October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

No food today! Just some pictures of my halloween adventures! I went out with the kids I babysit, and we had a blast! For the first time ever, it wasn't too cold!

Right after I did my makeup.

Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, and Female Gene Simmons!

Putting on Sneaks!

At a door with a huge spider!

The Most elaborately decorated house we encountered!

October 30, 2011

Caramel apple Update

I dressed up the caramel apples to give away to a few people, and I think they turned out pretty cute!
N'est pas?

Garlic Soup

Do you like Garlic?

I myself love garlic, probably to an unhealthy degree. Garlic bread is like manna from heaven. Eating guacamole at my house? Prepare for a garlic overload. I live in a garlicky bliss. For about 2 weeks last winter all I ate was pasta sauteed in some olive oil, white wine, and garlic. (I had some fruit and carrot sticks too, I didn't want to get scurvy after all!)

Fast forwards to last week. Matthew and I have been discussing the ideas for food at our wedding (at my mother's insistence) and I suggested that a tasting menu, maybe finger foods or tapas style, just tonnes of it, might be fun. At Matthew's work there is a wonderful woman named Yuri who loves cooking as much as I do, and she overheard him mention that I was thinking of doing a tapas style menu. The next day she sent him home with three cookbooks about fingerfood and tapas. One of them contained a recipe for something called "Garlic Soup."

Now the garlic soup in that book only has 3 ingredients in common with mine- olive oil, Garlic, and white wine. Besides that, I was on my own, as the recipe was NOT vegan in the least.

But I created this, and I think it turned out wonderfully. It's garlicky, flavorful in other ways, and chock full of veggies! (And wine!)

Garlic Soup- Serves 2 as a meal, or 4 as a starter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup white wine
1 cup flavorful veggie stock
5 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
3 spring onions, white parts sliced thinly, and green stalks sliced thicker and set aside.
1 large carrot, peeled into a bunch of ribbons
1 tsp chili sauce (I use Sriracha) (Optional, but it adds a nice zing)
3 cocktail tomatoes, sliced into thin slices
(Cocktail tomatoes, if you haven't heard of them, are larger than cherry tomatoes, but smaller than regular tomatoes- feel free to use either cherry tomatoes, OR smallish (bitesized) tomatoes if your store doesn't have them)

In a deep wok or saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add in the white parts of the spring onions and the garlic slices, and sautee for a minute or two, until the edges of the garlic begin to brown and your whole kitchen starts to smell like yummy garlic.   :)
Add in the white wine and stock, and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, turn it down to simmer.
Add in the carrots, and cook on simmering for about 3 minutes.
Add in the tomatoes and green parts of the onions, and the chili sauce (if using.) Cook for about 2 more minutes to cook away the raw onion taste.
Serve, and enjoy the awesome yummy surprise that is Garlic Soup! The whole cooking process takes about 10 minutes in total, and preparing all of the ingredients also takes about 10 minutes, so you could be enjoying a delicious dinner in under half an hour!

Tomato garlic goodness!

October 29, 2011

Caramelly Peanutty Apples

Hi! Big things have been happening!

First off, I got my student loan (woot) so I'm all good school wise.

Secondly! I was approved for an electronics loan to get a new computer, and there was some money leftover after I bought the new computer, SO I got to get a new camera! I got a Canon RebelXS EOS, which means that the quality of photography on this little blog should be improving! Woot!

It is crisp and fall-like in Montreal, a bit cold for my tastes, though Matthew is in heaven, as he loves colder weather. I'm a summer gal myself.

And, as the first food thing I've photographed with the new camera, I give you CARAMEL APPLES!
I am not posting a recipe, Because I just halved the recipe from Dog Hill Kitchen, and made the following minor changes: I used vanilla soy milk, and didn't add vanilla, and I made the sugar half brown and half white. That's it!

I sort of suck at making caramel apples, but I tried anyway. I can't get the hand of coating the apples right, which is why of the 8 I made, about 4 looked good, the other ones were dipped when the caramel was cooling rapidly, and thus looked choppy and such, or the caramel was too hot and slid off into the peanuts I was trying to dip them in! or in the case of one of the apples, the caramel kept bubbling so there's like burst bubbles of caramel... it's super weird.

So I picked the best looking couple, and took pictures of them. I'm sure most other people, if trying to show off their caramel apple skills would do the same thing! (Watch me defend myself!)

As for the sticks, nowhere had popsicle sticks (everyone must be making caramel apples!) So I bought a bag of coffee stirrers, and taped a few together using colorful electrical tape, and used them as my sticks. They're working out alright! It's a pretty neat alternative, even if more time consuming than just finding popsicle sticks, which, should I ever attempt this again (Christmas themed ones will probably be happening) I'll get them WELL in advance!

October 24, 2011

Sorry for the slowness, eat a salad!

Man, I am the worst blogger on the planet! Fear not, it should pick up soon, I just had a few setbacks this month, mostly dealing with trying to get student loans ironed out so I RECEIVE student loans!

I have successfully gotten the loans approved and am just waiting for it to arrive, so I can continue to go to school. In addition! I have been approved for a computer loan from the government, so I can turn in this sad little clunker (which now makes a rather concerning grinding noise when it is on) for a new streamlined machine. Worry not! Until I get that set up, I will continue to use this computer to update the blog, which should have more content very soon!

In other news, my stress over student loans made me reverse course on my healthiness, I have eaten more chips and french fries than I care to admit in the past two weeks. :(  le sad. However, I am trying to detox off of  my addiction to salty deep fried foods (my kryptonite) by spending two weeks on a sort of detox with lots of salads, veggies, brown rice, and fruit smoothies for breakfast. No fried foods, no junk foods, no candy, no refined sugars. It's a bit daunting, but I spent almost a year doing it, and didn't regret it the last time, so welcome to a healthier Natalia Eats (for the next two weeks anyway, then I will occasionally sway when I need a bit of fried tofu or something!) I will also include nutritional information from now on!

Also, welcome to my new lunch!
Cranberry Almond Spinach Salad
3 cups Spinach
1/3 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp vinegar (I used Cider, because a gross spider snuck into my balsamic, and it grossed me out so I chucked it, but I usually use balsamic)
1 tbsp dijon mustard

Combine the mustard, oil, and vinegar, and stir until combined.
Toss with the rest of the ingredients, and eat!

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 332
Fat: 18g
Carbs: 41g
Protein: 8g
Deliciousness: 8.5/10 noms

October 19, 2011

A little Simple Tiffin Lunch for your Wednesday

It's been a while since I posted a tiffin lunch, one of those 3 tiered lunches I make for Matthew.

I haven't been 100% lately, been dealing with a few life issues, and all last week Matthew was off from work, so we weren't home a lot, hence the lack of updating. I've been a terrible blogger!

In other news, I've become the editor of an academic journal for my department's graduate Journal, Word in the World. We're taking submissions for the next issue, so if you are a graduate student and have a paper, poem, story, or painting dealing with anything Theological, feel free to e-mail it to me! (If it is a painting or photo, or photo of a work of art, make it as high resolution as possible!) Click here to do so!

Back from plugging my new job, here's the food!

Deconstructed Sushi and Salad Tiffin

Layer 1

Spinach Salad
Enough Spinach to almost fill the tiffin
A small handful of peels from a carrot
A small handful of Dried Cranberries

Layer the salad with spinach on the bottom, carrot, and then craisins. 

Layer 2
Cranberry Cherry Salad Dressing
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp cranberry cocktail
1 tbsp black cherry juice
(I had a bottle of cranberry cherry juice, so I used 2 tbsp of that)
some snow peas for bottom of container

In a small container with a screw on lid, put all of the dressing ingredients. Shake vigorously until all the ingredients are combined. 

Layer 3
Deconstructed Sort of Sushi
1 cup Rice Mix
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 small onion, diced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp tamari
the peels from a small carrot
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 sheet nori, shredded
1/4 cup tofu, diced into tiny dices
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp tamari
Sprinkles of sesame seeds or rice seasoning

Mix together the Rice mix and 1 tbsp rice vinegar, set aside.
Pour the other vinegar into a bowl, and add the carrot peels. Set aside.
In 2 small bowls, mix up the separate sesame oils and tamari. Add the tofu to one bowl, and the onion to another. Mix them well. 
In a small non-stick frying pan, fry up the tofu mixture.
Once cooked, mix together with the rice and shredded nori. Press into bottom of container.
Cook up the onions in the same frying pan. 
Drain the carrot peels, layer the carrots with the onions on top of the sushi, and top with the sesame seeds or rice seasoning. 

That's it! Tadaa!

October 17, 2011

Awesome Rice Mixture

I make a lot of things with rice. I can't help it, I love rice. I spose it comes back to my childhood, when my mom only really knew how to cook Thai food, so we ate lots and lots of rice. It has been hard coded into my DNA, I'm sure.

However, I feel quite unhealthy eating only white rice, as it's not as healthy as normal rice, but brown rice isn't my favorite.

So I  make this rice mixture, and it works out quite nicely with a balance of healthy and delicious. It's great in stirfries, with curries and chilies, in sushi, and can be kept in the fridge for a few days as well.

Natalia's 3-Grain rice mixture
1 cup jasmine rice
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup white quinoa
3 cups water

There are 2 options- rice cooker and on the stove. The rice cooker is easy. Combine all of the ingredients into the rice cooker, and set to cook. Done.
On a stove, combine the 3 ingredients in a saucepot with a tight fitting lid. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once it boils, reduce heat to lowest setting, and cover, letting it cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10-15 minutes, fluffing with a fork afterwards.

October 11, 2011

Easy Citrus Quinoa

Hi there! Not much story wise today, just a recipe! I had a busy day filled with nothing overly exciting or story worthy, so just a recipe of what I ate for dinner!


Easy Citrus Quinoa
3 Cups cooked quinoa
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cucumber, diced
juice and zest from 2 oranges
3 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Mix together all of the ingredients.
Garnish with cilantro or parsley if desired!

That's it!

October 9, 2011

How to Kludge a Pizza

So when you're gluten free and vegan, one of the first things that tends to go is Pizza. Which is sad, for me, because Pizza is awesome!

You can put all sorts of things on it, eat it while walking, share it with friends... It's just delicious. As a child we never had much pizza, so it was always a biiiig treat when we did, usually once in the summer at this one place in Ocean City, NJ, called Mack and Manco's Pizza. Awesome Pizza.

However, even as a child I was never really satisfied, because I had very specific things I liked and didn't like on pizza. I was never a huge meat person, so all I ever wanted were veggies- pineapple, mushrooms and olives to be precise. But we always got pepperoni because I was outvoted. 

But HA! I'm an adult now, I can eat whatever pizza I want! 

I need to apologize about the following photos, they aren't very good, but it was late, I was laughing while I took them, and it was more to get Matthew with our pizza creation, not to get a great pizza shot. 

So! How to kludge a pizza. If you're lucky, like I am, there might be a pizza place in your neighborhood that has gluten free crusts. (I am lucky!) If you aren't gluten free, this still works, and becomes easier because you can just order a normal pizza. Order whatever toppings you want, and then ask for it WITHOUT cheese. 

Next, wait. 

When it arrives, rip open a package of Daiya Mozzarella, OR grate your favorite vegan cheese block, and sprinkle generously on top. 

Then rebake that sucker under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned. 

Remove from oven, and eat. 

Eat good people, and remember the joys of pizza! 

October 3, 2011

Gettin in Shape, and A Cheesy Soup

I am no stranger to weight loss/getting in shape. In fact, I once lost 70 lb in one year, which was pretty much my most memorable attribute in many people's eyes. In fact, I saw a friend's father recently, who hadn't seen me in the six years since I left highschool, and his only comment was "Natalia! You shrunk!".

Yes, many a year ago (okay, 3 years ago) I weighed over 200lb, was sort of known as the jolly chubby sister/friend, and ate horribly. Then I found veganism (Cue magic music) and in a year of eating wholesome vegan balanced meals, and exercising, I dropped 70lb. (See Photo. As an aside to the photo, I enjoy that my taste in eye wear doesn't seem to alter)

However, that was a year ago, and I've gotten a bit lax and gained back a bit of the weight (nothing major, like 20lb in a year) Curse my love of potato chips and french fries! (I'm a deep fried potato nut!)

This wouldn't really be much of a problem, because I'm not obese, just slightly chunky, and I'm fairly happy with myself, however next July looms an EVENT.

I'm getting Married. In a big wedding (150 people, which might not be huge for weddings, but it's big for me!), and everyone's eyes will be on me, and I'll have camera flashing away for an entire day. I don't like being the center of attention in the best of times, but when there's cameras involved to document it? Freak out.

So, starting today I've begun my new "no junk food and perhaps exercise you lazy bum" get in shape routine to lose that 20lb again. Maybe 30. But no more than that (I think I'd start to look really weird, because I have a large ribcage, I'd be all ribcage!)

So for exercise today, I did a solid 20 minute cardio and ab circuit, and sat down to try to come up with some healthy veggieful recipes that would be filling and delicious. And wouldn't you know it, I had made one this weekend?
Cauliflower Carrot Cheese Soup
Makes about 6 Servings
1 Medium Head of Cauliflower, chopped into pieces
3 Medium sized carrots, chopped into pieces
3 Cups water with a bouillon cube or 3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup Daiya Cheddar
Non Dairy Milk
Freshly ground salt and pepper

In a large pot, bring the Water with bouillon or stock to boil.
Add in the Cauliflower and carrots, cooking until softened.
Allow the soup to cool for about 15 minutes.
Blend the soup in a blender until creamy. You may have to do this in portions, and add a bit of Non-dairy milk to smooth it out and reach the desired consistency.
Return the soup to the pot, and add in the cup of Daiya.
On medium heat, stir the soup until the Daiya melts into it.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and Enjoy!
Anyone else trying to get healthier?

As an aside, any larger breasted women looking for a good exercise bra, I would check out this one. It's the one I use, I've had it for over 6 months, and it still works great!