Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Years Resolutions Update, plus Vegan Pesto!

The 2012 New Year's resolutions are not a flop! I'm pretty proud of myself, because I always fail at the NYRs. I have been really good at purchasing dry goods from the bins, increasing my fiber intake, and eating more vegetarian meals, still not eating out as much, etc. Now, most of my meals are plant-based (not mac n' cheese, doritos, french fries) and dairy-free.

I've also incorporated some other practices:
- Drink 1 T. Bragg's apple cider vinegar with a glass of water before/after meals
- Fresh, green juice every morning (more on that later)
- Less Diet Coke!
- At least one green salad a day
- Snack of an apple/orange a day

Bottom-line: I feel so much better! Seriously. Sooo much better. I don't crave Diet Coke like I used to, my brain fog isn't as apparent, I feel lighter in my gut, my skin is really clearing up. I feel so good. I have a ways to go and there is always room for improvement, but my small steps of Healthy Living is making it easier everyday. I think my health issues have been a blessing in disguise because I'm healthier for it. I want to heal myself by the food I eat, and I see a difference so far. My health is the catalyst for my healthful eating.

So onto something tasty: I made this vegan pesto tonight. I adapted the Vegan Pesto recipe from the Whole Foods app. It's so delicious, I think it tastes better than the classic pesto recipe with parmesan cheese.

Vegan Pesto

1/2 c. toasted pine nuts
1/2 c. walnuts
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 packed c. basil leaves
1 packed c. kale - roughly chopped
5 t. mellow white miso
3/4 c. silken tofu (approx. half a package)
2 T. Bragg's nutritional yeast
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 t. black pepper
Juice from 1/2 lemon

In a food processor, blitz the nuts. Add the garlic and blitz again. One cup at a time, add the basil/kale to the food processor. After all of those ingredients are incorporated, add the miso, tofu, nutritional yeast and S&P. Pulse until creamy. Add the lemon juice. You can put the pesto on top of vegetables, pasta, quinoa, a baked potato, etc. Possibilities are endless!

I mixed a heaping spoonful of the pesto onto cucumber slices and tomato wedges.  I lightly wilted some spinach in a saucepan, and cooked some quinoa in a separate pan. I poured the spinach into the fluffy quiona and a couple of dashes of Bragg's amino acids (salt replacement, like soy sauce). I squeezed the other half of the lemon onto my dinner. The dish was light and vibrant-tasting, but still really satisfying. This would be a perfect dish for summertime.

This also makes great leftovers for lunches! I also sprinkled the leftovers with raw chia seeds, which are full of fiber and calcium. This meal was filled with calcium, protein, fiber, lycopene (Steph, are you reading this?!).. so much nutrition.

Apple Cinnamon Scones

Hi, it's Me! This month year has been kind of stressful for me. Nothing catastrophic, which is a great thing... but blogging has fell to the wayside, once again. I made some very tasty scones for my sweetheart. And our wonderful neighbor, John got some too. He is so lucky to have me for a neighbor. So I love scones. Eating a scone whilst drinking some tea and reading is one of my favorite things to do. I don't do it that often though, so I need to step it up a notch and partake in some of the things I enjoy.

I picked up the February issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine (I rarely buy magazines anymore, so this was another treat for me!), and lo and behold --- a SCONE article! I picked the healthiest recipe of all the scone recipes and they were delicious.  This recipe also noted that because of the oat and apples, this recipe was high in fiber. Bonus!

Apple & Oat Scones with Cinnamon & Nutmeg
February 2012 Issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine

1-2/3 c. all-purpose flous, plus more for rolling
1-1/3 c. old-fashioned rolled oats, plus more for topping
1/4 c. plus 2 T. light brown sugar
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1-1/2 c. diced Granny Smith apples (2 apples peeled, cut into generous 1/4-inch cubes)
2/3 c. cold buttermilk, plus more for brushing
Sugar for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Whisk together flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or rub in with your fingers (I used my fingers because I don't have a pastry blender). The largest pieces should be the size of small peas. With your fingertips, flatten butter pieces into small disks. Add apples and buttermilk, stirring until dough just comes together.

2. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat dough into a 6-by-8-inch rectangle, and cut into twelve 2"x2" squares with a floured knife. Place about 2" apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush tops with buttermilk, and sprinkle with sugar and oats. Bake until golden brown, 20-22 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool on sheets for 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Scones keep, wrapped in plastic wrap, for 1 day.)

We celebrated our 4-month wedding "anniversary" snacking on scones at the Phoenix Open. Happy days are here to stay.  <3

UPDATE: I have adjusted my diet to exclude dairy. I'll have to attempt this recipe again, sans dairy and report back the results and new recipe. Regardless, this recipe tastes great and I would recommend it to anyone who eats dairy. :)