CHECK OUT MY NEW BLOG!!

Hey Guys!

I know it’s been AGES since I last posted, but, like I said in my previous post, I’ve been doing some re-arranging in the career/life department and decided to create a whole new page for the direction I’d like to go!

Check out my new blog at TheBroccoliBitch.com!

It’s basically going to be comprised of the same type of content as this blog (recipes, ramblings, favorites, etc.) but it’s going to be more organized, consistent, and more pleasing to the eye 🙂

Anyway, thank you so much for reading and connecting with me throughout my little vegan journey and if you’d like, please give my new blog your love as well!

🙂

Thanks again guys!

-Taylor

I’m not dead.

I’m not sure if anyone truly cares or actually “keeps up” with my blog, but for those of you that do (whaddup, mom!) you may have noticed I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus.

The reason is threefold.

  1. My phone does NOT take pictures anymore! Ok, that’s kind of a lie, but it only saves about 5 pics at a time, then says I have no room left on my phone when I know for a fact I have plenty. You see, I am not an app person, I barely have any music on my phone, and I literally have 3 pictures saved to it. Sadly, I think this old fashioned gal needs a new phone. ANYWAY, I’ve been really wanting to up my blogging game, so in lieu of my phone’s demise, I bought a fancy shmancy camera to take food (and life…but mostly food) pictures with wooo!
  2. With this focus on upping my blogging game, I’ve decided to either revamp or completely start my blog from scratch. I’ve recently made some pretty significant life changes and I really want my blog to be something that reflects that. Although my past issues surrounding food and body image have definitely shaped who I am both as a person and a cook, I’m not sure I want it to be a part of my blogging life anymore. PLUS, with a fancy new camera, I GOTTA have a fancy new blog, right? We’ll see…
  3. What is this life change I’m speaking of?? Well, yesterday I put in my two weeks at my oppressive corporate job and landed a position as an Assistant Pastry Chef! Though I am not a baker at heart and prefer cooking stove top, I’ve always wanted to learn the art and now I have the opportunity. Unfortunately, the bakery I will be working at is not vegan, but I am so stoked to vegan-ize the recipes and craft I learn to take my cooking game up a notch.

While writing has always been and always will remain one of my life’s passions, writing for a marketing company 9-5 under florescent lights in a cubicle pretty much sucked all of my creativity and love for my craft dry. The office life has never been for me, and I’ve been wanting to delve into the world of cooking professionally for a while now and finally found the guts to change my life for the better.

Yes, I will be taking a pay cut.

Yes, my hours start at 4 in the morning.

Yes, I will most likely have to work weekends.

But money means shit to me, I am an early bird, and weekends are just days in a week…that’s it.

And although I have to work the next 14 days straight between finishing out my old job and training for my new one, I am elated.

While this year has been one filled with tremendous happiness, I have found myself crying simply from the thought of going to work. I have had countless “is this what the rest of my life is going to be like?!” thoughts and feelings of general oppression just from realizing I have to work for the rest of my life… that we all do.

If I had it my way, I would spend my days exploring the world, helping animals, cooking beautiful meals for the people I love, and living off the land.

Maybe someday this will be a reality, but for now, I just have to try and shape my life into its best self.

This took some evaluating and some risk, but I am confident it will pay off.

Balsamic Glazed Gnocchi

My passion for cooking blossomed early on in my life, stemming from eating dinner on the floor with my dad every Monday while my sister was at her after school grocery store job.

Mondays were our days, and we would usually make turkey burgers and rice-a-roni while we watched 30 Minute Meals and eventually Everyday Italian.

Although I loved Rachael Ray at first, I got annoyed over the years by her voice’s varying stages of raspy-ness and her general over-the-top characteristics.

With Giada, it was the opposite. I started out not being able to stand her seemingly perfectionist personality and pretentious ways, but grew to appreciate the passion behind her style and the sheer beauty of her dishes.

I thank Giada and those Monday TV dinners for introducing me to the wonder that is Gnocchi, an Italian potato dumpling.

After some research I figured out that gnocchi weren’t all that difficult to make, even as a vegan!

This recipe is ridiculously simple, and though it does require a bit of effort, you can easily cook the potatoes ahead of time and make as many or as little as you please, freezing the dough for another gnocchi craving in your near future.

(Photos thanks to my kick ass boyfriend. Tryna take my pic game to a better level hehe).

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INGREDIENTS:

For the Gnocchi

  • 3 Medium russett potatoes
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (sub white if you’d like), plus about 1/3 cup more for dusting/kneading

For the Balsamic Glaze

  • 1/2 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite red wine
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. fresh minced rosemary
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • salt & pepper to taste

Once potatoes are cooked ( I just zapped mine in the microwave), let cool and peel skin off. Cut into chunks and place in food processor or blender with 1 cup flour. Pulse blend until dough comes together in one big lump.

Dust a clean surface with remaining flour and dump dough on top, kneading until a smooth, elastic dough forms that does not stick to your hands.

gnocchiroll

Once dough is kneaded, separate into 3 separate chunks. Roll first section in your hands as you would make a playdoh snake, about 12 inches long, and 1 inch thick. Create gnocchis by cutting 1/2 inch sections of dough until you reach the end.

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Repeat with remaining 2 sections, or freeze the other chunks of dough (I used 2 chunks, froze 1). Once dumplings are cut, use your fork and just press lightly into each gnocchi like you would when smashing avocado into toast to make indentations. This step isn’t necessary, it just makes them look more ~profesh.~ 

Place about 8 gnocchi at a time in boiling water. When they rise to the top, they’re done! They cook in just about 3-4 minutes!

While gnocchis are cooking, heat a saucepan on medium-high with a touch of nonstick spray, water, or oil if you wish. Add minced garlic and saute for just 2-3 minutes to release the garlic scent. Add wine and balsamic, bringing to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, and add herbs and spices. Once sauce is reduced by about 1/3 and has a luxurious, syrupy consistency, it is done. 

Carefully toss cooked ghnocci with the glaze, and serve with whatever your heart desires! I just sauteed some summer veggies and made a side of corn on da cob…so good.

Make this gnocchi and impress your man/woman/parents/self with this “fancy” treat that really isn’t so fancy to make after all!

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Sweet Potato Garbanzo Burgers & Seasoned French Fries

I’m not sure if it’s the summer talking through my taste buds or what, but lately all I’ve been wanting to eat are veggie burgers slathered with spicy mustard and sandwiched between fluffy, grainy buns spread with an abundance of avocado…OMG.

And of course I couldn’t think about veg burgers without their BFF, french fries, who have also been popping up in my foodie day dreams.

Since my face is very VERY sensitive to fats, from avo to peanut butter to any kind of oils, if I eat overt fats too many days in a row, my pimple problem rears its ugly head and I wake up with a fresh cluster.

It’s cruel, really, since avocado and crunchy peanut butter are two of my absolute favorites.

Because of this fat intolerance, I’ve been leaning towards a more high carb low fat diet and only enjoy avo, nut butters, and oils once or twice per week. While eating high carb and low fat makes me feel my absolute best and allows me to eat in abundance and not feel sluggish, fats help me feel truly satisfied and are so fucking delicious.

I combined the best of both worlds for these recipes.

My burgers are chock full of carbs and are virtually fat free, while my fries are steamed then baked with NO OIL WHAT SO EVER and still end up being both soft and steamy on the inside, and crispy on the outside.

Because of the lack of fats in the actual meal, I slathered my bun with avocado and called it square.

This meal 100% COMPLETELY satisfied my veg burger and fries craving and ended up being one of the very best veggie burgers I’ve ever had.

vegburgers

INGREDIENTS:

For the Burgers (I made 2 just because I was lazy, but you could double or triple everything easily):

  • 1 cup garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 large sweet potato, or 1 small
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste

Cook sweet potato all the way through in microwave or oven. Once cooled, add to food processor with chickpeas, garlic, oats, and spices. Blend until smooth and mixture is slightly wet, but not sticky. Flour your hands and form mixture into two patties, lightly coating them with a bit of flour.

Turn pan to medium-high heat, spray with cooking spray, and add patties, getting a nice sear on each. Once each side is seared (about 5 minutes on each side), turn heat down to medium and cook for another 5-7 minutes on each side to ensure middles are warm. Serve on a bun with plenty of avo and whatever condiments your heart desires!

For the Fries (again, I just made two servings, so feel free to double or triple):

  • 2 large potatoes, washed
  • 1 tsp. cajun spice
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Slice potatoes into strips, keeping them thin enough to get nice and crispy, but thick enough to hold up when being steamed. Steam sliced potatoes for about 7-10 minutes, or until fork tender. While they’re steaming, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Dab steamed fries with paper towel to remove excess water and spray cookie sheet with non stick spray or coat with parchment paper. Evenly space fries on cookie sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, flipping halfway through and checking frequently to avoid burning.

These recipes require minimal ingredients, come together in a perfectly work-weekable flash, and prove once again that vegans miss out on NOTHING 🙂

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Mediterannean Veggie Wrap & Snack Ideas!

When I was in High School, I got up too late to make breakfast and was too lazy to pack lunch for myself.

This resulted in school days living off of Pirate’s Booty popcorn from the vending machines and binging out after school on toaster strudels and homemade nachos before dinner.

Slowly but surely as I changed my life and health for the better, I became much more of a breakfast person. Now I look forward to making a huge bowl of oatmeal or a veg scramble before work to make sure I’m fueled up and focused.

Although I’ve conquered my disdain for breakfast, I must admit, I still struggle with liking lunch.

I’ve always been a dinner girl; it’s where I have the most time to be creative and really explore in the kitchen. When it comes to breakfast, I enjoy the versatility of both sweet and savory dishes and have gotten more and more excited about making new creations in the AM.

But lunch bores me. Always has, always will.

I’ve never been much of a sandwich person, I get sick of salads really easily, and while leftovers are amazing, they just aren’t quite the same as the night before.

Lately, though, I’ve really been pushing myself to like lunch more, and to put more effort into making colorful, satisfying lunches I can look forward to and get creative with.

I’m a sucker for both mediterannean food and sauces and dips, so I’ve been making lots of rice, veg, and sauce combos, and quite a bit of hummus-based wraps. Since I just devoured the wrap below, I can officially say I am on the road to lack-of-lunch-love recovery and this wrap is my savior.

wrap

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Lavash flat bread wrap
  • 1 cup frozen grilled veggies (Found mine in the freezer section at Wegman’s)
  • 2 tbsp. hummus
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp. sun dried tomatoes, in a package, not oil-soaked
  • 2 torn leaves red or green lettuce
  • 4 leaves torn basil
  • dash of salt and pepper

Thaw frozen grilled veggies in the microwave for about a minute. Lay out wrap and evenly spread hummus. Lay veggies, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, lettuce and basil at the end of the wrap closest to you. Top with salt and pepper, and gently roll wrap up, tucking the sides in as you go.

I brought mine to work with a simple salad as a side, and always make sure I’m fully stocked with snacks to last through the day, as I tend to run better on smaller meals and lots of snacks while at work.

Since I try to consume a vast majority of my food from whole food sources, snacking poses a bit of a challenge for me. Some snacks I’ve been counting on to keep me full are:

  • Sweet potato topped with salsa and/or tahini
  • Handful of almonds and a handful of raisins
  • Carrots, cukes, and radishes with hummus
  • Carrot apple muffins by the Minimalist Baker with strawberry jam (SO GOOD OMG)
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal mixed with cinnamon, microwaved with a mashed banana
  • brown rice crackers topped with hummus, tomato, and spinach
  • Beet, orange, carrot, apple, lemon, ginger juice (recipe to come)

I know that it’s a tried and true statement that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I’m quickly beginning to realize that lunch may be just as, if not more, important.

Most of us are either full time workers or students, and without a good lunch and sustainable snacks, I know my work, energy, and general enthusiasm for life suffers and I become an unfocused and grumpy BETCH.

Embark on the journey towards lunch lovin’ with me, and enjoy this BOMB ASS WRAP and some satisfying snacks to keep you feeling yo’ best.

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Overnight Oats Two Ways!

HELLO BEAUTIFUL BLOGGERS!

As you can probably tell, I’ve had a bit of a creative lapse and have not been cooking nearly enough exciting, let alone new, dishes.

I’ve been quite content (obsessed) lately with just jasmine rice, stir fried veggies, and chickpeas. Legit that’s what I’ve been making myself about 4 days a week and for lunches to take to work.

We all know I love Asian food, but c’mon tastebuds, I don’t want to get boring now!

I decided that since I’m in a bit of a rut when it comes to lunch/dinner, I’d post a breakfast recipe!

While I love breakfast, I’ll always be a devoted dinner junkie 4 lyfe so this is a rare post, people!

My boyfriend just got a new job as a Horticulturist and has to be to work at 6 AM every day, which makes for an even groggier, spacier boy than his usual absent-minded self. Since he now has to think about eating breakfast and make sure he eats enough, he asked me to teach him how to make overnight oats, one of my favorite weekday breakfasts.

I whipped some up last night for the both of us. I have been craving cinnamon rolls, so I made a cinnamon raisin concoction for myself, while I made an almond variety for Collin. Both have blueberries though, seeing as our CSA share is giving us hella good summer fruit.

While I used steel cut oats, since that is all I had on hand, this recipe is obviously just as good (or even better…I’m a classic old fashioned rolled oats girl myself) with regular rolled oats. With steel cut, I do recommend the extra step of microwaving it to partly cook the oats to ensure they are deliciously soft in the AM.

Without further ado, here are two varieties of the pinterest supastar: Overnight Oats.

oats

INGREDIENTS:

Base Recipe (Serves 2):

  • 1/2 cup steel cut oats, pre cooked for 5 minutes in the microwave with 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened coconut yogurt
  • 1 banana, mashed into mixture
  • 2 dates, pitted and diced
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tbsp. coconut sugar or brown sugar

Pre cook steel cut oats in a large mixing bowl for 5 minutes. Once oats are partly cooked, add all remaining ingredients and mix until combined and just slightly lumpy. You can either gently fold in the blueberries, mash them along with the banana, or omit them all together.

Separate mixture into 2 mason jars.

Blueberry Almond:

  • 1 tbsp. crunchy almond butter
  • an extra tbsp. blueberries
  • 1 tsp. coconut shreds

Cinnamon Roll:

  • 1 tbsp. raisins
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. coconut shreds

Top Blueberry Almond jar with almond butter, blueberries and coconut shreds.

Top Cinnamon Roll jar with raisins, cinnamon, and coconut shreds.

These babies can either be enjoyed cold or hot, but I recommend heating them through in the morning. That way you get the melty dates in the center, the gooey almond butter, and the irresistible scent of cinnamon.

Make your morning worthwhile and treat yoself with one of these babies.

Enjoy!

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New Paltz Challenge Half-Marathon Recap!

Half-marathons are my shit.

Ever since I ran my first half 3 years ago, I’ve been addicted.

Not just to the challenge of race day, but the training, the pride, the dedication, the discipline, the mothafuckin’ free food post-race, the unparalleled sense of accomplishment and disbelief when the legs I berate for not being good enough carry me swiftly across the finish line.

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                                                                           all the mothafuckin’ food.

My deep devotion for the half-marathon game is shared with my number one running bud: my dad. But, since he injured his achilles and hasn’t been able to train, I ran my first solo half this past weekend…ironically, it was on Father’s Day!

Me & Pa, post-race

                                                                                   Me & Pa, post-race

The three best things about this half?

  • It’s a true blue trail run on my home turf in New Paltz, NY on my absolute favorite woodland trail
  • It’s small and the course is flat
  • It’s incredibly beautiful

For this year’s New Paltz challenge, mother nature played a nasty trick on me. From the moment I went to sleep on Saturday night to the moment the gun went off at start time, it was pouring. Truly, pouring.

Now, since the race is entirely on a rail trail, rain basically demolishes the gravel and dirt, turning the whole length of the race into a virtual muddy swamp.

I went into this race absolutely PUMPED and 100 percent confident that I would smash my current half PR of 1 hour, 56 seconds.

The minute I got on that trail, I threw the possibility of a new PR out the rain soaked window.

Most of the race, I was ankle deep in mud, or calf deep in puddles. From my heavy, drenched sneakers to the mud particles in my eyes and under my fingernails, and not to mention the neverending stream of water flowing down my face, every minute of this race was a challenge.

But ya know what? It was fucking fun.

Screw PR’s, screw finding my stride, and screw passing every lagging person I can. I ran my ass off while being tested by the elements and still managed to finish in under 2 hours.

By the time I crossed the finish line, I was about to puke from the enormous effort of simply picking my abnormally heavy feet up and putting them down but I smiled through it cause I was, and still am, proud of myself. Not for still managing to get a pretty decent time, but for not giving a fuck about it when I was chasing the rain.

Running the most challenging race on my home town course reminded me why I love to run…it makes me remember how incredible I am, what my body and mind are capable of when they work together, and above all, it always get me where I want to go in every way.

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