Vitamix: Day 14 / Simple Hot Chocolate

There are a lot of recipes for delicious hot chocolate on the internet.  For instance, Vegan Hot Cocoa by Elana’s Pantry.  However, I’m lazy, so I used 2 things:  chocolate, and milk.

I used 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk and this much chocolate:

That’s 70% dark chocolate and I am a crazy person.  Let’s just say it was… excessively rich.  It was probably a little over 1/4 cup of chocolate.  Did I mention I am a crazy person?

Mix it up in the Vitamix until it’s hot.  Or you can do what I did to save energy and time and cheat by mixing it, then heating it up on the stove, and then mixing it again so it’s nice and frothy.

I sure as hell wish I had some damn marshmallows.

Vitamix: Day 12 / Candy Cane Latte

I decided the candy cane latte idea sounded pretty good after all.

Candy Cane Latte

1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup brewed coffee
2 tbsp crushed peppermint candy canes

Mix on high until hot!

This is delicious.  I put a huge blob of whipped cream on top (made with a couple drops of peppermint extract) and it immediately melted.  Photography failure.

Sugar & caffeine high time!

Vitamix: Day 8 / Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream

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I was going to make pesto for a late dinner after Dan got home from his hockey game.  Except he went to the grocery store and they had no basil, so we just whipped up a quick stir fry instead.

And then I totally cheated, I made basically the same thing as I made on Friday.  Except this time it was strawberry chocolate ice cream. Strawberries instead of raspberries, dark chocolate almond milk instead of regular, and 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips added.  Delicious!

Vitamix: Day 6 / Raspberry Chocolate Ice Cream

It’s 2°C and I was walking around outside in the cold all afternoon, so ice cream.

What?  Nevermind.

I tried the vanilla ice cream from the Vitamix book, but it came out tasting like… nothing.  Ice. Probably because the main ingredient is ice.  So I decided to use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes.

Raspberry Chocolate Ice Cream
Makes 1 serving. 

1 1/4 cup raspberries
A few squares of extra dark chocolate (I used about 1tbsp total)
2 tbsp almond milk
Sweetener to taste (if you want – I didn’t use any)

Mix everything in the blender.  Top with chocolate chips (optional but highly awesome).

I have eaten so much fruit since I bought my Vitamix it’s crazy.

Vitamix: Day 5 / Gingerbread Latte

It’s December 1st, which means CHRISTMAS.

I try not to get all festive until December 1st, but damnit, it’s hard.  (And I cheated.  I started listening to Christmas music on the 28th.)  We are finally “allowed” to put up our dorky little tree and a few lights.  My boyfriend says there’s no point in decorating when neither of us are home during the holidays.  He’s probably right, but CHRISTMAS.

VITAMIXMAS.  I noticed that the Vitamix cookbook has a recipe for pumpkin lattes, but I’m so over pumpkin this year, so I was trying to think about what kind of Christmasy latte I could make instead.  Maybe candy cane?  Or egg nog?  Then I saw a post on Chocolate Covered Katie about gingerbread lattes.  YESSSSSSS.

I haven’t had coffee in a while, because I wasn’t sure if the caffeine was bad for my autoimmune issues.  But screw it, because CHRISTMAS.

This recipe is basically a mixture of Katie‘s and Vitamix’s.

Gingerbread Latte

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup hot brewed coffee
1 1/2 tsp blackstrap molasses
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cane sugar

  1. Put all ingredients in the Vitamix.  Turn onto variable 1, quickly increase to 10 and then high.  Run until hot (about 5-7 minutes).

Don’t do what I did and leave it on and then walk away to do something else because this will happen:

It probably would have been more awesome with a mountain of whipped cream, but it was delicious!  Much better after last night’s sauce disaster.

CHRISTMAS!

Vitamix: Day 3 / Hummus

I met with a sleep specialist yesterday afternoon to discuss the results of a sleep study I did a few weeks ago.  My doctor wanted to see if I have sleep apnea that’s contributing to my fatigue.

The sleep study was a really weird experience.  I had to go at 8pm and then sit in my room for about 2 hours while I could hear other people snoring and/or watching Two and a Half Men from their (every 5 seconds:  *laugh track* “MENNNNNNN“).  Eventually it was my turn, and then I had stuff glued all over my head and chest and tubes stuck up my nose.  I had to sleep on my back and basically try not to move so the nose-tubes didn’t tickle and block me from breathing.  They woke me up at 5am after a horrible night’s sleep and I walked home with globs of white glue all over my head.

And I don’t have sleep apnea!  He says I could have narcolepsy, except I don’t have some major symptoms and my sleep study was normal, so probably not.  He said I should fix all my autoimmune-related problems and then call him if I still have trouble with fatigue and sleepiness so he can do more tests.  HUMMUS.

Sorry, I couldn’t think of a good segue.  Hummus.  I made some.  With my Vitamix.

But first, I had a smoothie for breakfast, with:

  • 1 orange, peeled (blended first to make juice)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 big handful baby spinach

This is basically the best smoothie I’ve ever had.  NO SPINACH CHUNKS!  It had the consistency of Booster Juice.  So awesome.

The hummus was good too.  Filling!  Adapted from one of the Vitamix recipes.

Hummus

  • 1 19oz can chick peas, about half of the liquid drained
  • 1.5 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp raw sesame seeds
  • 1 garlic clove (peeled)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • salt to taste
  1. Place all ingredients in the Vitamix except salt.
  2. Select variable 1, turn on, quickly increase to 10 and then switch to High.
  3. Blend for 1 minute, using the tamper to press the ingredients down.
  4. Add salt to taste.

Sorry, Beast (that’s what I’ve named my Vitamix, by the way), but next time I’d probably use the food processor.  It was a bit difficult to get the hummus out of the bottom of the container, so I ended up wasting quite a bit.  But I still love you.

I have a weird burst of energy today.

Vitamix: Day 2 / Hot Apple Cider

I have to admit that I haven’t been feeling better.  Not since seeing my new doctor, not since taking a bunch of new supplements and hormones (although, my mood has improved and my depression is gone!).  In fact, last week I got so itchy all over that I couldn’t sleep.  I had no idea what was causing it, so I stopped taking everything except my thyroid medication to see if I was having a reaction to something.  It didn’t go away, so now I’m itchy AND I’m not taking my supplements.

I know I’m on the right track to getting healthy, but it’s hard staying positive and patient when I want to feel better RIGHT NOW.

I’ve been so fatigued all the time, I am moving at 1/4 speed.  I really have to force myself not to get trapped in the same cycle of being too tired to prepare meals –> eating crap –> feeling worse because my diet is terrible –> return to step 1.  I have been eating mostly carbs, carbs, carbs.

I need to get back on the right track.  Tomorrow.  Today I wanted to make a really easy comfort food, so I made hot apple cider.

I used:

  • 1 Honeycrisp apple, cored
  • Hot water
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Put the apples in first and blend until they’re a mushy goo.  Add water to reach desired consistency.  I used 1 cup; any more would have been too watery.  Add cinnamon and blend for 3-4 minutes, or until it’s hot.

The result:

One extremely distinguished glass of hot apple cider.

I don’t mind the pulp; in fact, I hardly noticed it BECAUSE THE VITAMIX IS SO AWESOME.

I vow to make things with more than 1 ingredient from now on.  Maybe.  Probably.

Happy Halloween / Best Pumpkin Seeds Ever

Happy Halloween!

This is my favourite time of year.  Autumn means cool weather (my favourite) (note that I said “cool” and not “cold”; winter, I’m looking at you), pretty trees, Thanksgiving, my birthday, Halloween, and then, eventually, Christmas!

We had a small Halloween party on Saturday.  We carved these pumpkins on Friday night:

After carving the pumpkins, Dan looked up a new pumpkin seed recipe since ours never turn out.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Adapted from Simply Recipes.

Ingredients
Pumpkin
Salt
Water
Peanut Oil

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut open a pumpkin and use a strong metal spoon to scoop out the insides. Separate and rinse the seeds.
  2. In a saucepan, add the seeds to water; enough to cover the seeds and a bit more. Add salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. (NOTE: The original recipe called for 2 cups of water per half cup of seeds and half a tablespoon of salt for every cup of water, so you can use those measurements if you want to be more precise.  We had way too many seeds for that.)
  3. Put the seeds on a baking sheet and add just enough peanut oil to coat the seeds.  Stir with a wooden spoon (or your hands!) until the oil is spread evenly.  Spread the seeds into a single layer on the baking sheet.  Bake until the seeds begin to brown, about 10 minutes, then stir.  Bake for another 5-10 minutes.  When browned to your satisfaction, remove from the oven and let cool.

THESE WERE THE BEST PUMPKIN SEEDS I’VE EVER HAD.

Boiling the seeds in salt water before roasting was the key to this whole operation.  The other important thing was the oil.  We’ve always used extra virgin olive oil.  I don’t know if EVOO’s lower smoke point has anything to do with why the seeds burnt or didn’t taste very good in previous years, but when we used peanut oil they tasted fantastic and not burnt at all.

YUM.

Ride for Heart 2011

I did it!

I was lying in bed Saturday afternoon, surrounded by kleenex, too tired to move.  I called my mom and said, “I don’t want to do 50km… let’s just do 25.” I haven’t recovered from my cold, and I was feeling more like lying in bed watching Netflix than biking.

Then I woke up yesterday morning and decided, “screw it… I’m doing 50km.”

I sniffled my way through the route with my parents and finished 45.23km (cheaters, that’s not 50km!) in 2:40:02 at a pace of 3:32 min/km and an average speed of 17 km/hr.

Slow, but not too shabby for a sick person who hasn’t been able to exercise for a while.  We only stopped twice and I didn’t walk up any of the hills like I saw a lot of people doing.

Here’s a map of the route from my Garmin Forerunner:

I wanted to share a recipe that I used to make bars for the ride.  This is one of my favourite recipes ever.  I’m not clear on how oats fit into the gluten/gluten-free thing, but I bought some Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Rolled Oats and decided to give it a whirl.

Peanut Butter Energy Bars

1.5 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup ground flax
1/4 cup sesame seeds
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp natural cane sugar

1. In a large bowl, mix oats, flax, sesame seeds, and coconut.  Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan over low to medium heat, mix together brown rice syrup, peanut butter, vanilla, and sugar.  Stir frequently until peanut butter is melted, colour is consistent, and it just starts to boil.  Be careful not to burn it.
3. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir well.
4. Spread into a 9×9″ pan and put in the fridge until it’s hardened (about an hour).  Cut into 16 sections.

The mixture is really sticky, so I usually spread it into the pan and then cover it with plastic wrap and use my hands to squish it all down.  I like the silicone pans because you can just pop out the whole thing later to cut it.

I was running low on time, so I just snapped a crappy picture:

Super delicious.  I brought them on the bike ride to share with people on my team – everyone loved them!

One last thing… my herbs are out of control.

You can kind of see the difference from a week and a half ago.  Now I have to learn how to use herbs in cooking.