Wednesday, October 27, 2010

i'm not perfect.

I live a (mostly) healthy lifestyle. I exercise and I watch what I eat, but some days it seems impossible (am I right, ladies?)

I love all food - from nutrient packed vegetables to fast food. Some days all I want is to gorge. While I try not to have many days like that, I still do, and I think it's perfectly fine. What fun would life be if we stop having things we love?

Sometimes I want cookies for dinner.
Sometimes I want to be vegan.
Sometimes nothing will satisfy me like a cold Coke.
Sometimes ordering a veggie burger feels like a treat.
Sometimes I want McDonald's, especially when the McRib is in town...

and so I did.

I ran in the rain, I deserved it : )

All I'm trying to say is that no one is perfect, we all make mistakes. If you are struggling with staying healthy, treat yourself. Be aware of it and move on. Tomorrow is a new day, start fresh and get back on track.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

cleveland beer week.

For those of you living under a rock, it's
Cleveland Beer Week!

With more than 375 events at 120 venues, this week has been exciting for the Greater Cleveland area. With the main focus on local breweries it's not all about beer. I've been enjoying the community factor, and of course the food. Add food to any event and I'm on board.

With the full schedule listed on the website, you still have time to experience something. Go out and visit some place new. I promise you will find amazing things.

Fat Head's Brewery & Saloon - North Olmsted

Before Saturday I had no idea this place existed. Thank you CBW! I was extremely impressed. Great atmosphere, great food, great brew.

Like I said, the food is awesome. Ordered the pretzel sticks to start. They are not normally on the menu, just a 'Special of the Day' kind of thing. I took one bite and literally wow'd.

Since filling up on pretzels (errr....), I was only able to eat one slice of my margarita pizza. yum!

Thank you Fat Head's! A++

Market - Rocky River

**Warning** Gentlemen beware - there is a disgustingly charming Australian bartender. Prepare to have the lady in your life ignore you, and flirt uncontrollably with him. I swear, she cannot help it, it's a medical condition - the attractive accent causing weak knees syndrome.

Since I was too busy chatting it up with the Australian guy (who was married btw, who cares), I took no pictures. Oops : )

Great place, open and cozy atmosphere. Food looked great, large selection of beer. Definitely make your way there. Men will love the food and bar, ladies will love the scenery. Hey-ohh.

With limited time and money, a few friends and I decided to host our own CBW event. Each person brought an interesting beer to taste. We dined, we tasted, we laughed. Great idea for anyone looking for an interesting dinner party theme.

We sampled 2 local brews, along with ones from Belgium, Lithuania, and Ireland.

Finished the evening off with a little Rock Band, our favorite!

A big thanks to Mr. Ricco for his beautiful rendition of Lady Gaga.

Three days left of Cleveland Beer Week, where will you go?

Monday, October 18, 2010


Sorry I haven't posted in a few days, been busy doing lots of fun things - some I'll share now, some I'll share next time.


I took Thursday and Friday off work for a mini-vacay. Traveled with a few friends (new and old) to Detroit for a concert. We went to see Sufjan Stevens, a very exciting and wonderful musician.

This tour is described as, "Part awkward modern art installation and part captivating rock spectacle."

With inspiration from late artist, Royal Robertson, Stevens put on quite a show. I had a great time!


It's pumpkin time!

I love roasting small pie pumpkins for all my recipes. It takes some time, but I think the end result is way worth it. Plus you know all the ingredients.

Preheat oven to 400. The stem is very dry, be sure to cover with foil so you don't burn your house down:

Roast for 30 - 45 minutes, depending on size of pumpkin. When you can stick a knife easily into the skin, it's done.

Cut open, let cool:

Remove seedy-goop (roasted pumpkin seeds make a great snack), stick flesh into a food processor or mash with a fork and voila! pumpkin puree. Canned on the left, fresh roasted on the right:

You may keep the pumpkin in chunks and add to chili or my favorite, Mushroom and Pumpkin Risotto.

I actually made the risotto tonight. I used vegetable stock instead of chicken to keep it vegetarian/vegan.

If this doesn't say Fall, I don't know what does.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Last night, stars aligned.

The world provided the most amazing environment.

Perfect weather, good music.

I ran an impromptu 5 miles.

Oh how I love days like this. My body is properly fueled and hydrated. I was fully entertained. My legs felt strong. Everything was just right.

The only thing that didn't get the memo of perfection was my bladder. I could have easily destroyed 6, 7, 8 miles, but of course I needed to stop.

I don't know what triggered the sudden increase in mileage. I think it may have something to do with what I had for lunch. Since I finished being vegan, I ate a little bit of all this:


I hated myself after I ate all that cheese and eggy-ness. I felt way too full and really gross. It wasn't even worth it and I was kicking myself for thinking that I needed to eat it JUST BECAUSE.

I went home after work and made myself a delicious dinner. It happened to be vegan and it was so much better than any of the things I splurged on.

I wanted all of that nasty food out of my body, so I ran and didn't stop (until absolutely necessary). It was the perfect combination of mind and body. I was focused and enjoyed myself. My shin splints didn't flare up, and the hills that normally give me problems were a breeze.

Whatever happened in the universe last night needs to happen more often.

"Does the body rule the mind or does the mind rule the body?" - The Smiths

Monday, October 11, 2010

the last (vegan) hurrah.

As promised I tried my hand at a vegan dessert. I've seen recipes all over for black bean brownies and decided that these sounded the most interesting. I got this particular recipe from No Meat Athlete.

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 4 tsp instant coffee powder (I used regular coffee - grounded down into a powder)
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and filled with new water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup of water (eyeball it by filling up half the empty can)
Mix all the dry ingredients together:

Rinse black beans and put them back in the can and fill it up with water. Either puree beans and water in a food processor or mash them with a fork. Since I don't have a food processor (*hint*christmas*hint*), I used the fork method:

Add the remaining ingredients, mix:

Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan:

Bake at 350 for 25 - 30 minutes:

I really wish I could say they were good and prove most of you wrong, but they were just too rich for me. After one bite, I was done with chocolate for the rest of my life. I had 3 (male) testers who all really liked them. As you can see from the above photograph, they are extremely dense and fudgey. All comments went as followed:

"They could really use an egg."
"I want milk."
"These would be sooo good with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream."

All of which are the exact opposite of why the brownies exist. Go fig.

in other news...

I've successfully completed my vegan challenge! Three weeks without meat, eggs, milk, cheese or honey. It really wasn't difficult. My outlook on food has completely changed. My mind and stomach are now programed into a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. With lunch approaching quickly, I am terrified. I have no idea what to eat. I can now eat anything I wish, but I don't want to. I'm scared of falling back into the routine of being selfish and eating whatever, not caring about my body or the animals or the earth.

I guess the biggest thing I've learned through all of this is being conscious about what goes in my body. We put the correct oil and gasoline into our cars, why don't we treat our bodies with the same care? Just something to think about.

Hope everyone has a good week!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

whole foods.

Last night I attended a Healthy Eats Cooking Class at Whole Foods. I thought they would teach us a couple recipes then send us off to play in the wonderful world of WF's, but it turned out to be so much more than I expected. I left feeling re energized and excited about everything I've learned over the past month.

The class was lead by Mark, the in-store Healthy Eating Specialist, who prepared 3 recipes to promote WF's new program called, Health Starts Here. The program has 4 basic principles that you should follow:

  • Simply put, eat mostly plants
  • No matter what type of diet you follow - including those that incorporate dairy, meat and/or seafood - eat more plants, like raw and cooked vegetables, fruits, legumes and beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains
  • Eat a colorful variety of plants to ensure you're getting the best nutrients for your body, which leads to feeling satiated
Whole food
  • Choose foods that are whole, fresh, natural, organic, local, seasonal and unprocessed
  • Eliminate the consumption of refined, highly processed foods and foods void of nutrients, such as artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, sweeteners and hydrogenated fats
Healthy fats
  • Get your healthy fats from plant sources, such as nuts and avocados
  • Minimize extracted oils and processed fats
  • If eating a diet that includes animal products, choose leaner meats and seafood as well as low-fat dairy products
Nutrient dense
  • Choose foods that are rich in nutrients when compared to their total caloric content; also known as foods with a high nutrient density
  • Build your menus around plant-based foods to ensure highly nutrient-dense meals
  • Choose foods with a wide spectrum of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants
  • Look for the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) scoring system to guide you on healthier choices
Without ever saying it, he taught us to eat vegan. As soon as I walked into the classroom, I saw the recipe cards and got really excited. All 3 recipes he showed us were 100% vegan.
Sweet Potato Fries - Good.
Bean Burger - GOOD.
Savory Lentils & Greens - GOOOOOD.

(I would have taken more pictures but I was a little self-conscious, I felt dorky enough taking notes)

I feel like the term "vegan" gets a bad wrap. Mark never mentioned labeling the dishes vegetarian or vegan, he just talked about how delicious the food was and how good you feel when you eat it.

Just when I'm 4 days away from leaving vegan world, I was kind of talked into staying for awhile. I just look at food so differently now and I'm kind of addicted.

Bahh, who am I kidding - it's pumpkin bread/cookie/pie/cake season!

A HUGE thanks to Whole Foods for putting on these free classes. I don't think the other people in the room were nearly as appreciative as I was.

Food nerds unite!

i love

Monday, October 4, 2010

2 weeks down, 1 to go.

I've been trying some interesting food lately. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Here is a food recap of what I've been eating in the past week or so.

I got the urge to make a vegan dish that is normally not vegan or vegetarian. While at Whole Foods yesterday, I got curious about vegan cheese and decided to make pizza. Vegan cheese can be made out of a lot of weird things - soy, almond, rice. Since I'm trying not to eat tons of soy (bad for lady bits), I chose the soy-free rice cheese. Tastes about as good as it sounds. I also grabbed veggie pepperoni, which I've had before and actually like.

Make the regular pizza way...

...and the verdict is: gross. Not so terrible that I didn't eat it, but just bad enough for it not to be tasty. Make sense? Eh, experiments are fun and now I know.

more eats.

My newest obsession are rice bowls. Soooo yummy.

Brown rice, black beans, corn, and salsa.

Brown rice, black beans, sweet potato. I added salsa to the leftovers of this...oh em gee, so good.

Continuing my rice and bean cravings, I picked up an Amy's organic vegan burrito.

This was awesome. I highly recommend all of Amy's products (most of which are not vegan, just organic).

Finally made it to Johnny Mango's in Ohio City this weekend. Very cool place. Wish the Willoughby location was still around. I had a mushroom, tomato, garlic burrito with lettuce and avocado.

The burrito was very good. I want to describe it as clean. Not greasy or heavy, just fresh. Definitely will make my way back there.

Sorry this post is so sporadic, just wanted to share my latest food adventures.

in other news...

I am 2 weeks vegan today, and I am...bored. This has definitely been a challenge. A lot of people are down on my weird food/body experiments, but I am staying strong and will finish this next week out with my head held high. I still have a vegan dessert to conquer, and I know you will all be so excited to hear about it.

I have decided to live mostly vegetarian. I find my body and mind work so much better now and I like it.

It's amazing to me that I've changed the whole way I live because of this blog. I am extremely thankful for the events that lead me to this place.

I don't know if I've ever said it, but THANK YOU for reading my blog and supporting me : ) it means so much.