wiaw #21 and a special invitation

Hello again my friends :) I would like to thank you all for your kind words yesterday in regard to my 100th post! If you haven’t yet, make sure to enter my giveaway for a huge 32oz container of coconut oil! And make those cookies while you’re at it ;)

It’s Wednesday again! I’m growing to really look forward to this day of the week! I love throwing together a post of the things I’ve been loving lately and looking at what everyone else has been nibbling on.

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about- it’s What I Ate Wednesday! Jenn @ Peas and Crayons hosts a weekly blog party where people share what they ate on any given day or over a period of time. It’s great for ideas! Head over to Peas and Crayons to check out more of the action!

Yesterday was a fairly average day for me, nothing too exciting and no real themes emerged. I’m a little sad to say I didn’t even work out except for 15 min of yoga in the morning and a 15 min walk later on in the day. What can I say, it was a lazy day? Hopefully even though, this month’s theme is fitness, you’ll all forgive me.

So without further ado, here’s my day of food, activities and fun!

WIAW # 21

Started the day with some lemon water and vitamins as usual

Then I did my 15 min of yoga, followed by 15 minutes of meditation. I did a simple sequence of a few sun salutations, some standing poses and a few ab moves. My meditation was the guided audio from Day 9 of the 21 Day Meditation Challenge I mentioned I was doing in my last WIAW post. I’ve been loving it so far! Today’s meditation focused on learning to listen to the intuitive knowledge of our hearts. I think this is such an important lesson, so I’m glad I’ve begun working on it. I think we could all benefit from learning to quiet our heads and all outside influences and focus on what we need and want.

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Breakfast was a standard green smoothie- in this one there’s a banana, blueberries, kale, a few leaves of basil, a little bit of Sunwarrior protein powder and flax seeds. Topped with fresh berries and the last of my pistachio rosewater granola.

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Snack was an unpictured apple with some Better’n Peanut Butter

Followed by a couple (unpictured) squares of dark chocolate.

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Lunch was a new to me product! Some GoGo Quinoa pasta with organic tomato sauce, bell pepper, mixed greens and nutritional yeast. Simple but tasty. Served with some of my homebrewed kombucha

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Snack was a smoothie again- a bit of a smaller one with half a banana, frozen cherries, a little chocolate Sunwarrior, and ice. Topped with sprouted and dehydrated buckwheat groats.

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Dinner was some roasted veggies with quinoa. Veggies were an assortment of what was in the fridge: beets, parsnips, carrots, pepper, broccoli and cauliflower, roasted with salt, pepper and thyme. This was so delicious! I dare even veggie haters to dislike this. I went back for a second helping of the veggies!

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after-dinner snack of vanilla almond rooibos tea and dark chocolate

And since this month’s theme also includes some fun! I thought I’d add in a couple photos of what I got at IKEA the other day!

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the bedspread! I fell even more in love with it in person

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a little kit that that included stencils and shakers so you can sprinkle cinnamon or cocoa on top of your drink in cool patterns

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A couple cool placements for food pictures :)

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This obviously isn’t from IKEA, but while in Ottawa I also went to the Van Gogh exhibit at the National Gallery and fell in love with this painting: Almond Blossom

And that concludes today’s What I Ate Wednesday! Now before I go, I have one more thing…

I would like to cordially invite you to the first ever “Healthy Vegan Fridays” blog party, this Friday July 27th! Basically it’s a weekly blog party where bloggers can submit healthy vegan recipes for other bloggers and readers to see. You submit recipes from your own blog, and each week myself, Shelby and Carrie will highlight our favourites, as well as the most popular ones. We hope this will be a place where bloggers and readers alike can come to get great ideas and inspiration! Click on the tab below my banner for more information, or the link I provided above. The post on Friday will have more details on how to submit recipes. Hope to see you there!

Have a great Wednesday everyone!

the veggie nook’s 100th post! quinoa chocolate chip cookies and a Tropical Traditions giveaway

Hello my chocolate chip cookies :)

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Well, it’s hard to believe, but this is the 100th post I’ve written on my blog! It’s crazy that I’ve written so much since mid-February. It’s all thanks to you, fellow bloggers and readers that I have come this far, so thank you so so much! Your support, kind words, advice and just in general being there have inspired and motivated me in ways I never though possible :)

Now, since you all have been so wonderful, I thought hosting a giveaway would be a great way to show my appreciation. Tropical Traditions contacted me a couple months ago to do a review and giveaway for their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil. Since then I have been putting it through it’s paces, using it in raw recipes, baking, sautéing, in my decaf coffees as well as a moisturizer and make-up remover.

Now, you all probably know by now, how much I love coconut oil. This one is as good as it gets! The scent is subtly coconutty with a mild flavour. It creates delicious raw treats and is a great option for high temperature cooking and baking. For those of you who don’t like coconut oil and are sceptical about using it in cooking, rest assured once incorporated into your recipes, the taste is not detectable. The only place I have ever noticed it’s flavour being apparent is when blended into smoothies and even then it is more of a sweetness than coconut.

I used this coconut oil to make the following recipes on my blog:

As a moisturizer it works great and the subtle coconut scent was very pleasant and as a make-up remover it left my face feeling soft and got all my make-up off easily, even pesky eyeliner and mascara. It was very gentle as well, which was great on my super-sensitive skin.

I also made these quinoa chocolate chip cookies and the results were awesome! They were crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. They aren’t the healthiest thing you’ll ever eat, but as far as cookies go, they are pretty darn good! I switched up the sweeteners I used in various trials with them and I found that both versions came out really well! I also tried out a lower-fat version with some applesauce. I’ll note the different substitutions in the recipe below!

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Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free)

These cookies use quinoa flakes to add in some extra protein and whole grains, which also lend these cookies an awesome chew. Feel free to change up the add-ins! I’ve made a couple different kinds which I’ll point out below!

Makes 30 cookies.

Dry:

  • 3/4 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca/potato starch (not potato flour!)
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 cup erythritol (a zero calorie, natural sweetener) or coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Wet:

  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds + 3 tbsp water, set aside to gel
  • 1/2 tsp liquid stevia (not necessary if using coconut sugar)
  • 2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted ( or 1/3 cup coconut oil + 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce)
  • 2 tbsp water (or 5 tbsp water if using applesauce)

Add-ins:

  • to total 1 cup (ensure they are all vegan)
    • chocolate chips
    • cacao nibs
    • dried blueberries/cranberries + white chocolate chips
    • chopped walnuts + chocolate chips
    • raisins + chopped walnuts
    • anything else you might like!

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Form a well in the center of the dry and pour the wet ingredients in. Mix until completely incorporated. Then stir in the add-ins until evenly distributed.

Chill the dough for 30 min-1 hr. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or grease it (I like using a BBQ brush and coconut oil to do this).

Form the dough into balls and flatten onto the baking sheet leaving a little room in between for them to spread (they won’t spread too much).

Bake for 22-27 min (less if you are using applesauce or like softer cookies, longer if you are using coconut oil or like crispier cookies) or until the edges are browned, but the middles are still soft (they will continue to cook a little as they cool). Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray then move to a cooling rack to finish. These are delicious slightly warm with a little superpower ice cream ;)

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a version made with dried blueberries and white chocolate chips

Now I bet you’d all like to learn how you can win some super awesome coconut oil for yourself!

Giveaway Details:

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!

Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

You can also watch the video they produced about Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil:

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

How to enter:

Mandatory entries:

  1. Subscribe to the Tropical Traditions newsletter here *
  2. Leave a comment below telling me your favourite way to use coconut oil, or if you’ve never used it, the first thing you’d like to try!

For additional entries:

  1. Subscribe to my blog by email*
  2. Follow me on Twitter*
  3. Tweet about the giveaway with a link to this post*
  4. Follow me in Pinterest*

*You must leave a comment for each of these entries, letting me know you did!

The giveaway will stay open until next Wednesday, August 1st at 11:59 pm EST. Make sure you get your entries in! This is a pretty big jar of the good stuff.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

And once again I would just like to say, thank you for all of your support over the last few months. You guys are seriously awesome!

wiaw # 18: rainy day snacking

Hey there friends :)

It’s Wednesday, so you know what that means! It’s time for another What I Ate Wednesday!

But before I get into that, I just thought I’d do a brief little summary on my experience with Alex’s Sugar-Free Challenge that ended in June. I’m a little late, so I apologize!

All in all, it was a very rewarding, eye-opening experience. I didn’t realize just how many foods I eat on a daily basis that include added sweeteners of some kind! Even health foods! I kept finding myself reaching for stevia for my tea, wanting to eat snacks that had agave in them, even my favourite hot sauce has sugar. It really showed me how easy it is to take in sweeteners without even noticing, leading to us craving them more and more and eating them more subsequently. I like to think I resent my taste buds a little- I’m more than happy to pass on the stevia in my drinks when not needed and I’m going to try and experiment with using dates more often.

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With sugar-free eats like my chia seed breakfast porridge and date-sweetened banana bread, going without sweeteners wasn’t all that bad!

That being said, I am very happy to reintroduce stevia, agave and maple syrup back into my life :) I received a bunch of cool products recently from food swaps that contain these ingredients and I have been itching to try them! I am trying to keep it all in moderation and was doing really well until today. I was in a very snack mood and just kept eating little bits of everything! I think it was the rainy weather.

With that, I now bring you my What I Ate Wednesday for this week! Jenn has proposed a new theme for this month…

Peas and Crayons

Fitness!

I wish I had known this was coming! My posts on pre and post workout snacks would have fit right in here! But oh well, hindsight is 20/20 right? If you missed those posts, definitely check them out, lots of good tips in there!

So for this week, I’m going to let you in on what I’ve been currently doing for exercise and then next week I’ll try and have something a little more solid planned.

So with out further ado, here are my eats from yesterday…

Pre-Breakfast

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My usual warm lemon water to stimulate digestion and detoxify the body. I’ve started taking an omega-3 supplement which I also take now as well as my usual iron.

Breakfast

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A green smoothie- I know shocker right? In the mix are a banana, blueberries, spinach, avocado, cucumber, flax seeds, maca powder and spirulina and some Perfect-Fit Protein Powder given to me by Suzi. I like this powder, but I find I can only use half a packet or it’s way too sweet. I think Sunwarrior has spoiled me ;) On top are sprouted and dehydrated buckwheat crunchies, blueberries, raspberries and a Better’n Peanut Butter sauce I made by adding water to the Better’n PB.

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I am in love with this stuff! Thank you so much Shelby for sending it to me! It has 100 kcal for 2 tbsp and is made with peanuts, defatted peanut-flour, sugar and salt. So not the healthiest nut butter out there, but not the worst either. It’s such a nice treat!

Snack

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A little bit of this Alter Eco Dark Chocolate Quinoa Midnight Crunch bar that was given to me by Shelby again. It’s so good! It’s really good quality chocolate, has awesome crunchy bits through it, and is fair-trade and organic! Definitely try this bar if you see it!

Lunch

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Lunch was leftovers from a dinner I made on the weekend- Quinoa with Kale, Raisins and Chickpeas. Recipe to come tomorrow. This wasn’t actually the plate I ate, but this picture was so much nicer.

Workout!

Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred

This is what I’ve been working on lately. I have had this DVD for a long time, but never put myself through 30 days of it. I decided that a program with a specific length that was easy to follow would be really good for helping to get me out of my extended funk of fatigue and lack of motivation. Plus, Jillian Michaels has a way of keeping me motivated like no one else! Now I haven’t been following it perfectly everyday for 30 days, but have been supplementing this with some other things. Some days I’ve done yoga instead for which I do either…

Jillian Michaels: Yoga Meltdown

another Jillian classic, or…

Slim Calm Sexy Yoga: 210 Proven Yoga Moves for Mind/Body Bliss

I use sequences from this book as well as sequences of my own devising for a more relaxing, meditative workout. It’s always good to have balance!

Anyway, I’ve done a total of 22 of her workouts from the 30 Day Shred with yoga and rest days interspersed. I’ll be sure and give a review on it when I’m done.

Post-Workout Snack

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A variation of my post-workout recovery smoothie. This one brought back my love affair with Vanilla Sunwarrior (I had given it up for a while since it contains stevia) and oh how I missed it! Served in my new cup! I am in love with these, especially because actual mason jar lids fit.

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some ginger pear white tea was had….

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as was some home-brewed kombucha! I first mentioned I was starting this here and guys I’ve finally gotten it to the taste and tanginess I like. I’ve decided to do the continuous batch method of brewing so all I have to do is pour a cup of kombucha out and replace it with a cup of the tea base. This way I’ll always have kombucha around :)

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my “fermentation station” as I like to call it. Yes I’m nerdy that way ;) Here’s where both my kombucha and sauerkraut work away!

Dinner

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Dinner was a snack type plate with a leftover black bean burger wrapped in lettuce, a pickle, some tomatoes and some tortilla chips. I won a giveaway hosted by Jennifer at The Foodery and it arrived today- these chips were part of it :)

Finally….

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One of my almost raw maple walnut cups for dessert!

And that concludes my 18th What I Ate Wednesday!

Quickly before I go- Happy 4th of July to all my American readers and fellow bloggers!

Have a great day everyone!