Graze Box Review

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Hello world, Jen here!

I wanted to stop in and let you all know that I’ve been hooked on the subscription box service, Graze.  I have never signed up for one of these types of services before because they all run at at least $20 box– that’s not a lot for many people, but I’m a very broke, very money-conscious law student. But! I love getting new things to try out in the mail, and Graze runs only $6 per box (and you can set it to come only once month, or you can totally cancel at any time).  I also had a code to get my first box free so I could see if I liked it.

I loved it! I really just enjoy getting things in the mail, which is probably a part of the reason I enjoyed it so much.  It’s not a lot of food (it lasted me four days– one snack per day), but I genuinely enjoyed trying it out. 

How it works: Before the box is shipped you can head on the Graze and eliminate any boxes you don’t like, or any boxes that don’t fit your diet.  You can either tell Graze to only send you vegan items, or only send you gluten-free items…or you can go through and eliminate based on the ingredients.  I personally just went through and eliminated anything that didn’t appeal to me. 

My box came with an ingredient/nutrition sheet, and four snacks

1. The Cheese Board: cheese cashews, herb bites, and salsa corn sticks.  This one was delicious (but I’m a total cashew…and cheese… fiend). I immediately rated it a “love” online so I’d get it regularly.

2. Cookies and Creammint chocolate cookies, roasted hazels, white chocolate buttons, sunflower seeds. This was pretty good.  I thought that there were maybe too many seeds, making it a little bland.  I rated it a “like” so I’ll get every once in a while.

3. Super Berry Detoxblueberries, green raisins, goji berries, and cranberries.  I didn’t love this one and ended up eliminating it from my potential snacks. I went a little too hard on Craisins when I was in university, and am now pretty averse to dried fruit because of it. 

4. Summer Berry Flapjackrustic rolled oat flapjack with berry-infused cranberries. This one was okay– it was kind of like a really flaky granola bar. I’d probably like the other flapjack flavors better, because, you know, the dried fruit thing.

 

That’s it! I loved my first box and am now signed up for the monthly, just as a little treat to myself.  If you’d like to try it head on over to Graze and get your first box free with the code JENS161MP

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Bananas: The Miracle Fruit

Bananas for bananas!

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image from http://artbananas.blogspot.ca

If you haven’t figure out already, I love bananas. Brown, spotted – give me all of the bananas. Frozen bananas are my saving grace from dairy ice cream cravings. They are sometimes enough to distract me from wanting chocolate… actually, they usually are. I think it all started from when I was a child; the only thing that made me at peace with falling sick was knowing I’d get to have the banana medicine (if you don’t know know what the banana medicine was you missed out!)

Since I am prepping for this competition and am already learning a lot along the way, I understand that I need to keep my sugars low and for now I will have to keep fruit to a minimum. Thank goodness bananas are low-glycemic otherwise I don’t know how I’d cope without them. I ate 4 of them in a row on my first day of training and knew that was probably a mistake… especially because they were not spotty so I was going to have an issue digesting them (under-ripe bananas do not digest well) especially having that many in one sitting.

Anyways, I’ve reduced my banana consumption down to two a day (not all at once!) and thought I’d share how I prepared them :).

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Fro-yo 

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What I used:

  • 1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs for some crunch
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 scoop of Vegan Proteins+ Vanilla Protein Powder (optional)

Blend in a food processor and enjoy as a breakfast snack :). I loved including the cacao nibs. It gave me some of the necessary fats that I needed today plus the chocolatey crunch. Chocolate + Bananas + Happy, happy girl!

Sweet Vegetable Protein Smoothie (I don’t have a better name for it)

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What I used:

  • 1 cup of pure organic carrot juice
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cup of organic spinach
  • 1 frozen banana cut into chunks
  • 1/2 scoop of Vegan Protein+ Vanilla Protein Powder (optional)

This sound like a strange mix but it’s amazing what a banana and some vanilla flavouring can do. I love this as a pre-workout snack and think I will use the recipe more often. Maybe not everyday because of the sodium content (260-something mg) but is definitely an option that will be repeated.

Now I’m off to actually work out!

Love,

Nidhi

Carb up!

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I don’t know about you, but I am a carb person. Our body craves carbs because our body NEEDS carbs. I have curbed a lot of cravings because I keep myself on a high-carb diet (I’m not perfect – I ate 3 tablespoons of natural peanut butter right after dinner, but I’m human and peanut butter is amazeballs). If you’ve heard of Freelee The Banana Girl (Aussie girl, very popular with her fruit-based regimen and has a kick-ass body solely because of her high-card low-fat diet) she vouches completely for the high-carb diet. I’ll definitely follow up with some more research as to why a high-carb diet can be great for your fitness goals (but everyone is different!).

I’ve decided to post some great meal ideas that are awesome right after a workout or if you’re really craving something heavier and satisfying without the guilt.

In my picture above, I made a healthier, vegan version of the Dutch dish Boerenkool which essentially is mashed potato, kale, nutmeg, butter, and bacon and/or sausage, etc.

What I used (serves 3-4):

  • 2 organic russet potatoes
  • 2 cups kale, diced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp grape seed or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk (or any milk of your choice – unsweetened)
  • Himalayan/sea salt to your desired taste
  • pepper for seasoning
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg (optional)
  • crushed chilli’s (because I love spice)

Scrub the potatoes (if you’re like me and enjoy eating the skin) and steam/or bake for 30 – 40 minutes until tender

Heat oil on a skillet and cook onion and garlic till it becomes aromatic and translucent. Set aside

Once potatoes are cooked, let cool for a minute or so to avoid burning yourself and mash the potatoes. Stir in onions and garlic and mix together. Transfer to skillet and add remaining ingredients, milk last. Add more grape seed or coconut oil if desired for more creaminess.

Serve with a generous side of roasted vegetables and enjoy :).

Next: Grilled Cashew Cheese Sandwich (nope, it’s not real cheese!). Great lunch for a “cheat day” with minimal guilt.

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This was the closest I have ever come to simulating vegan mozzarella in the most simplified way. It melted, it was stretchy, it was perfection – to me at least. I found a great vegan mozzarella recipe from this website: http://vedgedout.com/2013/03/11/individual-vegan-margherita-pizzas-with-homemade-fresh-moxarella-cheese/   .. i made my own change to get a thicker consistency, it took playing around with it to get the texture I really wanted. Be patient!

For this sandwich I used two slices of organic spelt and rye bread, and handful of spinach.

Instead of frying it on a pan, I used a Foreman grill which is ironic because it’s purpose is solely for meat and it’s only ever been used for vegetarian purpose. Hazzah!

If you don’t have a grill, fry it with some grape seed or coconut oil and press down firmly with a spatula so that the mozzarella melts properly without burning the bread. Meh, I’m sure you get it, it’s a judgement call :P.

Breakfast: I feel like I have this entire post backwards…

Steel Cut oats in a mason jar! The take-to-work breakfast/snack solution!

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Ingredients (Serves 1):

  • 1/3 cup steel cut oats
  • 2/3 cup almond milk or any milk of your choice
  • 1/2 tsp stevia or 1 tbsp organic pure maple syrup
  • 2 – 3 fried figs or any dried fruit of your choice
  • pinch of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup of walnuts (optional)

Gently boil the milk in a pot and add oats and stevia. Let cook for 5 – 10 minutes then add maple syrup. Let simmer until cooked.

Add dried fruit and/or nuts and let sit in a jar to soften. Enjoy 🙂

Another option is to put the ingredients in a slow cooker overnight for the flavours to really come out :).

Anyways, I’m getting hungry and it’s 11:30pm.. I should probably brush my teeth before I reach for another spoonful of peanut butter.

Goodnight!

Nidhi

Nourishing Stuffed Sweet Potato, and other things.

Hello, Nidhi here!

I’m quiet embarrassed as to how long it’s been since I’ve written my last post… since October… last year…

Well, life happens and I’m back on the blogging wagon!

My last entry was about my Glowing Lean challenge I had started for myself. I won’t lie, it was tough. I was able to keep up with it for just a couple of weeks but with struggle. I was not allowed to have fruit or any type of sugar (natural, as well) for an entire month and I struggled with this. I was craving dates and figs and my body kept persisting in wanting simple sugar so I gave up two weeks in and had an entire day where all I ate was fruit in all forms. I know what you’re thinking… “It’s fruit, not candy!” And I agree with this. The program suggests to knock off of fruit for a month so that we can complete an entire cleanse where we eat alkaline-high foods so that when we reintroduce fruit into our system again we digest it much better and it doesn’t ferment. I think if we can make positive, healthy choices 90% of the time, we’re not doing so bad. Restrictions take a mental toll on us and that’s when these programs have the potential to make a negative impact on us. I incorporate a large amount of Kimberly Snyder’s regime into my diet – but I feel if I become so extreme with what I put into my body, I may develop an unhealthy attitude towards food. And that’s not good!

Now that you (whoever is reading) has gotten some closure from the last post – mainly me, I can move on to the main event!

STUFFED SWEET POTATO!

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I found this idea off of Chocolate-Covered Katie’s blog (love her!)

It’s satisfying, filling, and nourishing.

You can alter this any way you’d like – that’s the beauty of it but I will jot down my version below:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Medium Sweet Potato
  • 1 tablespoon grape seed oil

Filling (yields 2 – 3 servings):

  • 1/4 cup dry brown or wild rice
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 zucchini, diced
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 garlic gloves
  • 1 onion, diced.
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • handful of Kale or spinach leaves
  • Himalayan/sea salt as desired
  • crushed chilli peppers, as desired
  • crushed pepper for seasoning
  • 1 tbsp grape seed oil

Lemon Tahini Dressing (yields 2 – 3 servings)

  • 3 tbsp Tahini (stirred well)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 glove garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt, if needed (i didn’t use because lemon usually adds its own tangy flavour)

PH oven to 350

Poke holes into the sweet potato and drizzle 1 tbsp grape seed oil over it. Loosely cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes, bake for another 15 minutes on 400 degrees until cooked to your taste.

While the potato is baking all sorts of awesomeness, soak and drain rice and prepare (for brown rice, may take up to 45 minutes) as per the label’s instructions

In a skillet heat grape seed oil (olive oil turns toxic when heated for cooking) and cook onion and garlic on medium for a few minutes. Add tomatoes, celery and carrots; cover for a five minutes until tomatoes become soft. Stir mixture until tomatoes start to form a sauce. Add the rest of the ingredients (kale/spinach, last) and cook until vegetable are soft (peppers should still be crunchy… if that’s how you like your veggies). Remove from heat and cover once finished.

Blend all tahini dressing ingredients together and set aside.

Once the potato is finished slice it down the middle – but don’t cut in half! You can either mix the rice in with the veg medley or you can stuff the rice in the potato and spill the medley on top followed by the tahini dressed.

If you enjoy some pepper sauce drizzled on top, go for it!

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This was so NOMS!! If I do say so myself…

Enjoy 🙂

Nidhi