Showing newest 8 of 23 posts from February 2010. Show older posts
Showing newest 8 of 23 posts from February 2010. Show older posts

Saturday, February 27, 2010

(Raw) Falafels!

Snow Day! Yesterday I woke up at 5 am to get up to go to spin and looked out the window. It was clear I WAS NOT going anywhere. The streets were not even close to being plowed and the snow was still coming down. I turned on the news and saw that, of course, every other school district besides NYC was closed. I tried to go back to sleep but I was stressing over if I would call out or not (I live so close to school, but it was SO bad out). Finally at 5:35 my friend saved the day and texted me, "no school" so I was able to go back to sleep until 7 because I can't sleep physically sleep later than that for awhile.

I love snow days because they are an excuse to do nothing. Last snow day I made it to the gym, but it wasn't this bad this fast. I knew I was staying in all day so I set up camp on the couch. Eventually I did do a Rodney Lee Power Yoga dvd, which was okay. I found it more of a relaxing, stretching yoga than a heart pumping workout. Again, I am so new to this yoga thing, but I did like it. It really made me stretch and I can definitely feel it today. Also I did find time to do some cleaning so we don't have to do it over the weekend. I was pretty excited I didn't have to make lunch either because I had packed it for school. 
I did add some extra goat cheese and finished up my flatbread with it.

After sitting and catching up on blogs and reading new blogs (yes! I love finding new ones!) I decided to cook and bake some things. Like I've said before we are trying to save every penny we can for our Costa Rican vacation, so we are trying to not eat out until we go away. After sitting down to make a budget we realized we were spending $100 on food for the week and then $150-200 over the entire weekend eating out. So we canned eating out as much as we can (without being anti-social) and started saving. We can't believe how much money we HAVEN'T spent, since I've stopped shopping and we've stopped eating out. It's a huge reality check and something we should probably be better at after our vacation is over. 
Next week we need to buy more food than last week, because our fridge is bare. (Mind the Jell-O, which doesn't count because I don't eat it anymore but I haven't thrown it away yet.)
EMP-TY. Our fridge almost NEVER looks this bare. How sad it that??

So after checking the blog world, I thought about what I could actually make with nothing in the fridge. I came up with:
So when I was done I ended up with the following:
This soup.
and my cookie form too.

For dinner last night we had the lentil soup and the falafels. (Danny also had leftover pizza, which I am SO sick of even though I had to have a bite anyway!) The falafels came out unbelievable. I wasn't sure how Danny would or if he would like them but he loved them!  I had to make a couple of small changes to the original recipe..but here it is!

Sunflower seeds ground up into a flour in the floor processor. (That's garlic in the corner)
After all the ingredients were in the bowl: onion, garlic, flax seeds,
sunflower seed flower, white beans, parsley.
Mixed together.
Put into balls. 
Over spaghetti squash and leftover veges.

Falafels the (almost) raw way:


1 can cannelloni beans (drained and rinsed well)
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup soaked flax seeds
1 T dried parsley
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tsp cumin
a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Soak 1/2 cup flax seeds in a 1/2 cup of water. Let sit for about 1-2 hours. 
2. Put sunflower seeds in food processor and ground up into a flour consistency. Place into a large bowl.
3. Put onion and garlic into food processor and also place into bowl.
4. Do the same with the cannelloni beans.
5. Add remaining ingredients to bowl (flax seeds, parsley, olive oil, cumin, sea salt, pepper)
6. Mix it up well. 
7. Form into balls on a non-stick sheet. 
8. *Here is where you can make it raw or not. I was in a rush, so I cooked these for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. (I flipped them halfway through.) You can also dehydrate them for beginning at 140 degrees for 1 hour and then
reducing heat to 116 for 4 to 6 hours. Or you can put them in your 170 degree oven with the door cracked for that amount of time. 

I wanted these for dinner, so I dropped the raw part of the recipe. They were SO good and a great protein and healthy fats source. They would be great in a pita or over a salad or over spiralized squash!

I don't have many plans this weekend, but I am celebrating a friend's birthday at a Haiti fundraiser. I cannot wait to get outside because I have cabin fever and I'm tired of sitting!!

(Happy Birthday Jo!) What are your plans for the weekend? 

Friday, February 26, 2010

Do something for your HEART today!

Happy Friday! As February is drawing to a close (can anyone believe that???) I thought it was important to bring up heart health, since February is American Heart Month. I was reading through my SHAPE magazine for this month and saw that they had a couple of pages dedicated to heart health. 

92% of women are at risk for developing cardiovascular disease. That is a huge number! It is so important for people (especially women) to take care of themselves and to do what they can to reduce heart disease. The following are tips that you can incorporate into your life in a small way to make a big difference in the long run. Think about it, don't you want to make a change so you can be around for longer?

These are some of my favorite tips that SHAPE magazine included:
1. Eat less sodium and less processed foods. 80% of our sodium intake comes from processed foods. Eat more clean foods and your sodium intake will go WAY down. 
2. Hang out with your friends. It was found that lonely people had higher blood pressure than more social people. 
3. Try interval training. Instead of just going at one steady page once or twice a week alternate going all out for 30 seconds, followed by 1-2 minutes of rest. This can be done on any cardio machine.
4. Eat more beans. Eating 1/3 of a cup of beans can reduce your chances of having a heart attack by 38%.
5. Take Vitamin D. 75% of Americans are low in vitamin D. Vitamin D can reduce blood pressure and help absorb calcium. Read more about the great benefits of vitamin d here.
6. Eat your fruits and veges. The more of these you eat the more nutrients you will get and most likely the less saturated fat you'll eat.
7. Sleep! Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night to prevent calcium buildup in your arteries.
8. Drink your veggies. People who drink 2 cups a day lowered their blood pressure by up to 5 points after 3 months! It's also a great way to sneak in extra veges and nutrients! 

So we all should make an effort to take even better care of our bodies and hearts, even if that just means spending a little bit more time laughing with friends. Every little bit counts, small manageable changes now will make for a big change later.

Have a great Friday! 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Herb Focaccia Bread

(A little more than) 4 weeks until my vacation! I am so excited that 4 weeks from Monday I will be on a plane flying to Costa Rica to stay in Los Altos de Eros in Tamarindo. I am pretty sure these next 4 weeks will go by pretty quickly because of how busy we are at school, so Costa Rica here we come (almost!). 

In preparation for my vacation (and the yoga ashram that is at the resort) I wanted to branch out on my yoga DVDs. I still haven't brought myself to go to an actual class, which I am sure sounds silly, but I am just not comfy enough yet. It's a weird feeling because I usually love trying new classes in ANYTHING else, spin, kickboxing,cardio, weights, anything, but yoga I am just not comfortable with yet. It probably has something to do with the fact I've been exercising for years and only doing yoga for less than two months. I scanned through NetFlix and found Rodney Lee's Power Yoga, so I currently have that to try. The Fitnessista recommended her and since she been known to do some good workouts, I went with that one first. I'll let cha know how it is. Has anyone tried that or any other yoga DVD that I should check out???

After yesterday's post on the focaccia bread I made, there were a couple requests/emails about posting the bread I made. I did just "whip" it up, but I really can't take the credit. I'll give credit, where credit is due, and it's to the bread machine. Thank God for it (or not because it's making my less carbs, more protein goal FAIL). 

I wish I had great pictures of this bread, but now that I'm back at work, I have no great pictures. All of my pictures are taking with (gasp) a flash because it's dark when I get home. I am greatly looking forward to daylight savings and the SPRING when I can take better pictures and maybe my husband will surprise me with a fancy new camera. 

This recipe works with a bread machine - but I have NO clue how it translates to making bread without a bread machine. I have to say I know NOTHING about making bread by hand. 

Herb Focaccia

Ingredients (put in bread pan in order listed)
Recipe is for a 1 1/2 pounds of bread (a medium size loaf)

  • Water, 80-90 degrees                                               1 1/4 cups
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil                                               2 T + 1 tsp
  • Self made blend of basil, oregano and parsley     2 1/4 tsp
  • Sea Salt                                                                       1 1/2 tsp
  • Whole Wheat Flour                                                  1 1/2 cups+3 T
  • Spelt Flour                                                                 1 cup
  • Bread Flour                                                                1/2 cup
  • Yeast                                                                            1 1/2 tsp

Place all ingredients in the order listed in the bread pan. Selet dough/pizza dough. When cycle is complete remove the dough from pan and punch to deflate and let it rest for 10 minutes. Spray a jelly roll pan with non-stick spray. After dough has rests, roll it out on a floured surface to about 12x8 inches. Place it on the jelly roll pan. Cover it loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 50 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. With oiled fingertips press indentations in the dough about 1/2 inch deep. Drizzle or spray bread with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Put bread in oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden and puffed.

I ended up having panini's for 2 nights this week (and it's not over yet!) This was last night's dinner, paninis round two. Last night I had 4 egg whites, spinach, and goat cheese on the focaccia bread with a side of the leftover vege's from night 1 with chickpeas and a small piece of ricotta salata. Yum. This bread is definitely worth it, carbs or no carbs I loved every bite and isn't that what it's all about?

So any good yoga dvd's that anyone can recommend? Or what about any books on health or food? I'm looking for a new good read!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Panini Time!

How come it feels like Thursday today? All week I have been one day off, I HATE it when that happens. This week feels like it is moving so slow, even though school/work is super, super busy. I haven't had a free second to breathe and I imagine the next 8 weeks will be like this with test prep.

I love Tuesdays because I go to the gym in the morning with Danny, so after school I come home and relax. I usually also make some bread and catch up on blog reading/dvr. Yesterday I caught up with the season finale of Keeping up with the Kardashians. Did anyone else see that?? Now I am not a mom, so I have no idea how that works, but has that ever happened to anyone else?? She didn't make a sound...was that edited?? I was in shock/crying haha. 

I wasn't sure what I wanted for dinner last night and when I went to go look at my cookbooks I saw my panini press in there and it was basically yelling out to me, "use me, use me". 

Since I haven't used it in over 6 months I decided to go with it. I was failing in my quest to eat less carbs, but for today, that's okay. I realized last week that I haven't eaten meat (unintentionally) in about a week. We were eating a lot of fish and breakfast foods last week so I didn't realize it. Then there was Ash Wednesday and Friday and you can't eat meat, so it turned into being over a week. The more I thought about it, the more eating meat is making me feel nauseous, so I haven't had any for about 2 weeks. With that being said, I have had chicken broth and eggs and tomato sauce that had meat in it, so I am not being crazy. I am just trying to go with what I'm feeling and until that feeling is "chicken" I will be semi-meat less. I think watching Food, Inc. had something to do with it, but I really watched that a couple weeks ago. We always buy organic meat, it's not an option for us, but I'm just going with what my body says. 

I made some herb focaccia (1 cup spelt flour, 2 cups whole wheat flour) bread and took out a piece of chicken for Danny and veges for me.
1/3 spelt 2/3 whole wheat with sea salt on top

 I cooked Danny's chicken in some olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette with sea salt and pepper. I cut up eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots and 1/2 red onion and sauteed them also in olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. I also put dried oregano and basil on the chicken and veges.  We had some leftover goat cheese that I put on my sandwich. I love the creaminess of it. Danny used the leftover riccotta salata from dinner Sunday. 

whole grain panini with sauteed veges,spinach and goat cheese with a side of butternut squash fries!

I kind of failed in the protein department for dinner, but at least I did have some spelt flour in the bread and some goat cheese. I also snacked on hummus when I got home from that's ok, right? 

What is your favorite kind of sandwich? This is definitely one of mine. Has anyone else all the sudden been kind of grossed out about meat/animals? 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tomato Onion Flatbread!

Good morning! Danny and I got back into our Tuesday routine of going to the gym before work today. He missed out on the gym last week because he didn't have a ride since I wasn't going to work.  I usually do some sort of interval workout on the treadmill on Tuesday mornings, I find it goes quicker that way and I don't get bored. 

Today I am sharing another recipe I made last week, when I also made the muffins, scones, goji bars and flax crackers. I am still reaping the benefits from that busy baking day. I love being able to make a bunch of recipes in one day and then throw everything in the freezer. It makes it so much easier when I have to go to work and I can just put things in ziplocs/storage containers and get them ready to go the night before. 

Tomato Onion Flatbread
I adapted this recipe from It is a great resource for recipes and raw eating. 

  • 1 C Almonds Soaked overnight
  • 2 C oat flour (original recipe calls for soaked wheat)
  • 1 C Ground Flax
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 C Tomato Puree (from fresh tomatoes)
  • 1 C Water
  • 1/2 sweet onion (diced in food processor)

* I used oat flour instead of wheat because I didn't have any wheat. I also thought that this didn't work because it took SO long to bake. I just kept leaving it in and going back to it during the day because it was mushy for a long time. Finally it got flat bread like. You will be able to tell the difference when it is ready. 

This flatbread is very simple to prepare it just takes a long time in the oven. Again, if you want to cook it faster you can raise the temperature of the oven, which I will probably try next time I make this! 
It goes well with dips/hummus, salads, really anything you can think of! 

Okay, time to go to work! Give this flat bread a try when you have some free time! What is your favorite type of bread to eat??

Monday, February 22, 2010

Flax Seed Crackers

Back to work day. Those nine days off just flew and I'm getting back to the grind now.  We had a wonderful weekend spent with my family. Yesterday my mom's cousin cooked for us at her house. He went to culinary school and was a chef for a couple of years when he took a break from his job in the travel industry. He is unbelievable. 

He brought fresh mozzarella and cheeses that were so tasty and just could be eaten without anything else.  I basically ate my weight in cheese, my favorites being the mozzarella and the ricotta salata. AH-MAZING...but trust me I also ate the locatelli and the provolone too. Benny also made an incredible salad with his own homemade dressing that had extra virgin olive oil, garlic, fresh oregano and red wine vinegar. I ate 3 bowls of that salad alone. It was our typical Sunday dinner with an extra kick. I could go on and on about that dinner, but I'll say it it was delicious and not ramble on. For Lent I gave up white flour, so I made sure I brought homemade whole wheat bread and my mom picked me up some fresh whole wheat pasta because she loves me. (Thanks Mom!)  I was proud of myself because the pasta they were eating was one I've never had before and was VERY tempting. 

I contributed the whole wheat bread and I made my favorite chocolate chip cookies and vegan chocolate chip chunk cookies (from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan). 
so good.
Look at that chocolate goodness.
and these guys were great too.

Now I made it through dinner and we were having some dessert and coffee, when I decided to try my chocolate chip cookies. I've made these 4 or 5 times and have never tried them. I was explaining about the vegan cookies and all the ingredients...maple syrup, applesauce, whole wheat flour...when I realized I ate white flour when I had the cookie. I was pretty bummed because I made it through a 5 course Italian dinner eating no white flour and I blew it on the cookie. Oh was worth it and I didn't realize it, so I'll start over and give myself a pass. 

Getting back to the fact I have to go to work...I was making my lunch last night and threw a flax seed cracker in with my gigantic salad. 
They are crunchy, nutty and salty and go perfect paired with a salad, dip or just by itself. They are also super easy to make. 

Flax Seed Crackers
Original Recipe from here.

1 cup flax seeds
1 cup water
1/8 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

  • Place the flax seeds and water in a medium bowl and mix. Let sit for 1-1/2 hours. The mixture will thicken and look gell-y.

  • Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray.

  • Mix in the soy sauce, garlic, salt and pepper.

  • Pour mixture onto baking sheet, spread into a large rectangle -- about 1/8-inch thick with a spatula.

  • Bake for 40 minutes, then check for firmness. If it's firm, flip and continue baking for another 40 minutes or so. If not, keep baking. Crackers should be firm and crispy when finished. 

  • Cut your large cracker into bite-sized squares.

  • There are many benefits to eating flax seed. Flax seed fights high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and benefits the immune system. Read more about the benefits of eating flax seed here

    Enjoy the rest of your day! What is your favorite type of cracker to eat? This is one of my new favorites for sure!

    Saturday, February 20, 2010

    Go Get 'Em Goji Energy Bars

    Saturday! It's sunny and beautiful out and supposed to be 45 degrees here in New York! It makes me so happy to open my eyes and see the sun streaming in; it just makes the day SO much better! When I returned to school it's going to be mayhem with test prep. We've had a pretty relaxing year, just being able to teach and enjoy the students, but now we have to hit the ground running. The testing schedule changed this year and we have the NYS ELA and MATH back to back at the end of April. Test prep will be starting this Tuesday, so I better not look back come Monday. I know the craziness will make the rest of the year fly. Usually by now we have one test down and Math to go in March. 

    So in getting prepared, I know I'll need extra cups of coffee energy and in order to get extra energy I decided to make these goji and cacao nibs bars to help with an extra pick me up throughout the day. I made these on Thursday, my crazy baking day and they were super easy to prepare but took super long to bake. They took a long time because I made them in the oven and they are suppose to be made in a dehydrator (which I don't have, but is on a wish list for when I have a house and a spot to put it!)

    You need to soak the nuts for these bars, but don't let that scare you. (I received way too many mentions when I posted that on twitter...) It's super easy, you just need to soak them in water and walk away! I got this recipe from here, This website has amazing recipes for meals, flatbreads, bars and drinks as well as information on raw eating. I don't eat a high (or low) raw diet, but it's fun to incorporate that way of eating into my diet (and by diet I don't mean I'm on one, I mean the way I eat)! 

    1 cup Almonds, soaked
    1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked
    1 cup flax seeds, soaked in 1 1/2 cups water
    1/3 cup agave nectar
    1 Tbsp cinnamon
    1/2 cup goji berries
    1/2 cup cacao nibs

    1. Soak almonds, sunflower seeds and flax seeds for about 6 hours. Drain almonds and sunflower seeds.
    2. Set your oven to the lowest setting possible. Mine is 170 degrees. Place almonds and sunflower seeds in the food processor. Leave them chunky.
    3. Add the agave and cinnamon. Pulse.
    4. Remove contents into a large bowl. Add goji berries, flax seeds and cacao nibs. *The flax seeds will be a gelly consistency, that is how it's supposed to be! Don't try to drain them!
    5. Press onto a rectangle baking sheet. (I cut wax paper to the size of the sheet and put it on there.) You want them to be about 1/2 inch thick.
    The unbaked "dough"

    6. Let "bake" as 170 degrees for 3 hours. Take out of the oven and flip over. Take off the wax paper. Put back in the oven for another 2 hours. They need to be crunchy. I ended up cutting them after 5 hours and sticking them back in. This makes about 24  (1" x 3") bars. 

    You can obviously bake these at a higher setting and they will be done faster. I wanted to try to adhere to the original directions as much as possible. You can also dip these in chocolate when they are finished, which I may still do. 

    Why leave these (almost) raw? Read about it here!

    Goji berries, almonds, flax seeds and cacao nibs have many nutritional benefits. We know about the benefits of almonds. They are high in protein, zinc and calcium. Almonds are also a great source of vitamin E magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron. Golden flax seeds contain 27 cancer preventing substances while also giving you a good dose of omega 3’s, which are great in the battle against heart disease. Goji berries are high in protein, amino acids and are packed with antioxidants. Cacao nibs are partially ground cacao beans, which are the beans that chocolate comes from. Cacao is full of antioxidants and trace minerals and will give you a little pick me up, too! (source)

    Eat these and you will be sure to have some extra energy, not to mention you will love the taste of them! 

    I sprinkled them in my yogurt AND took one as a snack yesterday while I was running around.
    Enjoy your Saturday. Give these a try, they won't disappoint!!
    What are you doing today? Anything special? 

    Friday, February 19, 2010

    Strawberry Chip Scones!

    Happy Friday! I know that it is happy to most of you non-teachers, but I have to say I am NOT so happy, because it means back to work on Monday. I have really enjoyed this week, spending time doing whatever it was I wanted to do. Most mornings I woke up pretty early and settling in on the couch with coffee, a muffin and the TODAY show. I would read blogs, work on my own and just not worry about anything else. Eventually I would make it to the gym and then come home and bake or cook or read more blogs. Tough week, I know...

    Yesterday I decided would be my baking day....I started out with my tried and true, never fail recipe of...

    I just keep making these over and over and over again because they are such a great way to start the morning. Whole grains, barely any (unprocessed) sugar and 2 types of fruit, what could be bad? NOTHING, I tell ya. Danny eats 2 of these a day, hah. 

    In my effort to expand my horizons and continue in my quest to discover new foods (and seeing some scones around the blog world lately), I decided on these scones. I was ready to make some adaptations to fit whatever I had in my pantry/freezer. So onto something I haven't tried before...

    Strawberry Chip Scones! 
    Okay, so maybe they aren't shaped perfectly, but hey it was only my first time making them!
    Roll it out into a circle on a lightly flour surface...
    I used a pizza cutter to cut it into 12 pieces.
    They definitely were not shaped perfectly, but again, it was my first time making them so it's okay.

    Right out of the oven.

    Strawberry Chip Scones

    1 cup spelt flour
    1 cup oat flour
    1/4 cup Turbinado sugar
    1/2 tsp sea salt
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/4 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
    1/4 cup plain greek 0% yogurt (Oikos)
    2 1/2 tbsp 1% milk (or whatever you have)
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    2/3 cup frozen strawberries cut up
    1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
    1-2 tsp flour to dust counter with
    1 tsp milk to brush scones
    1 tsp sugar (for top of scones)

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl combine flours, sugar and salt. Stir in baking power and baking soda.  Add applesauce. Then stir in yogurt, milk and vanilla. Stir. Add strawberries and chocolate chips. Stir until dough is thick. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough. Form it into a circle and cut into 6 or 12 pieces depending on the size you'd like. (I sprayed a pizza cutter with non-stick spray to make it easy to cut.) Use a spatula to move pieces to a non-stick cookie sheet. Lightly brush the top of the scones with milk and sprinkle it with sugar. Bake for 20 minutes until tops are lightly browned. Remove and transfer to a cooling rack. 
    I also made a bunch of other treats yesterday including goji berry granola bars, flax seed crackers, pitas and flat bread (that may have failed...)! So I have lots more recipes for you! 

    So for my last day of vacation, I will be going to a spin class and then getting a manicure and pedicure! I haven't spent any money all week (and I'm very proud of myself) so today is my treat day!

    Hope all your Friday's are wonderful! I may not be so happy at this time Monday...haha (but really...)


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