Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday

Can you believe that it's August 31st today?! This summer has absolutely flown by and although I'm sad to see it go, I am really looking forward to the warm days and cool nights of Fall ~ it's hands down my fave season!

So what have you been chowing down on in the past week? Have you had lots of tasty eats? I am still completely tomato-obsessed and am trying to fit in as much fresh fruit and veggies as possible!

Check out some of my fave eats from the past week:

Breakie: leftover veggie pizza (with green olives of course!)

Do you like to eat cold pizza or do you reheat it? I love ooey gooey cheese, so I'm a reheater :-D

Lunch: whole wheat bagel-wich with Laughing Cow cheese, baby spinach, fresh tomatoes and cukes

One of my all-time fave summer sammies
(right next to grilled tomato & cheese which makes an almost daily appearance in my household!)

Dinner: grilled veggie wrap & a mixed greens salad topped with fresh pears, raw pecans, goat cheese and raspberry poppyseed vinagrette

Heaven to the tastebuds!

Snackie snacks: Veggie Straws

I recently discovered this new snack, which is a healthier alternative to chips
& other salty munchies. Totally addicting and delicious!

If you're looking for more meal inspiration, head on over and visit Miss Jenn at Peas & Crayons to see what all her other bloggie friends have been munching on!

Have a great Wednesday!

PS - only 2 more days 'til the LONG WEEKEND!! Wooohoooo!!!!! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Respect Your Rockin' Awesome Body

Happy Monday!

So, it's been a few weeks since I last did a post about loving ourselves and I thought it was high time to up the inspiration here on Vegvacious as the summer winds down and we get back into our normal routine. This post is to motivate me as much as it is to motivate you!!

For me, summertime is all about backyard barbecues, fun nights with friends, outdoor concerts, patios and beer. Lots and lots of beer. I'm not going to lie; I have been indulging alot more than usual in the food and alcohol department and I've been lucky to fit in 3 workouts per week. Physically I'm definitely seeing and feeling the results of my indulgences. I'm sluggish, I've been experiencing some nasty breakouts, I detect a little bit of a muffin top squeezing up over the waist of my pants and I am feeling very lazy and unmotivated. I'm also feeling very self conscious of the few extra pounds I've put on and of my not-so-fabulous skin, which affects my body image and self esteem. Now that the summer is winding down, I think it's time to make some changes to get back on the right track.

We only have one body in this life and personally I'm hoping mine is able to carry me
through at least 50 or 60 more wonderful years. Just like any machine, I need to care for it and provide it with regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance.

Often we forget to take proper care of our bods. I certainly have and I want it to stop right now! Our bodies are a strong and amazing vessel and we need to cherish it, pamper it and treat it right.

If you respect your body and give it what it needs to perform at its optimal level, then you'll feel great which will boost up your self image. You'll hold your head a little higher and walk a little taller.  If you respect yourself, that self-confidence will glow from the inside out and people are going to stop and take notice! You will feel like you are capable of anything....and guess what baby?! YOU ARE!!!!! 

So what can we do to show our bods a little RESPECT?! There are some really easy ways and I guarantee you've heard these before. I know I have, but for some reason knowing them and putting them into practice are 2 totally different things.

1. Eat right. Cut out the processed, chemical-laden convenience foods and opt for natural, whole, real foods.

2. Drink lots of water. We need to replenish every single day!

3. Forget about that darn scale --- weight is just a number. We all have a place where we feel great when we look in the mirror. Numbers DO NOT MATTER.

4. Exercise daily. Even if you can't make it to the gym one day. Make a point of parking at the back of the parking lot and hoofin' up the stairs. Every little bit counts.

5. Sleep, sleep, sleep. Make sure you get lots of rest. If you want your body to function at its best, then you need to give it some downtime.

6. Listen to what your body is telling you. If you aren't feeling well and your gut tells you something isn't right, go to see your doctor. If you have a muscle that's really sore, don't push your limits at the gym. Take a day off to rest and recuperate.

7. Challenge your mind. Oh yes my friends, we can't forget about our brain. Read a book, sign up for a seminar. Go outside, take a walk and observe. Never stop learning and challenging your mind!

So these are some obvious suggestions. Do you have any ideas on how we can respect our rockin' hot bods a little better?

Have a great night!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Better Than Grandma's Tomato Soup

...that's what Derek said anyways, although I'm not 100% convinced! Our grandmas are all pretty phenomenal in the kitchen and my soup is pretty darn maybe we should call it tie and leave it at that.

Are you getting "tomatoed" out here on on Vegvacious??? I promise that this will be my last tomato recipe....for this week anyways :-D

Derek's been asking me to make some homemade tomato soup like his grandma does. My dad used to make a wickedly delish tomato soup when we were kids too, so I had lots of inspiration for this one and I have to say it turned out amazingly well. {a little pat on the back now and then is healthy for the soul!}

Homemade Tomato Soup
Serves 4

This soup is soooo delicious! I'm planning to freeze some fresh tomatoes, so that I can whip this up on a cold winter day because it will be perfect as a warm tasty comfort food on a cold dreary day!

6 c chopped tomatoes (I left skins on)
2 c veggie broth
2 c milk (I used 1% dairy milk because that's all I had, but unsweetened original almond milk would have been my first choice if I had some)
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp Earth Balance
sea salt & pepper to taste

Combine the tomatoes and veggie broth in a medium to large pot and place on high heat. Bring to a boil.

Reduce to medium high and add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove from the stove.

Add the soup in batches to your blender. Be careful because hot soup in a blender can make the lid pop off! I use an oven mitt to hold the top of the blender on. Pulse until the soup is to your desired consistency. I pulse each batch a few times.

Serve & enjoy. We garnished ours with additional black pepper and some crushed up multigrain pita chips.

Other fab toppings would be a swirl of sour cream, some shredded cheese, croutons or slivered basil --- the options are endless!!!

Eat up, but be warned that tomato soup fresh off the stove is HOT - Warning: tongue burning on the first bite is NOT GOOD! Then you won't be able to taste the rest and that really stinks (er, not that I would know from personal experience ;-) What is it with us food bloggers burning our tongues all the time!??

Do you have a favourite family recipe that you like to re-create?

Have a fabulous day!!! It's Thursday people ~ one more day 'til the weekend woot woot!!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday ~ Tomato Edition

I am officially tomato obsessed!

Derek & I bought a big basket of fresh tomatoes on Sunday afternoon and they were all gone by Monday night, so I had to stop again this afternoon to pick up some more!

I thought it would be fitting to do my WIAW in honour of the gorgeous and delectable tomato since my eats over the past 72 hours have included them in pretty much every meal!

Some of the eats I've been enjoying have been......

Sliced tomato with a sprinkling of red wine vinegar, basil, sea salt & pepper. So simple, so delicious! Derek told me he only likes white vinegar, but strangely enough he gobbled this plate up the minute I finished snapping a pic ---- shhhhh, our little secret, k?!

My fave sandwich this week has been a grilled tomato and cheese on whole wheat. Like I said in Monday's post. HEAVEN. I could eat this every single day for every single meal.

ooey gooey fabulousness!

Last night I whipped up a super easy tomato soup and I'm told it's as good as Grandma Bernice's. I've got to admit, it was pretty darn good. Keep an eye out for the recipe. It's a keeper and I promise I'll share.

We topped our soup with some black pepper and crumbled up pita chips ~ yum!

And if you love pasta, check out my roasted veggie pasta recipe from Monday. I took the leftovers to work for lunch and savoured every bite. The fresh tomatoes are the bomb-digity in this awesome dish!

So these are just a few of my fabulous eats. What was your favourite meal from the past few days? Favourite way to eat tomatoes?

If you're looking for more food inspiration head on over to visit Jenn at Peas & Crayons to see what all her other bloggin' buddies have been munching on.

Have a great Wednesday!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Roasted Veggie Pasta

Happy Monday! I'm happy to announce that I'm no longer a sick-o and am feeling completely back to myself!! That stomach bug kicked my in the boo-tay!!! I never get sick and there is nothing worse than being sick in the middle of the summer. Obviously someone missed the memo that summer's almost over and I have zero time to be wasting in bed! Social butterflies like myself have no time to spare :-D

I missed a couple days of good eats last week and when I finally got my appetite back I was HUNGRY! In fact, I think I went a little overboard on the weekend (I was making up for my lost meals!), so this week I'm getting back to healthy, reasonably portioned meals.

Yesterday we stopped at a veggie stand and I picked up some fresh tomatoes. Nothing says summer like tomatoes fresh off the vine!! Last night we had grilled tomato and cheese sammies (HEAVEN!) and tonight I was craving some seriously fresh and delicious tomato pasta. I whipped up a roasted veggie and tomato pasta that is going to absolutely knock your socks off! It was so easy to make and when you have fresh veggies, you really don't need much more to amp up the flavour. The veggies do all the work themselves.

Roasted Veggie Pasta
Serves 4

4 c cooked pasta (I used brown rice pasta)
3 c chopped tomatoes
 4 - 5 c chopped veggies (I used sweet onion, mushrooms, yellow pepper, zucchini)
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp finely sliced fresh basil
sea salt & pepper to taste
1 c mixed baby greens (spinach and arugula work awesome in this)
2 - 3 tbsp olive oil
crumbled feta (freshly grated parm would be awesome as well!)

Preheat your oven to 350. Grease a cookie sheet or use your favourite baking mat. Make sure your pan has sides. I used a flat baking sheet and lets just say the bottom of my oven is now covered in lovely blackened tomato juice. Oops!

Cook your pasta according to the directions. Drain, rinse and set aside.

Throw your tomatoes, veggies and garlic into a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and add sea salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat.

Spread the tomato/veggie mixture evenly out onto the cookie sheet.

Roast the veggies for 20 minutes, making sure to flip about halfway through for even roasting.

Remove from oven.

Combine the veggie mixture, pasta, greens and basil in a large bowl.

Top with feta when serving. Delicious!!!!

This would make a greal meal to enjoy with a pal (or a sweetie) on a
warm summer night paired with a nice glass of cabernet.

What is your fave veggie to pick up from a roadside veggie stand?
Any oven cleaning hints? Mine is A HUGE MESS!!!! <sigh>

Have a great evening!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What I (Wish) I Ate Wednesday + Link Love

Sadly, all I am eating today is a whole lotta this.

I think I ate something that disagreed with me yesterday and my poor belly has been in agony ever since!!! I like to eat and this whole twisty sickly belly thing just ain't workin' out for me!

Since I can't even begin to think about making or eating food, I thought I'd spread a little link love this morning and give you a wish list of things I've recently seen posted that I would LOVE to be eating right now. I couldn't completely miss out on today's WIAW fun!

I've had Kelly's Tropical Arnold Palmer bookmarked for months. I've been planning to make it all summer and just haven't gotten to it ~ you know it's hard when you have 100 recipes marked "must make asap"!!! I swear that I will be making this awesome looking bevie before the last summer day has passed us by!!

For breakie, I could definitely go for some of Allison's blueberry super pancakes. We all know how much I've been loving blueberries lately and I'd eat pancakes for every meal if I could!

For lunch, I'd definitely go for a salad. I've been dying to try Jenn's Greek Potato Salad. I actually am thinking I might make it up for a barbecue we have planned in a couple of weeks! I really love that she served it in a pepper. Cutest presentation ever!!!

Jessica had posted a breakie recipe lately that I am dying to try, but when I popped over to her site to get the link, this recipe popped up. Um, Easy Beer Mac N Cheese??!!! Yes please!!! This girl has so many delicious and sinful recipes, it's really hard to choose just one!!!

I LOVE dessert and this recipe has been calling my name. I'm just afraid to make it without some other people around to help eat it because I could definitely eat the entire thing on my own. Check out Deanna Bauer's Key Lime Cheesecake with Strawberry Butter Sauce. Sounds like heaven to me!!

Alas, I think it's safe to say that I won't be doing much in the kitchen today. Luckily for me I have a freshly baked batch of banana chocolate chip muffins sitting on the counter to keep me company if I ever get my appetite back! Obviously I will need the chocolate to get my energy levels back up :-D

If you're looking for more inspiration, head on over to visit Jenn and all her fabulous blogger buddies. 

Well, my bed is calling my name, so I'm off to have a nap with my "nurses" :-)

Have a good one!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Grandma's Banana Muffins

Happy Monday! I hope you've had a great day!

I'm so sorry that I've been MIA once again --- this summer has been so darn busy that it's hard to find time to keep on top of the blog. There is so much I've been up to, you know with all the summer barbecues we've had to attend, the summer concerts we've enjoyed, the ice cold bevies that have been consumed, oh yeah and there's that Vegas trip I'm booking!!!

That's right, Derek & I are heading to Las Vegas for a friend's wedding that is taking place on Hallowe'en!!!The flights were booked last night and tonight we're booking our hotel. I cannot wait and I have to admit that all of my spare time has been dedicated to searching out the best flight and hotel deals and to end my mission to find the cutest Hallowe'en costume ever!!

Have you ever been to Las Vegas before? I have once and Derek has twice and we absolutely LOVE it! There is so much to see and do! I think it's safe to say you might hear a little about our trip as we start our planning :-D

But today is not about Las's about sharing a fabulous recipe courtesy of my grandma L. I've been gone far too long and I want to make it up to you and this is the best way I know how! This is a beloved family recipe that my grandma makes time and time again. If you stop by for a visit there are bound to be some delicious banana muffins kickin' around for you to snack on. Derek and our friend, Jeff, stopped by to give my grandpa a helping hand last week and they got sent home with 2 muffins each. If only the world could revolve around 'payment by muffin' instead of money!!

Grandma's Banana Muffins (w/ Chocolate Chips)
Makes 12 muffins

These are the best banana muffins ever in my opinion! I will cherish this recipe until the day I die and I hope that it can be passed down through our family to my neices and nephews and then on to their children. The nice thing about these muffins is that they freeze really well. That's an important quality to have when you could eat 3 or 4 muffins in one, not that I would know ;-) Enjoy!

3 ripe bananas
1 egg
1/3 c. vegetable oil  (I would have used coconut oil, but I didn't have enough)
1/3 c. white sugar
1 c. white flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
Optional Addins: chocolate chips, chopped nuts, dried fruit (I used chocolate chips today)

Preheat your oven to 350.

Grease your muffin pan or line it with muffin cups.

Add the banana, egg, oil and sugar in a large mixing bowl and stir until well blended.

Add in the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix until combined.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon evenly into 12 muffin cups.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes. I always use the ol' toothpick trick ~ you know they're cooked through when the toothpick can be inserted into the middle and is clean when pulled out.

Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack. You might want to enjoy one asap, but be careful of the chocolate chips! Those babies are HOT at first and you don't want to burn your tastebuds off on the very first bite!!


Do you have a favourite family recipe that you love to make that makes you think of your grandmother?

Have a great night!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday

Happy Wednesday once again!

I'm so glad we've finally hit mid-week because this work week has been so loo-ooong already! I don't know what's going on with me but the minute I step foot into work, I feel exhausted and I can't seem to shake it until the minute I walk back out the door that afternoon. I think part of my problem is that Derek and I have lots of fun plans in the coming weeks and the last thing I want to do is work! I want to skip the work week and head straight for the fun!!! If only!!!

My eats have reflected my lack of motivation. I've focused on easy, filling meals. Check it out.

For breakie I've been LOVING Michelle's Chocolate Steel-Cut Oatmeal. I topped mine with some blueberries and fresh mint from my herb garden. This breakfast tastes absolutely divine!!

As you know, I have been loving my zucchini lately, so for lunch I whipped up an old family favourite. My dad's version of Goulash. There are so many variations of this, but ours is really simple. Melt a little Earth Balance in a skillet and stirfry some zucchini, tomatoes, sweet onion, garlic and 'shrooms. All of the veggies were local and this had such a fresh summery taste to it! Usually I would top it off with some parmesan or nutritional yeast, but since I'm out of both I settled from some shredded cheddar. Mmmmm.

For dinner, I had me some baked sweet potato fries and a burrito stuffed with refried beans, sweet onion, portobello mushrooms and you guessed it....zucchini!! Oh and of course we had to add a bit of cheese to the mix! This dinner took 10 minutes to make, 25 minutes to bake and about 2 minutes to consume. It was awesome!

Snackages this week have been lots and lots of local fruit and maybe a few slices of the best zucchini bread ever. I actually had to put half the loaf into the freezer because I could not keep my fingers out of it!! If you haven't made this yet, I'm begging you to go do it Right.Now. You will thank me for being so bossy :-)

Peaches, watermelon and plumcots (plum/apricot hybrid) have also been some of my faves this week! Sadly I'm out of blueberries, but a little birdie told me that my grandma's sending home a new supply with my hubster tonight - can't wait!!!!

So that's my eats in a nutshell. What have you been enjoying this week? For more inspiration head on over and visit Jenn to see what all her other bloggie buds have been whipping up.

Have a great day!


Sunday, August 7, 2011

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for....Zucchini?!?!?!!

Happy Sunday!

Are you having a fabulous weekend? This has been a fairly uneventful weekend for me, which has been really nice. We've been super busy lately and the end of the summer is jam packed with a wedding, arrivals of LOTS of babies, milestone birthdays, year end team parties and family visits.  Sometimes it's nice to spend a day bumming around home and chillaxing a bit.

Derek's away for most of the day and I woke up with an urge to get my booty into the kitchen. Well, first I hit the gym and then I stopped by my favourite veggie stand (I'm pretty sure the gal working the stand was really happy to help this sweaty, red-faced
babe :-) ....and then I got my booty into the kitchen.

One of my best deals at the veggie stand was 3 zucchinis for $1. You can't get a much better deal than that! You've probably noticed that I tend to use zucchini alot around here, but I have yet to share my most favourite way to eat it......I'm talkin' about some seriously amazing zucchini bread!

Zucchini Bread
Adapted from allrecipes
Makes 1 loaf

This is the best zucchini bread recipe I have ever made. I've made a few minor changes to make it more healthy and it is the most moist, mouthwatering bread of all time!!!! Tastes best when served warm smothered in Earth Balance. This bread freezes really well.

1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 chia eggs (or regular eggs)
1/2 c coconut oil
2/3 c white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 heaping c grated zucchini
1/2 c chopped walnuts, optional (I didn't have any this time, but usually I do include them)

Grease an 8" x 4" loaf pan. Preheat oven to 325.

Sift flours, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a medium sized bowl.

Mix chia egg, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Note: I found the batter to be a little drier when I made my healthy substitutions, so I added a little under a 1/4c of water. Feel free to add a splash of water, if necessary.

Looks different when using chia --- but it's so healthy!!!

Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes on the middle rack. You'll know it's done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool on the rack.

I dare you to try and eat just one slice!!! The first bite is pure heaven. I might have had two three slices as soon as it came out of the loaf pan. Don't judge :-)  

What is your favourite way to eat zucchini?
Do you like to make your own breads and muffins? Fave recipe - please share or link it up!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend,


Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Empty the Fridge" Veggie Frittata

Happy Thursday! I've had this recipe up my sleeve since last week's WIAW. I started to put my post together, but then I got sidetracked getting ready for my weekend away and it just never came together!

Before we went away I made a fantastic frittata, so that I could clean up all the veggies that were in my fridge. I just can't stand the thoughts of all my veggies going bad while I'm away. I was inspired by Leanne's recent post for her Everything Awesome Frittata and I basically stuck to her directions, but modified the ingredients to suit what was lurking around in my crisper.

"Empty the Fridge" Veggie Frittata
Serves 4

This is an amazingly delicious and light dinner! You can modify it to include any veggies you want to use up and for all the meat eaters out there, you could easily add in some diced ham or chicken. I had the recipe analyzed and I was so happy to see that it only had 193 calories per serving! Now that's my kinda dinner!

6 eggs
1/2 c unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)
1/2 c diced sweet onion
1 lg portobello cap, diced
2 tbsp black olives, pitted and diced
1/4 c shredded zucchini
1/4 c. shredded feta cheese
3 dashes Frank's Red Hot (we put that sh*t on everything! --- hehe sorry I just couldn't help myself ;-)
minced fresh herbs - I used basil and rosemary
sea salt & pepper to taste

Grease an oven safe skillet and heat to medium heat on the stovetop.

While warming the skillet, break your eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add the almond milk and whisk until well mixed.

Add in all the other ingredients and stir to combine.

I've gotta warn you that this really is "XTRA HOT!"

Pour the egg mixture into your prepared and warmed skillet. Cook for 7 - 8 minutes.

While cooking on the stovetop, turn your oven to Broil.

Once 7 - 8 minutes has passed, place the frittata under the broiler for 5 - 6 minutes. Make sure you keep an eye on it because you want the top to be golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes.

Slice and serve.

So tasty! This is a perfect dinner for a summer evening. It would be great paired with a lettuce salad or some fresh local fruit.

I only like to eat my eggs when they're scrambled. What's your favourite way to eat eggs?
How do you clean out the fridge before going away on vacation?
Have a great night!!