Tag Archives: vegetarian

Juice Cleanse Prep Day

As I mentioned a little while ago, I am all signed up and ready to do my first juice cleanse! It’s a simple 3-day cleanse that I purchased through a reputable juice bar in the Chicago area, Peeled. Between a few birthdays, holidays, and a yearly bar crawl over this past month, I thought this week would be the best time to detox and hit the “reset” button.

Now, I’ve done my research about how to prep and survive for my juice cleanse, but last night I got an extra dose of pre-cleanse help and insight. My boyfriend’s mom hosted Easter last night and she invited her friend over, who just happens to be a juicing expert! She’s done a ton of different cleanses throughout her life and she gave me a few important pointers:

  • Listen to your body–this is the overlying theme through out the tips she gave me
  • Each cleanse is different–sometimes you’ll feel great the whole time, sometimes you’ll feel crappy the whole time; sometimes you’ll fluctuate
  • You can exercise, but only if you really feel like it and only do as much as you can–don’t push it
  • Drink caffeine free tea or hot water with lemon–because the juices are cold, it’s important to have some hot fluids through your day  to help your body stay warm and let your organs expand
  • You may want to take chlorophyll pills for extra nutrients
  • Eat vegetarian and clean for at least one day before and after the cleanse

I am really curious to see how this goes. It’s hard to plan everything since I don’t know how I’ll react, body- and mind-wise. I have gotten into a really nice groove of hot yoga after work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I may not be up for that intense of a work out on just juice. So, I’m doing a class after work today to get a good, tough class in pre-cleanse and then I may take some Yin Yoga classes on Tuesday and/or Thursday night–or not at all, I’m definitely going to play it by ear and just live in the moment!

Wish me luck! Have you ever done a juice cleanse? How was the experience for you?



Oatmeal Banana Pancakes with Chocolate Chips

I am all kinds of messed up today: I made my recipe for Meatless Monday on Saturday and now I’m posting it on a Tuesday! Better late than never, I suppose 😉

I woke up on Saturday morning really craving pancakes. But since I’ve started reading Wheat Belly, I’ve been trying to cut back on the wheat (ie flour). I’m doing a pretty good job, but there are some things that I just haven’t been able to commit to yet–like beer and the small amounts of wheat that are found in salad dressings and sauces, for instance. (My appreciation and awe goes out to those who are completely wheat- or gluten-free by choice and especially to those who have wheat or gluten allergies.)

Luckily, I had seen a recipe somewhere that made pancakes with oats and my morning was saved! (Side note: oats are not always gluten-free, but they are wheat-free) I took to the internet immediately and managed to find a recipe that included ingredients I already had in my house. Hooray!


I used this recipe from tastykitchen.com which calls for:

  • 2 ripe bananas, cut into chunks
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (I was somehow out of baking powder, so I used a heaping 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda instead)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (which I left out at request of the Boy, and it tasted just fine!)
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips (I have no idea how much I used–I just sprinkled them on top and stopped when I thought I had enough ;-))

The recipe is very simple. First, you blend the banana and almond milk.


It smelled and looked so good! It was really hard to not abandon this project and just make a smoothie, but it was definitely worth the waiting 🙂

Next, blend the oats and baking powder (or soda) and salt (or not) until it’s all combined. I left mine a bit chunkier than the original recipe.


Let it sit for a minute or two so it thickens up, and then you’re ready to start cooking! Spoon some batter onto a hot griddle that’s been greased and wait for those air bubbles to start popping!


Sprinkle those chocolate chips on and get to flippin’! I somehow accidentally deleted the only picture I had of my finished product 😦 But it’s probably better this way because I am not good at the flipping aspects of cooking–pancakes, omelettes, you name it. No good!

Anyway, these pancakes were FANTASTIC! I have to say though as a warning, they did not taste like typical pancakes. They were not light and airy and they did not taste like plain pancakes. As you could imagine–given the ingredients–they tasted like banana bread. But they tasted like the best banana bread you could ever have! They were absolutely delicious! They were dense (but not heavy) and moist and so so flavor full! The added chocolate made it feel like a decadent splurge.

I personally felt that they didn’t need any kind of topping, but the Boy liked his with maple syrup and the website suggested peanut butter, which I think would be SO good as well! I guess I just wasn’t ready for that much awesome all at once 😉 Now all I have to do is figure out a way to reheat pancakes effectively so that I can make huge batches at once for weekdays! Any suggestions?

Happy Meatless Monday Tuesday!


Slow Cooker Chili

Happy Meatless Monday, ya’ll! I’m still trying to figure out exactly how to put into words my last yoga class and gong bath experience from this last weekend, so that will be coming in the next day or so. But until then, I made some yummy vegetarian chili for My Meatless Monday!

Is anyone else ready for spring?! Ugh, I wish it would just get here already! The weather around good ol’ Chicago land has been dismal–but nothing out of the ordinary: 40 degree days that turn into 7 degree nights that turn into 16 degree days and a “snow storm” of 2 inches that makes everyone freak out and forget that they live in CHICAGO on and on. Anyway. If you couldn’t guess, I truly dislike the winter, but there are a few things that keep me from going off the deep end:

  1. I can keep food in the car and it won’t go bad.
  2. Holidays.
  3. Hearty soups and chili.

Since the last couple weeks have been so harsh and frigid that I proclaim it “warm” when it reaches 30 degrees outside, I figured a nice, thick chili was in order. And for a double-dose of awesome, I decided to make a crock pot chili dinner that would be ready for me when I got home! 🙂

NOTE: Now, fair warning, my crock pot is a little dinky thing (2 quarts), so you will probably have to make some adjustments if you make it like I do.

Over the years, I have tried a bunch of different chili recipes, but I usually just end up doing whatever I feel like that day. One thing that stays constant is that I LOVE thick, chunky chili and lots of beans! So here is my very own favorite way to do vegetarian chili–for today, at least 😉


As far as the base goes, some people like going the tomato sauce or paste and water route, but I like doing a mix of crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes. I also throw in a can of black beans (I like to add another can of kidney beans when I make it on the stove top, but like I said, my 2 quart-er can’t handle too many fixins’), red pepper, corn, onion, and garlic. This time around, I added some zucchini for some extra veggie lovin’ and color. I bought the little baby zucchinis from Trader Joe’s because when you cut them, they make for great bite sized pieces… and because they’re just too cute! Unfortunately  I forgot to buy a jalapeno 😦 But oh well, I will survive! Oh, and of course some ground cumin and chili powder.

I woke up about a half hour early today so that I could get this baby going, and it was totally worth it. For the prep, all I had to do was:

  • Shave the corn off the cob with a pairing knife
  • Dice up about 3/4 of my red pepper
  • Mince 2 cloves of garlic
  • Cut 3 baby zucchinis into little dime-like pieces and then then cut them into half-moons–that’s the professional term for it, right? 😉
  • Dice half an onion

After that, it’s pretty much a cake walk. I just dumped all of those veggies into my crock pot, added 3/4 of the can of crushed tomatoes (about 21 of 28 ounces), the can of diced tomatoes, and the can of black beans (be sure to drain all the liquid out well). Then I gave it a couple big stirs, and voila!


So pretty!! You know you’re on the right track when your food has lots and lots of color in it 🙂 But then I realized I forgot to add the spices! DOH!


I love me some cumin, so I like to add one whole teaspoon, but sometimes that’s a bit much for people, so I’d suggest starting with a 1/4 teaspoon for this size batch and going from there to your taste. Then I added 1 tablespoon of chili powder–because I love that too 😉 Then I gave it several more good stirs, covered it, and set that baby on loooooow  and let it cook all the while I was at work.

I lucked out today because The Boy had the day off so I asked him to give it a stir every couple hours just for safe measure. When I got home I was starving and the house smelled sooooo good! I ran over to my beloved chili and gave it a nice stir and a taste…

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PERFECTION! The spices were great, right where I like them and not too overpowering. All the veggies were cooked perfectly! I was a bit worried that it being in the crock pot for so long, the veggies would get mushy, but they were totally fine. The corn was tender and had a nice crunch and the zucchini was at that perfect balance between firm and soft. It was just perfect! Ahh! So happy with it!

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I immediately ladled it into a nice big bowl and added some olives and cheese and gave it a nice stir…

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And voila! This definitely hit the spot. Warming and filling without leaving me feeling like I had a big rock in my tummy. I will definitely be making this again in the slow cooker. On a non-Monday, I’ll try to add ground turkey or something maybe… the possibilities are endless!

I hope you try this, you will not be disappointed! Luckily, I still have about 3 servings left of this wonderful bowl of love, which will be nice because tomorrow we have yet another snow storm on its way through the Midwest 😦 Boo! Stay warm and have a great week!


Kitchen Sink Soup [recipe]

Whew! After finishing a crazy-busy week and preparing for an even crazier-busier week ahead of me, I realized that I hadn’t planned anything for My Meatless Monday! After I got over the initial panic, I thought to myself, “Why not make a soup?!” and the day was saved! I love soup, especially in the winter. And it has definitely felt like winter over the past few weeks here in the good ol’ Midwest.

I ran to the fridge to scope out my options, but to my dismay, I realized that while I had a ton of vegetables, I didn’t have enough of any one or two types to make a nice, tasty soup 😦 But thanks to my slowly-but-surely-becoming-calm and yoga-tastic mind, I decided to just roll with what I had and hope for the best! And thus, my Kitchen Sink Soup was born!

FAIR WARNING: Because I just kind of improvised this recipe, it’s not going to follow the traditional recipe instructions and flow and preciseness and whatnot. Just use whatever you have and do whatever you want to do! I should also call this Free Spirit Soup or something! Haha!

Kitchen Sink Soup

  1. Look in your refrigerator.
  2. Notice you have a little bit of a lot of stuff.
  3. Panic.
  4. Clam down.
  5. Preheat oven to 400°
  6. Spray a pan with non-stick spray.
  7. Lay out veggies. (I used: 1 bag of baby carrots, 1 red pepper, 1/2 tomato, 1 bag of broccoli florets)
  8. Brush with olive oil.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.

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10.  Roast for 20-30 minutes, or until carrots are soft

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I also just happened to have some ginger on hand, and I’ve seen a lot of recipes for carrot-ginger soup, so I minced some of that up, too! (Make sure you shave the skin off with a knife or with a peeler.)

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When my veggies were all glorious and ready, I plopped them into my wonderful food processor and let them whirl away until they were nice and blended. I added 3 teaspoons of ginger for the volume of soup I ended up making (about 6 cups) and I think it was a pretty tasty amount–not too overpowering, but definitely there.


I added 4 cups of vegetable stock to a large pot and heated it up. Then I added my veggie-mixture…


and let them meld away! (I like to let it all come to a boil, then turn it down to low and cover for about 20 minutes.)


And voila! Kitchen Sink Soup!


I was very pleasantly surprised with this. I wasn’t sure how a mostly carrot and broccoli soup would taste, but I gotta say, it’s pretty great. I think the star here is the ginger–very refreshing and bright. I don’t cook with ginger too often, so this was a welcome change of pace! When I sat down to enjoy a bowl, I gave it a shake of red pepper flakes to spice it up a bit. Delish! Usually, soup recipes say to strain out the soup to get rid of the bitty chunks, but I actually like the texture this has, so I left it as-is.

The moral of the story? It’s hard to mess up a meal if you use ingredients you really enjoy. (If it weren’t Meatless Monday, I definitely would’ve added some shredded chicken in to the mix. Next time!) While I won’t exactly plan on making a Kitchen Sink Soup again, it’s good to know that it can be done when you’re in a pinch and don’t feel like making a trip to the store. I foresee another adventure like this in my future, and that’s perfectly OK with me!


My Meatless Monday [recipe]

I am not a vegetarian, but I do enjoy vegetarian meals. At least once or twice a week, I’ll go through my entire day and then think to myself, “Huh. I didn’t eat any meat today.” While this is all well and good, I don’t really consciously try to eat vegetarian for an entire day. So, I decided to commit to the Meatless Monday ideal that has caught on as of late.

Meatless Monday is a campaign that encourages people to live a meat-free lifestyle for one day a week. While meat can be very healthy for us and our bodies, at times, we can consume too much. By participating in Meatless Monday, we can cut down on the impact consuming meat has on our bodies and the rest of the planet. (Check out their website for more of the health and eco-friendly benefits and for vegetarian recipes to try.)

So, for my first My Meatless Monday post, I am going to share with you a breakfast recipe that I have been obsessed with for weeks now. It’s called Breakfast Cookie Dough Cereal and it is so so so good! And the best part is, you can make it quickly and easily and transport it just as well, too.

Breakfast Cookie Dough Cereal (adapted slightly from The Fitnessista)

You’ll need:


  • 1/3 Cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2 Tbsp nut butter (I love almond butter, and as The Fitnessista says, the drippy kind works best for this)
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder (I used chocolate)
  • A few drops of vanilla
  • Milk (I like vanilla unsweetened almond milk)
  • Any other toppings you want to use

Combine oats, protein powder, nut butter, and vanilla into a bowl.


Then, give it a nice stir until it starts to clump up, like this:


Add your milk and other toppings and enjoy!

If you’re like me and always find yourself with less time than you planned in the morning, you can take it to go and add your milk later! I have a half-gallon of almond milk in the fridge at my work that I save for these occasions 🙂 (That’s my snack and lunch included in the picture below. I love hearty soups in the winter, and this lentil and vegetable soup is great! So tasty, warming, and satisfying!)


It’s a big joke at my office that I always have a snack stash hidden in my drawers somewhere. I always have a bag of nuts, dried fruit, granola bars, graham crackers, candy… any kind of snack you can imagine! So, today for my cereal I added dried bing cherries that I had on hand.


So yummy and very filling! You can add anything in here you’d like. I often eat it with no toppings at all, it’s still just as good! Although, my favorite topping is fresh blueberries, but I gobbled those up before I even thought about the fact that they’d be absent from this post 😦 WOMP womp! I highly suggest it.



With some green tea, this was an awesome breakfast to cap off a productive early morning. I started this morning bright and early with Elise Lorimer’s Fun Flow routine I did during Day 13 of my 21-Day Yoga Challenge. I know I said I can’t wait to try new routines after the challenge, but I just love that video! And it was exactly what I needed on this dreary Monday morning–very energizing! Speaking of, what is with this Midwest weather?! Single digits and even negatives last week and 40-50 and rainy this week?! Guh! I am counting the days till spring and summer…

Enjoy your Monday!