Turnip and Beet Chips with Thyme and Truffle Oil

So I am sitting here watching Wheel of Fortune while I’m waiting for my friend to come over so we can watch the best show on television right now at 8pm ET.

Turnip and Beet Chips with Thyme and Truffle Oil Turnip and Beet Chips with Thyme and Truffle Oil
I am not even sure I can admit what I am about to watch in 15 minutes. It is something that 3 months ago I would have never thought I would be this invested let alone watch. If you haven’t guessed it yet, then I might as well tell you it is the season finale of The Bachelor.

I was that non-believer only a mere 3 months ago who made fun of my friends while they told me how hot the guys were on the The Bachelorette and how they were on Team Becca of Team Whitney or whatever. I told myself there is absolutely NO WAY I am going to watch this show or let my friends convince me to watch it. NO WAY.

Turnip and Beet Chips with Thyme and Truffle Oil Turnip and Beet Chips with Thyme and Truffle Oil
Well as you now know, that all went down the toilet bowl. Cause here I am sitting with some cheddar popcorn and store-bought gluten-free cookies all ready, anxiously waiting for my friend to get here so we can start watching this dang thing.

Cause even though I am shamefully watching this show, my inner cynic is actually still enjoying this. Cause I mean c’mon how can a man be in love with two different women at the SAME time, AND and with whom he has only known for 2 months? I can’t help but feel that underneath it all, this is still a classic case of narcissism. Am I the only one thinking this? Maybe I still need a few more years of #bachelornation to soften me up.

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Post-Workout Blueberry Açaí Banana Protein Smoothie

So far in 2016 I have learnt a pretty valuable lesson — working out is not meant for losing weight or obtaining the perfect body, it is meant for so much more.

Post-Workout Blueberry Açaí Banana Protein Smoothie Post-Workout Blueberry Açaí Banana Protein Smoothie
When this new year started I began to look at my lifestyle and started thinking to myself, how can I be sure that this year I will be my happiest, both mentally and physically? I had already changed the way I eat to a plant-based diet which was very rewarding and I am already seeing the positive side effects from sticking to that way of eating. But there was still something else I felt I wasn’t giving my body and more importantly my mind. And that was exercise.

I started to work out 5-6 days a week for 30 minutes each day and it absolutely feels amazing. It has nothing to do with how I look in the mirror or if I can even see my abs, it is entirely a transformation in my mind. Not only does feeling physically stronger makes you feel amazing but the benefits it has on my mind, wellbeing and general happiness is staggering.

Exercising definitely clears my mind, and because of this I have realized that my objectives and goals have become clearer too. I have become much more efficient in my day to day life now because I don’t feel like my clouded head is bogging me down. Have a strong body is great, but having a stronger mind is beautiful.

Post-Workout Blueberry Açaí Banana Protein Smoothie
And to nourish that strong body and strong mind I knew I needed an awesome superfood protein smoothie! Drinking a smoothie after working out is always one of the best feelings ever. Because you are not really hungry, your body is yearning for lots of nutrients and vitamins and you feel like you can hear you body calling.

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Moon Phase Molasses Cookies [V + GF]

Cookies!! But not just any cookies, vegan cookies! But not just any vegan cookies, these are vegan moon phase cookies, and they are fun and simple and you guessed it, delicious.

Moon Phase Molasses Cookies Moon Phase Molasses Cookies
The main objective of this recipe was creating the moon phase and bringing that element into one of my bakes. I got inspired a few months ago when checking out Rosanna Pansino’s Nerdy Nummies Cookbook. She has this macaroons recipe with the different phase of the moon iced on top of them and I just thought it was the COOLEST thing!

Actually everything in that book is mind-bogglingly awesome cause she’s pretty awesome (I am assuming this is a fact though I have never met her). Unfortunately I can’t eat ANY of the things in her book because it’s sugar this and sugar that but the moon phase thing really stuck and I couldn’t get it off my mind!

Moon Phase Molasses Cookies Moon Phase Molasses Cookies
So fast forward a few months. I was thinking what I could bake that would be the right color and shape and that I could adorn with the phases of the moon. My mind went right to some yummy and dark spiced chocolate molasses cookies.

Now please forgive the rustic-looking frosting job I did on these cookies. I am not an expert froster and I don’t think I ever will be. I wanted the frosting to be simple and didn’t want it to seem like too much of a feat to accomplish. For me, who doesn’t like to complicate baking and desserts too much, I am comforted by the fact that these cookies can be made by anybody and with very little effort, yet you still feel like you made something pretty nifty and cool.

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Maple Tofu Noodle Bowls with Peanut Ginger Dressing

Hello noodle bowls! If anyone has come and stayed with me in the past few months, noodle bowls were most likely what they were made to eat on a daily basis. Sorry.

Maple Tofu Noodle Bowls with Peanut Ginger Dressing Maple Tofu Noodle Bowls with Peanut Ginger Dressing
Never mind, totally not sorry! Noodle bowls have just become my all time favorite meal in 2016. It all started with this rice noodle salad and then from there on me and noodles bowls were fast friends.

Not only are they SUPER easy to make (once you’ve made brown rice noodles, regular pasta seems like it takes an eternity to cook) but they are so wholesome and replenishing. In the countless times I have eaten this meal, I always feel so fulfilled afterwards and more importantly my stomach (hey Gertrude) is happy. And lately that has been my top priority!

It is really awesome when you come home from a long day at work and you are actually all giddy and excited about what you are going to eat that night. We all should be looking forward to our next meals not because we are hungry but because we become better and happier people when we eat it. It is amazing how good, wholesome and nutritious food has that effect on you! Seriously whenever I have a doughnut now I become pretty grumpy for the rest of that day!

Is there that one meal that you absolutely love and always look forward to eating? Is it junk food or to your surprise, is the meal healthy with whole ingredients?

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Pomegranate, Ginger and Sage Spritzers

Pink drinks. It seems like they are the only thing I ever end up drinking. And I don’t have any desire to drink anything else. Who is with me here?

Pomegranate Ginger and Sage Spritzers Pomegranate Ginger and Sage Spritzers Pomegranate Ginger and Sage Spritzers
Oh my goodness people, look at those sexy pomegranates. I just want to take a moment before I go on my rant to marvel at its captivating color and appearance. Okay now we can stop.

But seriously, when I opened up that pomegranate and gazed in awe at all that was inside I became instantly happy. There was just something about that moment, seeing something so beautiful that immediately uplifted my spirits.

Also the fact that something so beautiful came out of nature always leaves me so stunned and amazed. Somehow the evolution of species and plants led to this remarkable and unique fruit they are just sooo cool. I have a little crush on you pomegranate.

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Flourless Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake [GF + DF]

Yep, it’s another cake! Yet this cake is dark, decadent and positively sinful. I have eaten so much cake these past few days yet this one is little bit more special.

Flourless Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake Flourless Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake
Yep that’s right it’s the week of love, obviously. Now I might as well come clean, I am not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Let’s be honest I am not a fan at all, and never was.

Ever since we had to send little love cards in 3rd grade with a chocolate attached to our prepubescent classmates and I felt the humiliation of only getting one or none at all (and seeing your archenemies getting a few chocolates, when you know she is not very nice!), I have never been able to warm up to this ‘holiday’.

Flourless Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake Flourless Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake
As my cynicism developed as I got older (oh those turbulent teenage years) I became less convinced by all the in-your-face pink and red mania you are bombarded with whenever you go to a convenience store or even the dentist office (very strange).

It didn’t help that nobody else around me celebrated or believed in the fervor of Valentine’s Day. After a while it just seemed this day was more for the candy and jewelry companies (not to mention roses that are incredibly over priced) to make loads of money and it just felt it wasn’t really about love itself.

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Cardamom Brown Butter Almond Cornmeal Cake

Very, very rarely can you binge watch a show in all its entirety and then find that you actually learned something from it.

Cardamom Brown Butter Almond Cornmeal Cake Cardamom Brown Butter Almond Cornmeal Cake
In this remarkable instance it was the wonderfully produced Great British Bake-Off. Granted it is a cooking show, but I can’t say I ever watched Cutthroat Kitchen and was like “Um that totally inspires me to make a botched up version of egg’s benedict.” Or after I watched Chopped I wasn’t like “Hey I should totally go get myself a cow’s tongue!”

But when you are watching the infamous duo of Merry Berry and Paul Hollywood (and also the nicest and sweetest home bakers of all of Britain) it turns out this show isn’t just something to binge watch on a dull, rainy Sunday with no other prospects.

Cardamom Brown Butter Almond Cornmeal Cake Cardamom Brown Butter Almond Cornmeal Cake
After plummeting through five seasons of custard tarts, sweet buns and suet puddings I actually found myself learning a lot of cool and useful things (like people actually bake with hart fat from the kidneys and loins aka. suet aka. that sounds gross). There is something really special when you get to watch a person who has been baking for almost 40 years in a sort of personal setting (like when they are handling suet). I feel like you don’t really see that on television much!

One thing that I loved was how they experimented with different flavors and spices! They were so willing to experiment with ingredients like anise, lavender, ginger and chai but the one that caught my attention (and tastebuds) the most was cardamom!

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Cumin Sweet Potato Cornmeal Pancakes

I am totally on board with this whole savory pancake thing. The idea that I can still feel like I’m having pancakes at any time of the day is just an awesome feeling!

Cumin Sweet Potato Cornmeal Pancakes Cumin Sweet Potato Cornmeal Pancakes
And when they are piled up high like that it really does feel like you are eating pancakes when in all seriousness these are more likely termed fritters or latkes to most people. But I’d rather call them pancakes!

Cumin is another ingredient that I wasn’t very familiar with. I took the opportunity to explore this spice with the inception of my New Year’s resolution of going out of my comfort zone picking out ingredients I have never tried out before. And hey, my resolution is still going strong! I might have found the one that actually sticks.

Cumin Sweet Potato Cornmeal Pancakes Cumin Sweet Potato Cornmeal Pancakes
Turns out I love this Indian spice. It still gives the same taste profiles and color of the food from the East, yet I don’t find my mouth burning and needing a gallon of water nearby to chug after every bite. I know it sucks I am a total wimp when it comes to spicy food, I must have inherited a ‘recessive taste bud’ gene or something.

But once again I am so happy I sought to incorporate cumin into my food and perhaps keep it in a permanent place on my spice rack instead of hidden somewhere deep in my cupboard not knowing what in the hell to do with it.

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No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies [V + GF]

I gotta be honest people, it’s really starting to annoy me that I can’t eat the sweets that I absolutely loved to eat anymore.

No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free! No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free!
I used to go through life seeing any kind of food as something that was completely available to me. I was living in an age where the world of gastronomy had so much to offer and there was nothing limiting me from choosing if I wanted to venture into that area of cuisine or if I wanted to eat that particular food product.

Nothing was stopping me and therefore I never felt the need to take advantage of my impenetrable stomach because it didn’t seem necessary. Life would go on, I would eat what I wanted, whatever came my way and that was that. My youthful stomach always prevailed no matter what I put in it and therefore I was indifferent.

No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free! No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free!
Now the landscape of my life as an omnivore has completely changed. Food isn’t an allotted freedom and convenience that America’s advanced yet monstrous food industry has gifted me (which I’d take full advantage of and didn’t ask any questions as to how such an industry exists).

Now every time I go to a supermarket or look at a restaurant menu a limitation always presents itself. Before there had always been a sense that my overly-zealous stomach could conquer anything on that menu. There was always a feeling of exhilarating freedom coming into that supermarket seeing all the countless aisles of guaranteed delicious and salivatory food and it was completely available for my taking – only if I wanted it or not.

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Balsamic and Honey Roasted Root Vegetables

One of my new years resolutions this year is to go out of my comfort zone and use ingredients I had never cooked with before. Just walk into the supermarket and grab something you don’t recognize, no questions asked.

This is especially important for seasonal vegetables that only make an appearance in my store for a month or so and then just disappear. And I am always hesitant and I don’t know why!

The other day I was at the supermarket, I saw a vegetable that was the almost looked like John C. Reilly’s head. It was even the size of John C. Reilly’s head. I was like what in the world is this and how the hell did it even come out of the ground?

I ended up asking the people who worked there and it even took them a while to give me an answer. Sadly I don’t remember what it was called and of course I haven’t seen it sense because I bet other people were just as curious as me and snatched one up before they were gone.

I have yet to see John C. Reilly’s vegetable like head anywhere else. Disclaimer: IF YOU have seen this at your store (or have any idea what I could be talking about, I know my description is pretty meager) let me know.

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