Sunday is my day to relax and mentally prepare for a long week ahead of me. I love Sunday in my head but hate when it arrives. It is the anticipation that as the clock ticks down I am just that much closer to another long week. So I have started doing what I always resisted. Buying healthy lunch ingredients and spending Sunday preparing. I decided that as this would be my first week doing this I would keep it simple. Salads and cereal and sliced bread for my breakfasts and lunches at work. It took my roughly 10 minutes to make (4) lunches for this week. It turns out it was a great idea because as the day went on my cold kicked in and my body got more and more tired. It is going to be a long week. Despite it having a holiday Wednesday. But I am prepared. I won’t need to run to CVS for a quick Asian microwave dinner bowl or Panera Bread for a veggie sandwich that (calorie-wise) I should not be having except as a treat. So I went to Whole Foods, bought 1 container of baby kale, 1 container of mixed spring greens, 4 avocados, chopped mangoes, chopped berries, and a loaf of Iggy’s pecan cranberry bread. I already had the rest of my staples so I headed home. I made a quick salad with (4) glass and plastic containers out for sorting. layer of kale, layer of spring greens, layer of berries, layer of mango. I then took out the avocados and placed them in a separate bowl, diced with lemon, salt, and pepper. Then took out a measuring cup. I needed 1 cup of cereal in bags for my breakfast. I keep a container of all my cereals mixed together. I think it is more fun than just one type of cereal. I scooped (1) cup portions into biodegradable zipper sandwich bags that I got at Whole Foods a few months back. I keep a cereal bowl at work and then packed myself some extra hazelnut milk and salad dressing. I then cut slices of the bread in half and put a thin layer of Earth Balance on each using the same knife from the avocados. I put the bread in the same type of bags as the cereal. Done. 4 days, 8 meals. I keep reusable utensils and dishes at work that I rinse and wash out in the bathroom. So I was all set. We have a kitchen downstairs too for more complicated cleaning. So it really is that easy. If you want a little something more add a rice cup or frozen dairy free gluten free Amy’s burrito to your lunch. I keep Weight Watchers Red Beans and Rice cups in my office just to throw on top of salads. It is easy, vegan, and fills me up. With just 10-15 minutes of planning you have your whole week of healthy yummy food ready. It is also cost effective. Better than $10 at Panera Bread each day or $5.00 for breakfast at Dunkin Donuts! Enjoy! ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Food is Love. The Hippie Gypsy.
When I first met my husband I lived in San Diego, California. I ate in for most of my meals and he ate out for most of his. I learned that he was beyond obsessed with burritos. I liked burritos well enough but the tortilla was always a little to filling for me. I prefered rise dishes or the filling over a salad. One day he made me this filling of beans and fish and salsa in the oven and put it over a salad for me and I was forever in love with it. I now place it in burritos or over rice all the time but instead of fish I use vegan chicken and he still uses fish. He prefers it over rice and in a burrito. So I will show you both and I will show you the quick way without boiling rice or making pineapple salsa from scratch 🙂 Don’t forget that anything can be subbed for the chicken portion. You can place in veggies, roasted peppers, portobello mushrooms, etc.
Gotta love a quick Meatless Mondays dish for the whole family with easy clean up!
Tropical Mexican Rice Dish
- 1 package Spanish Uncle Ben’s 90 second rice
- 4-8 Flour Burrito Tortillas (I like the Fiber One 80 calorie ones)
- 1 jar Newman’s Own Organics Pineapple Salsa
- 1 can Fat Free Refried Beans (I use Old El Paso)
- 1 container of Beyond Meat Chickenless Strips Lightly Seasoned
- Optional Toppings: Onions, Hot Sauce, lemon, lime, garlic powder, salad, etc.
- Preheat oven to 425degrees.
- On a long piece of aluminum foil smear 1/4 to 1/2 cup of refried beans in a circle in the center.
- Place chicken (or veggies or fish if you aren’t vegan) on top.
- Cover with salsa and any optional items. I cover with the onions and hot sauce first and then the salsa.
- Bring sides of tinfoil together and roll downward. Fold other sides into center.
- Place directly on oven rack. Bake for 25-30minutes (longer for fish less for chicken).
- Remove from oven.
- Place 90 second rice in microwave.
- Place 1/4cup – 1/2cup of rice in each burrito and top with oven baked filling.
(WW Points for filling without rice is 5 points, Rice is another 5 points for 1 cup, Fiber One Tortillas are 2pts each)
The Hippie Gypsy
When I was just out of college I moved into my first place on my own. I always had roommates or suite-mates prior to that point in my life. After about 2 months I moved out of that apartment because someone had stolen the tires off my car and kicked down my door to rob me in a 30 day time span.
In an effort at safety my parents had me move to a quiet remote spot. My parents helped me find the most magical beachhouse on Point Shirley in Winthrop, MA. I loved this little house more than anything. My parents even bought me my first grill since I had a porch and mini backyard with my beach view. I learned quickly that if you are having people over for a party in which you intend to grill. You should not turn on the grills gas ahead of time without igniting it or else it will all simply seep out and you will not be able to use the grill (I thought I was preheating it like one would an oven). Luckily people were only coming for snacks and dessert so I improvised my grilling techniques and held my grilled fruit kabobs over the open flame of my gas stove. The party was great and no one even noticed my poor cooking abilities and naivety. They did however love my kabobs!
Now that I am older and wiser (and giving recipes to others) I say, be like I was when I was 22. If you can’t complete a step because you don’t have that fancy tool or you live in a place that you can’t grill or what have you, Improvise. It will always work out. Food is nothing to be afraid of. If it looks terrible at least it may still taste good! If it doesn’t, there is always the company to enjoy! You just need to be creative. No one will die or go home hungry. They will just stop at McDonald’s.
Grilled Tropical Fruit Kabobs
1 container of Sweet and Sara (R) Toasted Coconut Marshmallows
1 box/bag of bamboo skewers (soaked 5-15minutes in warm water)
2cups Cubed Pineapple
2cups Shredded Sweetened Coconut
3 Starfruit sliced thin
2 mangoes cubed
1 container of melon balls (honey dew, seedless watermelon, or cantaloupe)
4tbsp melted Earth Balance (R) Butter Sticks (with a basting brush)
Vanilla Sugar (for sprinkling) ( I use Penzey’s)
1/2 bag of SemiSweet Vegan Chocolate Chips (melted in a bowl) (I use 365 brand)
- Prepare your grill or open flame to be of medium heat.
- Melt Chocolate in a bowl in the microwave or a fondue pot. Keep a spoon nearby for drizzling the kabobs.
- Place shredded coconut on a platter so that you can roll your kabob in it.
- Lightly baste all hard fruits that will be directly on the grill with melted Earth Balance.
- When stacking your fruit on the skewer, do not do it all at once. Place the thicker fruits like pineapple on first and place on the grill for 2-3 minutes (they need more time and won’t fall through the grate). Then the softer fruits and marshmallows and hold over the open flame like you are at a Camp Fire! this prevents them from falling through the grate or falling apart on the grill. Softer fruits will burn quicker and watery fruits may drip causing spitting flames so holding it over is a safer option.
- Once the fruits are dripping just a tad you know that the sugars are extracting and the kabob is ready.
- Drizzle the kabob with melted chocolate, sprinkle with vanilla sugar, and roll in coconut. Serve (or Eat) Immediately.
NOTE: These are always a hit and the kids love to be able to make their own! If you want to prepare some in advance for a kids party, grill some starfruit ahead of time then use all softer fruits and marshmallow along the base (for when they grill their portion) and top with the starfruit for a “magic wand” effect. You can also get graham crackers and make fruit smores as well!
The Hippie Gypsy
So a coworker in my office made mango sorbet at a work party last summer and I stole his recipe which he altered from a recipe on http://www.allrecipes.com. This is the best kind of recipe because it starts as something standard and goes “viral” without anyone knowing it. It is a simple tried and true recipe for Mango Sorbet but it can be any kind of sorbet just swap out the fruit and toss aside the coconut and add another topping (the base ingredients for sorbet are at the bottom of this post).
So I am making this into a Mango Coconut Sorbet that has just a hint of lime in it. It will be fresh and cool and can accompany my Mango Cake recipe from Easter Dessert. Also, I just found out yesterday Mangos are on a one day sale at Whole Foods in Bedford MA on Friday 10am-6pm, so go get some for the weekend or cube a bunch and freeze them for summer! Heck if you are feeling that excitable make it into a milkshake and throw in a cupcake and some coconut milk and have 2 desserts this weekend!
Mango Coconut Sorbet
(4) mangos (I am a champagne mango fan)
(1) Cup of Simple Syrup (3/4 cup sugar dissolved in 3/4 cup water)
(3) Tablespoons Lime Juice (try key lime for a lighter flavor)
1/4 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut
Place ice cream maker bowl in freezer overnight.
Chop and peel mangos. Place flesh in a high-efficiency blender or food processor like Vitamix or Cuisinart SoupMaker. Once the mango is soupy add simple syrup and lime juice. Combine until liquid. If you want to you can strain it after to make sure there are no chunks and either reblend the chunks or toss them if they are minimal.
Next, pour into the ice cream maker bowl and sprinkle in coconut as it starts to stir. Then leave on until the sorbet is cold at least 10-15minutes.
Serve cold with a cupcake or by itself and enjoy!
Optional: Drizzle with raspberry or strawberry sauce in an ice cream cone bowl for a summer dessert!
Optional 2: Make it a milkshake by adding 1/2cup of canned coconut milk to the blender after and 3-4 scoops of the sorbet. Toss in some mango cake for a little something decadent!
Note: The base recipe is simple: 2cups of fruit, 1 cup of simple syrup, 3 tablespoons of lime juice. Try it with any fruit you love!
XOXOX, The Hippie Gypsy
Today is Good Friday and nothing is “good-er” than cake!
My poor, but entertaining, grammar aside, I love cake. Yesterday I got to talk about cake at work and that made my week! In fact I got to pass along my vegan knowledge to a coworker whose very adorable daughter was having a birthday but can’t eat eggs and wanted cake. Her mom had no idea vegan = eggless. I think she believed that vegans and vegetarians were the same and ate eggs and dairy which is a common misconception but I got to spread some knowledge, talk about cake, and possibly make a birthday party become a hit filled with delicious chocolatey goodness.
However, for Easter my chocolate addiction needs to be lightened up. After all those chocolate bunnies are consumed we need something lighter and more tropical to make New England remember that there is a thing called Spring that leads to Summer and it is on its way (slowly). So I thought I would post a Citrus Cake recipe that is just whimsical enough for this wonderful holiday. Enjoy!
Mango Cake with Coconut Frosting
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt (a few pinches to pull out the sweetness)
1 tsp cake spice (I use Penzey’s) or a few pinches of cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2-2/3 cup of Vegan Sugar (I like sweet things but between the frosting, coconut, and the mango you many not feel like you need 2/3cup of sugar so for those that want a little less feel free to scale it down to as little as 1/2cup)
1tbsp Mexican Pure Vanilla Extract
1 tbsp of lemon juice
2 mangos peeled and diced
Vanilla Frosting (I am lazy and buy mine but feel free to make it by whipping together (2) Earth Balance Buttery sticks, 7cups Vegan Powdered Sugar, 1tsp vanilla extract, and a few splashes of soy milk)
1 bag of sweetened shredded coconut
Preheat your oven to 350degrees. Butter your cake pans with Earth Balance Buttery sticks then cut parchment to fit the bottoms. If you don’t do this the cake will stick and make a mess.
Next place chopped mangos in a blender and pulverize until smooth. Then pour into a medium mixing bowl with oil, vanilla, and lemon juice. Combine until smooth.
In another bowl place both flours, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together to combine and then slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. I usually add 1/4 at a time. You can use a stand mixer for this to make the process go faster.
Last pour the batter into the greased parchment bottomed pans. The cakes should rise slightly and be ready in about 4o-45minutes. Check with a toothpick and allow to cool. I usually run a knife along the edges and then flip them over on a cool towel so they will separate from the pan. The parchment helps this.
When they are cool, place a thin layer of frosting between the cake layers and a sprinkle of coconut. Sometimes I reserve a bit of the puree and at that in between. Then place the second cake layer on top and frost only the top and sprinkle with coconut and vanilla sugar.
Serve cold. Enjoy!
Optional Ways to Prepare: Top with dried pineapple, add a squeeze of orange or grapefruit to the batter, instead of frosting just sprinkle with powdered sugar or a dollop of coconut whipped cream, add crushed pineapple to the batter, add a handful of coconut to the batter, or add 1 squeezed lemon to the frosting.
I was athletic prior to my vegan days. I ran a half marathon just months before being given, what I felt at the time was, a life sentence of veggies. My life has turned around for the better since that event over a year ago and it is about to change again! This week I will be allowed to begin my athletic streak again! The doctors gave me the A-OK to start running or cycling or whatver-ing! I was so excited I joined a gym with free spin classes and yoga! Then I got a call from my new trainer and her question about my diet hit home. I have never been an athlete while vegan. No more lean chicken breast or broiled fish or hard boiled eggs. What should I be eating before my Saturday training session?
So I started first by cutting my calories this month. I was consuming far too many. I use the Calorie Count app on my phone www.calorie-count.com and it is great, Weight Watchers is another great option www.weightwatchers.com but costs about $15 a month for their online food logging service. I prefer the free calorie count online or app service, it even gives you a letter grade on your eating habits. Now the tough part is what calories are good for this new athletic lifestyle? I have talked to some friends, fellow runners, my old trainer, and referenced some sites. The best advice I was given: more protein less oil. So I went on a hunt for a new protein shake and since I tried one I liked at “The Seed” conference in NYC, I am going to start there and itemize how my training goes or adapts with it. So here is my recipe for the protein smoothie that will start of my travels to the gym, pre-run, and anywhere else I go!
1 packet or serving Vega Vanilla Chai Protein Powder (available at Whole Foods or online)
1 serving frozen tropical fruit blend (again whole foods has a banana, strawberry, mango mix I love)
1-2 cups of milk (the suggestion was Rice but I only had unsweetened almond milk or vanilla coconut)
1 tbsp freshly ground flaxseed powder
I place it in the blender with the milk, powder, flax, and banana on the bottom and the frozen fruit is like ice on top. I like a little more milk because it is not as thick but my friend likes it thick so it melts over a period of time in the morning. This is a dense treat so remember it is a whole meal not just a snack! Enjoy!
PS I will keep you updated on how this works at Saturday’s training session!