Friday, July 10, 2015

The Spoils of Unemployment - Raspberry Almond Crumble

As you may or may not know, I left my office job a couple of weeks ago, and I am currently REALLY enjoying being home for most of the day, working on music, building my coaching business, and also - cooking. The husband is delighted, of course. As we are both trying to eat on the healthy side of things, I have been trying to save us from the candy bars by making healthier desserts from various recipe websites that I like. Today, I made this:


A big hit in my house this evening!

Raspberry Almond Crumble
(adapted from The Detoxinista)

Ingredients:

For the crust:
2 cups almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

For the filling:
2 cups frozen raspberries
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the crumb topping:
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Step 1 - Make the raspberry filling: Bring the maple syrup to a boil in a smaller saucepan, reduce heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Then add the raspberries and vanilla extract and continue to cook for about 15 minutes. The sauce should thicken slightly, but don't cook it for longer than 15 minutes as that will break down the natural pectin, and it won't thicken properly. Transfer the raspberry sauce to a bowl and put it in the fridge to cool. The longer it has to cool, the more jam-like it will be, so if you can make the filling in the morning and let it sit in the fridge all day, that's ideal. I was not aware, so I ended up putting mine in the freezer for about 20 minutes which worked pretty good too. Make sure it's completely cool before you put it on the crust though.

Step 2 - Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350F and line a standard size oven-safe pie-thingy with parchment paper. In a food processor, combine the almond flour, coconut oil, vanilla extract, water and salt, process until it sticks together like a dough. Press the dough evenly into the parchment-lined pie-thingy. Bake for 12 minutes. In the meantime:

Step 3 - Make the crumb topping: Combine the walnuts, coconut, maple syrup, coconut oil, sea salt and almond extract in the food processor and mix until well blended, but still crumbly. This only takes a few seconds, for the record.

Step 4 - assemble yumminess: When the crust comes out of the oven, take your COMPLETELY COOL raspberry filling and spread it evenly over the crust. Then spread the crumb topping evenly over the filling, and put it all back in the oven to bake for another 15 minutes, until it's becoming nice and golden on top. Remove from oven, let it cool in the pie-thingy for a few minutes and then lift the whole thing out of there (via parchment paper) and put it on a cutting board or maybe a cooling rack to cool some more before you dig in.

We ate it straight up and it was delicious, but we thought some coconut milk vanilla ice cream on top (trying to stay dairy-free) would have been perfection!

Pure maple syrup is better as a sweetener than refined sugar, as it won't spike your blood sugar the same way the white stuff will, because of science and nutritional information which you can Google. Seriously, Google "Sugar vs. Maple Syrup" and it'll give you the breakdown. Has to be pure maple syrup though, not pancake syrup.

Hope you enjoy this recipe!

Love,
Maja

Monday, May 25, 2015

Sunday Kitchen Experiments

Over the years, I have come to realize that I feel my best when I eat a mostly plant-based diet. That doesn't mean I have gone completely vegan, but I am trying my best to cut down on the animal products.
Now, if you are going to go vegan for health reasons, it's important to remember one thing: It's all about plant-based WHOLE FOODS. I say this, because it is fully possible (and quite common, I might add) to be 100% vegan and still eat nothing but processed junk food. While you might be living a cruelty-free lifestyle (and maybe that's all you want)that way, you won't be doing anything for your own health.
Now, for a lot of people, when they think "vegan", they think "tofu". Nothing wrong with tofu, I don't mind it from time to time, but I have found that I am a bit sensitive to soy products. If I eat it too often, my boobs get really sore. True story!
Also, a lot of vegan meat substitutes are highly processed and many contain sugar, flour, and other fillers - like all processed foods - so I wanted to be able to make something that was clean!

I read about Burmese Tofu - also known as Shan Tofu or Chickpea Tofu - a while back and have been thinking of trying to make some for quite some time now. The only issue was that the recipe I found would take a long time to make, and when it comes to cooking and making things, I am all about "quick and easy"!
So of course I was excited when I found this recipe for a chickpea tofu that would only take about 25 minutes to make. I bought a bag of chickpea flour at Superstore for 7 bucks, and it's going to last me a while. The other ingredients are turmeric, salt, and water. I had all those things already.

It turned out pretty good! The consistency is a bit more jelly-like than a regular firm tofu, but it has a good neutral flavour. We barbequed for dinner and I cut strips of the tofu and marinated them in olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and fresh rosemary - it took the flavours really well although we did not put the strips right on the barbeque but on top of some tinfoil instead. It's a little soft on it's own but I'm going to try pan frying it and baking it as well to see how it holds up. I think it would make an excellent substitute for scrambled eggs!

Next, vegan cheese (or, non-dairy cheese-like product, as my husband prefers to call it). I've been wanting to try this as well for a while, but again, it took me a while to find a recipe that seemed easy enough to master. I finally found one over at Vegan Richa - I printed the recipe last Friday but now I can no longer find it on the site! She has many recipes for vegan cheeses, this one seemed the easiest, using coconut milk and other ingredients that I mostly had at home. It turned out pretty good! A good, firm texture that was easy to slice and even melted a bit when I decided to try it out in a grilled cheese and avocado sandwich!

I forgot to bring either for my lunch today though. I'm so lame.

Maja

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Before and During

It's not a "Before and After", because I am a work in progress.
,

This is mostly through PiYo - I haven't quite figured out my eating yet but it's coming along. Progress, not perfection, people!
Maja

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Body Positivity vs. The Quest For Fitness

I am a supporter of self-love and body positivity.
I am also a Beachbody Coach.
I am also a person who tries their best to work out and eat well, in order to be fitter and stronger. I have been slipping for a while, but I am back on track now. For real.

On occasion, I get the feeling that people in my life feel that those are things that don't go together. That you can't love yourself and at the same time want to change.
But Body Positivity, or even "fat acceptance", doesn't mean that you must accept the status quo if that is not what you want. You can love yourself and demand fair treatment no matter your size, but if YOU don't feel good...you can change, and you shouldn't be made to feel bad about that either.

There is nothing wrong with being fat and happy in your own skin. I personally don't feel that beauty and attractiveness come within a certain range of sizes. I love the body positivity movement because it is showing people - especially women - that you don't have to be ashamed of your size, you can love yourself and wear nice things and enjoy life just the same, even if you are big and you don't fit into the current standard of what beauty is.

But I also feel - at least this is the case for me - that happiness and overall quality of life, is very much tied to how I feel physically. Maybe that is not the case for everyone - that's fine.

When I put on weight and lose muscle tone, I don't feel good. Especially as I get older, I can really feel the difference. I feel heavy, like I am literally being dragged down. Body parts hurt. My feet, my knees, my hands. I grunt when I get out of bed in the morning. I get extremely sleepy in the afternoon. I just don't have the energy to do the things I need to get done on a daily and weekly basis, and that makes me feel stressed. When I get stressed, I eat more and I don't make good choices when it comes to food.
I know that when I work out regularly, and eat healthy, clean food, I feel much better. I sleep better at night, have more energy and more focus during the day. My joints become more flexible again, and I can get out of my car without making obscene noises.

Maybe those things don't happen to you. Maybe you are young and haven't noticed yet. Maybe extra weight simply doesn't bother your joints. That must be awesome and I hope it lasts forever.
But for me, the choice has to be made. Do I want to feel good, or do I want to continue to be slow-moving and tired?

Also (and this is important, and apparently a wee bit offensive to some), I do give a shit about how I look. That's not to say I think I need to be a size two with abs of steel in order to be sexy, but I do like to present myself in a way that conveys that I care about myself and I take care of myself. I am worthy of self-care, I think. I like to look younger, I like to look fit. That doesn't mean I spend all my time judging people who don't. That is not my job.

This is me right now. Not too bad! Could be better...and that is what I'm striving for!

Hope you like my pants!

For me, it's all about how I feel. You can be beautiful at any size, but if you don't feel good, you can change that!