Snacking

Pomegranate Seeds

I am a snacker. I eat when I’m bored. I eat when I’m happy. I eat when I’m sad. I eat when I’m tired. Basically, if you are looking for me, the kitchen is a pretty safe bet.

As much as I would love to eat freshly baked chocolate chip cookies all day erryday, I try to sneak in some nutrients every now and then. Fortunately for my waistline, I’ve found a bunch of delicious yet healthy snacks.

A good snack provides lots of nutrients, keeps you full, and doesn’t have a lot of processed ingredients or sugar/salt. I tend to look for snacks that are high in protein or fiber, or stick with the classic fruit or vegetable. Here are a few of my favorites:

Nuts and Seeds
They are a good source of protein, have healthy fats, and fulfill our salt snack cravings. I don’t get too stuck on whether or not they are raw or roasted and salted but I know there is some nutritional benefit to eating raw. I’ve found that mixing raw nuts/seeds with roasted nuts/seeds is a good way to get around that. It gives the snack more variety, still has the yummy, salty roasted pieces, but makes the raw nuts more snackable. Stay away from the candied nuts though. Those should be considered a treat – not your go to snack.

Roasted Chickpeas
I can’t get enough of these. They are so versatile. You can top them with pretty much anything depending your your mood. Cinnamon with a touch of brown sugar is my favorite to satisfy a sweet tooth. If I’m craving salty, I usually go with plain sea salt, cracked pepper and a little paprika. For spicy, chili powder and cayenne pepper is where it’s at. These don’t take too long to make, have protein and fiber, and are a guiltless snack to pop in your mouth while you watch tv.

Popcorn
Not all popcorn is created equal. Microwave popcorn is not included in this list – it’s full of chemicals, fat, sugar, you name it. You can still get that indulgent “Movie Theater Butter” popcorn experience though. I have a stirring popper but an air popper would be even better. Just use some coconut oil in the stirring popper, pop the corn, and drizzle (generously) with butter. Toss with salt and you have a cinema worthy treat.

Veggies and Hummus
I love this one for work. The veggies have fiber while the hummus has protein. Sneak in a few whole grain crackers and you have a complete protein. I personally prefer the Whole Foods brand plain hummus topped with a drizzle of olive oil, some red pepper flakes and a crack of sea salt. This snack is crunchy, and reminiscent of chips and dip*.

*Obviously this isn’t chips and dip and I’m not trying to suggest that it will get rid of your queso cravings forever. This is great in its own right and works well in scenarios where you would usually want a chip and dip-eque snack.

Fruit
Fruit makes an amazing sweet snack. I love pomegranate seeds with coconut whipped cream. I’ve been a huge fan of winter citrus lately. Apples, bananas, strawberries, swoon! I always think I want a sweeter, more indulgent treat, but an apple or a handful of berries tends to fill that craving. I don’t follow a single diet, but I do fully consider fruit to be a free food. When I’m craving something sweet, I always (try to) start with fruit, and then reassess.

Bread/Toast
I love a good avocado toast. I also love peanut butter toast (maybe topped with banana and coconut), buttered toast, roasted garlic on toast and toast with coconut butter. Okay, maybe I just like bread a lot. For real though, bread and toast makes a pretty darn good snack. If you pick a good quality bread (maybe my whole grain recipe from Tuesday) you can top it with pretty much anything you want. I try to pick something with some fat to it because I find that it works well with the complex carbs to keep me full.

Snacking should be fun, not stressful. I like to have fun, easy to grab snacks on hand so it is easier to resist things like cheesy fish crackers and ooey gooey cookies.

Whole Wheat Bread

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I love the way freshly baked bread fills my kitchen with the most amazing scents. It is so warm and comforting. It takes a lot of self control to resist taking it out of the oven early and sneaking a bite. I promise this is worth every minute you have to wait.

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And how you have to wait for this recipe. This is an all day recipe. To be fair, it is almost entirely hands off. I could have easily left it to rise and gone about my day, but I’m impatient and was way more interested in watching it.

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This bread requires two separate 90 minute rises. Before you give up, close out of this and move on with you day, it doesn’t require kneading and it is 100% whole wheat. Those facts alone make this worth the time commitment.

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It’s hard to find a 100% whole wheat bread recipe that turns out well. They tend to be dense, dry and somewhat chalky. Not really my ideal loaf of bread. I knew there had to be a way to make a delicious loaf of bread without any white flour and I finally found a way. The secret? Using whole wheat pastry flour. Alternatively, run your whole wheat flour through a food processor. This helps make the bread less dense and more moist.

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This bread is delicious dipped in olive oil with cracked pepper a la your favorite Italian restaurant. If you want something fancier, top it with some mashed avocado, roasted garlic and a few red pepper flakes. I went with something a little sweeter in the photos and topped it with peanut butter, banana, coconut flakes and a drizzle of maple syrup.

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Whole Wheat Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water (around 110 degree)
  • 2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup to make it vegan)
  • 0.25 oz pkt active dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. In small bowl, combine water, honey and yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes while yeast activates. Mixture should get bubbly.
  2. In large bowl, combine dry ingredients
  3. Add wet ingredients. Stir vigorously for 1 minute
  4. Cover with towel, allow dough to sit in warm spot until doubled in size (about 90 minutes)
  5. Remove towel and stir vigorously for 30 seconds.
  6. Cover with towel, allow dough to sit in warm spot until doubled in size for a second time (about 90 minutes)
  7. Remove towel, put dough into well oiled loaf pan (I used coconut oil)
  8. Cover with plastic wrap, allow to proof until 80% of final size (about 40 minutes)
  9. Preheat over to 350 degrees
  10. Remove plastic wrap, allow dough to rest for 10 minutes
  11. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and crust has formed
  12. For a darker crust, heat under the broiler for a few minutes

Top with peanut butter, 1/2 a banana cut into slices, 1 tbsp maple syrup drizzle, and sprinkle with coconut flakes for a sweet snack.

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Sunday Things

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This Sunday means staying in bed just a little to long, running out of flour from making too much bread, and SNOW!!! Here are a few of my favorite internet finds of the week.

This rainbow nut milk. Healthy is so much easier when it is pretty.

These BLT spring rolls. Because bacon on everything.

These mac and cheese waffles. I have a major thing of mac and cheese.

These pretzel buns. Yum!

These grilled avocados. Springs ‘a coming.

This wall hanging. So cute (and not terribly hard!).

This article on “minifasting“. Super interesting theory.

This squash galette. Stunning.

This guy drank 10 cokes a day. 10 cokes!

These breakfast tacos. Um yes please!

This mac and cheese party. How do I get an invite?

These waffles. I’m on a breakfast kick.

My Week in Pictures // 4

Five things that made my week.

1. This run in the snow // because everything is prettier with snow.
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2. Winter citrus // because it is delicious and I’m determined not to get sick.
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3. Swiss chard // for being pretty and delicious in miso soup.
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4. Browned butter pecan cookies // because yum!
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5. This shirt // for being comfy and cute.
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other things:
juicing vs smoothies
40 days
baked grapefruit
flexibility
unfancy
wishing I lived in NYC

On City Living: Walking

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When choosing my current apartment, one of my number one priorities was being able to walk to work. I live in Minneapolis, and as much as I love the snow, I don’t love driving in it. I wanted to make my commute as easy as possible and take the snow element out entirely.

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Fast forward a year, and I’ve fallen in love with downtown living. There is so much to do: farmers markets, running and biking trails, shops, restaurants, coffee shops, sporting events, all within walking distance. I drive my car once or twice a week to visit my parents, but other than that, I walk or bike almost everywhere.

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In all fairness, my definition of walking distance has changed a lot over the past year. Last year, I was living in Atlanta about the same distance from a grocery store as I am now. I don’t think I ever walked to the grocery store. It just didn’t make sense in the area that I lived. Now, I’ve never driven. I’ve created somewhat of a personal challenge to drive as little as possible. I recommend this to anyone living in a major city, assuming it is safe. It is a great way to get some exercise, save money, and learn about your city.

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Living on foot makes the city feel that much bigger. I’ve noticed new shops, found favorite restaurants and experienced fresh air outside of my teeny balcony.