Maple Chai Oatmeal with Caramelized Figs

Recipe Quickie today, but I just had to share my breakfast this morning! I heard somewhere that you could roast figs the same way as marshmallows, and wellll, I had just a little too much fun with that this morning:) It was delicious. One of those “oh my holy goodness this is amazing” breakfasts.

It really deserves a fancier post with better pictures (not “its 6 am, I’m hungry, and I’m gonna be late for school photos” ๐Ÿ™‚ ). But you deserve to delight your tastebuds before that happens:)

Maple Chai Oatmeal with Caramelized Figs

  • 1/4 C. old fashioned oats
  • 3 T. Quinoa flakes
  • 1/2 T. ground flax seed
  • 1/2 T. chia seed
  • 1 1/2 C. water
  • 2 chai tea bags
  • splash of almond milk
  • 1 Tbs. almond butter
  • 1/4 tsp maple extract
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • dash of cinnamon
  • sweetener to taste
  • 1/2 banana
  • 4 figs

The night before, soak your tea bags in water and place it in the fridge to get really strong overnight. In the morning, combine your oats, flakes, flax and chia in a small pot, and add the chai and almond milk. Let it cook, and once it starts getting fluffy, add your flavors and almond butter and whip them in. While the oats are cooking, cut your banana in half and, using a long fork or skewer, roast it right over a stove flame (this is like roasting marshmallows, it gets all carmelly and sweet). Whip your caramelized banana into your oats until it’s all dissolved. Slice the figs in half, and roast the inside of each half over the flame as well. Essentially you are bruleeing the figs. Place your delicious oats in a bowl, top with your figs, and pretend you’re in heaven ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Enjoy.

(There see? Italics. Fancy:) )

A Day at the Farm: Music in the Meadows

This post has a lot of pictures, I hope you don’t mind (they are cute I promise!)

Today my mom and I went to an event at Animal Place, a local (ish) farm sanctuary, called Music in the Meadows. There were animals to be met, there was music to be heard, food to be sampled, and swag to be given. Oh, and it is all vegan:)

Got our goodie bags and ready to go in!!

They have a veganic (meaning organic, but without the use of animal waste as fertilizer. read about it here)

The ‘main’ area, with vendors, a silent auction, and music”

After lunch and some musing around the vendors, we decided to go see the animals! The event was for them, after all:)

Right outside of the cow’s area was a veal crate, to show how tiny the crates are that the baby cows are forced to live in. They have no room to turn or even lay down, so that they don’t build any muscle for the veal.ย 

It was narrower than my arm is wide.

(side note, excuse the look. Trying to look solemn while the sun is in your eyes isn’t very effective)

My wingspan was bigger than the crate. I’m only 5’1”, and I lost a hand of length on each side. This crate was less than 5 feet, way to small for even a baby cow. Its horrible.

This is a picture I took with my phone last year of a rescued veal calf.

I named him “my baby Harold”. I about died when I saw him again this year:)

ย One year later! Still cute, but much bigger now! And with eyebrows haha! He has had such a happier, longer life being rescued than he would have as a veal calf!

Hahaha when I took this picture he turned his face full on to my camera and mooo’ed. It was like his version of saying cheese. Awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

Gigantic. Furry. Cow. I was a little nervous with this one…

He was so serene! I don’t even know how many families and little kids came up to see him today, but he absolutely loved all of the attention!

My mom took ย a pose with me too

What a life. I wish I had time to relax. (probably not in the mud for me though ๐Ÿ™‚ )

This guy had no qualms about people. He came straight towards us to be scratched, a pushy goat he was ๐Ÿ™‚

Doesn’t your heart just melt?

Oh, Hey whats up?

I got my picture taken with John Robbins, (author of Diet for a New America and Food Revolution). He spoke all about GMO labeling (A big deal in CA right now, there is a measure on the ballot this Nov that could require companies to label GMOs on all of their products, and the major GMO company Monsanto is fighting it with every move they can possible make), connections and disconnects between humans and animals, and a whole slew of other interesting things! He even had a few quotes I loved; “The journey from the head to the heart is the most important journey you can take”, and another one about how whatever a person struggles the most with now, once they overcome it they will be 1000 times stronger in that area of their life.

I told him about how my AP Environmental science teacher played his video of Diet for a New America in the first week of school, and that he was on our unit test. Also how my science teacher said it was the best movie to connect all of the information out there regarding how we eat affects the planet, the animals, our health, and the health of people in different countries who we will never meet, and that he has played it in his class for the last 15 years, and will keep playing it for the next 20. John Robbins thought that was pretty cool haha:)

I know you were wondering what goodies we walked out with! Besides the cute little reusable bag filled with swag, I also won a raffle and received even more fun little things (in a more ambiguous white paper bag)

The whole spread, between my mom’s bag, my bag, and my raffle prize. Not shown are all of the pamphlets that came too haha

Whole foods donated a huge variety of individual sweeteners, including flavored agave! The candy is a (vegan) milk chocolate crispy bar (like Nestle Crunch). And Alternative Baking Company gave every single person a free cookie. Yes. They also had a sample table, I had a few tastes:) The cinnamon cookie tastes like the gooey, doughy inside of a cinnamon roll, in case you were wondering:)

Its official. They have now made a vegan version of everything. The question is no longer “what can’t I have?”. It is now “what in the world do I do with it?” No, I’m serious. Any suggestions??

John Robbins also spoke about the difference between Farm Animals and Farmed Animals. No animal is truly a ‘farm animal’, because animals were not created to live on a farm. Thus, animals are farmed, it is an action not a separate breed of creature. Animals on factory farms are not living the life they were intended to live. The farmed animals at Animal Place farm sanctuary have been rescued from factory farms and family farms alike. Some were abandoned pets, some were pets people found they were not capable of caring for. But they can now live a life a little closer to what they were created to live. It is a beautiful thing to see a truly happy animal. Comfortable, and loving life.

WIAW #12

 

Happy WIAW!!ย 

Seasonal breakfasts and allowing treats is a good habit right? I thought so ๐Ÿ˜‰

It won’t be a very wordy post this time, I have homework. But how about some pretty pictures?? Okay!

Working on a new ice cream recipe, didn’t get itย quite right yet though so some more experimenting will need to occur before I post it ๐Ÿ™‚

But the point is, I ate ice cream, that I made, and it was good!

Overnight oat parfait with oats and chia, the last of my pink apples (mixed with a little yogurt) and vanilla cereal

Proof that you can make brownies out of anything. Yes, brownies. I call them leftover brownies, and they were basically sweet potato, beans, banana, zucchini, avocado, peanut flour, xylitol, and cocoa powder. And chocolate chips. They were super fudgy and delicious:)

Best breakfast hands down I’ve had all month. Pumpkin pie parfait (warm!) with cinnamon pumpkin ‘pie filling’, cinnamon-banana quinoa, apple, and vanilla cereal. I never wanted this to end!!!

I had real food too!! Pasta salad and massaged kale salad with an avocado citrus cream dressing (this was from a vegan cafe and we brought it home)

mmmmm…

I attempted these oreos, but didn’t quite get them right. Guess I’ll have to try it again ๐Ÿ˜‰ But they are still delicious and like frozen yogurt mini sandwiches.

Another pumpkin parfait, but this time pumpkin maple. Maple banana quinoa with chia seeds, cinnamon pumpkin, and vanilla maple yogurt with maple cereal (the pancakey version of my favorite vanilla sunrise cereal). Can you tell I just bought some maple extract?

Holy goodness best thing ever. This was a vegan caramel brownie (from that same little cafe)…

That I heated up and topped with mint chip double rainbow soy cream. Oh My Goodness I haven’t had a legit warm brownie (NOT a home-made healthy, fat free sugar free gluten free etc.) topped with creamy ice cream in like 3 years. Worth. Every. Single. Bite.

I think sometimes, you just gotta go with the real thing. Desserts don’t have to be healthy all the time. Thats just simply a perk. And you know what? This was 123921402x more satisfying than many a ‘healthy’ dessert I’ve made.

One of those days…

Its been one of those weeks.

You know, when you have 5890589341 bajilllion things to do, and about 2 minutes to do it in?

Two tests, a dance show, impossible calculus, and a cold. For 2 years I haven’t been sick with so much as a sniffle, and now I’ve had a full on cold for a week and a half.

On the bright side, a school week is a great way to take a technology break!

Anyway…Its also been one of those days. (don’t worry I’ll get to a recipe in a minute)

Staying up until ungodly hours to finish your notes before a history test.

Being absolutely exhausted the next day.

You want to just scrub it, but its make up picture day, and you are winking in your current ID picture…

Plus your still sick. So you cough a lot during class. During the awkward, silent parts of class.

You forget said ID card, and they won’t let you re-take your picture because of it. So winks are in the yearbook now.

You also forget your phone, so you can’t call and ask your mom to bring the card when she picks you up.

You forget a fork for your lunch.

And the cafeteria decided to charge 5 cents for a cheap, generic plastic fork (thats usually free. I’m calling it a fork tax. I decided to boycott cafeteria cutlery). So you have to eat the delicious salad you packed by picking off the toppings and dipping them in the dressing. With your fingers. (I had to leave the lettuce until after school)

Anyway, its been one of those days.

Good thing I had one of those breakfasts this morning

You know, the delicious ones that make you feel a little fancy when you eat them?

The ones that satisfy you, and make everything okay in the world, if only for the 20 minutes you are eating them?

The ones that make you wish you had another warm bowlful because you just need simple feel-betterness before you crawl under your covers and thank the stars tomorrow is Saturday.

I love those breakfasts.

Vanilla Cinnamon Fig Oats

  • 1/4 C. old fashioned oats
  • 3 T. oat bran
  • 1/2 T. ground flax seed
  • 1/2 T. chia seed
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • a few good dashes of cinnamon
  • sweetener to taste (I use vanilla creme stevia, it makes these even more vanilla-y)
  • 3-4 fresh, ripe figs, chopped
  • water or milk of choice
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla almond butter
  • Optional: 1/4 tsp hazelnut extract
  • Optional: Chopped apple (for figgy apple oats)

Combine oats, oat bran, flax and chia in a small pot, and cover with water or milk as desired (as long as you don’t put way too much, the chia and oat bran will soak it up nicely). Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it starts to thicken up. If it is too thick, add more liquid, if it is too thin add more chia or oat bran. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and sweetener and then, using whatever you are stirring with, whip the oats for a bit, so that they get even fluffier and the flavors are incorporated throughout. Add half of your chopped figs, mix them in, and then turn off the stove. Put the deliciousness into a bowl, top with the almond butter (it will get all melty and delicious) and the remainder of your figs.

Then sit down and forget about your test for a little while. Forget about being sick. Forget about the stress and just let yourself have peace for a minute.

Let life be about the little things, the good little things.

Relax.

WIAW #11

Since I skipped out on WIAW last week (thanks calculus love you too…) I decided to make sure I joined in this week!!!

The theme is falling into good habits, which I am working on!! Its called “get on schedule with homework and try to go to bed at a reasonable time”. Like I said, falling, not quite there yet. But thats why I’ve been a little MIA lately:)

Big thanks to Jenn for hosting this every week! And now lets get to the food!! (cuz thats what your here for, right?!)

Vanilla fig oats….if you wait for it, these get better at the end of the post ๐Ÿ™‚

Mexican quinoa salad on top of lettuce and roasted cauliflower. Then it was topped with an obscene amount of salsa…I like salsa:)

Overnight oats layered with blueberries and Vanilla Sunrise cereal

A delicious curry soup with kabocha, tofu, and garden fresh veggies (plus frozen kale mixed in last minute). My mom’s friend likes to cook for us all the time, which is a good thing because she is a cooking and flavor master. In our fridge right now is her bbq mushroom and tofu mixture that is legit texture and flavor wise identical to pulled chicken or pork. Like, meat-eaters don’t believe its vegan. Maybe i can pry the recipe from her ๐Ÿ˜‰

Since Watermelons are currently so cheap at my grocery store…

I have basically been eating my weight in watermelon over the past 2 weeks. I ate one almost single handedly over 3 days, and am working on my second right now. I just found out it is delicious with fresh mint leaves chopped up on top!!

I made some delicious tasting brownies, but am still working on the recipe as they didn’t bake all the way (too liquidy). They firmed up nicely in the fridge and were almost like soft, brownie fudge though!!

Oats with chia, blueberries, peanut butter, and apples (and daylight!! It was a weekend morning:) )

Movie Night with my family! I made plain, air popped pop corn topped with melted Justin’s vanilla almond butter and pink sea salt. This was amazing!

Peanut butter OIAJ are my favorite! The PB gets super melty ๐Ÿ™‚ This was apple cinnamon OIA(peanut butter)J.

Peanut Butter Sweet Dream (but I threw some bananas into the base this time for PB Banana ice cream). mmmmm

Oh the oddities one can find at a Co-Op. Here we have a Passion Fruit (I mixed it into yogurt with stevia for passion fruit yogurt, the right way. It was AWESOME. I tasted the fruit and I was all “oh my gosh I can taste the passion!!” my mom just laughed at me ๐Ÿ™‚ ), A trio of delicious figs, including a stripey one, and a pink-fleshed apple. Its called a Pink Pearl apple, and it tastes like a Granny Smith. But its better, because its pink:)

Beautiful and tasty vanilla cinnamon whipped oats with those delicious fresh figs and a spoonful of vanilla almond butter (Under the figs). See how much some of the figs are than others? The dark ones were the striped figs, and holy fig they were like candy!

Perhaps the most conflicting OIAJ I’ve ever had. So sad to see the end of my beloved Vanilla Almond butter, but in such a flavor heaven!! Peach cinnamon chia oats in the jar of amazing. The best part was the end ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have to go now! I’ve got calculus hw to fumble through, 2 tests to study for (AP US history and AP enviro), and a dance performance tonight!! Wish me luck!!

Whats your favorite nut butter? Any ‘go-to’ brands? For peanut butter, its gotta be Mara-Natha organic no stir. I’m usually a crunchy girl, but braces like creamy better (oh well). Almond butter is alway Trader Joes raw unsalted almond butter (Its soooo cheap too!!), and then for flavored, well can you guess?? haha

The Creation of Salsa

In the beginning, there was a box of organic cherry tomatoes from the grocery store.

The first sign.

The next day there came to be a bag of sweet baby heirlooms from the Co-op.

The second sign.

That very night, a large box of garden fresh heirlooms were gifted to us from my aunt.

Three signs and you’re out?

Nope. The salsa gods are just calling you.

And your dog is watching you. To make sure you listen.

If you are smart, you will.

Good choice.

Pineapple Lime Chipotle Salsaย (medium)

  • 2 lbs ripe tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion
  • zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 16 oz pineapple (fresh or canned)
  • 1 jalepeno (seeded, unless you like really spicy salsa)
  • 7 g fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 T vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder (reduce or leave out for mild)
  • 1 T. tequila lime seasoning
  • 3 T. chia seeds

Stem and roughly chop the tomatoes, onion, and jalepeno. Add all ingredients except chia seeds to a blender and (on low) pulse until all mixed up, but not pureed. Pour into a large bowl, adjust seasonings to taste, and stir in chia seeds (these help thicken up the salsa a bit). Put in the fridge for a little to allow the seeds to gel and flavors to meld before serving or storing. Keep covered in the fridge.

 

Normally I’m not a spicy kinda girl, but this salsa is so sweet from the garden tomatoes and pineapple, that the extra kick of chipotle was very complementing.

It’s, how you say,ย Muy Delicioso!!

(I think…I took French:) )

MIA (what am I up to?)

Woah…Where have I been?

Well, between school, homework, and other events I have basically had this much time: None.

I promise I’m still alive! I’m working on new recipes inbetween science and calculus, and living life between english and APUSH!

I’ll get those recipes up soon, but for now how about some pictures and updates??

Yes, full sized watermelons were on sale for a dollar fifty cheaper than personal watermelons. You can bet your face I have eaten my weight in watermelon the past few days (#dontwannabelievesummersover)

I’m lucky enough to live in the central valley of CA, so we get fresh produce basically all year. But it especially means longer seasons for summer produce!! It’s September and I’m still knee deep in strawberries, peaches, watermelon, and zucchini!!

And the most delicious tomatoes I’ve had all season ๐Ÿ™‚

Plus some interesting fruit found at my co-op. Fresh figs (the biggest one is yellow and green striped:) ), Passionfruit (can’t wait to try it! anyone know how to eat one?) And a PINK APPLE!!! no joke. Its normal apple colored on the outside, and hot pink on the inside. It tastes really tarte, almost like a granny smith but a little sweeter. Its very amazing:) (Called a Pink Pearl if your interested)

Finally got the much acclaimed White Chocolate Wonderful. I had high expectations, but I have to say I was a little disappointed. It just tasted like sweet peanut butter. I guess I’m just a nut butter snob! I like natural PB (better flavor) and Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter will forever hold my flavored nut butter heart!!

Sneaky Peaky at a recipe I’m working on ๐Ÿ™‚ hehehe…

Okay you got me…I am actually really looking forward to fall aka I just bought a 30 oz can of pumpkin #sorryimnotsorry

Believe it or not, Some things besides foodie finds have been happening too!

I’m officially scheduled to run on a relay team for the California International Marathon in December! I’m only going to be doing ~6 miles, but Im super excited!! I’m running with Team Veg, a vegan running and fitness team here in Sacramento that we are hoping will expand throughout the US!!

I met up with the group for the first time on Wednesday , and I ran my PR for mileage! 8 MILES!!! AHHHH!!!!! WOOOO!!!!

I’m going to start calling myself a runner now if thats okay with you ๐Ÿ™‚

Coming up in a month is the 2nd annual Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge, organized by my very own mother ๐Ÿ™‚ Local restaurants are offering full vegan menus during the month of October, and everyone who goes out to eat gets to vote for their favorite meal!! ย Check it out!!! ( website and Facebook page)

And I went to Target (That magical place that makes you suddenly need a lot more than you thought you did)

Just to show you how short my legs are, these are supposed to be capri leggings ๐Ÿ™‚

ha. yeah right!

Now my homework is giving me dirty looks across the table…got to go!!!

 

Beautiful Strength

I am muscular.

By no means am I anywhere close to a body builder, and I personally do not aspire to reach that point. But I do go to the gym, and I do take classes meant to work my muscles. Therefore I am muscular. Don’t get me wrong, I love the workouts, and I don’t do them just as a way to burn calories. But I am usually the youngest in the class (often, the youngest at the gym). I am a teenage girl, I wear tank tops. I also am enrolled in dance class. And recently, I have been becoming increasingly more self conscious of the muscle tone in my arms and shoulders. I am easily embarrassed when I lift my arms in class, because I am generally the only girl who has any sort of definition in her shoulders. Because of my history of self critique, I started to compare myself (again) to the other girls in the class. Oddly enough, in a room full of girls in body conforming leotards and tights and mirrors along 2 walls, it wasn’t my size that I was comparing myself to. It was my muscular arms.

This was causing quite a conflict in my head. I work these muscles to achieve and maintain a nice muscle tone, so why was I embarrassed by it in a setting other than the gym?

Well, the other day (as in yesterday) I was standing to the side of the room with some other girls while the teacher was going over choreography with a few other people in the class, and one of them out of the blue just looked at me and said “You have such nice arms! I love your muscle tone. I wish I had defined arms, I think toned arms are beautiful!” ย This took me a bit aback, but I stuttered through the whole “aww thank you thats sweet!” Another girl agreed with her, and after I started making excuses about howย embarrassed I wasย to have the muscle, and how gross I thought it looked to everyone, she simply told me I hadย no reason to be embarrassed.

okay well that just made my day.

Of course, it didn’t really completely sink in until this morning at the gym, during a class intended to work my muscles (ahem, my favorite class might I add). I picked a spot to set up right in front, and once I got going, I remembered those words the girl in my dance class had said. Somewhere between the bicep work, triceps, squats and lunges I realized something.ย I really doย love my arms.

There is a lady who goes to that same class who is noticeably, very sick. She is a stick and works out at the gym for hours a day. My mom has seen her do this through two pregnancies all the way till she was about to pop. She is constantly adding additional weight to the bars and dumbbells she uses, and wears ankle weights during class as well. Yet she is not gaining any muscle at all. Her body is eating it because she does not nourish herself enough to actually gain any benefit from the exercise. She is in a downward spiral. And today she looked sad. Defeated. Exhausted. She couldn’t keep up with the pace of the class so she did what pace she could with extra weights to make up for it. And the worst part? There was a part of my brain that used to secretly envy her. Comparison. And today I realized something. Not one day in a million years would I trade my life for hers. I would never trade my muscles for her bones. I stopped feeling jealous and angry and I started feeling sorry for her.

It was the best workout ever. I smiled in the mirror. I marveled at my strength. I am proud of the place I am at. And I decided to come up with a list of what I love about this beautiful body I have.

I love my muscles

I love the way I feel after I use them

I love feeling strong and empowered in the right way

I am blessed with the ability to develop muscle tone easily

I love my legs for carrying me through every step in my path

I love my body for having the strength to go wherever I take it

I love that I can run a whole 6 miles in under an hour, which I never would have thought possible before

I love feeling free

I love feeling strong

I love the way I feel when I am dancing

I love my beautiful body for every beautiful curve

I love being strong, but still feminine

I love being short

I love my crazy curly hair

I love my high pitched voice

I love my intellectual mind

I love my compassion

I love my emotion

I love my past

I love my future

I love my smile (even with my braces)

I love my laugh

I love my eyes and eyelashes

I love that sometimes I don’t have to keep talking, I can just smile and know

I love my shoulders

I love my arms.

I love my beautiful strength.