Category Archives: eating

Vegan: What I’ve learned…

I wasn’t sure how to title this post: The One In Which I Failed Epically or perhaps How to Not Be vegan, or perhaps How to fail in more than one way at once.

See I’m sitting here, sort of watching Because I said So and eating chocolate. Sugar (goes against this challenge I set for myself for February) and most definitely not vegan, which goes against the challenge this week.

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So what went wrong? There are a few reasons I can point to why being vegan this week wasn’t incredibly successful for me.

  • No plan: usually my life doesn’t require a meal plan. Mainly because vegetarian food is readily available and I’ve been eating it for so many years it’s just what I do. However, I think for veganism, I should have had more of a plan.
  • Life: where I’m at now, the life I’m living didn’t fit the vegan lifestyle this week. Most of my friends aren’t into food in the same way (into experimenting or trying healthy food). This is when having an action plan would have helped.
  • No Passion for the cause: being vegan is something I think you really have to care about to stick with it. And to be honest, my heart just wasn’t in it. I wanted it to be, I wanted to care, and in fact a lot of what vegans care about is stuff I care about. And I can see myself one day being pretty much vegan since so many meals I already eat are vegan.

What have I learned?

  • Lots of foods I don’t give a second thought to eating aren’t vegan (margarine? I just assumed it was made from vegetable oils…)
  • Without a game plan, if you aren’t surrounded by people living a healthy vegan lifestyle, it can be tough to be “strong” and stick to it.
  • When it comes to something like a vegan diet, or any significant change in diet, it takes energy and thought; you can’t just eat what you’re craving.

I know a lot of the other 7 Day Vegan Challengers have been doing awesome on the challenge and congrats to all of you! I’ll definitely participate in the twitter chat tomorrow (as long as I remember the right time!) but I think I’m unfortunately done with the challenge itself.

What has been the biggest obstacle for all of you this week? What have you learned from the challenge?  

PS While yes, I had some chocolate today, I still think my “Sugar and Coffee Free February” is going really well because my overall consumption of both has gone down significantly. I’ve been drinking 1-2 cups of black or green tea, and I have been feeling fine. I’d like to try a day or two of caffeine free days this week, and see if I get any withdrawal symptoms.

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Filed under eating, food, health

White Devil

Well hello my friends! It has been awhile hasn’t it?

I’ve been up to normal student life events; going out with friends, procrastinating, paying for that procrastination by cursing myself during the midterm!

I’ve also been indulging my student eating habits. Sugar, sugar, sugar has been my drug of choice for the last few days. I’ve just been craving chocolate (and for coffee) like mad, and giving in like crazy. If I indulge in extra coffee I do get decaf, seriously, it’s the taste I like, coffee with a bit o’ cream? Heaven. But usually it’s a coffee and a cookie that I crave.

My sugar has ventured into many aspects of my eating…

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chocolate chips?! How’d those get there… (shifty eyes)

Why am I craving sugar? I can’t really say… There’s a couple things.

a) I was stressed about the midterm
b) I like sugar, and unfortunately I’m getting in a cookie-before-one-class habit.
c) I’m hella tired.

C is probably the main reason. I’m really tired, and the culprit is not being able to sleep. And why can’t I sleep? I’m not really sure, because I’m definitely tired when I go to bed,but something just keeps me awake. I don’t think it’s completely in my mind, sometimes I definitely just can’t turn my brain off. But the light coming through my windows really bothers me. I might have to try something to block it out. Anybody use those eye cover things people always wear for “beauty sleep”?

Of course, the tired might be because my main source of food lately has been sugar, and that gives you a spike of blood glucose, then quickly drops, leaving you tired and lethargic (oh yeah, that’s right I just finished studying glycemic index thank you very much)…

So maybe it’s a whole twisted circle; I’m tired and my body wants sugar, because that will give me energy fast, then I’m soon tired again… leading me to want sugar! oh no! Whatever shall I do? (just kidding, I honestly think I’m mainly due to sleep deprivation)

What do you do with a craving? Just give in? Or think about what it is your body might be asking you?

PS, you know what’s not helping? Watching Alton Brown cook up some cinnamon buns on Good Eats.

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Filed under eating, emotions, school

Make Me Smile

Go on. I dare you.

There’s been a few happenings lately that have left me feeling kind of blue. To be completely honest, I think half of it is due to the horribleness that is the Vancouver winter. Let’s just say when it’s been a little too grey for a little too long I feel a little too blue.

But in agreement with my 2010 resolutions, and my reflections on said resolutions, I’ve decided to focus on a few things that are making me smile these days.

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Sort of random, but this yogurt is delicious. Mostly just this flavour; lemon. I bet there’s a brand that does it better as this one is a little thin and sour, so I’m going to be looking. Does liberte by chance have a lemon meringue?

(Also notice the SUN in the above picture, yesterday was warm and sunny and that definitely made me smile.)

smiling 013This is more then just a pretty flower, which hey makes me smile even on a grey day.  But it reminds me of my awesome friends, and good roommates here.

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Noodle Box. Spice Peanut noodle box. Possibly one of the best Victoria exports. Deliciousness in a box. Not only that, but well, going to the Noodle Box is a trip down memory lane for me, as it was a thing for me and my roommate back in Vic. And also it’s another good night with good friends.

Another thing that makes me happy? Going for a run, which I’m off to do as I type. (Well after I type…)

What has been making you smile lately?

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Filed under Dinner, eating, emotions, Fun, health

That Fresh Baked Smell…

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Back when I lived in Victoria and didn’t seem as busy, I spent many a Sunday baking bread. It started innocently enough, and turned into something I did for the entire year.

It was wonderful to have fresh bread every weekend, and to have it work out most weekends too! The smell would fill our cozy little basement suite, and to this day I can’t bake bread and not think of my roommate and lovely Island Friends.

This Friday my friends and I were down on Granville Island, passing by a bakery late at night… and the smell! Divine. Fresh bread filled the air for almost the whole island.

Well I knew what I would be doing this weekend…

Bread – Even students can Bake it

Bread gets a bad rap of being difficult to make, but it really isn’t. Here’s some tips I’ve picked up over the years. These can be applied to any basic whole wheat or white bread recipe.

Yeast

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(Sorry I’ve been so lazy about my nails!) 
The first step to good bread is the yeast. In fact this is the one most crucial step. The temperature of your water must be perfect. You know how mom’s test bottled milk on their wrists for babies? This is also the best temperature for your yeast’s liquid. You don’t want it to burn, but you want it to be warm.

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Also place the yeast in the water with some sugar, it needs food to grow. If you do everything right, you should go from this:

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To this:
In about 10mins
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Look at that fluffy yeast!
Add the rest of your liquid ingredients. Make sure they aren’t too hot, or too cold as well.

Mixing

Now begin to add the flour.
Use a whisk. I know, it sounds weird, but whisking at the beginning gets the gluten (sorry for all you gluten-free folks out there, I don’t know how it will work for non-gluten bread…) going. And it makes for smoother dough.

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Kneading

Once you’ve added 2/3 if not all your flour and you have a doughy ball, not unlike this:

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You are ready to start kneading!

When I first started making bread back in high school, I was so afraid of over kneading that I usually underkneaded and ended up with bread that just… wasn’t right. You have to knead for a good 10min.
There’s a lot of good videos out there on how to knead bread. And a lot of good websites, books like The Joy of Cooking offer great tips on kneading (actually on the whole bread process).
The best advice I heard: knead until your dough is soft like a baby’s bottom. I don’t touch a lot of babies’ bottoms, but I do know soft dough. It’ll look something like this:

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Rising

Into a greased bowl, then covered with a damp towel and placed in a draft free warm area of the kitchen.

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Two hours (roughly) later it has doubled:

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And if you poke it, a little indent remains in the dough.

Shaping

Now get Violent! Give it a punch or two:

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(ew it looks like my nails are really dirty, seriously that nail polish is coming off right after this…)

Do a wee more kneading, a little shaping and put it in some pans. I made two smaller loaves instead of one big loaf:

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Then cover with that warm damp cloth and let them rise for another hourish, until doubled in size again…

Baking

Then preheat the oven, and stick a small pan with water in the bottom. Now I don’t know why (though I feel like I should, having taken food science classes and all) but this is supposed to help make good crust. You can also periodically spray the tops of the loaves, or butter them, or coat them in egg, all of which I am too lazy to do.

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Look at them bake away!

And hopefully they come out nice and fresh and delicious!
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I need me a piece of that now! I think I’ll go and make myself some well earned din-din. 😉

If you have any more questions about bread making, send them my way. I am by no means an expert, but I’d say I’m fairly decent at the basic stuff. There is nothing like the smell of homemade bread in a house. Or like the taste of a fresh piece with a little buttah!

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Filed under baking, eating, food, Recipe, school

A little Wind

Hello!

I’m sorry! I can’t believe it’s been a week since I’ve written! *Gasp* My apologies. The week just got away from me…

Outside there’s apparently winds of 60-80km/hr. Trees are down, electricity is down for some, the ferries aren’t running; it’s crazy! Despite the winds gusting and busting last night, I slept relatively well. Probably because I’ve been sleeping poorly lately and am soooooo tired.

I got up to some more baking this weekend…

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Used up some of that Pumpkin in some pumpkin muffin making.

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yum!
Not yum:

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Dishes are the least fun part of cooking.

In other news I get to cook for fifty plus people this weekend for an event we’ll be having! Woo! I promise to document this.

Other than that, I do not have much news. Angela at Oh She Glows posted an interesting post about getting over your obsession with weight, I really enjoy reading the comments on these blogs, since it’s so nice to know many of us have gone through similar stories.

Alright, I’m signing out! But I promise to be back more this week!

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Filed under baking, eating, food, Fun

Christmas Eating Recap

Hello! Sorry for the long break! What can I say? Without a schedule I get really bad at actually doing stuff I need to be doing. I work much better when I’m busy.

So what have I been up to? Baking. Cooking. Eating. 😀 More eating, and lots of TV watching. I’m pretty sure I haven’t watched this much TV in… well, probably since summer after my first year. But for once I’m sort of enjoying the total lazyness.

So when I last left you I was about to get into some baking. Oh boy did I.

May I present some Orange and Almond Biscotti:
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The next day I made supper. At least I think it was the next day, they all blend, so maybe it was a couple days later. It was a delicious Acorn Squash and Coconut Curry soup. It was soooo amazing. The coconut milk made it so buttery. I didn’t follow a recipe at all. Just cooked it up from what I knew about squash, and curry spices. Yum.

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We had Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve. My brother is an aspiring speed skater, so he had training early today. Watch out, one day he just might be in the Olympics (not this year though, he’s still young for a skater, and isn’t quite on the national team).

On the Menu:

  • Turkey (not for me)
  • Wild Rice stuffing
  • Brussel Sprouts with Mushrooms
  • Mandarine Orange, Pecan and Blue Cheese Salad
  • Mocha Cake and traditional Coconut and Pecan Icing.
  • White wine (few too many glasses)

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Sorry about this marathon post!

I’m off to do more Holiday-like things (already did a little Boxing Day shopping, done with that for today!) and I’ll post more later.

Merry Belated Christmas!

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Filed under baking, Dinner, eating, food, Fun

Home For the Holidays

Well it’s been awhile. My how time flies when you’re not in school. 😀

Thursday I tried to do my chirstmas shopping. But unfortunately I didn’t quite finish. Dang it. Holiday shopping = not fun.

But now I’m home. Upon getting  home friday I set my sights on some candy making. Fudge!

Here it is cooling. OMG, did that take forever!

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This fudge was like WAY too sweet to be honest. Makes my teeth hurt. And yet can’t stop eating it. 😉

Yesterday was super busy. First I went and got groceries. My parents were up late doing Operation Red Nose (driving the drunks home.) and these days you have to hit the stores early to avoid the horribleness that is holiday shopping. Plus I LOVE grocery shopping and when I’m home I use my parents money to indulge in a few things I totally wouldn’t on my own. 😉

Then it was off to the Christmas Tree Farm!

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Our tree!

We’ll be setting it up later. After the tree hunting (I did the chopping, hard work!) we went to a little coffee chain Cowboy Coffee for some treats.

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Raspberry and Pistachio biscotti. This was delicious! Usually I’m sorely disappointed by store made biscotti. But this was really good.
My mom knows about the blog (I don’t know if she reads it) and upon seeing me photographing my treat, pushed hers in front of my camera…

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Pumpkin pecan loaf. Also really good (I had to have a bite!). And then so my dad wouldn’t feel left out I snapped a quick shot of his raspberry muffin:

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After this I went to meet my friend for a little catch up and shopping. I had a pita from Extreme Pita but I didn’t take a picture. I still didn’t finish my shopping, all I accomplished was getting my self  a hat. 😦

I went for a run last night, which is slightly dangerous as Kamloops is a valley, and I live at the top of the hill, so all the running is up or down. But I was careful, ran in lit places and watched for icy patches. It was so nice to run around and look at the Christmas lights. Made me all warm and fuzzy.

The night ended with a trip out for some fun and dancing. When we left the bar it was snowing! So far I’ve seen snow and sun in Kamloops. Love it! Even the cloudiness seems brighter then Vancouver.

Alright I’m off. I think I need to do some baking. Hmmm, something yummy. I’m honestly leaving to some biscotti… with an orange and cloves plus cinnamon flavour? Hmmm, think I’ll browse the net before I settle on a final plan.

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Filed under baking, eating, Exercise, food, Fun, health, lunch