Vegan Vegetable Tian – Zucchini, Tomato, Summer Squash, Potato, Mushrooms, Spinach, Onion, Vegan Cheese

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I have been trying to clean up my diet a bit and was so excited to make this! Our oven back in Nova Scotia has been broken for… hmm over a year? I’ve been living in San Francisco with a friend and now have access to an oven!! This dish is all about delicious vegetables, with a bit of seasoning and a bit of vegan cheese on top… Didn’t want to overload the meal with cheese, so I kept that to a minimum. The vegetables are tasty enough without overpowering them with cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I love Daiya vegan cheese, but a load of veggies is healthier than a load of cheese. ūüėČ Even if you eat a bunch of this, you will feel satisfied but not loaded down. A perfect side or main dish. It was even super tasty the next day, even though it didn’t look as pretty when I took it out of the dish.

I really want to make this again and I just made it yesterday! That’s how good it is…yum yum.

Ingredients

  • 2 Zucchinis, chopped
  • 2 Yellow Summer Squash, chopped
  • 2 Large Tomatoes, sliced
  • 5 Small Potatoes / 1 Medium Potato, chopped
  • A few mushrooms, sliced
  • Large handful of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • Onion, diced
  • Jalapeno / Finger Pepper / Chili Pepper (optional), minced
  • 5 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 tbs Olive Oil
  • Cooking Spray or More Olive Oil / Vegan Butter (for coating dish)
  • Sea Salt & Ground Black Pepper (to taste)
  • Dried Thyme
  • 3/4 cup Daiya Vegan Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (You can use more or less or any other kind of cheese)

Directions

  1. Get out a cutting board and a medium/large bowl. Chop the zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, potatoes and mushrooms into circular “coins” (refer to the photo above) and add them into the bowl (the bowl is just used to keep them all in one place for the time being).
  2. Next, dice up the onion into small pieces and mince the garlic cloves and the hot pepper (if you choose to add one…I like it a bit spicy).
  3. Heat 1 tbs of Olive Oil in a non-stick pan or skillet on medium heat and add in the onion, garlic and hot pepper. Saute for 4-5 minutes, occasionally stirring. You want the onion to start to turn translucent. 
  4. Get out a pyrex dish or other baking dish and coat with either a non-stick spray, olive oil or vegan butter. You don’t have to coat it too much, just a thin layer. Spread the onion/garlic/hot peppers in an even layer onto the bottom of the dish. Next, roughly chopped up the spinach and add it in an even layer on top of the onion layer.

  5. Preheat the oven to 400F. Now, start to add in the sliced vegetables you chopped earlier by placing them vertically in the dish in rows. It doesn’t matter what order you put them in, but alternating the different colours looks quite nice. :) Once you’ve done that, sprinkle ground black pepper, sea salt and dried thyme all over the top of the vegetables, to your taste.
  6. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven, remove the foil and sprinkle the shredded cheese on top. Place back in the oven (no foil this time) and bake for another 20-25 minutes. The cheese should be melted and the veggies should be tender but not overly soggy or mushy. (The onion and spinach will be a bit mushy though ;))
Now you’re ready to serve! Because this is so visually pleasing, it would be great as a dish to serve for guests or to bring to a party… or just keep it for yourself. :]

Yum! :)

Vegan Spicy Szechwan Eggplant and Zucchini Stir Fry

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Oh my – I haven’t posted a recipe since the beginning of last month! I have been travelling, sick, injured, all over the place, staying at another family’s house…etc, etc. It has been a bit chaotic, to say the least. I have been in San Francisco for over a month now, and during one of my walks into West Portal, I got some Szechwan Eggplant take out a couple of times and it was really delicious. However, I try to limit the amount of take out I get, since you can’t really be sure what is going in it. (Some places do give full lists of ingredients, but not this place) So, last night I decided to make some from scratch and see if I could make it taste as good and perhaps use less oil than I figure they use in the restaurant’s recipe. While the taste out version has the advantage of being pre-made (I find things made for me tend to taste better than things I make myself…even if it is just a simple sandwich), this turned out really well! I added in some zucchini, since I figured it would go well with the eggplant and it did. :)

I got my vegetables at a lovely little food market, where the food is very inexpensive, so I think all of the vegetables cost me $6 and I have tons of ginger, green onion and garlic left if I wanted to make it again.

Hopefully you’ll give this recipe a try! I rarely use eggplants in my recipe, although I really do love them. I think this is because they didn’t turn out so great the first few times I had ever used egg plants, but now I’m starting to get the hang of it.

Ingredients

  • 5-9 japanese eggplants, cut length ways and then chopped into small pieces
  • 2 large zucchinis, cut length ways and then chopped into small pieces
  • 2 tbs peanut oil (I was almost out of peanut oil, so I switched some of it with chili oil)
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped into small pieces (Both the white and green parts)
  • 1 red chili, minced (I used a green finger pepper and deseeded and minced it since I couldn’t find any fresh red chilis)
  • 1″ piece of peeled fresh ginger
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, minced (I used 5 since I love garlic!)
  • 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tbs rice vinegar (I used seasoned rice vinegar)
  • 3 tbs low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sweetener – I used honey since it was what was in the house, but you can use cane sugar, coconut sap sugar, date sugar, maple syrup…which should only change the flavour very slightly.
  • 1 tbs corn starch
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste.
  • for garnish: sesame seeds, cilantro and/or basil *I found some “Szechwan Seasoning” in the pantry, so I used that.

I sadly didn’t get any great photos of the process or result. The lighting was screwy and I was exhausted and not in the mood to take photos, but I did my best since I wanted to share this recipe.

Directions

  1. Cut off the ends of the egg plant and zucchini and cut them all lengthwise and then into chunks. Heat up the peanut and sesame oil in a wok or non-stick skillet to medium/medium-high heat. Add in the zucchini and eggplant. I had to do this in three batches, since you don’t want them to be overlapping. Saut√© for about 2-3 minutes and then remove onto a plate. Cook the remaining eggplant and zucchini.
  2. Chop and mince the garlic, ginger, chili and green onion. Throw them all into the pan and sauté for about a minute on medium heat. Next, get out a bowl and add in the broth, rice vinegar, corn starch, soy sauce and sweetener and mix together well. Add this mixture into the skillet and continue to cook on medium heat, regularly stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula. After a minute or so, add in all of the eggplant and zucchini and cook for around 10 minutes, or until the vegetables have absorbed a lot of the liquid and are tender. Add in the sea salt and ground black pepper. I probably left them in for more like 15-20 minutes, so just taste one of them after 10 minutes and see if they need to be cooked for a bit longer.
  3. Remove from heat and serve on its own, with rice, salad, more veggies… I had this with roasted veggies and a pumpkin bolani. So good! :)
I think the next time I make this, I will leave the vegetables to cook for about 10 minutes longer, but it is still super yummy. Enjoy! :)

Raw Pate-Filled Nori Crackers

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Some raw nori seaweed crackers with an almond, sunflower and basil pate filling. A dehydrator is required if you want these to be raw. If not, you can try them in the oven, but you’d have to cut the “cooking” time way down. If you don’t have a dehydrator and want to keep this raw, you can make sushi rolls instead of crackers.



Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, soaked 6-8 hours
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked 2-3 hours
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nama shoyu / coconut aminos (any raw soy sauce alternative)
  • pinch of sea salt (I used pink himalayan sea salt)
  • 3 tbs nutritional yeast
  • handful of fresh basil
  • small amount of water, if needed
  • 6 nori sheets

Makes approximately 34 crackers.

Directions

1. Pre-Soak the Almonds and the Sunflower seeds.

2. Blend all of the ingredients except for the nori sheets. It’s ok if there are some small pieces here and there that haven’t been fully ground up. If you are like me and don’t have a very powerful blender/food processor, you can add in a small amount of water, however, this will prolong the dehydrating process.

3. Lay out a nori sheet and spread a thin even layer of the pate mixture onto it. Lay another nori sheet on top and carefully smooth it out. Repeat with the remaining nor sheets. *The thicker the pate layer, the longer it will take to dehydrate. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can simply make sushi rolls instead of crackers.

4. Place onto telex or parchment paper-lined dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 110-115 degrees for around 8-12 hours. (They may take less or longer than this, depending on how much moisture is in your pate and how thick you spread it onto the nori). Carefully cut the crackers into pieces.

All to fully cool before storing them in an airtight container. They will harden slightly as they are cooling down. They should keep for around 3-5 days. Serve with your favourite raw dips, spreads or raw cheeses. Enjoy!

Vegan Gluten-Free Pumpkin Gnocchi with Vegetable Tomato Stir Fry

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A few weeks ago I made some pumpkin pancakes and wasn’t sure of what to do with the leftover pumpkin, so I made some pumpkin gnocchi. It was really good, but it wasn’t gluten-free, so today I tried it using gluten and wheat free flour and it turned out great as well. Feel free to use either gluten-free or regular flour to make these.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbs flax meal w/ 2 tbs warm water, mixed and left to combine for about 5-10 minutes)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (I used Pink Himalayan Sea Salt)
  • 1 1/2 cup gluten-free flour (This doesn’t have to be gluten-free – Feel free to use all-purpose or whole wheat)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 can whole tomatoes/2-3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • large handful of baby spinach
  • 4-5 black olives, sliced
  • red bell pepper, chopped
  • mushrooms, sliced (I accidentally ate all the mushrooms last night, so I replaced them with pineapple :p)
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp italian seasoning
  • extra virgin olive oil / virgin coconut oil (for saut√©ing)
  • Optional toppings: Vegan Parmesan topping (Can be found already prepared in the refrigerated section of vegan/vegetarian products in grocery stores or you can make your own by blending nutritional yeast, almonds/pine nuts/walnuts in a blender until it is the consistency of crumbled parmesan), Daiya shredded vegan cheese, Salt & Pepper, Nutritional Yeast.
Directions
Making the Pumpkin Gnocchi:
  1. Prepare the flax egg and set aside. (See my flax egg directions above) In a large bowl, add in the pureed pumpkin, the flax egg mixture, the 1/4 tsp of nutmeg and 1/4 tsp of sea salt. Slowly add in the flour, stirring as you are adding it into the bowl. Once it is all added, keep mixing it until everything is fully combined. It may also help to use your hands to mix everything together. Your dough should be able to hold together but it will still feel a bit sticky and not completely dry.
  2. At this point you may want to start boiling a pot of water while you prepare the gnocchi. Get out a large cutting board or prepare a clean flat surface and sprinkle a bit of flour down and also add a bit of flour to your hands. Take about 1/4 or 1/5th of the dough and start to roll it out into a rope. Try to make it as even as possible and about 1 1/2″ wide and 1/2″ high. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the dough into small bite-sized pieces. Put to the side and repeat with the rest of the dough.
  3. Once the water has come to a boil, place the gnocchi into the pot and wait until they rise to the surface. It took about 2-3 minutes for mine to float to the surface. At this point, use a straining ladle to remove them and place them on a plate. I cooked my gnocchi in about 3 batches, but once the water has boiled, it really takes no time at all to cook them all.
¬†At this point, you can either follow my recipe for the sauce or use your favourite sauce recipe. If you’d like to follow mine, keep reading :)
  1. Get out a non-stick skillet and add a small amount of oil. Heat it up to med-low heat. Add in the minced garlic and chopped onion and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add in the cayenne, italian seasoning, 1 can whole tomatoes (not the juice) or freshly chopped tomatoes, spinach, olives, chopped bell pepper and mushrooms. You can add in a few tbs of the tomato juice if using canned tomatoes and use a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes. Stir and cook for a few minutes. During the last couple of minutes of cooking, add in the pumpkin gnocchi and stir until it is coated with the tomato mixture. Remove from heat and serve as a side or a main dish.
I sprinkled vegan parmesan and daiya shredded vegan cheese on top when I served this, as well as adding a bit of pepper on top.

 

 




Raw Chocolate Pudding Pie with Raw Chocolate Shell and Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

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I will take almost any excuse to make a raw dessert. I will rarely make them for just myself, but if I can make something for someone else, I am on it. My dad was away for about 4 days, so I took the opportunity to make him a raw chocolate pudding pie with a raw chocolate shell and chocolate covered strawberries. So good! My food styling skills are lacking and it doesn’t look as good it probably should, but I assure you, if you like chocolate, you will like this. :)

This might be annoying to some people, but I rarely measure out anything for raw desserts. I just wing it and do occasional taste tests. It really doesn’t add much extra time to the process, and you’ll get used to it to the point where you’ll be able to “feel” how much of everything to put it. :)

Ingredients for the Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients for the Pie Crust

  • Just under a cup of Raw Almonds
  • 4-6 large pitted Dates, soaked in water for a few minutes
Ingredients for The Chocolate Shell / Chocolate for the Strawberries

Optional Ingredients for Toppings

Directions
  1. To make the crust, simply blend the almonds and the soaked dates in a blender or food processor until there are no more large pieces. Place some plastic wrap in a small pie dish (see my photo for size comparison) and then ¬†add the almond mixture inside, firmly pressing it into the pie dish evenly, so that it doesn’t fall apart and is the same thickness. If your mixture doesn’t not hold together enough, you can blend up another one or two dates and mix it into the mixture.
  2. Once that is done, you can place the dish in the fridge whilst you are making the chocolate pudding/mousse. Making the pudding is easy. Get out a bowl, remove the skins from the ripe avocados and start to mash them with a spoon, fork or whatever else works for you. Add in the vanilla, sea salt, 2-3 tbs of cacao and then the sweetener. I would start off with less and add more if needed. I added in about 3 tbs and then mixed all the ingredients and if you want it sweeter, add in another tsp-tbs and go from there. If you don’t mind your pudding a bit lumpy, you don’t have to go super crazing on the mashing. If you have a powerful enough blender, you should also blend it, but mine isn’t up to it so I just do it manually. When you are happy with the texture and taste of the pudding, get out the pie dish with the almond crust and scoop in the pudding. If you have any leftover pudding, you can place it in the fridge and just eat it separately, which is what I have been doing. :) At this point I added some sliced almond and some vegan chocolate chips on top before I made and poured on the chocolate shell mixture. You could definitely skip the chocolate shell part and it would still be a great dessert.
  3. Lastly, it is time to make the shell, which is also what I used to dip the strawberries in. Melt a couple of tbs of Coconut Oil so that it is in liquid form. Then add in a tbs of cacao powder, liquid sweetener to your taste, vanilla extract and the sea salt. Mix together well. Your mixture should be a little thick, but still runny. Make sure you do a taste test! Dip the ends of the strawberries into the chocolate mixture and place on some parchment paper (or a plate or tupperware) Next, drizzle the leftover chocolate over top of the chocolate pudding. Place back into the fridge until the the chocolate has firmed up and has created a shell (not a super hard one, but so that it has solidified from its liquid form.
  4. Now it is ready to serve so you can either slice it into pie slices or just use a spoon to dive right in. Since it is so flavourful and decadent, I find that you only need a small serving, especially if you are serving it with some strawberries. It is lovely with coffee too, if you are a coffee fan.
Hope you enjoy! Let me know if you have any questions.





Vegan Potato Oat Patties with melted vegan cheese & sautéed tomato and mushrooms

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Very lovely vegan patty option for you: Potato and Oat patties with green onion, melted vegan cheese, tomato and mushrooms. They smell really good and taste equally good too! One of my fave recipes that I don’t get around to making too often. Now, this recipe originally came from a Bodyrock.tv post, but I changed some of the ingredients and veganized it. I like to serve these with a big salad. Last night, I also served them with some kale pakoras.

Ingredients

  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbs flax meal mixed with 2 tbs warm water)
  • gluten-free rolled oats (about 3 handfuls)
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped into small pieces.
  • salt, pepper, ground nutmeg (to taste)
  • ¬Ĺ tsp garlic powder
  • 2-3 tbs nutritional yeast
  • 2-3 tomatoes, sliced
  • 4-5 mushrooms, sliced
  • meltable vegan cheese (I used shredded vegan cheese by Daiya – Tastes so good when it is melted!)
 Makes around 11-12 Patties.

Directions

  1. Place the unpeeled whole potatoes n a pot of boiling water and cook them until a fork can go through them relatively easily, but still firm., They will be harder to grate if they are too soft. They will also continue to cook a bit once they are taken out of the water. Leave them to cool as they will be much too hot to handle.
  2. Prepare the flax egg and leave it for about 10 minutes. You can also chop up the green onions whilst you are waiting for the potatoes to cool.
  3. Once the potatoes have cooled to where you can hold them, peel off the skin and get out a large bowl and grate them with with smallest holes of your grater. (Careful that the potato doesn’t suddenly crumble and your hand slides…graters can be nasty. :|) After grating, add in the rolled oats, salt, pepper, nutmeg, garlic powder, nutritional yeast and the green onion (save some of the green part of the onion for garnishing later). Lastly, add in the flax egg mixture and combine well with a wooden spoon or spatula.
4. Use your hands to form a log out of the dough. If it is really sticky, add in another handful of oats and mix. Slice the log into thin patties.

Slice the dough log into slices/patties

5. Heat up a non-stick skillet to medium-low heat using no oil. Place the potato oat patties on the skillet and cook on either side for a few minutes, or until they are browned. Because you are not using any oil, keep a close eye on your patties so that they don’t burn.

6. Whilst they are cooking, you can slice up the tomato and mushrooms and get out your vegan cheese. I used Daiya, which I find to be the best since it melts so well and tastes delicious. At this point, you can either saute up the tomato and mushrooms with a bit of oil in another skillet or add them directly to the top of the patties without sautéing, along with the cheese and leftover greens from the green onions. I decided to also put some slices of avocado on top of some of them.
7. To get the cheese to melt you can pop the patties in the oven for a few minutes at around 400F until the cheese melts, or put them in the microwave, if you are someone who isn’t opposed to microwaves. I just let them on the skillet for a while and omitted the oven stage.
And then they are done! I froze a few of them, since I assume they’ll freeze relatively well. I also served them with some unsweetened apple sauce…went so well with them!

~

Potato Oat Patties with Kale Pakoras

 



Clif Bars Review – Recipes for Healthy Bars – Clif Bars Coupon – Vegan Energy Bars for Fitness and Endurance

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I’ve tried to consciously eat more during breakfast, and to also eat more small meals throughout the day. I always eat breakfast, which is good, but I often don’t eat enough because I’m worried I will feel slowed down afterwards. However, this would only be a concern if I were eating a huge stack of pancakes with maple syrup, but if I am eating sensibly, I should be having more energy. In the past few weeks, I have intensified my work outs, and I usually do them around the late morning. Sometimes I really under eat in the morning and I usually feel unnecessarily tired and weak because I am not properly fuelling my body for an intense work out. At times I will make a nutritious breakfast full of what I need to get me through a work out, but if I do choose to have a lighter breakfast, I will often go for a vegan energy bar. Lately, I have been choosing Clif Bars. Sometimes I eat the whole thing before a work out, or I’ll eat 1/2 before and 1/2 after. I used to be afraid of eating them because of the high calorie count (they are around 250 cal), but it really isn’t bad if you factor in that you are exercising and will be burning calories, so you need to replenish your body. If I do eat one and don’t plan on working out that day, I will just count it as a small meal, as they are quite filling. They have also been great for when I am out for a few hours and get hungry but don’t want to risk getting something not so ideal. It is also going to be cheaper than buying something else that is pre-made, such as a bagel or sandwich.

Note: This is not a sponsored post. I was not paid or asked to make this review of Clif Bars and I paid for all of mine myself. This and all of my reviews are completely my honest opinion and experiences. Just thought I’d get that out of the way :)

TOPICS IN THIS POST

  1. Not all “Healthy” bars are what they seem – Comparing Clif Bars with Other Bars
  2. Clif Bar Flavours and my brief reviews on the ones I’ve tried
  3. Where to Buy Clif Bars
  4. Recipes for Healthy Bars – Make your own!

Be Careful of “Healthy” Energy/Protein/Granola Bars

*A lot* of “health” bars on the market may have a bunch of clever catch phrases and include all the great things they have in them, but some are not telling you about the weird ingredients, high sugar contents, high fat contents, sodium, preservatives…etc. Sure, they may have flax seeds and raisins and buckwheat, but do they use artificial sweeteners, weird preservatives and artificial flavours? Becoming accustomed with the nutrition label is very important and it is good practice to always check your foods before purchasing them.

I am going to compare the three bars I currently have in my house: Chocolate Almond Fudge Clif Bar, Kashi Peanutty Dark Chocolate Fruit & Grain Bar and a Peanut Butter Chocolate Simply Bar. Just because this post is directed at Clif Bars, does not mean that I think they are *the best* bars out there. In fact, I don’t think that they are. My rating for the Simply Bar is higher than Clif Bars, but at this point in time, they are much too expensive for me to eat regularly.

First, let’s take a look at the ingredients in a Chocolate Almond Fudge¬†Clif Bar:

  • Organic Brown Rice Syrup
  • ClifPro¬ģ (Soy Rice Crisps [Soy Protein Isolate, Rice Flour, Barley Malt Extract]
  • Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soy Flour)
  • Organic Rolled Oats
  • Organic Cane Syrup
  • Chocolate Chips (Dried Cane Syrup, Unsweetened Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract)
  • Almond Butter
  • Organic Fig Paste
  • Cocoa
  • Almonds
  • ClifCrunch¬ģ (Apple Fiber, Organic Oat Fiber)
  • Organic Milled Flaxseed
  • Inulin [Chicory Extract]
  • Psyllium
  • Sea Salt
  • Natural Flavors.

No weird ingredients that you can’t pronounce. Everything looks pretty good! Now lets take a look at the nutrition label for a Chocolate Almond Fudge Clif Bar:

Clif Bar

We can see ¬†there are 250 calories, no Trans Fats, no Cholesterol, 140mg of Sodium* (our body needs about 500mg of sodium per day), and other info I have included in the photo above with my lovely cat in it. Clif Bars are not a perfect entity. While they are hitting a lot of great points (No trans fats, natural ingredients, high in vitamins and nutrients…), they do have a high sugar content, so that is something to consider. They are also on the higher end of the scale when it comes to calories. This is no problem if you are eating one before or after a work out, or taking the calories into account when eating it as a meal or part of a meal. I wouldn’t really suggest just eating one as a snack though, as there are plenty of other lower-calorie options for a snack.

All that being said, I still enjoy having Clif Bars before or after a work out. I don’t stick to this religiously, as I sometimes eat a piece of fruit or a protein shake, but in a pinch, they work for me.

* SODIUM – What it does and how much our body needs:

“Your body needs some sodium to function properly. It is the primary electrolyte that regulates fluid levels in the body. Sodium keeps your body hydrated by pumping water into the cell.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation suggests Canadian adults consume no more than five millilitres of salt (2,300 milligrams of sodium or a teaspoon of salt) per day.

Your body needs only 500 mg of sodium per day to function under normal circumstances. Endurance athletes need more and should consume fluids that contain sodium if they are exercising for two hours or more.” – Source

 

Clif Bar Breakdown:

  1. PRICE: Around $1.40-$1.80 (Can be purchased individually or in boxes of 12)
  2. PROS: High in Protein, Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, and Manganese, uses Natural ingredients
  3. CONS: High in Sugar, a bit high in Calories (Can be a pro or a con)
  4. GRAMS PER BAR: 68 grams
  5. # OF INGREDIENTS:  Around 20
  6. CALORIES: 250
  7. VEGAN?: Yes
  8. *MY LETTER GRADE RATING: A- (Full of vitamins and minerals but very high in sugar. Can get these at a decent price if you buy by the box.)

*This factors in cost and the pros and cons

Ok, now let’s look at ¬†Kashi Fruit & Grain Peanutty Dark Chocolate Bar:

Ingredients in a Kashi Peanutty Dark Chocolate Bar:

  • Rolled grain blend (hard red wheat, oats, rye, triticale, barley)
  • dates
  • dark chocolate (evaporated cane juice, chocolate liquor, cocoa)
  • roasted peanuts (peanuts, salt)
  • chicory root (inulin)
  • brown rice syrup
  • glycerin
  • soy protein isolate
  • expeller pressed canola oil
  • natural peanut butter (peanuts, palm oil)
  • semi-sweet chocolate (evaporated cane juice, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla)
  • soy grits
  • evaporated cane juice crystals
  • cornstarch
  • evaporated cane juice syrup
  • honey
  • corn flour
  • rice starch
  • soy lecithin
  • natural flavours
  • salt
  • oat hull fibre
  • seven whole grains & sesame flour (whole: oats, hard red wheat, rye, brown rice, triticale, barley, buckwheat, sesame seeds)
  • milk ingredients
  • almond flour

Wow, that’s a lot of ingredients in a small bar!

Nutrition Label:

Kashi Bar

Kashi Bar Breakdown:

  1. PRICE: Around $0.70 per bar (they come in a box of 6)
  2. PROS: Small amount of Iron, Very High in Dietary Fiber (almost as much as the Clif Bar and the same as the Simply Bar), 4g Protein, Trans Fat free
  3. CONS: Huge amount of ingredients, very little nutrient content (aside from the Fiber)
  4. GRAMS PER BAR: 32 grams
  5. # OF INGREDIENTS: Around 30+
  6. CALORIES: 130
  7. VEGAN?: No
  8. MY LETTER GRADE RATING: B- (High in Fiber, but too many ingredients and no significant vitamin content)

Now for the Simply Bar

Ingredients in a Peanut Butter & Chocolate Simply Bar:

  • Soy Crisps (soy protein isolate, tapioca starch, salt)
  • Organic Brown Rice Syrup
  • Inulin (Chicory Root Fiber)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Vegetable Glycerin
  • Organic Cocoa
  • Natural Flavor

Simply Bar Breakdown:

  1. PRICE: Average price. Around $2.70 (Can be purchased separately or in boxes of 15)
  2. PROS: Small amount of ingredients (all natural), No trans fats, medium amount of calories, very high in fiber, low in sugar, high in Iron, contains Calcium
  3. CONS: Much more expensive than the Clif Bar and has 28g less per bar.
  4. GRAMS PER BAR: 40 grams
  5. # OF INGREDIENTS: 9
  6. CALORIES: 160
  7. VEGAN?: Yes
  8. MY LETTER GRADE RATING: A (Only a handful of ingredients, high in Fiber, Iron and Calcium. Low in Sugar. Quite expensive for most people. I’ve seen a box of 15 go to over $40)

Simply Bar

Gaiam.com, Inc

 

 

Flavours (I will comment on the ones I have tried)

Oatmeal Raisin Walnut

  • Peanut Toffee BuzzI was excited for this but because I had high expectations, I didn’t like it the first time I tried it. I tried it a second time and I actually liked it a lot more. Either the first one I tried was a bit stale or I just warped my perception from having a weird expectation on how it would taste. 8.5/10

Peanut Toffee Buzz

  • White Chocolate MacadamiaThis was the first full box I ever purchased and it sounded so yummy but after a few days of having them, I just found them way too sweet. 8/10

 

Seasonal Flavours:

  • Iced Ginger
  • Peppermint Stick
  • Spiced Pumpkin Pie

Where to Buy Clif Bars – Clif Bars Coupon

You don’t have to use my discount coupons, but they are here if you wish to use them:

You can also get them here:

Recipes for Healthy Bars

Gaiam Subscription Clubs

My Insanity Journey & Progress – Work out Routines for Home – Insanity Does it Work

insanity

I have to say – I had been hoping I would someday find myself doing the Insanity program and now I am! It has be so intense, but I have really enjoyed it at the same time. I feel great and can’t wait till the end of the nine weeks. I hope this continuous post is helpful for you, whether you are looking to start Insanity or if you are just curious about hearing about other peoples’ fitness journeys. Maybe you want to know does Insanity actually work? I’m only a few weeks in, but so far my answer is 100% yes! ¬†Feel free to let me know if you have any questions. If I get a few questions I’ll try to make a video answering them. All videos and results will be added to this post, so keep checking back or like us on facebook ¬†or youtube to be informed as to when new info is posted here!

Note: I am not trying to sell the program and I am not a beachbody coach – I couldn’t even if I wanted to since I am in Canada. Just sharin’ my journey with you guys! :)¬†

 

  • I started Day 1 of Insanity on April 14th 2012¬†and my last day of Insanity is going to be on¬†June 16th 2012.

*My “Pre-Insanity” Fit Test Results – ¬†I did the Fit Test back in October to just try it out, but didn’t start the actual program until April 14th. I will put my results from October so you can see how I’m improved.

  • The numbers mean the number of reps or rounds I did.
  • “+” Means the number of additional reps I was able to do compared to the previous Fit Test

OCT. 3rd 2011 Fit Test Results:

  • Switch Kicks: 79
  • Power Jacks: 34
  • Power Knees: 72
  • Power Jumps: 26
  • Globe Jumps: 7
  • Suicide Jumps: 11
  • Push-up Jacks: 14
  • Low Plank Oblique: 40

1st Official Fit Test Results – April 14th, 2012:

  • Switch Kicks: 98 + 19
  • Power Jacks: 47 + 13¬†
  • Power Knees: 72
  • Power Jumps: 34 + 8¬†
  • Globe Jumps: 8 + 1
  • Suicide Jumps: 15 + 4
  • Push-up Jacks: 17 + 3
  • Low Plank Oblique: 45 + 5

2nd Fit Test Results – April 30th, 2012:

  • Switch Kicks: 101¬†+ 3
  • Power Jacks: 53¬†+ 6¬†
  • Power Knees: 89 + 17
  • Power Jumps: 37¬†+ 3¬†
  • Globe Jumps: 7 –¬†1
  • Suicide Jumps: 15
  • Push-up Jacks: 17
  • Low Plank Oblique: 47¬†+ 2

3rd Fit Test Results –¬†May 21st, 2012:

  • Switch Kicks: 120¬†+ 19
  • Power Jacks: 50 -3¬†
  • Power Knees: 91¬†+ 2
  • Power Jumps: 34¬†-3
  • Globe Jumps: 9¬†+2
  • Suicide Jumps: 16 +1
  • Push-up Jacks: 19 +2
  • Low Plank Oblique: 51¬†+ 4

4th Fit Test Results – June 4th, 2012:

  • Switch Kicks: 133¬†+13
  • Power Jacks: 58 +8¬†
  • Power Knees: 102¬†+11
  • Power Jumps: 35¬†+1
  • Globe Jumps: 9
  • Suicide Jumps: 16
  • Push-up Jacks: 20¬†+1
  • Low Plank Oblique: 61¬†+10
+44 reps in total :)

5th and Final Fit Test Results will be posted on June 17th

My measurements from Oct. 3rd 2011 (When I did my first “Practice” Fit Test:

  • Chest: 37″ 13cm
  • Waist: 31″ 7cm
  • Hips: 42″
  • Thighs: 26″ 6cm
  • Biceps: ¬†13″ 7cm

Measurements from April 4th 2012 (10 days before starting Insanity)

  • Chest: 35 1/2″ – down 1 1/2″
  • Waist: 29 1/2″ – down 1 1/2″
  • Hips: 38″ – down 4″
  • Thighs: 23 1/2″ – down 2 1/2″
  • Biceps: ¬†12″ – down 1″
Already in a much better place since October! :) Lost over 10 1/2″!

Measurements from April 30th – After 2 weeks of Insanity

  • Chest: 35 1/2″
  • Waist: 29″ – down 1/2″
  • Hips: 38″
  • Thighs: 23 1/2″
  • Biceps: ¬†12″
Measured myself a little early, but still down 1/2″ in my waist after 2 weeks of Insanity.

Measurements from May 12th – After 4 weeks of Insanity

  • Chest: 35 1/2″ – same
  • Waist: 28 1/2″ – down 1/2″
  • Hips: 37″ – down 1″
  • Thighs: (r) 23″ (l) 23 1/2″ – down 1/8″
  • Biceps: ¬†12″ – same
Had a feeling I might have lost a bit of inches, and I did! :) Lost a little over 1 1/2″ in the last 2 weeks doing Insanity.

The Vitamins & Supplements I currently take:

  1. Holy Basil x 2 a day
  2. Derma Vits x 5 a day
  3. Vegan CLA x 4 a day
  4. Vitamin B12 x 1000 mcg a day
  5. Vitamin D3 x 1000 IU a day
  6. Iron x 300 mg a day
  7. 5-HTP x 2
  8. Apple Cider Vinegar capsules x 2 (when needed)
  9. Oil of Oregano (when needed)
  10. MRM, Digest-All Plant Enzymes (when needed)

(I am not going into huge detail in this post, but if you have any questions please feel free to ask!)

  • I have been on a vegan diet for the past year and a vegetarian diet for the last 3-ish years. I don’t eat much bread or pastries or fried foods. I do make stir fries quite often, but the oil is limited and I always use unrefined oils – usually Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Cold-pressed Coconut Oil. I try to keep most of my food homemade and unprocessed. My lunches and dinners are almost always 100% homemade with no processed ingredients. Sometimes i’ll have occasional snacks or treats which are processed, but I try to keep those to a minimum.
  • The (non-stack/dessert) foods I eat the most are: Romaine, Kale, Boy Choy, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Baby Spinach, Peas, Mushrooms, Firm Tofu, Unsweetened Almond Milk, Bell Pepper, Daikon Radish, Tomatoes, Apples, Bananas, Avocado, Cucumber, Nutritional Yeast, Seaweeds, Rice Paper, Collards, Frozen Berries
  • My Breakfasts: Homemade protein fruit pancakes, Low-sugar natural cereal with unsweetened almond milk, Banana, real fruit Jam on Rice cakes w/ protein shake or bar, Steel cut or oatmeal oats w/ fruit
  • Desserts/Treats: Homemade vanilla/chocolate tapioca pudding w/ real fruit jam and/or natural peanut butter, homemade “cheesey’ kale chips, homemade raw truffles, rice cakes w/ jam and/or natural peanut butter, squares of high quality dark chocolate
  • Food Log: I have been keeping a Food Log since October 2011. I used to really dislike the idea of keeping a food log since I thought it would cause people to become obsessed with their food intake and writing every little thing down. I’ve actually found it to be really helpful and I really don’t over think it. ¬†I don’t even note the calories down to a t (how precise can we really be with everything we eat, anyway?). What I’ve found helpful about it is that I can see what foods I am likely to overeat or “mindlessly” eat and if they aren’t worthy of being in my diet aka are not doing me any favours, I will stop buying whatever that is and try to find a better alternative. It also helps me recall what foods might be problematic, whether I have a slight allergy or if they just don’ sit well with me. Finally, it is just helpful to track my progress and make sure I am taking in enough calories as well as not taking in too many. I use the simple but lovely program OmmWriter to store my food logs. I’m pretty certain you can get a free version.


Reach Your Goals, Summer 2

  1. Belly Dance (3+ times a week for at least 30 minutes each)
  2. Hula Hoop Dance (2-3+ times a week for at least 20 minutes)
  3. Bodyrock.tv workouts (decreased how much I do these since I started Insanity. They are usually 10-12 minutes long)
  4. Bike riding (40-50 minutes – I’ve just started this back up, but I hope to do this at least once a week)
  5. Pilates/Yoga (usually around 30 minutes – lately it has been around once a week)
  6. Occasional Gaiamtv.com work outs

What I was doing before I started Insanity and Finding my way back to Fitness

During my last year of university from Sept. 2010-April 2011, my diet and exercise sucked more and more as the assignments got more intense and by the middle of the school year, I wasn’t really doing any exercise aside from my once a week belly dance class. I ended up buying my first weighted hula hoop in about March and that’s when I slowly started to exercise by hooping, which at that point I had gained quite a few pounds and was very out of shape. I didn’t pick myself back up until mid-June 2011.

Mid-June 2011: I started doing Belly Dance, Hooping, AbRipperX once or twice a week (From P90x) and some Pilates a few times a week as an intro back into fitness. This was a good move, but I really didn’t get very speedy results.

August 1st 2011: I started Brazil Butt Lift, but by no means sticked to the schedule. I did about 4-5 BBL workouts a week until November 26th 2011, but there were a few weeks during that time where I missed so many days before a friend visited, then yadda yadda… I could have stuck with it, but didn’t succeed. -However-, I DID see great results from Brazil Butt Lift and I have to say what most people wonder…yes, it DOES make your butt awesome. I would like to actually do the whole program sometime, I just got a bit irritated and tired of the work outs…but my butt has never looked better! I was never that fond of my butt at all before I started the program, actually…so yay!

December 2011 was pretty much a clusterf*** (sorry, couldn’t have found a better word to describe it! haha :))

It was in the new year that I really got on track and started to push myself and really love exercise more than I ever have before.

January 2012-April 12th 2012: This is when I started up with Bodyrock.tv exercises and really stuck with them. I also really enjoyed the much shorter work outs (Brazil Butt Lift was about 45+ minutes while most Bodyrock workouts are up to 12 minutes long). I got really great and relatively speedy results and I still absolutely love the work outs. The only reason I’ve taken a break from them if because I somehow started Insanity haha….I really wasn’t planning to but now I’m totally immersed and the days are zooming by!

April 14th-Present: INSANITY! Bodyrock.tv workouts really helped prepare me for the insane Insanity workouts. I probably would have given up if I haven’t gotten back into decent shape through Bodyrock. My progress and results through Insanity has been the fastest out of all the work outs I have ever done….ever! My Bodyrock results were great, but Insanity has taken it to a new level and it is very motivating to see how I’ve improved from my first fit test to the 2nd. I am so excited to see where I’ll be at at the end of the program!

My favourite work outs to this day have been Bodyrock and Insanity (and my Belly Dancing of course). I almost never dread a work out now and never need to really force myself to do it. Sure, we all have days where we may not want to get out of bed or stop watching our favourite show, but now I have the urge to work out and I often look forward to it! That’s the key to long-term success – Find work outs you really ENJOY and spice it up with variety and you’ll be much more likely to stick with it than if you pick work outs that are really boring to you and don’t inspire you to want to do them. Another thing that I find helped to keep me motivated is to keep track of your progress with photos/video, measuring yourself once a month, writing down your reps or time if you are doing a rep challenge or time challenge…etc. I don’t own a scale and probably never will. Muscle weighs more than fat, so even if you have technically gained a pound, it might just be that you lost fat and gained muscle. I much prefer to measure yourself and the inches you lose/gain to track progress.

Insanity Week 3 Day 20 May 5th 2012

Today’s workout: Plyometric Cardio Circuit

Today‚Äôs workout was the last workout of week 3! It was also the same workout as the first Insanity workout of the program. Today I had my 2nd bike ride in almost a year! And a year ago was my first actual bike ride of any significant distance, so I am definitely not a seasoned biker by any means. I was so happy that I went on an hour long bike ride, with plenty of hills and still came home and got through the Insanity work out! My calves really felt tuckered out, and despite because pretty drained from the bike ride, I felt so¬†much stronger than I did doing this work out just three weeks ago. It was a great feeling and really motivating. In three short weeks, my fitness level has definitely gone up a few notches, and I am already noticing my body changing for the best. I got a short-term subscription to¬†Gaiamtv.com¬†so hopefully I’ll find some good stuff on there some smaller work outs to do either on my rest day or when I feel like I could do a little something extra.

I am writing this on Sunday, May 6th, so tomorrow marks the beginning of Week 4 – Bring it on!

PS – Oh my gad, I finally tried Popchips for the first time about a week ago – I’ve had 100 cal servings of the Salt & Vinegar chips after a couple of my work outs – soo good man!

Insanity Week 4 Day 25 May 10th 2012

Today’s workout: Cardio Recovery

I am very happy that I had Cardio Recovery today (Though tomorrow is Pure Cardio & Cardio abs! :S). I am going to be moving in a couple of weeks, and have been running around renewing my passport, reapplying for expired ID and health cards, booking tickets, residency rooms…etc, etc. Plus, I have been biking for an hour 2-3 times a week in the last two weeks, and it has been great, but that mixed with Insanity has left me pretty damn exhausted by the evening. That being said, I think it has helped my bad sleeping patterns as I felt quite rested when I woke up this morning.

Headaches? –¬†One negative I have noticed since I start starting Insanity is that I had been getting headaches every single day. Not extremely bad ones, but noticeable enough so that it is quite an annoying pain. I’m thinking this is because of the intensity of Insanity, but I’ll have to see if they keep persisting.

Today was my 4th Cardio Recovery,¬†and even though it is a much slower and relaxed work out, it is still quite intense, as there are a lot of squats and slow lunges with pulsing and the calves and thighs just burrrrrrn! That being said, I found that my legs had much more strength than the prior weeks. I was able to stay in a lunge for longer and do most of the pulses. I remember a few months ago, I had done 30 squats (probably the first actual squats I had ever done) and for a couple of days following, my thighs were RUINED aka so, so sore. Now though, certain Bodyrock work outs that I was doing called for 100 squats! And I have never had that insanely sore feeling from squats ever again. That’s not to say that I never get really sore anymore. Indeed I do at times…and I think it’s a good sign to be a bit sore from time to time, but I can more push myself more before I get really sore the next day.

Anyway, twas a good work out today! Felt my strength go up a notch and I erm… can’t wait for Pure Cardio tomorrow! Haha! It’s really not so bad. All of the work outs seems to go by quite quickly for me. Once I begin week 6, they will increase in length, so they might not feel so short at that point…but I’m stoked to get there! ūüėČ

I think I might start added what I ate for the day I do these Insanity blog posts…or not, but I will today and see how it goes:

Breakfast: Coffee + 2 Gluten Free Flax Omega 3 Waffles w/ sliced fresh strawberries and a drizzle of real maple syrup

Lunch: 1/2 Red Bell Pepper filled with mushrooms, tomato, baby spinach, brussel sprouts, mango salsa, hot sauce and a bit of vegan cheese on top

Snack: 100 cal serving of BBQ Popchips + Part of a blueberry scone

Dinner: Homemade vegan biryani w/ cauliflower, basmati rice, brussel sprouts, green beans, potato, bok choy, onion and tzatziki

 

Insanity Week 5 Day 29 May 14th 2012

Today’s workout: Core Cardio + Balance (Recovery Week)

Yay, I’ve made it to Week 5! I’m actually glad for multiple reasons, but one being that I embarrassingly stubbed my little toe on a corner of a wall and didn’t quite sprain it, but almost. Core Cardio + Balance isn’t as¬†insane as the other work outs, but mostly because you aren’t moving as fast and some of the moves are a little more laid back. That being said, it still made me work my butt off and I felt good afterwards! ¬†I also went for a 50 minute bike ride. Now, I am sufficiently exhausted and ready to make dinner and watch a movie with the cat next to me.

As I said a few days ago on my last blog post (above this one), I felt SO strong today! And the bike ride was 5 times easier than the last time I rode for 50 minutes last week. It’s so exciting. :) Once I reach the beginning of Week 6 (Gulp!), when the work outs start saying “Max” before them…I know it’ll make me push even harder but I am ready for it. My arm strength is not as great as my thigh/leg strength, so hopefully there will be a good amount of ¬†push ups and other exercises which target the arms. I find (proper) push ups quite difficult still, and I can’t go that far down, but still, SO much better than at day 1. I couldn’t even do a proper push up back then.

Okie dokie, well my energy levels are diminishing and I have an Insanity video to finish and upload to youtube. You can find all Insanity-related videos near the top of this post.

Breakfast: Coffee + 2 Gluten Free Flax Omega 3 Waffles w/ sliced banana and a drizzle of real maple syrup

Lunch: A couple of peaches, mandarin, 2 rice cakes with real fruit jam, a few whole grain crackers w/ jalapeno hummus.

Dinner:¬†Haven’t eaten dinner yet, but I think it’ll be non-gmo corn on the cob, chickpeas, bell pepper, rice, grilled romaine lettuce + a couple pieces of grilled tofu.

 

Insanity Week 5 Day 34 May 19th 2012

Today’s workout: Core Cardio + Balance (Recovery Week)

Today was the last work out of week 5. Every work out this week was Core Cardio + Balance. I really enjoyed it, but I am looking forward to the “Max” workouts starting on Monday (Week 6). I am nervous though too…eep. Today and yesterday’s work outs were good, but I can tell I was a bit fatigued, so I am glad tomorrow is a rest day. My body needs it and it’ll give me the day to keep preparing for moving in under 2 weeks. Hopefully my Insanity schedule won’t be too disrupted.

But anyway, not too much to say other than: Hurray, more than half way through the program and starting to mentally prepare for the more intense half. Monday has a Fit Test too, so I’m anxious to see how I do.

Breakfast: Coffee + Vector Cereal w/ Unsweetened Almond Milk + Banana

Lunch: 10 multigrain crackers, sweet potato pattie, rice, chickpeas

 

Insanity Week 6 Day 37 May 22nd 2012

Today’s workout: Max Interval Plyo (When sh*t starts to hit the fan)

I haven’t done today’s work out, but I just wanted to comment on yesterday’s work out aka the start of Week 6 aka the start of Phase two and the “Max” work outs. I knew it would be getting more intense, but oh.my.god.

So, last week was the “Recovery Week”, which I think was great as prior to that, it was 4 intense weeks of work outs. I was a bit nervous to begin Week 6, but I was feeling good. No injuries or especially sore parts of my body. Yesterday was actually a double whammy – a Fit Test and the main work out – “Max Interval Circuit”. For some reason, this was the most difficult Fit Test yet! I was almost on the edge of feeling nauseous, which didn’t even happen when I did the “practice” Fit Test in October. I think this may be because I am stronger now and was able to push myself harder. Maybe…in any case, I still improve my reps in each exercise except for two, especially the Switch Kicks, which I used to think were incredibly hard. I still think so, but at least I can actually do them now.

I’m not going to go into major detail with the start of Week 6 and Phase two, but I’ll just say that it felt like the intensity went up about 20 times and the work out felt like it went on foreverrrrrr. The first 5 Weeks of workouts seemed to fly by, but they were also about 25 minutes shorter. I’m sure these workouts will start to feel a bit shorter, but I haven’t been doing hour long workouts since the end of last year, so I’ve grown a bit accustomed and greedy since I have enjoy the under-an-hour workouts.

Oh, almost forgot. I haven’t been really sore throughout this whole program, but when I woke up this morning and moved around in bed, I instantly knew that I was quite sore in about 100 places haha. So, I’ll have to be careful throughout today’s workout. I may even have to modify a bit, but I’m going to go as much as I can without compromising form or risking injury.

In conclusion: Week 6 onwards is really quite a different ballgame, even though many of the moves will be familiar. I probably haven’t ever worked as hard as I did yesterday. If you are about to start Week 6 or want to start the program at some point, don’t be too discouraged by the “Max” workouts. You have 5 weeks prior to gain strength and stamina and to prepare you for these more intense work outs. There would be no way that I could do these if I hadn’t done the first 5 weeks. :)

Breakfast: Coffee + Vector Cereal w/ Unsweetened Almond Milk + Banana

2012

2012

 



The Simply Bar – High Protein, Low Calorie & More Fiber than Sugar – Vegan Low Sugar Protein Bar

simplybar

I wasn’t happy with how much sugar my clif bar had in it, so I spent a good 2 hours researching new protein/healthy vegan bars both online and at the store and I found a particularly amazing one! The Simply Bar. Check out the video I made about it. It tasted good whilst I was eating it on camera, but once I stopped filming and finished eating it, it tasted even better because I was able to relax and focus on the eating experience, hehe. The kind I tried was Peanut Butter and Chocolate. Their other flavours are:¬†Cocoa Coffee, Lemon Coconut, Cinnamon, Cocoa Raspberry and two new ones: Cinnamon Pecan and Caramel Peanut.

Note: Not sponsored. Purchased with my own money and reviewed based on how I enjoyed the taste and the ingredients. :)




*I accidently wrote "Peanut Butter Crunch" for the Simply Bar flavour, but it's technically called "Peanut Butter Chocolate" ;)




Kale Pakoras – Recipes for Pakoras

kalepakoras_thumb

Mmm, wonderful Kale! In case you haven‚Äôt experienced the wonders of kale, then maybe some kale pakoras will do the trick! Pakoras usually use tons of oil. I‚Äôve tried to limit the oil used in this. If our oven worked, I would have tried to make this an oven-recipe for pakoras, so that‚Äôll have to wait until I have access to a functioning oven. This week was the week of kale for me. I had three huge bunches of curly kale. With it, I made two batches of ‚Äúcheesy‚ÄĚ kale chips, some saut√©ed kale with tomatoes and then used up the rest by making some of these kale pakoras. They are delicious!

Ingredients

  • a few handfuls of kale (I used curly kale), stems removed and torn into smaller pieces
  • around ¬Ĺ cup besan flour (chickpea flour)
  • ¬Ĺ tsp garam masala
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • ¬ľ tsp chili powder
  • sea salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger or ¬Ĺ tsp ground ginger
  • extra virgin olive oil, for cooking
  • water
*I eyeballed this entire thing and didn’t measure anything out. It’s not really easy to fudge it up, so just make it more or less spicy / flavourful, depending on your preferences.

Directions

  1. In a bowl, mix together the besan flour, garam masala, red pepper flakes, chili powder, sea salt, pepper, cilantro and ginger. Add in a small amount of water at a time, gradually mixing until the mixture is a bit thick but still liquidy. Add in the pieces of kale and mix well to coat all of the kale. I didn’t make so much batter that the kale was completely coated, as I wanted more of a larger kale ratio, but you can have more batter if you’d prefer.
  2. Heat up some oil to medium-low in a non-stick skillet or wok. Instead of using a massive amount of oil, I probably used about 4-5tbs, which is more than I’d usually use for 99% of my dishes, but for the sake of this recipe and not having an oven to bake these in, I decided to just splurge a little bit. You can use less or more oil.
  3. Carefully place the battered kale into the pan and cook on either side for about 3 minutes, or until they are crispy and brown. Remove from heat and place on a paper towel to remove the excess oil.
I served these up with a some unsweetened apple sauce, but yogurt or sour cream would be good too or a chutney. Enjoy! :)
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