Roasted Brussels Sprouts (vegan)

This isn’t a recipe. It’s too simple to be called that. I contemplated not posting this at all but since I’m recording all of my culinary adventures, I thought I should post it after all. This is a simple post telling how I made brussels sprouts in the oven. Yes, I used the oven even though it’s hot outside. Thankfully I have air conditioning and I don’t care about the heat.

I’ve had these brussels sprouts in my fridge for about a week and I’ve been meaning to make them, finally I came around to it. It’s so simple but since I’m not exactly kitchen fluent yet, I can’t guess how many minutes to put it in or at how high of a temperature to keep it at. So then that’s why this post was written. Even though many of you might be like “duh?”, this post is FOR ME too! I have been treating my blog as an online diary and notebook, kinda, that contains all food/health/fitness related stuff. So there. That’s that.

By the way these were very yummy and reminded me of chips. Well some of the leaves got very crunchy and the salt made them really similar to chips (I never eat chips, really so I could be far off, haha) but the flavor overall is very good and perfect for a snack, not just as a side dish.

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I got Attuned with Erewhon Cereals

Have I mentioned before how much I love getting packages? Well, who doesn’t though, right? Today I got a lovely package from the Attune team with three different types of Erewhon cereals. While I don’t usually eat cereal by itself I LOVE it as a topping for my yogurt! I have been wary of cereals for a long time now, I already know how many additives and sugars they contain and it’s pretty hard for me to find any cereal I like that meets my nutritional preferences.

Erewhon (Air-wahn) thinks similarly and they recognize that it’s important to expand the availability of packaged goods that are actually organic and healthy. Their cereals are allergy friendly as they contain no dairy, soy, peanuts, nor tree nuts. They are made in a peanut free, tree nut free, egg free, and dairy free facility. They offer many varieties of gluten-free and regular cereals (many more GF options than not, which is awesome!)

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Beet & Tomato Spring Salad

My mom is a great cook. But a thing I really love is that she makes her recipes healthy, like me. In fact, she’s the person where I got my healthy living inspiration from. She’s the one that taught me to appreciate whole and clean foods. So she rocks, pretty much.

She made this salad and it’s delicious. She always throws just a bunch of random stuff together in a bowl and it always makes a delicious salad. Might as well give her the credit and share this recent one with you guys.

She was making beet soup (my favorite) and we had some beets left over. Perfect idea for a salad add-in, no?
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Lifeway Kefir – my dearest love

I have a huge love for Lifeway kefir. It all started in 7th grade when I moved to the States. We drank kefir back in Poland quite often but I don’t remember the brand. Then we came here and started buying the Lifeway brand… these flavors are simply out of this world. They have such a huge variety of flavors, it’s ridiculous – it’s impossible not to find something you like, no matter how picky you might be. Kefir is slightly tart in flavor which is a perfect kick of freshness and complexity to this already delicious high-protein and high-probiotic drinkable “yogurt.” I talked about the benefits of kefir in one of my earliest posts and you’re welcome to check it out if you aren’t convinced of the amazeballs quality of this product yet. They should be paying me for how much I advocate and promote their product haha. Just kidding. Kinda. 😛

Anyway, when I moved to downtown Chicago for college, I came upon Starfruit Cafe. It’s a froyo shop except.. they use Lifeway kefir instead of yogurt. You can only imagine my excitement. I’ve been a frequent customer here ever since. Thank God for Groupon having deals on their giftcards sometimes or else I would be broke like a joke by now! haha

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Raspberry Mint Yogurt Bites

My parents’ garden is filled with raspberries. I love how easily they want to grow. Every day there is a ton of new ones ripening and they are simply delicious! No pesticides here, oh no. Why would we want to sacrifice taste to make sure a fruit is bug-free? Who cares if there’s a bug in there or if the raspberries come out big or small? I think flavor is what really matters in a delicious fruit.

Take non-organic strawberries for example – they barely taste like anything. Regular strawberries seem to have no flavor to me, similarly to many other berries as well as cherries. But try an organic berry and your world will be blown. The flavor is so intense and complex it simply bursts in your mouth and your tastebuds dance in joy as they have never danced before! Now that’s a celebration of fresh fruit!

Combining raspberries with fresh mint leaves seemed like a great idea. Adding yogurt to the mix, similarly how I did with the chocolate-covered yogurt bites a while back was the basis for the creation. This delicious snack does a great job at cooling you down on a hot summer day all while delivering important antioxidants and protein from the yogurt.

Gotta love quick (kinda) and easy summer desserts. This is why summer is my favorite. Nothing in the world beats fresh home berries. Yum!

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Pear and Currant Bran Muffins (v)

Happy to see all the entries for the nimble/QuickieChick giveaway. Keep ’em coming! The prize is well worth it 🙂

I realize sometimes my recipes aren’t totally seasonal. This one for example would be perfect for Autumn. But you know what? I don’t care. I have dried pears and currants and I’m gonna use them no matter what the season is! And they worked out so perfect in these muffins. Delightful, I tell you.

These are perfect for breakfast or a snack. I recommend eating them with Greek yogurt or with my chocolate PB protein pudding. You know you gotta have protein at every meal, right? 😉

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Chocolate Zucchini Protein Mini Muffins

I had some zucchinis laying around and I thought I would have time to cook with them, but unfortunately, I don’t think I will. I’m leaving the city on Saturday morning because of the NATO summit. There is no way I’m gonna be anywhere near here for this – everyone is saying it’s going to be crazy. Security and police is everywhere already and secret service and FBI are stopping at random establishments to make sure everyone is ready to take on the protesters. I hope there will be no violence involved.

So yeah, I’ve made chocolate zucchini bread before and I loved the taste of it. I don’t have a loaf pan in this apartment thought and I just ran out of chocolate chips, so I went for chocolate zucchini muffins sans chocolate chips.

The second muffin is still kind of frozen, that’s why it looks weird lol

I still love making muffins and although I was going to veganize this recipe (like I have been doing lately with all my muffins), I decided against it, simply because I had egg whites that needed to be used up anyway. Might as well. So sorry, vegan friends, this one includes egg whites.

For an extra protein boost, I added protein powder. And I enjoy it smeared with almond butter. I love protein and that’s that.

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My reinforcement for clean eating + Balance Bar BARE Review

Why did I decide to eat more wholesome foods? Why did I decide to eat clean more? The are many reasons. I honestly didn’t fully realize the truth behind food additives and commercial foods till very recently, although I knew about them on the surface for a long time. It wasn’t until I started reading food blogs that I really got myself in the right mindset. About the time I started reading food and health blogs, I read the book “The Kind Diet.” While this book focuses on veganism, it taught me a lot about food in general. I am not vegan, but I have done a vegan challenge before which allowed me to notice how much dairy I really eat on a daily basis.

Over the weeks, I realized how bad processed foods are – white sugar and flour. Ever since it got stuck in my head, I’ve been focusing on not using these ingredients for myself. I find that every time I eat something processed, something with a lot of white sugar, it never fills me up. I will be hungry again almost immediately. My stomach will not notice the natural fullness feeling I would otherwise feel if I was eating unrefined foods. This became especially noticeable for me on the day I made chocolate pb&j cupcakes for my ex-roommates graduation. While I was excited I found a way to get rid of some of the refined flour and sugar which I wasn’t normally using, I absolutely had some of the outcome. The outcome was good… However I had one and a half of cupcakes. It didn’t fill me up. I wanted more food. I went for a panini but I also started craving something salty. An hour after, I started craving something sweet again. This time I decided to have some chocolate-covered yogurt bites. So good. Healthier, this time. But while the cravings lessened, some still remained. It was a huge struggle to resist all night. Really difficult. I’m entirely sure that these refined processed cupcakes were the culprit to awakening my cravings. I knew this is why. In addition, I felt tired and groggy. My joints hurt. Coincidence? Or am I just noticing this now?

I’m happy that I realize that this is a problem. I’m glad that I understand the causes of the cravings. And this serves as reinforcement for continuing my clean and healthy eating habits. I never want to have such strong cravings again – they are destructive and they are horrible when it comes to returning back on track afterwards. I will make sure to resist temptations and will make sure not to indulge in processed foods very often, only on special occasion when there aren’t any healthier options. I just can’t wait to get rid of my white four and sugar. I don’t want to throw it out though… What to do, what to do?

Remember how much I raved about the Balance Bars in my Energy Bar Wars post? Yeah, I’m such a huge fan. I think these bars are actually my favorites. But I had no idea that the Balance Bar came out with a new line – Balance Bar BARE. Because I was already a fan of the original bars, I was super excited to try these babies out.

Similarly to their original bars, these go along with their 40-30-30 model – 40% healthy carbs, 30% quality protein, and 30% dietary fat (% of total calories). This model helps stabilize blood sugar levels, satisfy hunger and provide energy. The flavor I got to try, Blueberry Acai, are their newest flavor addition. The bar has 200 calories and has wholesome ingredients and is sweetened with organic agave and brown rice syrups.

Let’s bite into it, shall we? The bar has a yogurt bottom and an oat top. Some of the top crumbled off, with some oats falling off – I see this as a good sign. This shows me that this is a natural bar, made with truly real ingredients rather than getting slathered in some binding agent. The flavor is mild but prevalent. The blueberry flavor is subtle but noticeable. The texture is in between chewy and texturized. It has a nice sweet taste which isn’t overpowering.

PS. I approached the company, not the other way round.

Bran Apple Muffins

Hello to another vegan recipe that will help me get through the week. I’m planning on eating these as breakfast or snacks in between studying and writing papers. Finals are almost here, and ohh joy, am I so excited.. I have no motivation and it sucks. I’m gonna have to bust my butt tomorrow to get a lot of stuff done so I don’t have to wait till absolute last minute.

Tonight are supposed to be some crazy storms and tornados in the Midwest, I heard? Crazy… Apparently this is the second time the Weather Channel has issued a life-threatening 24 hour warning for tornados today and tomorrow. Good thing I live downtown Chicago, there won’t be any tornados here. I’m not afraid of no rain. It’ll help me write! Rain always relaxes me. But I hope no one gets hurt and I hope the weather channel is exaggerating, as they usually are.

These muffins are made with dried tart apples I’ve been dying to use in a recipe for the past few days. They are amazing by themselves but I thought they would taste even better in a baked recipe. This is a perfect breakfast on the go. Plus it’s vegan! Yay!

Also, I just wanted to say how much I love doing recipes which don’t require a use of a mixer. I much prefer to mix everything by hand. Quieter, easier, less messy. For me anyway. I don’t even have a stand mixer, I use a hand mixer when I need to mix/beat ingredients so it’s a pain. But yeah, no mixer necessary for this one! Yay!

These turned out so beautifully. Crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. By themselves? Amazing. Topped with maple syrup? Amazing.

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Oatmeal-Raisin Breakfast Cookies

Time to get into the vegan mindset. I am doing a vegan challenge starting Monday and I am therefore prepping myself up for it. I have already finished my greek yogurt and I’m gonna have the last of my egg whites tomorrow.

I’ve been looking for different recipes to use during the vegan week. Am I completely prepared? No. But that’s okay. I’m excited to start! I decided to make some quick breakfasts ready and what better way to start your day than with a cookie? Exactly. Such a perfect decision. Especially when that cookie is also low calorie!

I love me a healthy cookie!

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