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vegetarian

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Roasted Potatoes, Asparagus and Onions with Rosemary

April 22, 2013

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Well friends, Joe and I officially made it through an entire week of our yoga cleanse! I know I created an entire blog for the sole purpose of not talking at length about the cleanse on Espresso and Cream, but that’s becoming more difficult than I had expected. Since our new way of eating (no gluten, animal products, processed sugar, alcohol or caffeine) is permeating everything we do and all the food I make, the recipes that I share on Espresso and Cream over the next two weeks will most likely reflect the meals that Joe and I have been enjoying on the cleanse.

At this point, I can’t imagine baking up treats that we can’t enjoy. I’m afraid the temptation would be a little too much to handle at this point. Although I don’t miss gluten or animal products much at all, I would kill for a piece of dark chocolate right about now. And maybe a cup of coffee, too!

This roasted potato and asparagus dish Joe and I ate for dinner last week was one of my favorite meals of the week! Probably because it was incredibly easy, but also because it was filling and satisfying, too. In order to make it a little more balanced, I added in some cubed seasoned and marinated tofu before serving. And although Joe is still not a huge fan of tofu, he still ate it when it was mixed with all these other flavorful roasted veggies.

My mom has been in town this weekend and we haven’t stopped going all weekend! I think that may be why it’s 8 pm and I’m already about to crash and head to bed. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are ready for a great week to come!

Roasted Potatoes, Asparagus and Onion with Rosemary 
Makes 2 to 3 servings
Ingredients
2 pounds Trader Joe’s Teeny Tiny Potatoes (you could also use fingerling potatoes)
1 bunch asparagus spears, ends trimmed
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; cut asparagus into bite-sized pieces.  Place potatoes, asparagus and onion in a large roasting pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the rosemary, salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly.

Roast for 15 to 25 minutes or until potatoes and onions are golden brown and asparagus are tender. Serve immediately. (Also: highly recommended to serve this dish with a little salsa on the side.)

Happy Cooking!
Madison

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Sweet Vegan Cashew Cream

April 18, 2013

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Since I can’t enjoy my nightly dark chocolate fix while we are doing our yoga cleanse, I have been looking for creative ways to satisfy my sweet tooth after dinner. Not an easy task considering that the “sweets” can’t contain any sweetener other than agave or stevia and they also can’t contain dairy, gluten or eggs. Basically, my options are seriously limited.

I’ve seen recipes for cashew cream, both sweet and savory, on blogs and websites quite a bit, but I had yet to make any myself until this week. I think I’m going to have to restrain myself from making another batch because I had no control with this stuff. It’s crazy good. Something about the nutty taste of the cashews whirled into a creamy pudding-like dessert satisfied my sweet tooth perfectly.

Fair warning: this is not a low calorie dessert. Although the ingredients are wholesome, the cashews are also pretty calorie dense. Hence, I’m not going to allow myself to make another batch for at least a week since the first batch lasted me about six days. Yikes!

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Sweet Vegan Cashew Cream
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients
*3 cups unsalted cashews
*2 cups water
*1/4 cup agave
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*Additional stevia to taste

Directions
*Place cashews in a bowl and completely submerge in water. Soak for 3 hours to soften cashews completely.
*Drain cashews. Combine cashews, 2 cups water, agave, cinnamon and stevia to taste in a blender and blend until smooth. If you do not have a high-powered blender (personally, I don’t) I suggest that you run the mixture through a food processor first to get it as smooth as you can and then run through a blender to make it truly creamy and delicious.
*Refrigerate until completely chilled. Serve with fruit, nuts or other desired topping.

Happy Cooking!
Madison

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Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

April 3, 2013

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Lately, I’ve been trying to do a little bit more “organic” blogging and a little less blogging for the sake of blogging. Can we make the phrase “organic blogging” a thing? What I mean is this: Joe and I keep a pretty busy schedule. I don’t mean to say we are too busy to enjoy life. In fact, a lot of the things that keep us occupied and busy are actually related to enjoying life and packing a lot of different things into a short amount of time.

A typical day consists of waking up and eating breakfast together, taking Nutmeg out and packing lunches to take to work. After work we both head straight to the gym and meet up there. I work closer to our gym so typically I get done before Joe gets done, giving me time to head home, shower and prep dinner. When Joe gets home he lets Nutmeg out and showers while I finish dinner. If we have dinner leftovers, I pack them up for our lunches the next day and Joe loads the dishes in the dishwasher. Then, we crash on the couch for a bit for some cuddle time with Nutmeg and a little bit of TV time before we head to bed. Some nights we have friends over for dinner, maybe once a week,

As you can see, our days are full of great stuff. And while I love blogging more than a lot of other things, it doesn’t take precedence over my job, my hubby or getting in a good sweat session. So in the name of juggling it all I’ve been trying to find ways to integrate blogging into daily life. This salad is a great example of just that.

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Last night when I got home from the gym, I pulled together this salad for dinner. It was incredibly easy and truly made sense for a weeknight meal. Since the days are getting longer and the temps are slowly rising, I’ve started to crave foods that are more summer-like in nature: salads, smoothies and chilled grain and pasta dishes. But since it’s still not exactly balmy outside, my hankering for foods like roasted sweet potatoes hasn’t completely disappeared.

The minute I walked in the door, I preheated the oven to 375F. I chopped the lettuce and tossed it in a bowl with avocado, sliced grape tomatoes, and edamame. Then, I chopped the sweet potatoes and shallots and put them in an oven with a little olive oil and salt. While they roasted, I jumped in the shower and unpacked my gym bag. Multi-tasking while making dinner? Major win in my book.

Joe and I fell in love with this dish from the first bite. Something about the crispy bits of onion and the charred ends of the sweet potato paired with the crisp lettuce, tomatoes and other toppings just hit the spot and made it hearty enough to serve as a main meal for dinner on a Tuesday night.

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Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
Makes 2 to 3 large servings
Ingredients
*2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
*2 medium shallots, sliced
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
*1 cup sliced grape tomatoes
*1 medium avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped
*1/2 cup shelled edamame
*1/4 cup sesame seeds
*Your favorite dressing to toss (we prefer Trader Joe’s Spicy Asian Peanut Vinaigrette in this salad)

Instructions
*Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly toss sweet potatoes and shallots with onion and sprinkle with the salt and ground black pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until sweet potatoes and crisp on the outside and tender inside.
*Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Once sweet potatoes are finished cooking, add them to the salad mixture and toss with dressing before serving.

Happy cooking!
Madison

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Almond Meal Pancakes

March 28, 2013

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Breakfast is my carb meal. Most mornings I find myself plopped down at my kitchen table with a bowl of oatmeal, breakfast farro, or toast with peanut butter and bananas. Aside from a short and very dark period in high school when I cut out all carbohydrates and ate nothing but meat and vegetables (no butter, oil, condiments, or sauces allowed!) until I almost passed out at band camp (don’t judge, band was cool), I’ve always believed that healthy carbohydrates have a place at the table.

Despite my best attempts, I have never been able to develop a love for eating eggs, especially not first thing in the morning. Now and again I’ll order eggs while eating out, but I hardly ever eat eggs for breakfast at home. From a nutritional perspective I love what eggs have to offer and the fact that they are packed with protein. So when I finally settled on a recipe for almond flour pancakes that suited my carb-loving breakfast style while being packed with eggs, I feel in love. I believe that, technically, these pancakes would also be considered paleo (paleo friends, correct me if I am mistaken!) though that wasn’t my mission in creating these pancakes. What I was going for was a hearty, filling and protein-packed breakfast that would leave me full and satisfied for hours. Mission accomplished.

A few notes about the pancakes:
-The flavor of the pancakes is pretty spot-on with traditional pancakes. The almond meal does not give much almond flavor to the end product. However, the texture is a bit different. The almond meal (and lack of gluten) prevents the pancakes from having very much chew to them. They stay quite soft no matter how long you cook them.
-I was pleased with the way they held together in the pan while cooking. I didn’t have any issues with the pancakes falling apart while I was cooking and flipping the pancakes.
-A single pancake (about 1/3 cup of batter) seemed to be enough for me for breakfast when topped with some peanut butter and banana. However, if you want a very decadent and large breakfast for multiple people, I would plan on two pancakes per person.
-It’s important to spread the pancake batter out slightly when you first pour the batter into the pan. The batter won’t spread much on its own like a typical pancake might.

Almond Meal Pancakes
Makes 3 Pancakes
Ingredients
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 packets stevia natural sweetener or 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup non-dairy milk or milk (I use almond milk)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup almond meal (I buy mine from Trader Joe’s)

Directions
1. In large bowl, whisk together the eggs, stevia, milk, cinnamon and baking soda until well combined. Stir in the eggs and beat until well combined.
2. Heat a little butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spoon batter, 1/3 cup at a time, into skillet. Spread the batter out slightly to form a 5-inch circle. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until edges are set and the center bubbles slightly. Flip and cook 2 to 3 minutes more.
3. Serve with butter, syrup, fruit or peanut butter.

Happy Cooking!
Madison

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Eating Optimally for My Body

March 24, 2013

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For the past few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time in prayer and contemplation regarding the foods I choose to eat and the foods that I choose not to eat. And in the last week, I’ve decided to fully shed the “vegetarian” label and shift my diet to incorporate seafood. Technically, I guess my new label would be “pescatarian” though I’ve never been a huge fan of food labels since they seem to be less about what is best for the individual and more about fitting yourself into a narrow box.

Perhaps it sounds silly to say I’ve spent a lot of time in prayer regarding my diet, but the food we put in our bodies makes a big impact on the way we live our lives, so it seemed appropriate to bring this to God just like I would anything else. As most of you already know, I’ve been a vegetarian for three years this month. Just writing that, I can’t believe that it’s been three whole years since I dramatically changed my lifestyle. I started eating vegetarian out of curiosity, but found that the lifestyle suited me so well that I didn’t want to return to my previous way of eating. My meals became heavily focused on vegetables, fruits, whole grains and non-meat sources of protein, like hummus, beans and lentils, veggie burgers, Greek yogurt and my beloved nut butters.

I felt fantastic and enjoyed pushing myself to think about meals in a different way. Instead of planning what meat I was going to eat and deciding on vegetables and whole grains later, I started thinking about my meals in a different light. My job as a food editor prevented me from eating 100% vegetarian; every now and again I would take a bite of a meat-based dish at a taste panel because developing meat-based recipes was part of the job description. Additionally, I would take a bite here and there of something I made for Joe that contained meat because I was curious about the flavor profile. For me, being vegetarian was never about not eating animals because of ethical reasons, it was about eating as healthfully as I could and doing what felt right for my body. For the past three years, being vegetarian has felt very right.

However, over the past few weeks I felt a strong prompting to more closely examine the way I was eating and how my body was responding. I would absolutely not say that I felt bad, but I would say that I wasn’t feeling 100% optimal. Something started to feel lacking in a way that I can’t fully describe. I’m sure some people will jump to the conclusion that I wasn’t doing vegetarianism “right” – that I wasn’t eating varied, balanced meals with plenty of protein. I can promise you that is not true. I tracked protein consumption and food combinations religiously, closely examining what I consumed each day to make sure that my diet was well-rounded and complete.

But despite those efforts, there were a few troubling things that I can’t pretend don’t exist. My period hasn’t been consistent in over a year and my skin (which is often seen as a window to your health) has been unhappy. And then there are the issues that I’ve had with my hair over the past seven or eight months. Nothing major but enough to make me do a double take and think a little bit more about my diet. Will eating fish and seafood change this? I have no idea but I guess I’ll find out.

I prayed, I read more articles on vegetarianism (and articles from those who used to be veg) than I ever did in the past, I tried to imagine eating different types of seafood. It sounded just fine to me. I tried to imagine eating chicken, beef or pork. The thought made me want to gag. The hardest thing for me to get over was, by far, the idea that the way I described myself would have to change. For three years I’ve been a vegetarian and identified myself as such. It’s guided my conversations, my blog, and who I am as a person. Diets are deeply personal and become a part of who we are as people in the process. But for me, my body and my health, it seems more important to identify with the food that makes me feel balanced.

So where does that leave me today? I’m hoping to incorporate fish or seafood into our meals at least three times a week in some way, shape or form. Other than that, I don’t think much will change. I am still planning on eating the way I have been the rest of the time, so day-to-day I don’t think my meals will look all that different. No matter how my eating style changes and evolves throughout my life, the vegetarian style of eating (thinking about veggies, whole grains and non-meat proteins first) is something I think all of us can reap a lot from health-wise.

I would love to open this up for discussion and hear from any of you who have had experiences with different eating styles, vegetarianism, or eating vegetarian for a time and then shifting your eating style to something else that suited your body better. Since diet can be deeply personal, I’m hoping that we can keep the dialogue respectful and kind, while also sharing differing points of view. I am so excited to read what you guys have to say!

Madison

 

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