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Touristy

Good afternoon and happy Friday! 

The days of the week don’t mean too much to me nowadays since every day is like a weekend (be jealous but not too jealous…it gets old I promise).

But not every day feels like a vacation, however. Today definitely did though! I acted like a tourist and explored Philadelphia all day.

I was originally planning on waking up at the same time as Max (~7:30am) to go running while he heads off to work, but I had an insomniac night and was exhausted in the a.m. So I chose to sleep in instead 🙂 I’ve been meaning to condition my body to acclimate to early morning runs but training myself to wake up early has been ridiculously (and pathetically) difficult.

Instead of running when I later woke up at 9:30, I headed out to get some breakfast.

The Green Line Cafe was my intended destination and I already knew what I wanted.

Coffee+ a Vegan Chicken Sandwich (tempeh & Veganaise on a whole wheat bun)= YUM!

Post breakfast I felt the need to go exploring (and visit Trader Joe’s…it’s an addiction I know…shhh!) so I made the ~2 mile walk to the main part of the city.

There was plenty to see along the way! I mainly walked through the University of Pennsylvania campus but I also visited part of Drexel University.

It was hot hot hot out! Rehydration was crucial 🙂

Iced Passion Tea from Starbucks= one of my fav cold drinks eva!

The walk was filled with luscious greenery as well…definitely a perk in my book!

Soon I crossed the bridge into the main part of Philadelphia.

Now I was a full-blown tourist taking pics left and right non-stop.

I just couldn’t resist!

The Comcast Center was the tallest building in the entire city.

Maybe I’m a bit bias but in my mind nothing and no other city even comes close to comparing to my beautiful Chicago ♥

Philadelphia is still a gorgeous city though! Very homey 🙂

Soon enough I reached my destination:

♥♥♥

Crazy I know right.

Groceries:
yogurt
green protein drink
electrolyte water
coconut water
strawberries
blueberries
2 apples
dark chocolate

Afterwards, I briefly met up with Max (he works a couple of blocks away) and handed the bag off to him so that I wouldn’t have to lug it the 2.5 miles back home.

Food was on my mind once again so when I passed by a vegetarian/meditterranean food cart I knew I had to stop.

Lunch was half of a whole wheat pita with some freshly made hummus and a garden veggie salad.

Strawberries for dessert 🙂

Oh and I also found LOVE on the walk back home!

Yes, it’s been a perfect touristy day indeed 🙂

“Grace brings contentment”

~From Russia With Love~

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Detox Recap

I survived my detox week!!!

Melodramatic much? In all honesty it didn’t feel like a detox at all. I ate how I typically eat and only avoided coffee, meat (fish), and sugary foods. I also avoided alcohol all week but yesterday I went out for a drink with some friends after seeing Bad Teacher (horrible!) and caved for a glass of red wine. Oops. I just considered it my celebratory I-survived-my-“detox”-week reward 🙂

But lets back up a couple of days.

Saturday was fantastic! The sun was lacking but the air was warm and summery. I started the day off with a buckwheat bake (shocker). I really should call it “microwaved buckwheat breakfast pie” or something like hat since I never actually tried to bake it. One day, folks, one day.

This MBBP (haha!) was unique though! I felt experimental and adventurous so I opted for a strawberry-rhubarb flavor. I first made a quick stawb-rhub jam by boiling farmer’s market strawberries and rhubarb together with honey for about 15 minutes.

The final product was out.of.this.world. I’ve always been obsessed with sourness and this definitely hit the spot. Sweet+sour= heaven.

I mixed it into my MBBP nuked it for 3.5 minutes. Meanwhile, I mixed together some of the jam with my homemade Nutella as an added scrumptious topping.

The topping may not have an appealing color but trust me, it was fantastic.

Good to the very last bite!

A few hours after breakfast my fab running partner and I hit the streets for our long run.

Once again I surprised myself by busting out 5 miles!!!

Oh it was glorious! I couldn’t be more proud of myself 🙂

As expected post-run, starvation hit me like a pile of bricks and I raced drove home to create this hydrating green beauty:

In the mix:
Spinach
Kale
Almond milk
Flax seed (ground)
Banana
Blueberries

It held off my hunger for ~2 hours until our planned barbecue dinner!

On the menu? Hamburgers (for the parentals), grilled portabella mushrooms and grilled pizza!!!

I used the whole-wheat pizza dough I created and froze a couple of weeks ago and it was still fantastic!

I stuffed my face with an open-faced portobella burger and plenty of slices (5!) of pizza.

Slightly altered version of a pizza margherita:

Vegan pizza with grilled onions, spinach, tomato sauce and avocado:

I wobbled away with a full belly and a happy heart 

On Sunday the weather was much improved. I celebrated by buying myself a new pair of shoes (kidding…kind of). Breakfast was not too shabby either: scottish oats with strawberry-rhubarb jam and organic blueberries. Hmm it’s been a while!

As I mentioned earlier, I also met up with some friends for movies and drinks. Thus came the glass of wine. No more words needed.

Overall my detox week was not too bad! I drank Kombucha every morning and avoided what I declared for the most part (dark chocolate also snuck into my meals :/). I have been having minor cravings for coffee all week but today I woke up and just wasn’t feeling it at all.

But what I “surprisingly” was feeling was a nice buckwheat bake…or should I say MBBP?

Today’s flavor of choice was cherry (one of my favs!) topped with remaining strawberry-rhubarb jam.

I adore cherries…yumyumyummy!

My other dessert for the day?

Banana-cherry softserve with dark chocolate. I was obviously on a cherry kick all day.

Ok kiddos I’m off to go and continue to be lazy…have a great night!

“Always be pure, simple and honest”

~From Russia With Love~

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Foodie Friday

Hi again!

I’m back to provide a brief & visual recap of what I’ve been munching and feasting on all week. As you may recall, it’s been my detox week…detox being used loosely since I don’t actually believe in detoxes.

So here are some foodie highlights from this past week:

Lots and lots of Kombucha!

An equally ridiculous amount of buckwheat bakes!

Blueberry buckwheat bake:


Strawberry buckwheat bake FAIL:

One of the yummiest I’ve ever made: blended strawberry and banana with added oats topped with honey-tahini:




to.die.delicious.

Even my cat agrees 🙂

I even made a cupcake from the leftover mixture and topped it with homemade Nutella (recipe coming once I perfect it!!!):

Yummmmm!

My week has also been filled with plenty of strawberry eating…

I wish the crate never had to end 😦

Believe it or not, I haven’t solely living on buckwheat bakes and Kombucha alone.

Soup was also involved- red chard with white beans

Look at the beautiful color of the red chard:

Today’s lunch was a spinach salad with fried tofu, apples, blueberries, cucumbers & tomatoes. I included a mini sandwich with a mashed avocado and topped with sauteed mushrooms.


Skin Detox tea was included, of course.

Sadly, my beautiful purple nail polish is already chipping 😦 I sense another manicure in the near future…

Overall my week has been health-filled and wholesome. I’m proud!

Have a good Friday night!

“Our thoughts are forming the world”

~From Russia With Love~


 
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Posted by on June 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Moody Weather

Moody Weather

Seriously? 55º??? It’s mid-June already!!! What is this madness?!?! Just two days ago it was 94º! The weather has some serious issues here in Chicago.

Thankfully I’m leaving to go on vacation tomorrow! Mi familia and I are driving all the way to Ocean City, Maryland for some quality time on the beach. We are staying in an awesome suite with a kitchen so that we can cook when we need to! But we all unanimously agreed that dinner every night will consist of seafood! Ahhhh nice and fresh seafood is to.die.for. 🙂

In preparation of our upcoming vacation, my mom and I are getting manicures and pedicures later today. Yes, I’m well aware that I included those tasks on my to-do list, but I decided that it’s been waaaaay too long since I went to the nail salon (6 months!) and I deserved it 🙂

Despite the gloomy weather, I’m still going to choose a bright and summery color for my nails. Moody weather you don’t scare me!!!

I’m still enjoying refreshing summer salads:

My new salad bowl of choice is this fantastic Acacia Wood bowl. It’s the perfect size!

Baby spinach, red peppers, cucumber, carrots, tomato, blueberries, and croutons made from Ezekiel sprouted bread. Dressing consisted of grapeseed oil and pomegranate vinegar.

Perfection!

I love adding fruits into my salads. Noteworthy favorites include strawberries, blueberries, and mango. Yum!

Speaking of blueberries and favorites, lately I have been obsessed with buckwheat bakes. I first came across these on Edible Perspective a couple of months ago. Being secluded at school prevented me from actually trying to make them because raw buckwheat groats where nowhere to be found. As soon as I returned home, I immediately purchased the buckwheat and, well, the rest is history.

I make a buckwheat bake for breakfast at least 4 times a week and I always try out new flavor combinations. I have yet to actually bake a buckwheat bake in the oven as I’ve been using the microwave (3 minutes and it’s done!). Here are some of the documented ones I made:

Blueberry (today’s breakfast):

Mango:

Raspberry-Peach:

The possibilities are endless!

I’m off to pamper my fingers and toes. Have a great day!

“There is nothing more precious than the self”

~From Russia With Love~

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2011 in Buckwheat

 

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To-Do (Fail)

To-Do (Fail)

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I decided to create nightly to-do lists for the following day. So last night I created my very first to-do list in hopes of completely accomplishing everything on it.

Well…I failed. But not at everything!

First, I set my alarm to 9am in hopes of starting my day early. A phone call woke me up at 8:30 and I figured I would go back to sleep for another half hour. 9am came and went and next thing you know, it was 10:30 and I had to force myself to actually get out of bed! I kept having dreams about school and being back on campus and woke up with a sad and aching heart 😦 I don’t think that it has completely sunk into my mind that I am not coming back to school in the fall. 😦 College seriously was the best 4 years of my life to date. But more on that later…

Fail #2 was related to breakfast. I wanted to make buckwheat waffles and the result was quite messy:

The recipe was delicious but the waffle never made it off of the waffle maker. So this is how I ate breakfast, by scraping off the waffle and directly putting it into my mouth!

I’ll have to try again with a few modifications.

It’s still early in the afternoon so I hope to avoid anymore fails!

I used the leftover waffle batter to experiment with some recipes (more like cravings actually) and came up with these gorgeous “desserts”:

Once I perfect the recipe I will post it!

Hopefully I will complete the remainder of my to-do list. We’ll see how that goes…

“Greatness is measured by your gifts, not your possessions”

~From Russia With Love~

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Say Hello To The Easter Bunny!

Say Hello To The Easter Bunny!

HAPPY EASTER!

Today is the day of hard-boiled eggs, gorgeous easter baskets, lots of chocolate, hams and sausages, and exiting festivities!

I am Russian Orthodox, and although I am not religious I still enjoy celebrating Pasha (pronounced: Pas-ha) which is the Russian name for Easter. Orthodox Easter does not always fall on the same day as the Christian Easter, but this year it just so happens that it does!

Typically, on the night before Easter Sunday, my family and I go to church to get our Easter baskets blessed as well as light a candle. The songs and sermons end at midnight and then the eating begins!

When I was very young (around 10 years old), my friends and I and our families would all go to the same church. We would stay up all night and wait for all of the sermons to be over. Finally, around 7am the games and eating would begin! Gifts would be handed out, games of cracking the egg would be played, and so much more!

I used to love these times and look back at these memories very fondly.

Nowadays, things are a bit different. Sadly, I don’t always have the opportunity to come home for easter due to schoolwork. So I have to make-do on my own 😦

Luckily, I did a great job cheering myself up this morning!

My main success was an amazing new pancake creation that happened completely by accident. Last night, I mixed together oats, grated carrot, almond milk, and some maple syrup in hopes of creating a lovely “Eastery” oat smoothie (or as HEAB calls it: Smoathie). This morning I blended the mixture, and although it tasted delicious (I will be posting a recipe for it sometime later!), all of a sudden the brilliant idea of making pancakes hit me.

So out came this DELICIOUS creation!

CARROT CAKE PANCAKES FOR ONE

Ingredients:

-1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

-2 Tbs. whole wheat or spelt flour

-1/2 or 2/3 cup finely grated carrot

-1.5 tsp. cinnamon

-1/4 tsp. baking powder

-1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

-1 Tbs. maple syrup

-3/4 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)

-1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

-Chia egg: 1 Tbs. chia seeds+ 3 Tbs. water

-pinch of salt

*For Coconut Maple Syrup:

-1 Tbs. maple syrup

-1/2 Tbs. Artisana raw coconut butter (alternative: coconut flakes)

Directions:

1.) Combine oats, grated carrot, maple syrup, almond milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

2.) After refrigeration, blend the mixture and then add in the chia egg, baking powder, flour, and any additional add-ins and stir thoroughly.

*Note: for the chia egg combine the chia seeds with water and let sit for ~10 min until the mixture is jelly and egg-like

3.) On a pre-heated (medium heat) and oiled skillet, pour the batter to your desired pancake size and allow to cook a total of about 5 minutes on each side, flipping continuously.

4.) Top with the coconut maple syrup (just combine and mix the coconut butter and maple syrup together) and enjoy!

I die for these pancakes. They are seriously too good to be true!

Healthy? Check! Filling? Check! MIND-BLOWINGLY GOOD? CHECK!

Have a great Easter everyone! And if you don’t celebrate Easter then have a great Sunday 🙂

“The only tool you need is kindness”

~From Russia With Love~

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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The Final Stretch

The Final Stretch

I apologize for my absence lately…it can directly be blamed on school and all of the busy-work it brings!

These next 3 weeks are the final push for me. I basically have 2 upcoming weeks of pure hell with three group projects and 2 papers and two final exams thrown into the mix. Luckily, my final assignment (a ten-page paper) is due on Monday May 9th and then I am freeeee all week until May 15th graduation!

May 9th seriously can’t come soon enough…it’s what’s keeping me motivated!

The sadness of graduating has not yet kicked in, as schoolwork and the stresses it causes is currently taking up all of the room in my emotions. But my cap and gown are ordered and I am ready to walk across that stage 🙂

May is quickly approaching and yet the weather is refusing to warm up! Yesterday it didn’t even reach 50° and was freezing out! Today is only slightly warmer.

What is this madness?!?

Although I must say, April sure is living up to that whole “April showers bring May flowers” business…it’s been raining more than 4 times a week here!

Due to the cold and dreary weather, I had a little winter-related relapse and chose to make a heavy oatmeal combo that would make any winter-lover proud. Hint: I used sweet potato!

HEARTY SWEET POTATO OATMEAL

Ingredients:

-1 heaping cup of finely grated sweet potato

-1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

-1 cup milk (I used homemade almond milk)

-1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

-1 tsp. cinnamon

-1/8 tsp. ground cloves

-1/2 Tbs. (1.5 tsp.) maple syrup

-1 Tbs. raw coconut butter (I used Artisana brand ♥)

Directions:

1.) Combine the grated sweet potato, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a small pot and cook on low for approximately 5 minutes to soften up the sweet potato.

2.) Add in the oats, stir, and allow to simmer for 10 more minutes.

3.) Transfer to a bowl, top with coconut butter or other butter, and enjoy!

The oatmeal was very flavorful and perfect for a cold and rainy morning!

And it’s oh so very healthy too 🙂

I may be MIA for a while, with some sporadic posts here and there, and I apologize ahead of time for this, but school always comes first 🙂

Just a few more weeks left!

“It’s important to find your identity and your legacy”

~From Russia With Love~

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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