Tag Archives for Trying Something New
There are a few things I always stock up on because I use them so much in the kitchen. A lot of these are basic ingredients that show up again and again in a lot of recipes I make so I make sure to have them on hand. I get a lot of these in the bulk bins at my local co-op so be sure and check out the bulk section as there are so many neat things and great deals to be found.
If you haven’t heard of some of these I definitely urge you to pick one to try out and experiment with. I’ve provided some tried and true recipes that I make all the time to help you get started with your new ingredients.
1. Dulse Flakes
I love this stuff! It’s a type of red seaweed that is dried after harvesting. I put it on salads mostly, but also put it on pizza, scrambled eggs and in soups and dips. It contains high levels of iodine, as well as calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium and zinc. It has vitamins A, C, E, and most of the B vitamins, including B6 and B12. (learn more about dulse here).
2. Nutritional Yeast
This stuff is pretty amazing as well. It has a lot of your B vitamins and is a complete protein on its own. It tastes a little cheesy so it’s perfect on pizzas, pasta and popcorn and I also like to put it on eggs. You can make a really great “cheese sauce” with it that tastes pretty close to the real thing. Go here for a few good recipes that use nutritional yeast or try out this cheezy taco mac recipe (you can sub tvp for the ground turkey to make it vegan).
3. Flax Seed
This amazing little seed is wonderful to have in your pantry, not only because it has your omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, but because it makes an excellent egg substitute in baking.
4. Vegetable Broth Powder
I didn’t even know this stuff existed until a few months ago. A lot of recipes I like to make call for veggie broth and I hate buying those cartons of pre-made stuff because they’re expensive and I go through them so quickly. This powder is perfect because it is a lot cheaper, makes a great base for many recipes, and all you have do is mix a couple of tablespoons in water and you have broth!
5. Canned Tomatoes & Tomato Paste
Tomatoes and tomato paste show up in a lot of vegetarian and vegan recipes and canned is an easier way to go. I use these a lot to make chili, pizza and pasta sauces, and in a lot of Indian inspired dishes. This is one of my favorite curry dishes that uses a can of diced tomatoes (I sub tofu for the chicken).
6. Coconut Milk
Just like tomatoes, coconut milk shows up a lot in recipes I make often. It’s great to have handy especially if you like Asian inspired dishes. I make red curry soup with kale and noodle salad with peanut sauce a lot around here and they both use coconut milk.
I’m a little late to the lentil game and not sure why I waited so long to start cooking with these! They are packed with protein, folate, thiamine (vitamin B1) and iron. They are very easy to cook with and can bulk up your meals for super cheap. I love making this red lentil dal recipe from Happy Herbivore.
Quinoa makes an excellent rice substitute that contains protein, B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and quite a few other vitamins and minerals. I use this often as a base to curries and stir-fry, in soups and even have it for breakfast every once in awhile.
9. Dried & Canned Beans
I like to have a variety of canned and dried beans hanging around because they are excellent if you want to make something quick and filling. While dried beans take a little more planning and preparation, the advantage is that they are much lower in sodium than canned beans. Chickpeas are great to add to salads and use to make your own hummus, black beans are perfect in Chioptle-esque burrito bowls & brownies, Northern beans can make a Reese’s inspired peanut butter and the list goes on!
10. Garam Masala
I use this stuff in just about every recipe I make. It is a blend of ground spices that is used in a lot of Indian cooking and adds incredible flavor to whatever you’re making. I make vegan tofu tikka masala a lot around here and it uses not only garam masala, but a lot of other staples I’ve listed here.
I woke up early yesterday and was still sore from taking Flow & Body Attack (so.much.jumping) classes with my sister-in-law on Saturday. I wanted to do something quick so I finally did a workout from BodyRock.tv.
If you’ve never heard of BodyRock, it’s a really neat site with tons of free workout videos. Each workout is different as some have timed rounds or are just how many sets you can do in a specific amount of time. All you do is watch the video where you are shown exactly what to do, any modifications and the proper form to do each exercise.
I did a five minute warm up and then started the For the Haters workout where you see how many sets you can do in ten minutes. I didn’t have the fitness ball so I used a couple of three pound weights for the overhead press. I was able to do 27 sets for a total of 100 calories burned. It was nice to get a strength and cardio session finished so quickly. I know that ten minutes a day won’t cut it every day, but it was a nice change up and at least I got some activity in.
For lunch I knew exactly what I wanted to make! I got all my ingredients together and made tiny squash pizzas that I’d seen on There She Goes. They were so good and made me think of bagel bites which I used to eat like crazy in high school.
I was craving something sweet so I made tofu fudge bars that I’d seen on the Twin Oaks Tofu site. They turned out really well and were exactly what I needed to satisfy my sweet tooth.
Greg had been wanting black bean burgers for dinner for awhile now so I finally made some last night. I sauteed some onions, garlic and carrots in safflower oil until the onions were translucent. I drained and rinsed a can of black beans, mashed them and then added the sauteed veggies along with an egg, cumin, hot sauce, liquid smoke and a slice of Ezekiel bread crumbled up.
Form patties and be really careful with these or they’ll fall apart. I formed the patties on my cutting board and carefully moved them to an oiled pan with a spatula to make sure they wouldn’t break on me. It’s important to cook them very well on each side to make sure they stay together. I heated mine on medium-high heat for about ten minutes on each side. Once finished, I served them with field greens, tomato, avocado and mustard.
Here’s the nutrition facts for each burger (minus the bun & toppings). If you track your food and use The Daily Plate you can find the recipe here.
I tried dates. I see Heather from Kiss My Broccoli always eatin’ them and she has pretty darn good taste in food so I decided to pick some up. I hate anything resembling a raisin. I don’t do dried fruit and I certainly would have never bought a package of dates if I hadn’t been seeing it on some of my favorite blogs lately.
The verdict… they’re good and not as gross as raisins. A little sweet and not too chewy. I wouldn’t crave them or anything, but they don’t make me gag which is a plus in my book!
I took Pepper to canine charm school. Yeah, he may be a cutie, but don’t let those sweet little eyes and adorable big ears fool you. This little guy is sweet as can be one second and a monster the next! We finally decided enough was enough and enrolled him in training classes. We had orientation on Saturday and the trainer brought her dog to show us some commands for us to work on until out first class on Saturday.
Let’s just say her dog was an absolute angel and if Pepper turns out half as good as that dog then it’s money well spent! He definitely needs a little more socialization too so it will be good for him.
I made the best sandwich ever. Using this recipe from Vegan YumYum, I made a batch of smokey miso tofu which is incredible! I toasted a couple of slice of Ezekiel bread, added avocado to both sides, some tomatoes and a few slices of tofu. So good! It was my first time using liquid smoke and it gives such an amazing smokey flavor and pairs so nicely with miso.
I made eggplant dengaku. I saw this recipe in Appetite for Reduction and was on a miso kick so decided to give it a try. It’s a delicious and easy side to make when you want something quick. here is a similar recipe if you want to try it yourself. I paired mine with a baked potato and greek yogurt for dinner and it really hit the spot.
I hope you all had a great weekend full of fun and good food! What was the highlight of the weekend for you?
I picked up some parsnips the other day with no real use in mind for them. I looked up some different recipes and kept seeing parsnip fries pop up which caught my attention because I love french fries. Here’s how to prepare a healthier version of my favorite junk food.
I cut the tops and some of the bottom off each parsnip. I then peeled them with the help of my creepy monkey peeler.
Here’s how I cut them:
I tossed mine in some olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. I then set the oven to 450° and let them bake for about 15 minutes. I’m sure there are endless combinations, but I kept it simple with my first attempt. They were so, so good and I’ll definitely be adding parsnips to my shopping list more often.
*Let me first say that this was a killer workout. I was dripping with sweat and chugging water throughout the class. When I woke up this morning my legs, shoulders, butt, obliques and back were super sore so I know I got an amazing workout in. It was a 45 minute class and I burned 515 calories. The reason the time shows 57 minutes is because I started my heart rate monitor when the instructor was showing us beginners what each move and combo was.
I finally stuck to my New Year’s goal of taking one new fitness class per month and for March that was kickboxing. I was really nervous about it since I’m not the most coordinated person in the world, but Greg said he’d come along which made me happy since it was a new class and at a gym location I’d never been before.
Before class began the instructor asked if there was anyone new and me, Greg and another girl raised our hands in the class of about eight people. She showed us what each move was that she’d be calling out, as well as some combos used during class. She started off with jab, cross, hook and uppercut.. I’m thinking to myself that this is no big deal and I’ve got this. Then she goes into these crazy ass combinations that require a little more effort than a jab cross combo. These combinations were not only hard to follow, but I’m in a mirrored room doing some really embarrassing moves that I can’t quite keep up with. I was really nervous now.
Class starts and we do a warm up and I’m checking out the other people in the mirrors, especially the other new girl, to see how they’re doing and they all look like they have a clue what is going on. I was so self-conscious during that first song that I remember thinking to myself that I wouldn’t be able to do this and there was no way I could handle another forty-five minutes. The self-doubt that was flooding my brain was intense and was really starting to shake me up a bit.
But ya know what? I snapped out of it and I looked around at the class and saw people in different stages of their fitness journey who were working hard, not caring about what they looked like in the mirrors and were trying something that, at one point, maybe they never thought they could do either. I mean really.. I’m just in a stinky old gym when I could be at home sitting on the couch watching tv, but instead I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and in that moment I was so proud that I took that first step. I stepped into the gym and I vowed to try something new. It took me two months to work up the courage to try something new and different and who really cares if I embarrass myself. Are these people going to remember how awkward I looked? Nope. Do they even care what I’m doing? Doubt it. They are working on themselves and not worrying about anyone else.
So I just forgot about looking perfect and had fun. I couldn’t keep up during every combo, but I kept moving. I messed up plenty of times, but I tried the best I could and I actually got the hang of most of it. And when we were “adding flair” by gyrating across the room I even smiled. Okay, that part was actually a little embarrassing, but seeing Greg’s face when the instructor said we were going to basically hump the air across the room made it totally worth it.
At the end of class I had gotten a great workout in and I had fun. I wasn’t really as bad as I thought I was going to be, I did something new for myself and I’m looking forward to next week. Don’t be scared to take a new class because you feel like you might look silly or feel out of place.. just smile, don’t take things so seriously and have a great time. Just like life, you don’t have to keep up with everyone else, you only have to keep moving.