Caramelized Mushrooms and Spelt Dumplings

Yesterday afternoon I was feeling particularly antsy as my spring break is nearly over.

nooooo! ūüė¶

This antsiness is what led me to drag my sweetheart out to Malo in Silverlake for cocktails late (9:30pm) friday evening. ¬†I¬†rarely drink more than half a glass of wine, but I couldn’t resist trying some of the fancy looking cocktails. ¬†I had one and a half small drinks and felt¬†HORRIBLE the next day!

I’m not sure if it was the cocktails, or that maybe I ate something funny that evening, but the following morning I felt like crapola. ¬†Regardless, I had to take advantage of my rare free time and enjoy the outdoors to work out.
I was able to drag my butt out of bed by 11 and head to the Rose Bowl to run. ¬†This run just didn’t feel¬†right at all. ¬†I kept it fairly slow but was really happy when it was over.

Garmin stats:

31:48.7

3.74 mi

8:30/mi

380 cal

This was followed by a¬†very low effort Jillian Michaels 6 week Six Pack. ¬†When you work out after an unhealthy evening or day, do you ever feel itchy? ¬†This¬†always¬†happens to me, it’s almost as if my body is getting rid of all the crap I ate. ¬†OR it’s as if my body is punishing me for treating it poorly. ¬†BUT the most likely reason is just that I have super sensitive, naturally itchy skin that isn’t used to salty sweat after taking a day off.

After slothing around, I built up the gusto to make Joy the Bakers Caramelized Mushrooms and Dumplings.  This was SO DELICIOUS!

If you’ve never visited the Joy the Baker blog, you have to head over there RIGHT NOW! ¬†All of her recipes are sure-fire successes, really tasty, and perfect for entertaining. ¬†Also, she has a really readable and witty style of blogging that makes you want to be her best friend.

I veganized her dumpling recipe and cut down on the refined white flour, and this was actually successful!  They were soft, flakey, and super scrumptious.

Veganized Joy the Baker Dumplings
1 cup spelt flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup all purpose white flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons granulated sugar (or turbinado sugar)

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 chopped fresh chives

5 tablespoons earth balance margarine (super cold)

2 flax eggs (2 tbs ground flax whisked with 4-5 tbs water)

3/4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk

1 tbs apple cider vinegar

First add the apple cider vinegar to the almond milk, this will curdle the almond milk and give it a similar consistency to buttermilk.

In a medium bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients. ¬†Add the flax egg to the almond milk+vinegar mixture and whisk. ¬†Combine the wet and dry ingredients. ¬†Make sure everything is moistened but not over-mixed. ¬†Pour out the biscuit dough onto a floured work surface and knead together the dough, pressing it out until it’s about 1 1/2 inches thick.

Cut out the biscuits using a 1 1/2 inch biscuit cutter. ¬†Place biscuits onto a a cookie sheet, I covered mine with foil and didn’t need to oil it. ¬†Place into the¬†refrigerator¬†until ready to bake.

Dry ingredients ready to go!

Dry ingredients
ready to go!

All rolled out

All rolled out

Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

Chop chop

Chop chop

Then I moved on to the rest of the recipe and drooled over how delicious these mushrooms looked for the next hours.

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Woa-YUM

This was a surprisingly easy, tasty, and pretty healthy recipe.  The entire recipe only had a few tablespoons of olive oil.  I veganized the rest of the recipe simply by leaving out the butter.  This recipe was also perfect because LA has been very overcast for the past few days.

You should give it a try! ūüôā

PopTart Kind of Afternoon

This morning I came to the realization that I only have a few more delicious days of Spring break left.

To stave off the sads about returning to school I stayed in bed for a while to make some headway on¬†The Unincorporated Man by Dani and Eytan Kollin. ¬†I love scifi books, especially post-apocalyptic with zombies involved, this book isn’t that, but is still great! I don’t wanna spill too much, but it really makes you look differently at how our society is structured.

This bit of reading was quickly followed by some stress about school, so I pretended to do some bioinformatics work for a hot second, and quickly got distracted by Chocolate Covered Katie recipes.  Perfect way to get away from work!

That’s how these moderately disastrous (not that disastrous) strawberry Pop Tarts happened.

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Yipes!

So, They look worse than they were. ¬†You’ll see in a second that I was very excited to document my baking process.

I typically bake simple foods. ¬†I tend to shy away from most any recipe that requires chilling, or resting, cold ingredients, or is fussy in any way possible. ¬†I’m trying to be more adventurous and am always trying to expand my cooking¬†repertoire.

But! I was not discouraged from this experience (can you tell that I’m proud?). ¬†I’m happy to learn from what I did, and figure out how I can make some delicious, tasty pop-tarts again soon.

And just because these pop-tarts look heck of crazy, that didn’t stop me from burning my mouth on piping hot strawberry filling after immediately scarfing down 5 tarts straight from the oven.

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Off to a good start

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Freshly chopped strawberries and strawberry icing

To make the icing I popped a strawberry in the microwave for 30 seconds and mixed it with some powdered Xylitol (I just blended up some Xylitol with cornstarch as per CCK’s recommendations).


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Notes on Xylitol: I’m a fan of cutting down on, or even eliminating sugar, so I’ve started exploring using Xylitol in cooking. ¬†So far everything has tasted great, and not like chemicals like some other sugar replacers can taste. ¬†Xylitol is marketed as being an all natural sweetener, but it’s not¬†really. ¬†It’s no ground stevia leaf. ¬†Xylitol is naturally found in fruit and fibrous plants, but is isolated by means of an industrialized process.

 

Don’t be afraid of the lab! ¬†There’s this assumption rampant in the healthy foods crowd ¬†that if something doesn’t come straight from the ground, and isn’t exactly how it was 5,000 years ago (news flash: none of what we eat is), that it’s inherently unhealthy.

 

This isn’t true, and this philosophy can oftentimes be anti-science. ¬†Now don’t even get me started on GMOs, that’s another talk for another time. My eyes will literally roll out of my head.

 

Anyhow, xylitol has 33% fewer calories than sugar, it tastes great, so I’ll take it!

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Pre-baking, still lookin good!

 

I was having a lot of trouble with the dough and was quickly reminded of why I usually stick to cupcakes and bread, instead of pastries.

It was so crumbly! I love spelt flour but I think that it might be a bit tricky.

I brushed up these bad boys with some of my special strawberry icing and popped them in the oven.

 

 

 

 

Then, this happened.

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Yikes!

Well, despite looking like some terrible wound one might have after being burned by acid, this pop-tart was tasty as all heck.

There is hope!

Thursday Workout

Run at the reservoir:

I had planned to do a hilly run through Elysian Park, but having parked on the wrong side of the street on street-sweeping day, I decided to take a short drive to Silverlake for a refreshing tempo run.  

Here’s what my Garmin had to say:

36:58.0

4.64 mi

7:58/mi

473 cal

8:36/7:30/7:58/7:48

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Gotta love that consistent pace, hardy har har.  But I did tempo intervals, so my workout consisted of:

5 min warmup

5 min tempo + 2 min recovery

5 min tempo +3 min recovery

I did this until I got to my car, which was 4.64 miles later.

I then drove to my parents house to bring my mom some leftover soup and salad. ¬†Since I don’t have a DVD player, I make sure to take advantage of my time at my parents house by using theirs and doing a Jillian Michaels DVD. ¬†So, after a bit of rest and one Lara bar later I did the Ripped in 30 DVD which kicked my butt!

After a bit more loafing around my mom and I took the dogs on a walk to Starbucks, which is about 1 mile round trip.  The pups were so happy!

Having worked out twice, I was starving so I came home to eat some leftovers from last night.  Mini pita+baked falafel+mediterranean salad. Yum!

 

ImageIs it just me, or does anyone else feel like they have to follow an herby/salty meal with something sweet to cleanse the palate?

Well, I was definitely feeling that way following this pretty satisfying lunch.  So I made those   Chocolate Chip Date Cookie Balls from Chocolate Covered Katie, turns out I did take a picture before I wolfed them all down.  I must have forgotten in my feeding frenzy.  

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Have a great Thursday! 

 

10 Things I’m Loving Lately (Part 2)

Here’s the rest of my post! I was too tired last night (ahem, early evening) to finish it up.¬†

6.) Mad Men

Luckily the newest season of Mad Men came along right after the 3rd season of the Walking Dead Ended. ¬†Phew! I was afraid that I might have to actually be productive on my Sunday evenings instead of just vegging out on the couch, dodged that bullet! ¬†Well, having missed the actual first showing of the¬†premier because I was relaxing in Desert Hot Springs, I watched the 2+ hour long episode on my computer in bed. ¬†The episode is available for free on the AMC website, but be warned: it’s streaming and if you have the cheapest (i.e. the slowest) internet available like I do, it takes forever to load and get often get choppy. ¬†At some points the video looked like it was dubbed. ¬†If you can get over that, go and watch it! ¬†To be honest, I was a bit disappointed by first episode of the season, but I’m still so excited to see what’s to come.¬†

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P.S. Sally Draper is looking so chic this season! I know she’s only 12 in this season, but that doesn’t keep me from wanting to raid her wardrobe. Judge not.

7.) Good Running Shoes

Most specifically, my K-Swiss Kwicky Blade Lights. ¬†I got these sneaks about a month before the LA Marathon this March and I¬†love¬†them! ¬†I’ve struggled with achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis, so I was beyond delighted when these shoes alleviated my foot problems. ¬†They fit like a glove and just feel right.

Having tried a million different shoes, I’m really happy to have found ones that work.

That being said, I’m still really curious about the Brooks Pure Flow line, as well as Mizunos. ¬†I’ve heard that both are fantastic shoes. ¬†Guess when I find a couple extra hundred buckaroos laying around, I’ll give em a go.

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8.) Dates

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YUM

The food, not the activity.  But I do love me some nice dinner dates!

As per my last post, I’ve visited Costco recently and stocked up on massive containers of food. ¬†I’ve been looking at a lot of energy bar, cookie, and brownie recipes that call for dates as a healthier sugar, so I’ve been needing to splurge on some. ¬†They’re not the cheapest sugar in the store, so when I saw a $7 bucket of dates at Costco, I had to go for it even though it was more dates that I could conceivably consume. ¬†

Feeling inspired, I referred to Chocolate Covered Katie, an amazing vegan healthy food blog, for a recipe using dates. ¬†So, this afternoon I whipped up some Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls. ¬†I would have posted a picture but they, ahem, have miraculously all disappeared! ¬†Wouldn’t have any idea how that happened! …

9.) NutriBullet

If you don’t have a NutriBullet yet, go get one! ¬†I was completely 100% skeptical until my mom forced me to try on of their juices at the LA Marathon race expo. ¬†I was a bit turned off because they were the least interested promo-crew I have ever met, BUT you can deny the deliciousness. ¬†Usually, they’re pretty expensive, but recently they went on sale at Macy’s, so I got one and haven’t turned back.

I know, I know, juicing, so LA, yadayadayada

This stuff is delicious! ¬†Plus, it’s the only way to get me to eat raw spinach without gagging. ¬†What I like most about the NutriBullet as opposed to smoothies or juicing is that it’s incredibly low-sugar, and it keeps all the fiber from the veggies as opposed to juicing, which removes all of the fibrous matter from the vegetables/fruit. ¬†One of the main reasons you want to eat fruits and veggies is that the fiber is so great for you! ¬†Don’t underestimate the importance of fiber, it has been demonstrated to lower ones risk for cancer, and many other common diseases. ¬†And I’m talking legitimate scientific studies, not some flimsy nutrition-fad crap that some fake expert made up.

The NutriBullet gives me an easy way to consume as many veggies as possible-doesn’t get much better than that!¬†

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Gotta love my good friends comment about this picture:
“That looks like a perfectly good fruit and spinach salad in there!”
Hahahaha!!! Still cracks me up ūüôā

So, if you have the cash and are looking for a healthy way to jump start your spring, I definitely recommend the NutriBullet.  Just make sure the majority of what you fill it with is made up of vegetables.  And only add water as the liquid.  You could add coconut water if you really wanted to, I am not a fan.

 

 

 

 

 

10.) Blogging!

No brainer! ¬†I’m really excited to share my thoughts, and express my love of food and running. ¬†Trying to figure it all out can be tough. ¬†No one told me my twenties were going to be this confusing! ¬†I remember¬†naively¬†thinking early in my undergraduate career that my post-college life would include me immediately getting a high paying somewhat bio-related career that perfectly fit my interpersonal and academic strengths, and that I would spend my evenings relaxing, shopping, and doing fancy things. ¬†Boy was I deluded!

I’m really excited to use this blog to talk about what I love to do the most, and hopefully it will get my creative juices going so that I can figure out how I can make a living doing what I love. ¬†Fingers crossed!

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Can’t you pay me to just look at this picture all day? That counts as a full-time, legitimate-career job, right? ūüėõ
SO CUTE

10 Things I’m Loving Lately (part 1)

Having gained some inspiration from an¬†OhSheGlows¬†recent post on the 8 things she’s loving recently, I’ve decided to do my own version. ¬†Now, since I have a¬†thing with numbers, I preferred posting 10 things I’m loving, as opposed to 8. ¬†Hope you don’t mind!

1.) Great weather

Now this is a no brainer for the number one thing that I’m loving lately. ¬†And sorry to all you folks who don’t live in California where the weather is pretty much perfect all of the time! ¬†But come spring, Los Angeles really becomes the most lovely place around. ¬†Long afternoons, 70 degrees at all times, a light breeze, the flowers are blooming-it’s great! ¬†I’ve been feeling extra appreciative on my early morning runs for how beautiful the weather has been, not too cold, not too warm, and some amazing views to top it off.

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2.) Costco, Sprouts, and grocery shopping in general

If you don’t know me personally, I better start off by saying that my all time favorite activity, apart from eating and running of course, is grocery shopping. ¬†I could absolutely be a contestant on Supermarket Sweep and I would win in a breeze. ¬†Unfortunately, I’m a dirt poor student so I don’t always (never) have the disposable income to visit fancy food purveyors such as Costco, Sprouts, or Whole Foods. However, spring means spring break. ¬†And spring break means going grocery shopping with mom and/or my sweetheart and slipping the occasional luxury item into the cart.

How did that get there? ¬†Sure, I’ll take the $6 organic, fair trade, coconut-butter-peanut-butter spread!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m an independent, self-sufficient gal, so I’m still footing the bill for the great majority of what I eat. ¬†But in addition to sneaking the rare fancy food into someones cart, spring has generally gotten me even more stoked about grocery shopping than usual.

Everything is in season, and everything tastes great!  So even my non-organic, sale kale tastes fresh and delish.

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This is my dream

3.) The Desert

Most specifically, the Mojave and Colorado Deserts. ¬†I recently visited Desert Hot Springs and spent most of my time in Joshua Tree. ¬†There is something so mystical and cleansing about Joshua Tree. ¬†This is a national park that is like no where else you have ever been. ¬†I felt like I was on Mars and I never wanted to leave! And no, I didn’t eat any mysterious cacti or anything of the sort, it was just a super cool place!

In addition to spending my days hiking, I also made sure to put in a lot of good hours by the pool. ¬†My sweetheart and I stayed at the Sagewater Spa, which is the most darling small, but luxury motel. ¬†Our room had a kitchen so we were able to make most all of our own meals. ¬†The owner was beyond welcoming, and made us feel like we weren’t staying at a spa hotel, but rather, living in our own dream residence. ¬†Did that sound too hippy dippy?

Anyhow, this is a very modern, relaxing place to stay. ¬†I love Desert Hot Springs because unlike Palm Springs, there’s nothing to do!!! I loved not hearing any traffic, and not having anywhere to go or see. Very relaxing.

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Can you spot me?

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If you were wondering, that’s a Joshua Tree!

4.) Mediterranean Food

I’m going to be honest, it took me quite a few tries to actually spell that correctly. Back to the point though.

Spring weather makes me want to eat fresh food with tons of herbs. ¬†Now, this pretty much sums up Mediterranean food, and it’s been tasting even more delicious than usual lately!

This evening I whipped myself up a Mediterranean salad made up of cucumber, fresh tomato (I finally learned how to properly core a tomato! Thanks YouTube!), Kalamata olives, red onion, cashew feta, PLUS dill, oregano, thyme, lemon, and of course, salt.  Are you hungry yet?

I got this recipe from the Vegan Eats World cookbook by Terry Hope Romero. ¬†Now, if you’re a fan of the end all be all cookbook, Veganomicon, you will have recognized that name. ¬†Terry is a co-author with Isa Chandra on several of the best vegan cookbooks out there. ¬†So if you’re looking for somewhere to start with vegan cooking, look for those names!

5.) Jillian Michaels DVDs

As I mentioned previously, I’m on spring break. ¬†So this means that I¬†actually have time to work out! YIPPEEE!!!! I’ve gotten back into doing Jillian Michaels DVDs post-run to get my post-marathon muscles back in working shape. ¬†For whatever reason, I’m always a bit hesitant to do weight bearing exercises while training for a marathon, so I’ve neglected my poor muscles for the past 6 months. ¬†Thanks to Jillian (we’re on a first name basis now), I get the opportunity to gleefully suffer for 30mins-1 hour daily! ¬†And no one gets me in better shape than her.

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OK. So I know that was just 5, but there are 5 more to come tomorrow. ¬†It’s already 10:20pm, so that means I’m already up an hour past bedtime!¬†Wish I was kidding

Ciao for now! ūüôā

Winnie and Timmie (not pictured) are not included in my 10 things I'm loving this spring, because I love them so much already!  I love them through all seasons.  You'll quickly come to learn how obsessed I am with these pups.  Isn't she cute!?

Winnie and Timmie (not pictured) are not included in my 10 things I’m loving this spring, because I love them so much already! I love them through all seasons. You’ll quickly come to learn how obsessed I am with these pups. Isn’t she cute!?