Do yourself a favor & vow to not diet in 2020!

I originally shared this on Instagram on January 1st, but I wanted to share here too in the hopes of reaching more people! 🙂

Happy 2020! Cheers to a new year & new decade!

Happy 2020! Cheers to a new year & a new decade!🥂 Do yourself a favor & vow to NOT diet in 2020. There are so many better health goals to make this year! Plus, diets don’t work anyway. 🙃 Small, changes over time are more sustainable. ⠀And since we are three weeks into the new decade I am hoping if any of you start a diet you are reconsidering it.
How about trying the following this year instead of dieting: ⠀

1. Drink 70 or more oz of water daily. 💦 ⠀

2. Eat breakfast daily, even if it’s initially just something small like a piece of fruit. 🍌 ⠀

3. Aim for at least one fruit 🍎 or vegetable 🥦 at every meal. ⠀

4. Pack your lunch more days than you buy it each week. 🥗 ⠀

5. Cook one homemade recipe per week. 👩🏻‍🍳 ⠀

6. Bring coffee from home or make at work/school more days than you buy it each week. Drink it plain or add your own creamer. ☕️ ⠀

7. Don’t do workouts you hate. Find one or two types you like & vow to move your body at least 5x /week for 30 minutes. 🏃🏼‍♀️ 🚲 🏋🏼‍♀️ ⠀

8. Make plans with friends at least twice a month. 👯‍♀️ Friendship is so important for overall health! Bonus points if you workout or cook with your friends. Helping each other develop healthy habits is rewarding. ☺️⠀

9. Start a new hobby this year or bring back an old one! Maybe it’s knitting 🧶, drawing ✍🏻, joining a local team ⚽️, or joining a book club. 📚 Hobbies are great for your mental health & can be another way to socialize! ⠀

10. Get 7 or more hours of sleep each night. Adequate sleep will only help you be a better athlete, worker, student, spouse, parent, etc. 😴 ⠀

What are some of your non-diet health goals for 2020?! 👇🏻

Tasty Tuesday #7: Tempeh and Black Bean Taco Bowls

Good morning! I hope all of you are having a wonderful morning and a great week. 🙂 It’s hot here in the windy city, so I got my run in early this morning. I am so happy I did, even though I have the day off work, because holy cow it’s getting humid! I had another good run this morning of 3 miles at 7:35 pace.  🙂 I have a ways to go before getting to where I was before my injury, but I am starting to feel more like my old self. I still have to build up my mileage slowly and continue my PT exercises, but at least my run pace is starting to come down as I get back into shape!

Now, for the real reason I am here…Tasty Tuesday! This week’s Tasty Tuesday is a taco recipe because I am a little too excited about Taco Tuesday! I know, I know I already shared a taco recipe with all of you last week….BUT tacos are so tasty and this recipe is different! I love both recipes, but these tacos are a little more filling than the black bean and quinoa ones from last week. Plus, I absolutely love meals in a bowl and anything that is made with black beans, if you guys could not tell. 😛 These tempeh and black bean taco bowls are tasty, filling, full of protein, healthy, and last, but not least they are vegan. Bonus points for how quick they are to make! So do yourself a favor and make tacos tonight! I do have to confess that I made these last night…I could not wait for taco Tuesday! haha. I really want to make them again tonight because they are so delicious…. Without further ado here is the recipe! 🙂

Tempeh and Black Bean Taco Bowls

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Yield: 2-3 servings

Ingredients

1 packet taco seasoning (I used mild, but if you like things spicy I’d use medium or hot) 

1 cup rice of your choice (I used Jasmine rice)

1 package of tempeh (I used Lightlife original)

1 can of black beans drained and rinsed

1 cup of frozen peppers

canola oil (as needed)

Optional: red pepper flakes, salsa, pico de gallo, tortilla chips

1. Prepare the rice according to the directions on the package.

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2. Mix the packet of taco seasoning with water, according to the package directions. Set aside.

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3. Cut the tempeh into bite sized pieces.

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4. Let the tempeh marinate in the taco seasoning mixture for 5-10 minutes.

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5. Sauté the tempeh in canola oil and spoon some of the taco seasoning mixture into the frying pan for added flavor. Fry until the tempeh starts to brown ( ~ 10 minutes).

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6.  In the meantime, sauté the peppers in canola oil. Add the drained and rinsed black beans once the peppers are almost fully cooked (~10 minutes.). Optional: for more flavor add some of the taco seasoning mixture to the pepper and black beans too.

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7. Once everything is fully cooked, serve! Spoon the rice into bowls, add the tempeh, black bean/ pepper mixture, and any desired toppings (salsa,red pepper flakes, pico de gallo, etc). Mix it all together! If bowls aren’t your thing, serve in a warm tortilla! YUM!! 🙂

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I hope all of you have a great day and more importantly, a happy Taco Tuesday (am I the only one who thinks of the Lego movie?)!

Today’s question: Any fun plans this week or weekend? I’m going to Lollapalooza this weekend and I cannot wait! 🙂

Simple Sunday #4: Guilt-free chocolate chip cookies

Some days you don’t just want chocolate, you NEED chocolate. Today was one of those days! My goal was to make a cookie that not only satisfied my chocolate craving, but was also relatively healthy. Since my IT band injury a month ago I’ve been focusing on eating less and healthier, since I can’t run and to aid in my recovery. I REALLY miss running, so hopefully after a few more weeks of PT I can run again. 😦

Well, after searching my vegetarian cookbooks, Instagram, and Pinterest for inspiration I found myself on Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog. She is the queen of healthy, vegan desserts. It was there that I found a great recipe: http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/04/27/worlds-healthiest-chocolate-chip-cookies/ . I have made a few modifications to the original, but she gets all the credit for an amazing recipe. I was skeptical to try an egg and butter-free cookie, but I was pleasantly surprised! They were delicious!  Plus at 80 calories per cookie you don’t have to feel guilty about eating one (or two or more 😉 )! So without further ado, roll up your sleeves and let’s get to baking this guilt free, quick, and easy cookie!

Guilt-free chocolate chip cookies

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Yield: 9 cookies

Nutritional analysis: see below

Ingredients

Dry

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

dash of salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons cane sugar (I used Trader Joe’s, which is vegan)

2 tablespoons (or more) semi-sweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli are vegan)

Wet

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon canola oil

4 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Mix the all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, expect for the chocolate chips.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture. I recommend adding the almond milk tablespoon by tablespoon.

4. Roll the dough into 9 balls and place on the greased baking sheet.

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5. Press the chocolate chips into the dough balls.  (NOTE: You may want to use more or less than 2 tablespoons, which is fine! Just know that the nutritional analysis below was performed for cookies with 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips!)

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6. Bake for 8-10 minutes until slightly golden brown.

7. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.

8. Enjoy one (or a few)! 😉

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NOTE: The chocolate chips here are not melted because the only chocolate chips I had at my apartment were the frozen ones my boyfriend and I use as a topping for Greek Yogurt. If they were room temperature chips they would have melted in the oven!

Nutritional Analysis (from MyFitnessPal): Calories: 81; Fat: 2.6 g (0.7 saturated); Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 57.2 mg; Potassium: 5.6 mg; Carbohydrates: 13.4 g; Fiber: 0.7 g; Protein: 1.2 g

What is your favorite type of cookie? It’s hard for me to chose one…but if I have to, I’d say any type of peanut butter cookie. Have a great night everyone! 🙂

Saturday snack #1: Banana Bites and a running update

Hello there friends! Sorry for the hiatus…again. I promise I was not hibernating. Although, the weather here has made me want to lately. 😦 I’ve just neglected blogging after a busy month of graduate school, work, observation hours (for my graduate program), working out, and occasionally socializing. 😛

Running update

Anyway, I was somehow convinced to run a 5k race this morning with my boyfriend outside, which is not my idea of hibernating! Luckily, today was the warmest day of the week at a whooping 20 degrees and I only needed two pairs of gloves to run outside. You would think after 8 years of high school and college cross country and track I’d be a pro at cold weather running, but that is not the case! I still dread it and sometimes don’t know how to properly dress for my runs…

Fortunately, I survived the race, had a bit of fun in the process, and only my face, hands, and feet lost feeling from the cold. 😛 I ran the race unofficially in 20 or 21 pain free minutes, which is great considering I haven’t run more than 10 miles per week or done any speed work since December because of my darn IT band…unfortunately my IT band hurts post race :(. On a happier note, my boyfriend who has been training more than me won! We thought he missed first place by a second or two because he was out kicked, but we were wrong. The race was chip timed and since he started further back he won. 🙂 This race has me excited for running again and yearning for my faster glory days in college. Maybe with some actual training I can prove to myself that my faster days are ahead of me, not behind me. Finger’s crossed that my IT band heals soon… I definitely need some time off and more strengthening and stretching because that race aggregated it. 😦 Hopefully a week or two does the trick so I can increase my mileage and train for races again.

Banana Bites

Now, I have a short recipe to share with all of you.  Looking for a snack that is sweet, healthy, tasty, easy, and quick to make?! Look no further! Banana bites are your answer. You most likely have the ingredients on hand at your house. They are full of healthy fats, protein, and just the right amount of sweetness. They will keep for a few days in the freezer.

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Yield: variable depending on how many bananas used (I made 8 bites)

Ingredients

1-2 bananas

1 tablespoon natural peanut butter

1-2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

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1.  Mix the peanut butter and Greek yogurt together on a plate

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2. Chop the banana(s) into slices

3. Spread the Greek yogurt/peanut butter mixture onto half of the banana slices

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4. Form sandwiches by using other half of the banana slices as the top slices

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5. Put the banana bites into the freezer in a covered container and let freeze for approximately 2 hours.

6. Enjoy! Keep any leftovers in the freezer. They should keep for a few days.

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Have a wonderful night friends and I hope you enjoy this simple, healthy snack! 🙂

Question of the day: Have you been running lately? If so inside or outside?  Any fun races?

Simple Sunday #2: Vegan Blueberry Muffins

Good morning! I hope everyone is having a wonderful and restful weekend. 🙂 I’m enjoying a work free weekend myself, as my new job is only during the week. I have plenty of homework to catch up on, though. Graduate school will do that to you. 😛 Anyway I decided to take a break this morning, to experiment in the kitchen, and I want to share my results with all of you.

Vegan Blueberry Muffins are today’s Simple Sunday recipe. While I am a vegetarian, I sometimes consume and  bake with eggs. Therefore, I was skeptical that vegan muffins would turn out. I accepted the challenge nonetheless. Well, I am glad I did! These vegan muffins turned out just fine! The batter was thicker than muffin batter made with eggs, but otherwise I did not notice much of a difference.

I obtained this recipe from page 11 of the Vegan Outreach leaflet Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating.  The only modifications I made were using frozen blueberries instead of fresh and I did not make a crumb topping, so the muffins would have less sugar and fat. I hope all of you enjoy. 🙂

NOTE: To make these muffins truly vegan you have to make sure you use a vegan sugar. Some sugars are whitened with animal bones, which means they are not vegan. I used Trader Joe’s organic sugar made with evaporated cane juice, which is vegan according to page 5 of this pdf: http://www.traderjoes.com/pdf/lists/list-vegan.pdf.

Vegan Blueberry Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar

1.5 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup canola oil

2/3 cup almond milk or another vegan milk (I used Silk Original Almond Milk)

1 cup frozen or fresh organic blueberries (or a different fruit)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a muffin tin with muffin liners.

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2. Mix the sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder together in a large bowl.

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3. Add the vegan milk and oil to the dry mixture and mix. It will be pretty thick.

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4. Add the frozen blueberries. The mixture may turn blue, but do not be alarmed! 😛 The muffins will not be blue once fully cooked.

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5. Fill the muffin cups nearly to the top with the batter and bake for about 30 minutes. If using fresh fruit reduce the baking time to 20-25 minutes.

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6. Take the muffins out of the oven and allow to cool completely.  Eat! Otherwise store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a few days.

Tip: Since I think muffins taste best warm, I like to reheat them in the microwave when I’m eating day old ones.

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(See, they aren’t blue anymore!)

I hope all of you enjoy the muffins and have a wonderful Sunday! 🙂

Question of the day: What is your favorite type of muffin? My favorite is actually lemon poppy seed, not blueberry!

Simple Sunday #1: Pecan roasted brussel sprouts

Brussel sprouts. You either love them or hate them. In fact, I read somewhere recently that they are the most hated vegetable in the USA. Luckily, I am a brussel sprout lover.  I credit that to my boyfriend who made me try them a few months ago…Yes, it took me 22 years to try them, but I turned out okay! 😛 You will never know if you are a hater or not unless you try them.

Anyway, we made gnocchi for dinner tonight and felt like trying something new for our vegetable side dish. And voilà! Pecan roasted brussel sprouts were born.  This recipe was adapted from several different recipes so it is not exact. It is super simple though! It is perfect for when you want a quick side dish that is a little fancier than regular steamed vegetables. Also, brussel sprouts are wonderful for your body. Chock full of iron, protein, potassium, and antioxidants, but you didn’t need me to tell you that. 😛 So for my first ever Simple Sunday here is a quick and easy side dish recipe. Enjoy. 🙂

Pecan roasted brussel sprouts

ingredients

16 oz. frozen or fresh brussel sprouts

1 Tablespoon or so of olive oil

pinch of salt

pinch of pepper

pinch of garlic

handful of chopped pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a baking sheet with cooking spray .

2. Pour the 16 oz. of frozen or fresh brussel sprouts into a bowl.

3. Add the tablespoon of olive oil and coat all the sprouts.

4. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, and garlic. Mix .

5. Add the chopped pecans and pour the mixture onto the greased baking sheet.

before cooking brussel sprouts

6. Bake the brussel sprouts 20-25 minutes or so until slightly browned. Turn the sprouts at least once during cooking.

7. Serve and enjoy. 🙂

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Do you like brussel sprouts? Why or why not? If so, what is your favorite way to eat them?

A cold day calls for some warm minestrone soup

Hello guys! Happy November…well, I guess it’s almost December. I can’t believe it’s almost Thanksgiving and the end of the semester. I promise I have not forgotten this blog. Neglected, yes. Forgotten, no! I know it’s always the same story, but life really got in the way for the last 1.5 months and I am very sorry. 😦

My life has gone through some changes since I last blogged. Telling you guys about them will be a tale for another time. Promise! Once I get it all figured out, of course. I assure you guys, though, that the changes do not have to do with the blog, being vegetarian, or my boyfriend. I plan to continue to blog here as a space to share vegetarian recipes/insight, anything running related, and random ramblings about my life. I am still a vegetarian! Also, do not worry my boyfriend of 5.5 years and I are very much in love and going strong! 🙂

Anyway, I remembered in a previous post that I promised that I would share my favorite Minestrone recipe with you guys. Well, over a month and several batches of minestrone later, I finally remembered! Nothing warms me up or gives me strength on a chilly autumn or winter day like homemade minestrone. I’ve been craving soup after this unusually cold week (on Tuesday with the wind chill it felt like -4 degrees outside!)

Minestrone is very easy to make and relatively inexpensive! This recipe is adapted from Mighty Minestrone on pages 128-129 of The Teen’s Vegetarian Cookbook by Judy Krizmanic.

Minestrone

Yield: 4-6 servings

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ingredients:

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 cloves of garlic

2-3 stalks of washed and chopped celery

28 ounce can of diced and peeled tomatoes (fire roasted tomatoes work nicely too)

6 cups of water

1 teaspoon oregano

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons of basil

1 package of frozen vegetables  (16 ounces)

1 can of kidney or garbanzo beans, rinsed, and drained

0.5-1 package of whole wheat elbow or spiral pasta (16 ounces)

salt to taste

1. In a large pot mix together the canned tomatoes, 6 cups of water, 2-3 stalks of celery, and all the spices (including the garlic if you use cloves instead of garlic powder) . Bring to a boil uncovered.

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2. Once the mixture boils reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes.

3. After 30 minutes add the frozen veggies, kidney beans, and pasta to the large pot. Cook for 20-30 more minutes. Add salt if desired.

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4. Serve. For leftovers, put the uneaten Minestrone into shallow Tupperware containers and refrigerate promptly. Enjoy, a cold day calls for some warm minestrone soup! 🙂

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What is your favorite soup to make when the weather turns cold? Although, I admit I make soup in the summer sometimes and maybe I’m not the only one…Also, is there a soup you’ve always wanted to make, but have not yet?