WIAW: The Lunchbox Edition

Oooh!

Guess what! I remember to take pics of all of my meals after writing it on my to-do list everyday for like 2 weeks… what’s the use of a to-do list if you never use it to remember “to-do” anything?!

Actually, I make very good use of my lists I just never look at them before 7:30 am so my breakfast is usually a distant memory by then. I had so much fun doing my first WIAW post about a typical home-office day I wanted to do one for a day on site. Not to mention I totally dropped the ball on Peas & Crayons’ link up last time. Maybe I should add “link up” to my to-do list today.. hmm..

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The majority of the time I have to pack a lunch to keep me fueled from the time I leave the house at 7:15 am (5:30 if I’m hitting the gym – eek!) and return at 6-7 pm, depending on what time I get to the gym after work.

I always eat breakfast at home because my belly is growling when my feet hit the floor then I’m dining on the road until dinner. Here’s a look into what I ate this Monday while on the job:

Breakfast: My first “oats in the bottom of a nut butter jar” (AMAZING)
~1.5 tbsp almond butter, 1/2 cup cooked oats, 1 tsp cinnamon,
1 tbsp maple syrup, handful blueberries

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Morning Snack:
Peppermint Stick LUNA bar + Cara Cara Orange

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Lunch: Buffalo Cauliflower Salad
huge handful spinach, 1/4 cucumber, few grape tomatoes, 1/2 cup buffalo cauliflower,
1/2 cup green garbanzo beans + 1 tbsp Goddess Dressing (watered down)

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Afternoon Snack: Veg+Hummus
1/2 cup baby carrots, 1/2 cup broccoli + 2 tbsp hummus
(oops, almost didn’t get a pic…)

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Pre-gym: The ushe 😉
Hey, if it ain’t broke…

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Dinner: Buffalo Cauliflower Tortilla Pizza
1 brown rice tortilla, 1/3 cup pizza sauce, handful spinach, few mushrooms,
1/2 tomato, 1/2 cup buffalo cauli, heaping 1/4 cup Daiya mozzarella + side garden salad

I made a batch of the cauliflower on the weekend… don’t judge 😉

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Evening Snack: Yogurt bowl + homemade water kefir
1/2 cup So Delicious coconut yogurt, 1/2 tbsp almond butter,
2 tbsp brown rice crisp cereal, 1/4 cup blueberries

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Along with 3-4 litres of water, that’s a wrap!

In case you’re wondering, which I’m all of the non-veggies are, my total protein intake for the day was 68 g. I’ve been using My Fitness Pal to do a little experimenting and I’m loving it!

It’s recommended to get 9-10% of your daily calorie intake from protein and I average about 12%. Check out this post for more details on your true protein requirements 🙂

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Click here to see what other bloggers are chowing down on this week!

Did you eat anything interesting this week?
What’s the ushe in your lunchbox?

Liz xo

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Winter Staycation + Traditional Stew

Hey 🙂

How was your weekend? Mine was exactly what I needed… a few evenings at home to reset and recharge.

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Valentine’s Day was just what I’d hoped for; a lovely dinner at Brewbaker’s with my sweetheart featuring Thai Vermicelli, the signature vegan dish available upon request, and a glass of vino. Did you know one rose means I love you? ❤

Dinner was followed by a relaxing evening at home with chocolates, more wine, and this little party animal passing out by 10:30 😉

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The good news? My BodyStep instructor told me that’s the secret: start early and end early. You can have just as much fun and still make it to Step the next morning… lol

Regardless, I still felt abnormally exhausted all day Saturday. I guess it was just the busy week and previous social weekends catching up with me. We were originally supposed to head to Salisbury for the night to see Meag before she went back to the west coast but the weather was having none of that. After Friday’s weather bomb covered us in snow and freezing rain, another storm hit Saturday night that buried us again.

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Anticipating the storm, we and decided to stick close to home, spending Saturday shopping around and running some errands. A little staycation actually sounded pretty good since I clearly needed some time to recharge.

I bought a new winter jacket which I desperately needed. It seems I only own long coats and one warm jacket which I wear to work so it smells like pulpmill… Mmm.. this super light, down alternative jacket will be perfect for to-and-from and is unbelievably warm. I was skeptical about the colour at first but the lovely lady at the Radical Edge convinced me it was a good choice. She was right. Thanks Kaylee 😉

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Since we were snowed in for most of the day on Sunday I decided it was the perfect day for some housework I’d been putting off. Most people would consider this laundry, sweeping & dishes….

Child’s play. I was ready to clean & organize my fridge and drawers. Don’t judge. I like clean.

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I also made a big pot of traditional-style stew which filled our apartment with the smell of “home”. It was the perfect comfort food for a cold, wintery Sunday evening.

I usually make something like my Spicy Sweet Potato Tofu Stew but went the more “traditional” route this time. By traditional I mean the kind of stew my mom used to make with beef and lots of root veggies. By “traditional” I mean tofu in place of beef 😉

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If you’ve never added tofu to your veggie stew you’re missing out! It absorbs the flavour of the broth, spices, & veggies and gets oh so soft in the slow cooker…. omnomnom!

I bet you want the recipe, don’t you? If you’re an Atlantic Canadian you can totally appreciate this kind of soul warming goodness! If you’re living some place that you’re not buried in snow, you might not be as excited to dig in to a big hot bowl of stew. For my fellow east coasters, here’s what’s in the Crockpot:

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“Traditional” Stew with Tofu

Serves approx. 8

  • 2 medium sweet potato
  • 3 medium white potato
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 small turnip
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 block tofu, pressed
  • 2 cartons veggie broth
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp thyme, dried
  • 2 tbsp oregano, dried
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Chop your veggies and add all ingredients to a large slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. My Crockpot was FULL so it needed the entire 8 hours.

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This is a dish best served the following day. I would almost recommend NOT eating it the day of, and waiting to enjoy it when the flavours are fully incorporated.

I’m thinking about another WIAW post this week if I can remember to photograph my meals before I devour them 😉 Stay tuned!

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So how about you…

Are you sick of the snow yet?
Are you a fan of homemade stews?

Liz xo

WIAW: So, what DO you eat?

Since going veg, I get asked all the time: What DO you eat?

Reaching my current lifestyle has been a slow process. I’ve made small but significant changes over the past 6 years and I was a very healthy eater before going completely plant-based last spring. The only major difference between then and now  is that I don’t eat any of the small amounts of chicken and fish I used to eat, I replaced my dairy products with dairy-free alternatives (in moderation) – Daiya, So Delicious, Tofutti, etc. – and I cut out eggs.

I probably eat a wider variety of foods than the average person, I definitely don’t have a problem getting enough calories, and I certainly have my fair share of sweet & savoury treats.

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There’s just something about the words plant-based and vegan that make people think you’re restricting yourself. The truth is that this lifestyle has been just the opposite, introducing me to a whole new world of food, health, & wellness possibilities!

Though it sometimes surprises me to be asked, “what DO I eat?”, a few years ago I would have asked my future-self the same question. SO, regardless of being a veg-head, what do I eat as part of a healthy, balanced diet to maintain my weight and feel good in my skin?

What gives me the energy to get through my crazy week of work, exercise, blogging, cooking, socializing, and bachelor watching?!

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I’ve been a huge fan of What I Ate Wednesday posts from the bloggers I regularly follow. I love knowing what my inspirations eat on a daily basis when they aren’t posting delicious recipes & product reviews. Here is my very first WIAW post, brought to you by my last home-office Friday:

Breakfast: Pumpkin Oats
1/2 cup oats, 1/3 cup pure pumpkin, 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
topped with 2 tbsp hemp granola, 1/2 tbsp almond butter & a little almond milk

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Mid-morning snack: banana + protein drink
1 scoop chocolate Sunwarrior, 1 tbsp raw cacao powder, 1 cup almond milk

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Lunch: Cafe Loka date with my boy
Vegan Your Day: Scrambled tofu w/ potatoes, veggies & spices w/ toast & side salad
black bean brownie for dessert (covered in almond butter when I got home ;).. )

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Afternoon snacks:
Almond Joy Energy Balls
handful of baby carrots + 2 tbsp hummus

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Dinner: The Big Vegan Bowl
greens topped w/ carrot, tomato, quinoa, avocado, hummus, & roasted chickpeas & sweet potato

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Evening Snack:
DIY water kefir & a {vegan} Pumpkin Quinoa Muffin

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So there you have it! A day of simple, healthy plant-based eats, at home & at a restaurant (for more tips on eating out, check out my post on Vegging Out at Conventional Restaurants).

What are some healthy weekday eats you’ve been into lately??

Liz xo

Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

Ok, ok, ok…

So I was going to wait until next week to share this recipe but I just can’t stand the wait! I am far too excited! Even though these things are all over Pinterest I’ve been asked about my recipe several times since sharing the photos on Instagram & Twitter.

I have to give Ryan 100% of the credit for this one. He suggested making them earlier this week after seeing a picture and I was all like, “ahhh, naww, I won’t like that”. I told him to go ahead and make them but I’d be making something else as well.

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I don’t particularly like buffalo sauce. When I was still eating meat I would order a buffalo chicken sandwich with hot sauce instead of buffalo sauce. I never liked any kind of chicken wings and I was not a fan of buffalo chicken pizza. Needless to say, I was not going to care for buffalo cauliflower. Right?

ERRR- Wrong!

This is definitely one of the more simplified versions I’ve seen. The flour-water mixture gives it a “breaded” texture that sort of mimics chicken wings – hence Ryan’s interest. He looked at a few recipes online then just winged it (no pun intended) to get the taste & consistency he wanted. I’m impressed.

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Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

Makes enough sauce for 2 heads of cauliflower. Option to reserve half the sauce and bake the second head at a later time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour (whole wheat works too!)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 cup buffalo sauce
  • 2 heads of cauliflower

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 F
  2. Combine flour, water, oil and about 1/3 cup buffalo sauce in a large bowl.
  3. Toss cauliflower florets until evenly coated.
  4. Spread onto a lightly greased (or parchment lined) baking sheets and bake 7 min.
  5. Remove from oven then toss cauliflower in an additional 1/4-1/3 cup buffalo sauce (each head) depending on taste preference.
  6. Return to baking sheet and bake another 5 min.

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You can eat these as a snack, an appetizer, a dinner side, or in the form of the many foods you may have never liked… for example:

Buffalo cauliflower pizza (portobello-pizza style)…

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Or buffalo cauliflower sandwiches or pitas…

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I can’t wait to make these for friends this Friday!!!

Have you ever surprised yourself  with a food you thought you wouldn’t like?

Have you tried buffalo cauliflower?

Liz xo

Traveling Fit

We’ve all said it…

…when traveling and away from our normal routine… convinced that there is no hope…

“Next week is a write off for me”

“It’s impossible to eat healthy on the road”

But really what we’re saying is… “I can’t be bothered put forth the effort to stay on track while I’m away”. I know this is true because I’ve both let my self go and stayed on track while away. It’s always a choice.

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This year I promised myself that work trips would no longer throw me off my game. I do find I usually overeat a little while traveling because my schedule is different (time changes, longer days, etc.) BUT I am sure to only overeat the good stuff like fruit & veggies!

This week I found myself in a very small town for a work trip. My motel didn’t have a gym and there wasn’t a veggie-friendly restaurant in site. I mean not even a franchise where I could get a decent salad. Here’s how I got through the week…

My first night in town I went to a grocery store and got a haul of plant power for lunches and snacks for the upcoming days. I was pretty lucky that they had such a good selection for a small spot.

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I planned on having fruit, nuts & bars for snacks but since the only lunch option near our work site was a pizza place, I had to get creative. My options at the “meals to go” section of the grocery store were pretty slim but luckily they had pre-cut veggies, hummus and Tofurkey deli slices! Believe it or not, this was a satisfying, filling lunch topped of with some fresh, local berries.

Lunch Tofurkey Wraps

My veggie wraps may seem a little weird but there was actually a recipe on the back of the package for asparagus wrapped in Tofurkey with mustard. So there you go… not that weird at all 😉

For breakfast we did Dunkin Donuts. I got plain oatmeal without milk and added half a banana or some blueberries a packet of PB.

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Dinner was at a local family restaurant. No veggie options on the menu but I asked if they could make me a veggie wrap with Italian dressing and a side salad. They even offered to grill the veggies and it was delicious (no pic to avoid being weird with my co-workers).

On my way home after my last day I stopped at my go-to spot for travel meals – Superstore! Unfortunately they didn’t have any veggie sushi or soup and I was sick of raw carrots. What’s a vegan girl to do? I bought some Pacifica butternut squash soup, grabbed a to-go soup bowl and heated it in the microwave in the dining area. Their salads are always amazing (so thankful!) so I was pretty happy with this 🙂

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Meal challenge accepted and completed!

But what about workouts?! How would I survive without a gym in a small motel room? Fortunately there was a community fitness center down the road.. unfortunately by the time I was able to workout it was closed. I remembered the Living Room Workout from Go Fit Gals and though it was a little cozy, it got the job done.

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I made two changes:

  1. Held my full suit case in my arms during lunges for an added challenge
  2. Subbed reverse flys for rows so I could use my suitcase

I did 100 high knees to warm up then repeated the circuit 4 times. I was in a serious sweat 30 minutes later…

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The second night I had a chance to check out the community center. It was amazing! They had everything you can imagine for weight training plus a martial arts room in the back. The room wasn’t in use so the guy at the desk let me plug in my iPhone and rock out for the next hour.

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I was in fitness heaven. I wanted to workout forever because I had so much equipment and space at my disposal! However, I remembered how many stairs I was running during the workdays and figured I better not get too excited 😉

I did my own circuit which I’ll be sharing for Fit Friday tomorrow (stay tuned!) and followed it with my Arm Sweat HIIT on the Stairmaster. I forgot how much I love the old school 4000PT. No wait time to increase intensity. Arm. Sweat!

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I was pretty proud of myself at the end of the trip. It would have been really easy to order the sweet potato fries that our waitress suggested as “healthy” or sit back with a beer instead of working out. But as my mom always said… Nothing worth having comes easy. 

There has never been a more true statement for me ❤

So next time you’re traveling and think you have no choice but to fall off the wagon, remember you DO have a choice and it’s up to you to make the fit one 🙂

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Being healthy & fit isn’t a trend. It’s not a diet, a term, or an event. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a wellness journey 🙂

Liz xo

Lizzie Fit in the Kitch

Hey Friends 🙂

Welcome to the week! Hope you all had a lovely weekend and are feeling refreshed and ready to ninja kick your to-do lists and workout plans for this week.

I was lucky enough to have a weekend with my family for the third time this summer! They stopped in for a couple of days in the middle of a mini-vacation and we spent our time taking in some local sights and a few indulgences 😉

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Some of my top favorite things about summer:

  • Dining al fresco
  • Ice cold summer ales
  • Flowy dresses & shorts
  • The best excuse to vacation & relax ❤

All points were covered this weekend and then some 🙂

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I wanted to have some treats around the house for my visitors so I decided to get domestic in the kitchen last week. I made these sweet potato brownies that I’ve been meaning to try for a long time. I subbed pure pumpkin for the sweet potato and used a flax-egg to make them vegan. They were alright but didn’t turn out as authentic tasting as I’d hoped. I think the pumpkin-sub was the problem :/

Fortunately, I could enjoy anything covered in almond butter 😉

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I’ll try them again soon using sweet potatoes since the starch is what’s supposed to allow for the reduced oil and fat content. Womp!  If anyone gives the linked recipe a try please let me know how it goes.

On a better note, the zucchini bread turned out pretty decent! This was an attempt at veganizing a classic recipe which resulted in something that wasn’t even CLOSE to the original but I like that it was my own ❤

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The weird thing about it… it was SO much better a few days later at room temperature with some Earth Balance on it. Mom said she thought it was pretty good but not as light and fluffy as she’d prefer.

I can share the recipe on the blog if anyone likes but it still needs some work. This was attempt #2 which was a thousand times better than my first try a few weeks ago so I think I’m getting the hang of this 😉

The highlight of my domestic endeavors this weekend, however, was definitely the pizza dip!

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Not that this took any amount of skill to produce but it still felt risky since I was making it for non-vegans. One of my very first roommates in university used to make the most bomb-@$$ pizza dip for parties and we would kill it (shout out to Krista!). I’ve had her recipe for years but never made it even before being vegan because I knew it wouldn’t end well… not for me or the dip.

The result of the vegan version? Well, my mom and I devoured that entire pan and felt no shame. No dairy, no meat, and Que Pasa tortila chips. Where’s the harm in that? 😉

I was asked by Tofutti to share a recipe using one of their products to feature on their blog and I think this is it! That means I can’t share it on my blog but I can link to it when the post goes live. I can’t wait for an excuse to make it again!

Despite all of this indulging, of course I kept it clean for the most part. They don’t call me Lizzie Fit for nothin 😉

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Through the week I usually go for 90-95% clean eats and on the weekends I cut myself some slack. My “unclean” percentage would consist of things like non-dairy cheese and coconut yogurt since they have quite a bit of additives.

On a typical Saturday I stick to juices, smoothies, fruit & salads until dinner then treat myself to a few drinks and/or something a little more indulgent at dinner. However, I always make a point NOT to overeat. I honestly just hate the feeling of being too full.

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My advice is to pick your battles… if you plan on having more than a drink or two, eat a clean dinner. If you plan on having a delicious vegan pizza dip for a late night snack, limit your beer and choose something light for dinner. We all overdo it sometimes but don’t let that be a reason to call it quits. I may have had an extra few hundred calories on the weekend (hey, I’m only human) but I was sure to jump back in head first on Monday morning.

Balance is the key to success with this healthy lifestyle thing. None of us are perfect and none of us want to live boring, restrictive lives. If you are struggling to reach this place of balance, check out my post on Getting There. Once you reach your goal, maintenance is half the battle. Promise 🙂

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Stay tuned for attempt #3 at my vegan zucchini bread which I have a pretty good feeling about. In the meantime, I’ll be back with a post later this week on keeping fit on the road when you think you have no choice!

Have a fit & healthy week ❤

Liz xo

Cranberry Almond Power Bars

I love having grab & go foods in my fridge! It minimizes lunch prep time in the evenings and provides convenient work snacks when I’m busy or in the car. Bars and muffins are perfect pre- or post-workout snacks and even make a good bedtime treat. Since most store bought grab & go fare is full of additives and preservatives, I try to make a batch of protein bars or muffins when I prep for the week.

I should have named these the Boyfriend Bars because they’re the first homemade protein bar my boyfriend actually liked! I tweaked a recipe I found from Passionate Homemaking to suit what I had on hand and the results were amazing. I devoured one of these babies every morning for a week straight 😉

Cranberry Almond Power Bars

Makes 16 bars

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 1/4 pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup medium unsweetened coconut
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted*
  • ¼ cup agave
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 5 squares dark chocolate, melted with 1 tbsp almond milk for topping

Directions:

  1. In small sauce pan, begin heating the coconut oil on low to melt it.
  2. In a food processor, combine almonds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, cranberries, coconut and almond butter. Pulse for ~30 seconds.
  3. When  oil is melted, add agave and vanilla to the sauce pan and mix completely. Add the mixture to the food processor and pulse until a coarse “batter” is formed.
  4. Press the batter into an 8 x 13 baking pan or a couple of glass containers. I used two of my 8 x 5 salad containers. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours until batter is “set” (i.e. hard enough to not crumble when adding your chocolate topping)
  5. When the batter is set, melt your chocolate with almond milk in a double boiler or microwave. Spoon over the bars and spread evenly.
  6. Refrigerate for at least another 20 mins before cutting. Makes ~16 squares depending on what size satisfies your morning snack attack 😉

*NOTE: Do not skimp on coconut oil! I used 1/3 cup for my first batch and it seemed too oily. I cut back to 1/4 cup the second time and the bars were crumbling apart when I tried to cut them. I measured this before melting.

Estimated Nutrition Stats (16 bars): Calories: 275, Fat: 22 g, Protein 6 g, Carbs: 15 g

This sounds like a lot of fat but compared to most store bought bars the carb content is half! Keep it mind it’s all healthy fats and this is a complete whole foods source. Healthy fats are good for weight loss, brain and heart function, and protect against numerous illnesses and ailments. But we’ll save that rant for another day 😉

Enjoy!

Liz xo