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Life through Synecdoche

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Hey, y'all! [07 Dec 2011|09:13am]
Oh my gosh, it's been so long!  I wish I had more time to write, too, to provide a proper update, but I promise I'll come back soon and do so!  Let's see...  I graduated from law school in May (yay!), sat for the Georgia bar in July (yay!), started my Masters in Library Science at Catholic University in DC in August (yay!), found out I passed the bar in October (yay!), and am almost done with my first semester (of three) in my MLS (yay!).  I've been with my boyfriend Rusty for over a year, and he works at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, which is not too too far away (yay! yay! yay! haha!).

I can't believe my last update was from when I ran my first 5K!  Since then, I've competed in 16 races, including 2 full marathons (26.2 miles), a 50K ultramarathon (31.75 miles), a half Ironman (1.2mi swim, 56mi bike, 13.1mi run), and a full Ironman (2.4mi swim, 112mi bike, 26.2mi run)!  I ran my first mile in January 2010, and I finished my first full Ironman in September 2011--it took me 20 months to get from 1 mile to 140.6 miles, and I did it all on a vegan diet, too.  :)  I'm currently sponsored by Michelob ULTRA, and I'm running 2 half marathons, 2 full marathons, and another 50K ultramarathon in the spring, and I'm hopefully finishing my second full Ironman and doing a 50-mile ultramarathon next fall.  I'm so excited for the future!

Gotta get back to work at the moment, but I'll be back here soon!
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First race! [19 Apr 2010|03:32pm]
I ran my first race yesterday!  It felt so awesome!  I ran it so fast...  I had no idea I was capable of that kind of speed!  In training I run my 5K's in about 33:00, which is pretty close to 11min/mile.   I ran my race in 29:11--that averages to 9:07/mile!  That's insane!  The adrenaline of race day combined with the support/pressure of the other runners really helps.  I finished 96th out of 350 runners.  Can't wait for my next one!!!  Check out all my (well, they're actually Jeff's...) pictures here:  http://veganbooty.blogspot.com/2010/04/first-race-recap-ever.html.
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[14 Apr 2010|11:38am]
All signed up for my FIRST MARATHON!  Woohoo!  I have to raise a ton of money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society between now and October, but I know I can do it!  Check out my fundraising page here:  http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/nikesf10/alisonmakins.  Please make a donation to the LLS if you can!  It would mean so much to me and my mom!  I hate asking people for money, but this really is an amazing cause!
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[06 Apr 2010|07:35pm]

I'm pretty sure I'm totally and completely insane, but I'm signing up to run my first MARATHON in October!  It's the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco!

I'm starting a training program next week!  ACK!

I'm doing it through Team in Training, a program through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  You may remember that I've fundraised for the LLS before--my mom is a lymphoma survivor, and the LLS funded the research for the drug that saved my mom's life!

I'M SOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED!


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[27 Mar 2010|03:08pm]
Ah, yes, the blueberry breakfast cake recipe.  It's not perfect, as it does have a bit of oil in it (next time I'll try applesauce), but it's wheat-free and white sugar-free, so it's looking pretty good in my book!

Oat Flour Blueberry Breakfast Cake (served on 3/26/10)

1 cup of oats, wizzed in a blender to make flour
1 cup (3 scoops) protein powder (if you don't have protein powder, just use another cup of oat flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1/4 cup vegan milk product
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 cup blueberries (I used frozen)

Preheat your oven to 375 and spray a small cake pan (I used a 9x9 pan, but round would work) with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, mix together your dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center and add in your wet ingredients.  Whisk it good.  Stir in the blueberries.

Pour into the pan and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the cake is done (toothpick comes out of the center clean, and all that jazz).  Yum, yum, yum.

Time:  20ish minutes
Yield:  6 servings

P.S.  I really have no idea how long this takes to cook.  I accidentally turned off my oven while the cake was baking and then had to turn it back on to finish the cake, so it took forever.  The cake still turned out delicious, though!  Just check on it often.  When it looks dry, browned, and the sides are pulling away from the pan, give it a poke and see where you're at.

P.P.S.  I bet this makes fantastic muffins.  Maybe when I try it with applesauce I'll try it in muffin form.  I love EVERYTHING that can be made in a muffin tin!

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[22 Mar 2010|07:43pm]
I made some of this for lunches this week.  It smells amazing while cooking!  I've never really cooked with the canned fire-roasted tomatoes before, but now I'm a believer!  Fire-roasted tomatoes rock.

Spinach and Tomato Chickpeas with Quinoa (served on 3/22/10)

1 teaspoon vegetable oil 
1/2 a red onion, diced
4 green onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 can of chickpeas
1 can of fire-roasted tomatoes
a few squirts of lemon juice 
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper sauce
7.5 oz (3/4 of a bag) raw spinach

1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 3/4 cup water + 1 vegetable bouillon cube

Put your quinoa on to cook:  Boil the water with the bouillon cube, add the quinoa, stir, cover, reduce heat to low, simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat the oil and add the onions and garlic.  Cook for about 3 minutes or so, until the onions are softened a bit.  Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, and lemon juice.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until the spinach is wilted.

Serve the spinach and tomato chickpeas over the quinoa.  YUM.

Time:  15-20 minutes
Yield:  6 small servings (247 calories/serving)

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[02 Mar 2010|04:15pm]
These aren't pretty, but they're delicious, addictive, and easy!  I modified the recipe to add more protein.  You can see the (almost) original here.  I was going to further modify it to make it without sugar, but when I was making them I was really craving the crunch and sweetness of the sugar in these.  I bet you could substitute it with a variety of things, being these aren't actually a baked good.  Sweetened coconut flakes might be nice, as would a touch of agave (and then eliminate the water in the recipe).



No-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Balls (served on 2/28/10)

3/4 cup rolled oats 
2 scoops vegan protein powder
1/3 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/4 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance Buttery Sticks are the best)
2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter 

In a medium bowl, combine the oats, protein powder, sugar, and cocoa powder.  Mix in the water, vanilla extract, vegan butter, and peanut butter to form a dough.

Roll the dough into balls, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (it made 11 balls for me).  Chill on a baking sheet in the fridge for 30 minutes before eating.  YUM!

Time:  5 minutes + 30 minutes of chilling
Yield:  11 (116 calories/ball)

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[27 Feb 2010|01:48pm]
More cooking.  I eat A LOT these days, now that I'm running 4 days a week, so it seems like I'm always running out of food.  I made these TVP meetballs yesterday to re-stock the fridge with pre-made, protein-packed lunches and dinners.  I made my meetballs a little bigger than the recipe suggests (my yield was 16 instead of 20), and each one has 5g of delicious vegetable protein.  Also, I used 1/2 cup of oat flour (a generous 1/2 cup of rolled oats whizzed in the blender until flour-like) instead of the vital wheat gluten; they didn't stick together super well, but they held together well enough to fry--I just had to be gentle!  I served it with some brown rice that I stirred some spinach into until wilted, and then I added some jarred tomato sauce for just a little tomato-y flavor.


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[25 Feb 2010|04:32pm]
Sorry to blow up your friends pages', but I've got one more for ya.  This one is amazing.  It has some of my favorite things in it!  I've had the recipe sitting around for awhile, but I never seemed to have all of the ingredients on hand.  Soooo, I tweaked it a bit, and I bet it tastes better than the original!  The original recipe called for white wine and fresh thyme and all kinds of nonsense that I would have to buy to just to make the dish, and then I'd probably throw away months later when I realized I still had them.  Best to make things with pantry/fridge staples, yes?



Quinoa with Spinach and Mushrooms (from this recipe, served on 2/25/10)


1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 boullion cube (you could totally sub 2 cups veg stock for the water and boullion cube)
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 plum tomatoes, chopped

10 oz. washed baby spinach
salt & pepper
nooch (nutritional yeast)

In the bottom of a medium-sized saucepan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and saute the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent.  Add the quinoa, 2 cups water, boullion cube, 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, and 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning.  Stir to combine and dissolve boullion cube.  Bring mixture to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until quinoa is done.

While the quinoa is cooking, put 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large-ish skillet and add the mushrooms.  Cook the mushrooms until well browned, about 5 minutes.  Add the 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar to the skillet, along with the 1/2 cup water, 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, and chopped tomatoes.  Stir to combine, cover, and simmer over med-low heat until mushrooms are cooked through.

When the quinoa is done, remove the cover and shove in as much spinach as possible.  Re-cover the pot and let sit for a second while the spinach wilts a bit.  Uncover, stir, then add more spinach, re-cover, etc., until all of the spinach is wilted and mixed into the quinoa.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and then add few generous pinches of nooch.

I like to serve the mushroom mixture on top of the quinoa mixture, but you could also just mix the mushroom mixture into the quinoa mixture and eat it like that.  :-)

Time:  about 30 minutes
Servings:  4 (278 calories/serving)

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[25 Feb 2010|12:05pm]
Hello, my darlings.  It's so nice to sink into the interwebs for a bit--the last few days have been insanely busy!  School is killing me, as always, and I've had a couple hellish (but AWESOME!) workouts that have left me fairly incapacitated.  In fact, at the moment, I'm laying supine in bed, having just finished a 1K swim with an already sore body, and I'm supposed to be outlining my theory of criminal case for litigation tomorrow.  Oops!  It'll have to wait.  I'd like to share with you two delicious recipes instead!

First, the roasted cauliflower...DELISH.  I would eat this all day and night if it didn't have so much oil in it.  I'm going to tweak it a bit next time to be more calorie-friendly.  Second, the breakfast cookies are the newest love of my life.  Seriously.  I almost love them more than I love Jeff and sex.  Okay, not really.  But, still, they're perfect; I feel like I've been searching my whole life for them, and now I can die happy.  Okay, not really, again.  I'm being a little dramatic.  Jeff and I watched Bright Star last night, so I'm feeling poetic!



Curry Agave-Roasted Cauliflower (from here, just subbing agave for honey, served on 2/23/10)

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup agave

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Mix the dry seasings together in a big bowl.  Pour in the olive oil and agave and mix well.  Add the cauliflower florets and mix well.

Put the cauliflower on a sheet pan, spread out well so that it roasts instead of steams.  Roast for 20-25 minutes, giving the pan a shake or a stir half-way through.

When done roasting, check for seasonings, add a little more salt or pepper, and eat right away!  YUM! 

Time:  about 30 minutes
Servings:  4 (~ 200 calories/serving)





Peanut Butter Banana Oat Protein Cookies (from this recipe, served on 2/24/10)

1 cup rolled oats
2 scoops vegan protein powder
(I use Sun Warrior vanilla-flavored raw rice protein powder)
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons Chocolate PB2 powdered peanut butter
(if you don't have this, just use two more tablespoons of peanut butter and omit the water or vegan milk product)
1 tablespoon water or vegan milk product
2 bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all the ingredients together in a big bowl.  Form into 4 cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 20 minutes.  YUM.

Time:  about 25 minutes
Servings:  4 (239 calories/serving)

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[20 Feb 2010|11:55am]
Another adventure in breakfast-making...  This one was not as successful as the banana oat bars, which I absolutely love, but I still like this one nonetheless!  It's certainly not as sweet; it has an almost salty punch to it, which I really like for some reason with the blueberry bottom.



Blueberry Baked Oatmeal (based on this recipe, served on 2/19/10)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3 tablespoons agave
1/2 cup hemp milk (or whatever vegan milk you have on hand)
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup frozen blueberries

First, preheat your oven to 350 degress and make your chia eggs by mixing the 1 tablespoon chia seeds and 2 tablespoons water in the bottom of a mixing bowl (see note below if you don't have chia seeds and don't want to buy any).  Next, add the rest of the ingredients except the blueberries and mix well.

Put the blueberries in the bottom of an 8x8 pan, and dump the oatmeal mixture on top.  Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is browned a bit.

I like to eat it right out of the pan, but others tell me it's much tastier broken up in a bowl with some hemp milk poured over it.  :-)

Time:  about 30 minutes
Servings:  6 (149 calories/serving)

P.S.  If you don't have chia seeds and/or don't want to buy any, you can replace the chia gel (the chia seeds + the water) with a flax "egg", or just mash in a half of a banana.

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[20 Feb 2010|11:02am]

I've been on this kick lately where I've been trying to get all my vitamins and minerals via food so that I don't have to take a multivitamin.  I sort of obsessively monitior my food intake and nutrition, so it's easy to track, though I know that most people are not anal-retentive or type-A enough to do this.  The best way to get varied vitamins and minerals?  Eat colorful food.  Also, eat cardamon.  Cardamon will not help you get all of your vitamins and minerals, but it will help your kitchen smell like AWESOMENESS.



Tunisian Vegetables and Quinoa (the recipe started here, served on 2/19/10)

1 1/2 cups quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
1 carrot, chopped (I used a handful of baby carrots)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped 
1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon cardamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried cilantro (1 tablespoon fresh, if you have it)

First, get your quinoa going.  Put the quinoa, stock, and water in a pan, and bring it to a boil.  When it's boiling, cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, you'll want to cut the heat, remove the lid, give it a good stir/fluff, put the lid back on it, and let it sit for a about 5 more minutes.  By then your veggies should be almost ready.

For the veggies, put the olive oil in the bottom of a big pot and add the onions, zucchini, yellow squash, and carrots.  Cook until the onion is softened and translucent (about 5-ish minutes).  Add the red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, mushrooms, and tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes or so, until things are starting to soften up a big.  Then, stir the paprika, cardamon, salt, and cilantro.  Mix it good, and then throw on the cover and let it hang out for another few minutes on low temperature until everything is cooked to your liking.

Serve the veggies over the quinoa with an extra sprinking of paprika.  YUM!

Time:  about 25 minutes
Servings:  6 (225 calories/serving)

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[15 Feb 2010|11:11am]
I GOT APPROVED TO VOLUNTEER!  I'M GOING TO HAITI IN MAY!
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[13 Feb 2010|08:37am]
Instead of going to bed early and getting a proper sleep like one should before a race, I stayed up late and baked some sweets for my sweetie.  :-)  I used this recipe for the cookies, and all of the icings and sprinkles are store bought.  I mostly stuck to the recipe, except I chilled the dough and let it rest for 2 hours before rolling it out.  I rolled out a quarter of the dough at a time, using a liberally floured board and pin, and I cooked them for 12 minutes in the oven and 5 minutes out of the oven on the hot pan, then moved them to parchment paper on the countertop.  Happy almost-Valentine's Day, y'all!



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[08 Feb 2010|11:20am]

So, on Saturday, I decided I wanted to make breakfast bars, and I set out to find the perfect recipe for me.  I wanted one that ultimately would be vegan (of course), would contain oats, would not contain flour, would not contain white or brown sugar, would not contain oil or fat, would contain bananas, would allow me to add in chia seeds, would not need to be prepped overnight (I'm just not that on top of things), and would not require me to make a trip to the store.  It took me eight hours on Saturday to find a recipe and then sufficiently tweak it to meet all of my requirements, but it was well worth it.  I made them this morning, and I am muchos pleased!  Now, I bestow onto you...  Banana Oat Bars.



Banana Oat Bars (the recipe started here, served on 2/8/10)

4 cups rolled oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 medium or large ripe banana
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/4 cup water 
1/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup vegan milk product (I used almond milk)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 cup agave nectar (I used amber, but I'm sure light would work too)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I actually used a praline liqueur here because I was out of vanilla, but I understand that not everyone has praline liqueur sitting around in the kitchen!)
1 cup dried cranberries 

First things first:  Preheat your oven to 325.  Prep your 9 x 13 pan by either greasing it or fulling lining it with parchment paper.  Also, go ahead and prep your chia seeds by mixing the chia seeds with the 1/4 cup of water.  Let it sit for a few minutes while you work on the other stuff.  The seeds and water will make a gel that will bind your bars.

Start by mixing the oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a big bowl.  Make a well in the center and set aside.

In a separate bowl, mash the banana to your liking (I like some chunks in mine, personally), and then add the chia gel, applesauce, vegan milk product, maple syrup, molasses, agave nectar, and vanilla extract.  Whisk until the clumps of chia gel are mostly broken up and the mixture is fairly homogeneous-looking.

Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Stir in the cranberries.

Smush the mixture into your prepped pan, making sure to smush it into all of the corners.  Bake for 45 minutes.  When it's done, let it cool for a few minutes to finish setting, then cut into 12 bars.  YUM YUM YUM.

Time:  about an hour
Servings:  12 (183 calories/serving)

P.S.  If you don't have chia seeds and/or don't want to buy any, you can replace the chia gel (the chia seeds + the water) with 2 flax "eggs", or just mash in another banana.
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[07 Feb 2010|07:48pm]
Why amaranth?  Because it's awesome.  This is the ultimate comfort food for me.  The amaranth is like savory porridge, and the spinach and lentils have just the right spice.  SO GOOD.  Plus, it's protein-packed, of course.



Lentils and Spinach with Amaranth (from here, served on 2/7/10)

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 white onions, halved and sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup lentils
2 cups water
1 (10-oz.) package of frozen spinach
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup uncooked amaranth
1 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups water 

Heat oil in a heavy pan over medium heat.  Add the onion, and saute for about 10 minutes.  The onions will get soft and floppy and wonderful.  Add minced garlic and cook for another couple minutes.

Add lentils and water to the pan.  Bring it to a boil, cover, lower heat, and simmer about 35 mintues, until the lentils are cooked.

In the meantime, cook the spinach in the microwave according to the directions on the package.  Add the spinach, salt, cumin, and pepper to the pan with the lentils.  Cover and simmer until all is heated through.

To cook the amaranth, combine the broth and the 1 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stir in the amaranth, bring back to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Give it a stir, and let it sit uncovered for a few minutes.  It'll look like porridge.

Put a big scoop of spinach and lentils on top of a big scoop of amaranth.  Eat, and love.

Time:  about 45-55 minutes
Servings:  4 (351 calories/serving)

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[03 Feb 2010|11:39am]
High-protein breakfast?  Yes, please!  1 block of tofu + 1 package of frozen spinach + 1 cup of diced tomatoes + garlic powder + nooch + cayenne pepper sauce = 4 servings of savory lovin' with 13g of protein each.


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[02 Feb 2010|02:19pm]
Made some of this last night for drizzling on my broccoli.  It's SO GOOD!



Cayenne-Agave-Mustard Sauce (from here, served on 1/31/10)

1/2 cup agave
1/2 cup mustard (I used what I had on hand, which was a bit of whole-grain, a bit of dijon, and a bit of yellow)
a couple shots of cayenne pepper sauce
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar 

Mix.  Eat.  YUM.

Time:  a couple minutes
Servings:  8 2-tablespoon servings (73 calories/serving)

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[31 Jan 2010|03:13pm]
Made some of this last night for lunches this week.  Mmmmm...curry and mango...



Curry Quinoa with Mango (from here, served on 1/31/10)

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 mangos, peeled, chunked
3 green onions, sliced

Combine the quinoa with the stock, curry powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.  When it looks like it's done, cut the heat, put the cover back on, and let sit for 5 minutes or so.

Mix the quinoa with the mango and green onion.  Eat.  Love.

Time:  about 20 minutes
Servings:  4 (240 calories/serving)

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[26 Jan 2010|07:33pm]

I love this recipe.  Now, honestly, I don't know if I love it because it tastes good or because after I ate it, I had the most awesome workout ever!  It's got a ton of protein in a little package, and if you're like me and are trying to workout/train on a low-calorie vegan diet, this is pretty awesome.

This all started when I wanted to make breakfast tofu but wanted it to be sweet, not savory.  It's not the best it could be, but it was a delicious first attempt.  :-)



Baked Cinnamon Apples and Tofu, first trial (served on 1/26/10)

2 cups apple cider
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon agave nectar, divided
2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 block of tofu, pressed, cubed
2 1/2 apples, cored, cubed
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a shallow baking dish, mix together the apple cider, 1/4 cup of agave nectar, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, the allspice, the nutmeg, and the ginger.  Add the cubed tofu and toss to coat.  Stick it in the fridge and let it marinate overnight.

In the morning, transfer the tofu to a separate bowl and discard the marinade.  Add the cubed apples to the dish and toss with lemon juice and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven 10 minutes.  Add the tofu to the dish on top of the apples, up the oven temp to 400, and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until everything's cooked to your liking.  Makes five servings.  Drizzle 1 tablespoon of agave nectar on each serving before eating.

Time:  overnight marinade + 25ish minutes in the oven
Servings:  5 (196 calories/serving)

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