Tag Archives: vegan

This week’s meal + workout plan

Some weeks I fly by the seat of my yoga pants and things go well workout and meal-wise.  But other times, we have a week like last week and the lack of planning nearly does me in.  As much as I like to pretend I’m all Type C (is there one of those?), laid back and simultaneously highly motivated… I am not those things.  I need a plan.

meal plan July 17

I’ll be the first to admit I can be tightly wound and yet… given the chance to eat popcorn for dinner while watching three back-to-back episodes of The Great British Bake Off… I will take it.  Every, single time.  I thrive when my days are orderly and structured (which is sort of a pipe dream when you’re parenting).  

I like checking things (including workouts) off my list.  And who doesn’t love knowing dinner is made and safely waiting for you in its nice little glass container in the fridge?   I find a little planning and prep goes a long way.  Even in the summer.  When I’m trying to be all cool and casual.  

MEAL + WORKOUT PLAN | WEEK OF JULY 17

meal plan peach smoothie

MEAL PLAN:

MEAL + SNACK PREP:

  • Prepped today: Everyday Detox basil vinaigrette; smoothie for tomorrow morning (hemp milk, frozen pineapple, frozen peaches, raw honey + parsley); cooked farro; kale chips; cooked corn; washed + chopped fruit for breakfasts/snacks
  • To prep tomorrow during naps (…God willing): Wash + chop vegetables for salads/snacks; bake sweet potatoes

WORKOUTS

I have a newfound love for our C2 Rower in the basement at the Cape.  I’ve only ever rowed in short spurts during CrossFit classes, but realized this weekend how tough, effective and semi-fun a longer row can be.

  • Monday: Stroller run/walk 4 miles
  • Tuesday: Stroller run/walk 4 miles
  • Wednesday: MB Tabata workout + row 30 minutes
  • Thursday: Stroller run/walk 4 miles
  • Friday: MB class or rest
  • Saturday: Row 30 minutes
  • Sunday: Rest

Semi-related: If you’re looking for a new Spotify workout playlist, here are my current jams.  Pardon the swear words.  

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your workout or meal plan for the week?

 

Big Game breakfast: sweet potato + black bean hash

The “big game” is almost upon us (it’s up for debate, but most people are not allowed to use the official term in media… this peasant, yours truly, almost always plays it safe).  When it comes to football, I am basically Zoolander in a coal miner’s bar, whispering “Who’s winning the match?”  It would also not be unlike me to self-diagnose with the black lung… pop.

I used to watch the game specifically for the commercials, but then State Farm gave my soul the black lung with that series of ads about preventable accidents, delivered by the ghosts of dead children.  Or whatever that was.  All I know is, I had a newborn in my arms and didn’t breath for at least three whole minutes.

Sometimes I watch for the halftime show.  I wish Left Shark was the star every year.  But I have high hopes for Gaga.

This year, though, I am fairly invested in the actual game. The Patriots are my hometown team (as in, they play in my hometown) and the Falcon’s Matt Ryan played quarterback at BC (and went to school too, obvi)… while I was playing quarterback of breaking the microfiche machine in the art library on the other side of campus.

Now that you have all that wind up (including a Zoolander reference and a bit about a depressing insurance commercial), let’s talk about the most important part of football Sunday.  The food.  

You likely have your drinks, dips, snacks and sweets lined up.  But have you considered breakfast?  I’ve got an easy + delicious way to kick off (get it… like… sports…) the day.

Big Game breakfast: sweet potato + black bean hash with green apples

Serves 2, gluten-free + vegan

big game breakfast sweet potato black bean hash

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, cubed + roasted
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed + drained 
  • 1 organic green apple, cored and diced (leave peel on)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • optional: cilantro greens, shredded cabbage, or arugula

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, add diced onion and saute until soft
  2. Stir in peppers and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes before adding black beans, sweet potatoes, salt + pepper
  3. Remove from heat and stir in diced green apple
  4. Adjust seasoning if needed and top with greens, if you wish (my recipes aim to be polite…)

If you find yourself with leftovers, I have a feeling this hash would be a real winner on a plate of nachos.  Now that would be a touchdown.  Stop me.  Please.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your football-watching menu?

What to eat when it’s freezing.

The Polar Vortex is baaaa-aaack.  So I made it some chili (vegetarian, obvi).  In my opinion, it’s what to eat when it’s freezing.

what to eat when its freezing

You can find my original recipe (a term I use lightly, mostly because it’s just like… sauté onions and garlic, add beans, add tomatoes, add whatever spices you have on hand, simmer, eat) here: vegetarian chili for lazy people.  

I topped today’s piping hot bowl with a handful of tortilla chips, some Fire Roasted Corn + Black Bean Salsa from Nola’s Fresh Foods.  Nola’s is made minutes from our place in Southie and is a 2015 Martha Stewart American Made award winner.  After receiving a complimentary sample a few weeks ago (delivered to my doorstep, no less), their salsa keeps ending up in our shopping cart.

As for the lime wedge and the useless miniature wooden spoon… they’re mostly there because chili looks like, you know… chili.  And I wanted to distract you from this.  Did it work?

But seriously.  Make yourself a bowl.

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you showing the Polar Vortex who’s boss?  Or like… what’s for dinner tonight?

 

Vegan snacking with Lightlife + The Boston Veg Food Festival

You know my favorite meal is snack time.  No secret there.  I love a good snack plate.  Grace says, “Me too.”

VEGAN SNACKING WITH LIGHTLIFE

vegan snack

 

I recently had the chance to try Lightlife‘s new vegan Smart Jerky, the perfect addition to our afternoon snack plates, along with a few of the following:

Each serving of Smart Jerky contains 9 grams of protein and is 100% plant-based, Non-GMO Project Verified, and Certified Vegan.  It’s also really good. It’s low in calories (90 per serving) and shelf stable, so I could see this being a great on-the-go snack for fall adventures.  Which reminds me… I really want to take a walk (a hike?) in the Blue Hills while the trees are still looking so spectacular.  And we’ve yet to go apple picking.  Jeez.

lightlife smart jerky

Smart Jerky is available in two flavors (original and teriyaki) and can be purchased in the Boston area at Stop and Shop.  It will be available nationally in 2017.

 

THE BOSTON VEG FOOD FESTIVAL

Lightlife is one of the sponsors of this weekend’s 21st Annual Boston Veg Food Festival at the Reggie Lewis Center.  The event is free and open to the public and features food sampling, 120 exhibitors, cooking demonstrations, noted speakers, opportunities to learn about protecting animals and the environment, children’s activities, and shopping.

I’ve attended this event several times in the past and learned a great deal about new products and local vendors who cater to vegetarians… as well as how to live a bit healthier, a bit greener and a bit kinder.  I recommend bringing a shopping bag (or two) with you and planning to spend a few hours checking out each booth and exhibit.  It can get crowded, given the popularity of this event.  (We vegetarians and vegans are very fun people to be around, after all.)

You can park for free at the Reggie Lewis Center or take the T to Roxbury Crossing station (orange line), which is right across the street.

The Boston Veg Food Festival

  • Saturday, October 22nd 11 AM – 6 PM
  • Sunday, October 23rd 10 AM – 4 PM
  • Reggie Lewis Athletic Center, 1350 Tremont Street in Boston

vegan snacking

Alright… snack time!

This post was sponsored by Lightlife.  All opinions are my own.  Obvi.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite on-the-go snack?

Chai + peanut butter protein bites

 

You guys.  I can’t stop making these balls.  And giggling about… balls.  I promise this recipe is more refined than my sense of humor.

chai and peanut butter protein bites

CHAI + PEANUT BUTTER PROTEIN BITES

Vegan, gluten-free… and like, cooking-free.  Which is to say, you don’t need to cook them.  Makes 10-15 protein bites (or balls, call ’em what you will).  

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix protein powder, nut butter and oats in your food processor or blender.
  2. Add agave nectar, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt and pulse until dough is well combined.
  3. Move mixture to a small bowl and carefully stir in chocolate chips.  
  4. Roll dough into small balls and place in a parchment-lined container, store in the refrigerator.  Or just, like, eat them.

Recipe notes: You can use your favorite protein powder for this recipe — chocolate or vanilla would work great.  And feel free to use maple syrup in place of agave.  Oh, and you can omit the chocolate chips (thereby omitting the fun… but, hey) if you’d like.  

I used a brand-new blend from Bob’s Red Mill line of nutritional boosters and am completely hooked.  It’s made from pea protein powder, chicory root fiber, chia seeds, probiotics, and sweetened with monk fruit extract. It is gluten free, vegan, a good source of omega-3, an excellent source of iron, and high in protein and fiber.  

No weird chemicals.  No weird tastes.  Just balls. 

Disclaimer: I received complimentary samples of Bob’s Red Mill new nutritional boosters for an Instagram project (you can follow me here: @ElizabethEv) with Sweat Pink… but I didn’t want to keep this good stuff from you and just had to share it On Tap, too.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you have a favorite broprotein powder?

Today: Cleaning up at the farmers market, Whole Foods and freshii.

I held off on our grocery shopping this week until we had a chance to swing by our neighborhood’s Farmers Market (on West Broadway on Mondays, 12-6PM — click here to find a farmers market in your ‘hood).  

Clearly someone was excited to get her hands on a summer tomato.

We ended up checking off quite a few items from our shopping list:

  • a pint of grape tomatoes, a head of speckled romaine lettuce, a pint of strawberries and a bunch of asparagus from Freitas Farm
  • a bunch of kale and a half dozen or so tomatoes from Wenger Farm in Bellingham   

After walking back home and unloading our haul (minus the tomato that Grace ate like an apple on the way home, and the half pint of strawberries we shared as soon as we got in the door), we finished up our shopping at Whole Foods Market in the South End.  

  • Dairy: organic whole milk yogurt for Grace, shredded mozzarella cheese, pepper jack cheese
  • Produce: raspberries, blueberries, English cucumber, green apples, garlic, red onion, bananas, carrots, celery, ginger root, grapes, watermelon
  • Staples: quinoa, pearled couscous, canned whole tomatoes, black beans, chickpeas
  • Non-vegetarian things for my non-vegetarian husband: two spicy Italian sausages (basically, this is how I buy meat: I go to the butcher’s counter, have a mild panic attack, point to something and say a random number… in this case, two)
  • Impulse purchase: Caprese salad from the antipasto bar 

After the longest… winter… ever…. during which we ordered more…. pizza… thanweshouldhave… we’ve been making a concerted effort to clean up our meals. Being home and having more flexibility and time to shop, prep and cook has certainly helped, but I think our efforts (and all that sunshine) are definitely paying off.  I’ve been sleeping better, have more energy, and look less zombie-ish (I think).  I’ve kicked my Diet Coke habit (though I did sneak a few sips at my brother and sister-in-law’s cookout after Sunday’s 5k), have fewer sugar cravings, and generally just feel… less like someone who ate too much pizza.

I recently had the chance to check out the new freshii location that opened in the Back Bay this spring.  Freshii generously offered me a gift card for my first visit, and I’ve been back several times (both to the Back Bay and Fort Point locations) since.  It’s so nice to have a convenient and affordable place nearby to stop in for a quick, healthy meal or pick-me-up.  Their juices and salads, in particular, are really fantastic and I love freshii’s commitment to sustainability and their “Mission Green.”

Oh, and their frozen yogurt?  It’s the perfect compliment to all those fruits and vegetables.

Also On Tap for Today:

Where is your favorite place to food shop?

 

Today: Dill, lemon and garlic kale chips and snack prep.

A few years back, when eating small meals throughout the day came into vogue, I was like… Duh.  Been doing that for ages.  (I think that was the only time in my life I’ve been ahead of the curve and/or a tiny bit hipsterish.)  For better or for worse, I’d much rather graze than eat an entire meal of food.  Except at dinner time.  It’s nice (and, I think, important) to make time to sit down as a little family.

Meal planning and prep, for me, is really more snack planning and prep.  I whipped up a few especially good snacks this week, including the dill, lemon and garlic kale chips below.  One look at our fridge will tell you that kale is in season in New England.  And that I can’t resist a farm stand deal.

dill lemon and garlic kale chips recipe

Dill, lemon and garlic kale chips

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of kale, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 heaping teaspoons fresh dill
  • zest of 1 lemon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
  3. Wash your kale and blot it dry with a paper towel.  Remove stems and cut or tear leaves into small pieces.
  4. In a large bowl, combine kale, olive oil, garlic, dill and lemon zest.
  5. I hate when people say massage the kale, but um… massage the kale, and make sure it is evenly coated in oil and that your other ingredients are well distributed.
  6. Artfully (just kidding…) arrange kale on your baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes (or until crispy, but not… burnt).  Let your kale chips cool before eating.

I love the combination of lemon and fresh herbs (and who can say no to garlic?), and while I will always have a thing for actual chips, these kale chips are a great way to green up my afternoon snacking.

snack prep

While the kale chips were baking, I chopped up some vegetables for salads and baby food purees and scrolled through the new fall edition of the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan for some snack prep inspiration.  I purchased the plan a few years ago, and love when new updates are released to members.  There are so many vegan recipes that I am looking forward to making from the fall edition. I started with their spicy roasted chickpeas, frozen yogurt blueberries and Heart Beet juice (pictured above). Each recipe only took a few minutes to prepare, as I (miraculously) had all the ingredients on hand.

One shortcut (I’m all about the shortcuts, ’bout the shortcuts, no longcuts) I’m willing to pay a bit extra for these days are packaged, cooked organic beets.  Same goes for butternut squash (for safety reasons alone, it’s worth the price — you do not want to be see me wrestle a squash while wielding a sharp knife) and other tough produce that Grace seems to love.  I’m finding that so many of the snacks and meals I’m planning for the week can be seasoned and then pureed or mashed for her to enjoy, too.

Speaking of that lovely baby, we have had a rough couple of weeks sleep-wise.  I suppose we needed to make progress in order to regress (some good ol’ parent spin zone talk for you), but we’ve been firmly in the grips of a sleep regression lately.  As much as I want to reach for the Diet Coke (like, a hundred of them) in times like these, I know that more caffeine is probably not the answer.

I’m making good on my October goals by getting out of my own way, and ensuring I have better choices on hand: lots of iced green tea (I brew a pitcher and divide it up once it has cooled), fresh juice, and plenty of water to pair with all those meals snacks.

Also On Tap for Today:

Are you a snacker or a full meal type of person?

Today: Organic patio gardening and can’t-wait-for-summer gazpacho.

This post brought to you by Organic Choice. All opinions are 100% mine.

When Nick and I started looking for a new condo (we were expecting Grace and I imagine she was expecting… to not share a room with her parents and dog), outdoor space was at the top of our wish list.  With spring in sight (sort of… right?), I can’t wait to make the most of our new patio, which is conveniently located just off the kitchen.  While bundled up in sweaters, layered with other sweaters, I’ve been day dreaming about growing our own herbs, vegetables and flowers.

Nothing says “Adios, polar vortex!” quite like homegrown produce.

I recently learned about Organic Choice, Scotts’ line of fully organic gardening products, and look forward to incorporating their products into my plans.  Better for the environment than conventional products, Organic Choice is perfect for edible gardening and is available at major retailers.

Organic Soil photo 72859510_22_zps758b34b4.jpg

 I can barely contain my excitement (it spilled over onto Pinterest, where I’ve started a board with all kinds of ideas for planting and potting) at the thought of fresh basil, ripe tomatoes, and fragrant salad greens growing just outside our door.  In little containers (we’re city folks, after all).

We’ve always taken advantage of my parents’ garden, making spicy gazpacho, salsa, polenta pizzas topped with fresh herbs, summer rolls and crisp salads with their tomatoes, greens, and vegetables.  I am hoping I can convince my dad to help keep our patio plants alive… perhaps in exchange for some of that gazpacho?

Can’t-wait-for-summer gazpacho

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 large red onion, diced
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Add tomatoes to the bowl of your food processor or blender and pulse until nearly smooth.
  2. Add cucumber, onion, garlic, cilantro, and a drizzle each of olive oil and red wine vinegar and blend until you reach desired consistency.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Be thankful winter is nearly over.

Time to peel off a layer of sweaters, finish off a bowl of gazpacho, and start putting those gardening plans into action.

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Also On Tap for Today:

Do you have spring planting plans?  Or tips for city gardening?

Today: The weekend according to Instagram XIX.

We had quite the lovely weekend.  We started with an exciting doctor’s appointment, followed with lots of time spent with family and friends, and ended with paying attention to football a nap on the sofa.

The weekend according to Instagram XIX

  1. You likely already saw the news (mostly because I can’t keep anything good and exciting to myself), but Nick and I found out Friday afternoon that we are expecting a girl.  And I am expecting her to have her father wrapped around her little finger.  Clark is excited because (among other reasons) they’ll be able to share clothes.  He loves ruffles.
  2. I found this little guy beneath our stoop early Saturday, just as the rain was clearing.  I like when nature visits the city.  And isn’t that shell gorgeous?
  3. I whipped up two batches of this easy, football-friendly black bean dip this weekend.  You can find the vegan, gluten-free recipe (along with a tour of our new kitchen) here.  (And thank you, Emily, for catching the #2 pun…)
  4. We spent Friday night laughing, eating, and more laughing with friends.  Our new place is really feeling like home, especially with friends and family there to share the space.  Matt and Pam brought us this cheery pink begonia plant.  I have a feeling there’s going to be more and more pink coming our way.
  5. I don’t know if I should tell you this or not… so naturally, I am going to tell you.  Clark got peed on by another dog this weekend.  He was standing on one side of a chain link fence, and the perp was on the other, attempting to mark the fence post (presumably).  Instead, he decorated my dog (who seemed oddly oblivious to the whole thing).  Next stop: the longest, most thorough bath of Clark’s life.
  6. We enjoyed this gorgeous view of the city from my sister and brother-in-law’s new apartment on Saturday night.  I love having our family just minutes away.  The next day, we had dinner with my brother, sister-in-law and niece.  We’re spoiled.
  7. Who ever said you don’t win friends with salad has never eaten salad with me.  I love making a big salad to enjoy on Sunday night, with enough to pack for lunch on Monday.  Because I am both lazy and a forward thinker.
  8. It wouldn’t be the end of the weekend without a polish change.  I went from dark (essie no more film) to light (essie pilates hottie).
  9. Meanwhile, at the other end of the sofa, Clark was down for the count.  That’s what a weekend of fun with do to a Frenchie.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Today: Kitchen tour and an easy, gluten-free and vegan black bean dip.

Whew.  We are all moved in (unpacking is another story… but we’re getting there) and settling back into normal life.  One that doesn’t involve Comcast coming over for tea to break and fix things three days in a row.  We were excited to share our new home– and dinner and drinks– with a few friends last night.  I’ve got a super easy, football-friendly recipe to share, but first… a little tour.

Kitchen tour

I am tempted to say the kitchen is my favorite part of our new condo, but I’ve pretty much fallen in love with it all.  Perhaps I will quit my job and start filming a cooking show from our new kitchen.  My target audience would be people who like lettuce and Cheez-Its (but not together).  It would soon be canceled for one of two reasons:

  1. No one would watch it (highly likely)
  2. I would start a fire while cutting off a finger (equally likely)

I still can’t believe we found such a perfectly us home.

I love a good divided recycling and trash center. Thank you, Jesus. And the Container Store. #nerdalert

Unpacking our kitchen boxes was surprisingly fun.  There is the perfect place for everything, including our entire wedding registry.  We had put many of our gifts in storage, as space was at a premium in our first condo.  Opening everything for the second time reminded me how lucky we are to have such wonderful friends and family.  I wish we could get everyone together again, eat some cake pops and dance to DJ Sheldon’s jams until we get kicked out th’ building.

Just off the kitchen is our deck.  We have great sunset views and Clark has plenty of people to creep on.  He is a one man dog neighborhood patrol.  We’ll likely wait until next spring to um… spring for new deck furniture, but for now, we’re making do with a pair of old camp chairs and a gas grill (which Nick has used every night since we moved in).

We had a shared roof deck at our first condo, which was lovely, but being able to step out onto the deck each morning with a cup of decaf tea (for me) or Nespresso (for Nick) has been such a great change.  Clearly, the Frenchie approves.

The new kitchen (and the disappearance of morning sickness, hallelujah) has motivated me to spend a bit more time cooking, baking and creating.  Last night, I whipped up a really easy black bean dip to share with Matt, Pam, Tina and Mal, who joined us for dinner.  I grabbed a few ingredients we always seem to have on hand, sort of measured, and threw everything in the food processor.  The result? A really tasty appetizer and the perfect tailgate snack.  It only takes a few minutes to prepare, and can be refrigerated for a day or two in advance.

Easy, gluten-free and vegan black bean dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 can or carton organic black beans, rinsed
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • juice from half a lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients, except for the salt and pepper, to your food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. This is a really important step: Pretend that the blended mixture doesn’t look like poop.
  3. Taste, and season with additional spices, plus salt and pepper, if desired.
  4. Garnish with a sprinkle of cilantro and serve with vegetables and tortilla chips.

Time to head back out on the deck.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your go-to game time snack?