow! These are so good! A nice thick layer of real frosting and moist chocolate cake - it was total Cupcake Love. They are rich and remind me a bit of a Suzy-Q. I delivered a couple to The Husband's mom and will be sharing at work again tomorrow.

Ahh ~ My day is now complete! Good eats, The Biggest Loser and now off to read....See you all tomorrow for more Vegan & Gluten Free Adventures!

Pasta Della California

I was too excited to make dinner tonight. I am a huge fan of pasta and knew that I would be including it this week. Tonight I made the Pasta Della California and it was absolutely fabulous. The Husband loved it too and didn't even miss having meat. I made it Gluten Free by using Organic Brown Rice noodles and subbed out Spinach for the Arugula. While we did miss the usual Whole Wheat Noodles, the brown rice noodles were tasty. It does leave you with some pretty good garlic breath ~ but no worries, just make sure everyone you are seeing has it too!

02/25/09 Pasta Della California

And my plate~I LOVED the hidden avocado treasures that I kept coming across:

02/25/09 Dinner

I will definitely make this again - it is ready in minutes and tastes like it is out of a restaraunt.

So Delicious Yogurt & TJ's Cranberry Maple Granola Reviews

I tried 2 new Vegan & Gluten free products for snack. Trader Joe's Cranberry Maple Granola and So Delicious Blueberry Soy Yogurt. I can't say that I am a huge fan of either ~ they both have pretty strong after tastes.

02/25/09 Snack

The So Delicious is creamy like regular yogurt, but, for 150 calories and 23 g sugar (almost 6 teaspoons) I am not sure it was worth my calories. It does grow on you after a bit, but, I probably wouldn't buy either one of these again.

Blueberry So Delicious

No Dressing Required!

Today we decided to run to Whole Foods to make up gigantic salads for lunch. This was probably the best salad I’ve ever had ~ it really had so much flavor that “No Dressing Was Required”

02/25/09 Lunch WF salad

Romaine, spinach & mixed greens
Shredded Carrots, onion, Zucchini & red cabbage
1 small scoop of:
Green Onions
Garbanzo Beans
Beets – so good – I should’ve gotten more.
Hearts of Palm
Almond slices
Sunflower Seeds
Dried Cranberries
1 piece Aloha Tofu (surprisingly not bad)
2 pieces of Tofu Jack (not bad, but, it has a weird after taste)
2 Giant Butter beans
3 marinated mushrooms
1 big scoop of Edamame
2 big scoops of roasted veggies ~ definitely one of the best parts of the show

Check out the gigantic butter bean:

02/25/09 Lunch

Yummie sides – Hot & Spicy Peanuts and ½ serving Mary’s Gone Crackers – original this time. The original flavor is definitely better than the Herb and I like the crunch. Not my favorite cracker but not bad.

02/25/09 Lunch sides

Plus Fizzy Water! I am perfectly content now and ready to settle back into working. I did miss getting out for a walk today so I definitely have a date with my treadmill tonight.