Monday, February 13, 2017

Valentine's Day Sweets

Happy Valentine's Day vegans and vegan-friendly fans!

Whether you have a valentine or not with whom you can share today, you never need a reason to treat yourself!

I found this decadent bite of chocolate hazelnut magnificence at my local gourmet shop. It is raw, vegan and entirely too indulgent for me to eat in one sitting, but today is about indulgence after all.

Wishing you all a "sweet" one, however you spend the day!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Straight From The Source

Just like the song we know, I love LA. The sunshine. The palm trees. The ocean. The lifestyle. Every time I visit I briefly toy with living there.

I also happen to love the food, and how beautifully vegan friendly it is there.

On my most recent trip, I was introduced to The Source Cafe in Hermosa Beach. 

I was greeted by prebottled juices and smoothies, some little salads to go, and a display case boasting all kinds of pastries, including many vegan options.

The fresh menu was also chock full of choices, and rather than an avocado toast (which always grabs my attention,) I went with something new. Yam toast (the yam was the "toast"!) with a layer of carrot hummus, topped with a savory vegan pesto and sliced radish. Super healthy. Pretty filling. Very tasty. It made for one happy trendy vegan!


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bodybuilding Diet For Vegans


Who says you can’t stay fit and get jacked and decorated with those muscles and biceps just by going vegan? The truth is that we have grown so used to proteins, carbohydrates and other nutrients being the perfect way to getting a lean body.
In all sincerity of purpose and intent, they always work! No questions asked. But does this mean that those who find it difficult to eat dairy products can’t stand up to any building competition?

Vegans are also outstanding athletes.And there are prominent bodybuilders such as Jim Morris, Frank Medrano, Denise Nicole, Torre Washington, Patrik Baboumian, just to mention a few who have blazed the trail in the fitness world plus their impressive muscles would leave you staring in fascinating admiration.
A vegan diet offer incredible benefits!
  • It helps to retaining useful enzymes that help to break up food that can be easily absorbed in the body.
  • It helps to reduce inflammation
  • It helps to reduce the risk of stroke, blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Most vegan diets have shown to be useful in treating breast, prostate and colon cancer.
  • It helps to improve heart function and decreases chances of a heart disease.
  • These diets provide antioxidant benefits, improve skin quality and help you lose weight easily.
  • It also increases your cardiovascular health.
  • It boosts your energy and keeps you feeling younger.
  • It improves recovery times during workouts.
  • It goes on and on…
Proteins Versus An Ideal Vegan Diet
Proteins are building blocks of amino acids and getting these in the right quantities would definitely see you through to the finish line of your bodybuilding goal in a timely manner.
While most veggies are a great source of carbs and micronutrients, they do not contain much protein to help you achieve your ideal physique. Below is a list of ingredients you might want to build into your diet:
  • Take more seeds
Buckwheat and Quinoa are healthy too. The latter is a better option than brown rice since it contains more proteins and enables a faster bodybuilding process.
  • Nuts are highly nutritious and can help boost workout performance
If you’re looking for the one way by which you can increase body fuel, boost energy and gain some healthy fat, nuts are fantastic options to consider.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
These are perfect diet options for an effective fitness plan. They supply the body with vital amounts of vitamins and minerals needed to boost the body’s immune system function as well as provide anti-oxidant effects. These include oranges, bananas, berries, peas, legumes, and beans.
  • Consider boosting your fat
Healthy fats - extra virgin olive oil, nut butters, avocado - give you energy, boost your caloric intake, and help you build more muscles.  
  • Take BCAA supplements
Brain Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) supplements help enhance the protein synthesis making it the world’s known muscle growth enhancer.  Ideally, these supplements are taken some minutes before and after workouts. They are also known to help quicken muscle recovery and boost immune system.
  • Reduce your cravings for processed foods
Processed foods are easiest to find, but whole foods fill you up, keep you satisfied longer, and help reduce cravings for unnecessary snacks.
For more information on bodybuilding itself, visit: http://dbolmusclesecret.com/


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Clean Eating


I am not a protein smoothie, drink my breakfast kind of girl.  That is, unless that meal I'm drinking is coffee with some sort of non-dairy milk (and occasionally some cinnamon.) I much prefer avocado toast or even seaweed salad from Juice Press.  I know, an odd choice to start the day but it's true.

A couple of weeks ago, shortly after the new year began and resolutions were in peak season, a friend of mine told me about the Clean Program.  

Clean daily shakes can be used alone or part of a larger diet plan.  At only 80 calories per serving, 2 grams of fat, and 12 grams of protein, I felt compelled to give this vegan, gluten-free option a chance.  I placed an order and, while skeptical, hoped for the best.

This morning I mixed 8 ounces of almond milk and a large tablespoon of natural chunky peanut butter into my Nutribullet with one of the clean chocolate packets.  I liked it!  I liked it so much that I even purchased frozen strawberries to add to tomorrow's shake.  It felt like a good way to thicken the shake, and keep it cold, without concern for ice melting and watering down the flavor (a bold move for someone who doesn't each much fruit.)  I always loved chocolate covered strawberries, so I figured this is worth a shot.

If you are concerned about getting protein into your vegan diet, you might want to give this a try for yourself.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Scarpetta in NYC


Scarpetta, a gorgeous gem in the Meatpacking District in NYC is definitely a celeb dining destination, but you don't have to be one to be treated like one. 

Dim lighting, cordial wait staff, fabulous menu...this is a place to be, whether or not you're being seen.  Of course, if you can't get to the city, you can visit Montauk, Philadelphia, Vegas or Miami.

It was a cold day in early 2017 when I went for dinner, and a vegetarian menu was ready and waiting for this trendy vegan, along with some delicious breads, olive oil and a savory tomato compote.  The server was so accommodating that it was hard for me to make a decision.

I ultimately decided to start with the chestnut soup, poured table side, with parsnip, celery root and dried cranberries, but it was hard to pass up the beet salad with shaved vegetables and market greens, or the straciatella - not a gelato, but a butternut squash, apple and sweet potato dish with a truffle vinaigrette.

The soup was so filling, that I passed up what sounded like a wonderful pasta (egg-less no less!)  I settled on the warm rosemary-braised lentils with broccoli rabe and roasted tomato (the carrot, zucchini farro risotto was a super close second...) It was just perfect.  I was too full to finish it all, and took the rest for lunch the next day.  I wound up eating it as a late night snack instead!

For a date night, or just a lovely evening out, this is one location you should be sure to try.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Baby, it's cold outside! Weather like we're experiencing in the Northeast simply calls for hot, satisfying meals.  In that vain, I went to the supermarket inspired and created these two creamy, wintery and satisfying vegan soups I'd love to share with you!

Butternut Squash Soup:

Sautée 1/2 large diced onion in some extra virgin olive oil 

Add:
1/2 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 Granny Smith Apple, core removed and diced
1.5 tsp nutmeg
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp kosher salt
2 c vegetable stock
1/2 c almond milk 
2 TBSP chopped sage

Once the onions are sautéed, add all of the ingredients except the almond milk and sage. Cook, covered, on medium-high heat, until tender, stirring occasionally (20-30 minutes.) Add almond milk and sage and cook for 5 more minutes. 

Using an immersion blender or a nutribullet (with which you'll have to do this in sections,) purée until smooth and serve.

Asparagus, Broccoli and Avocado soup:

Sautée 1/2 large diced onion in some extra virgin olive oil 

Then add:
2 c vegetable stock
2 heads broccoli florets, chopped
1 bunch asparagus, tops and ends removed and chopped
1.5 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder

Cook on medium heat until tender.

Remove from heat and add 2 ripe, mashed avocados. 

Using an immersion blender or a nutribullet (with which you'll have to do this in sections,) purée until smooth.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Vegan Sea Salt Caramel Cookies


I don't know if you subscribe to VegNews, but I love getting their emails in my inbox.  Every now and then, a recipe just catches my eye, and this cookie recipe was one of them.  It arrived just before Chanukah, and I was in the mood for a sweet little dessert I could enjoy as the lights of the menorah were flickering and my adorable cousins were playing dreidle.  This recipe is super simple, and went faster than any of the other desserts that were served that night.  The best part (other than the taste) is that you can make the whole thing in one bowl with a hand mixer.  
For 24 cookies, you will need the following ingredients:

1/2 cup margarine (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons non-dairy milk 
1-1/4 cup flour
salt, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Using an electric hand mixer, mix margarine and sugar.  Add baking soda, cornstarch, vanilla, almond extract, salt and milk.  Mix well and add in flour.

Using a tablespoon-sized scopp, place 12 level scoops on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes (I let mine cook for 10.)  Let cool on cookie sheet before transferring to cooking rack or plate. 

Sprinkle with salt and enjoy!

**Note:

I used almond milk as my non-dairy option.  The almond flavor is noticeable so if that is not your preference, use 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, eliminate the almond extract, and add a pinch of cinnamon.