Well hello there! Long time no… blog. You may have been surprised by my spontaneity in taking off to BC (that’s British Columbia for international friends); believe me I was too. The trip came together in a matter of three days after finding out about my new job thanks to my generous parents and their excessive amount of Aeroplane miles. I firmly believe that a picture says a thousand words, so I’ll let the visuals do the talking:
“But Suzanne,”, you ask, “where is all the food“. Oh don’t you fret, keep your eyes peeled for the best of BC vegan eats!
Get your veggy on:
I know I’ll be back July 20th!
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Get your veggy on:
You know when your Mom tells you that everything is going to be alright? Recall when Dad assures you that things will work out despite all your worrying? Well, it turns out they knew what they were talking about. This wisdom could indeed be applied to baking these muffins, since I quite haphazardly threw together a bunch of ingredients and hoped for the best. Additionally, it truthfully applies to life and it’s curious ways. Last week I spilled my heart regarding the rough time I have been having since graduation and waiting on the results of a job interview. Well, I can happily say that I have officially secured my first ‘big girl’ job!!! Since hearing the good news last week, I have also signed the lease on a new apartment, and have been planning a spontaneous trip to British Columbia before I start my new job at the end of the month! These muffins serve as partial celebration.
Talk about a whirlwind week! On top of all of this, I also celebrated my 22nd birthday. If you’ve been a long time reader of HV, you may remember how I waxed poetic last year about my dislike for birthdays; well not this year. It was the perfect mix of low-key fun from strawberry picking with the fam, to birthday meals at Woodenheads (twice!), drive in movies (22 Jump Street, ironically enough), stand up paddle boards, and an excessive amount of vegan funfetti cupcakes. It was smiles all around
As much as I love cupcakes, I enjoy their healthier counterpart all the more. Since I’m also not the hugest icing fan, I created a tasty alternative and then stuffed it right inside the muffin itself to hide the evidence. Best of both worlds? I think so.
Chocolate Stuffed Banana Muffins
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: bake bread snack breakfast banana cashew butter
Ingredients (1 dozen (12 muffins))
- 1/2 c. spelt flour
- 3/4 c. oat flour (ground in a food processor)
- 1/4 c. rolled oats
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax seed + 3 tbsp water)
- 2 large bananas (approx 1 c., mashed)
- 1/2 c. almond ‘buttermilk’ (1/2 c. almond milk + 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar/lemon juice)
- 1/4 c. maple syrup
- 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 c. Medjool dates
- 1/4 c. cashew butter
- 1/2 tbsp. cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp. almond milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a muffin tin with coconut oil. Mix flax egg and ‘buttermilk’ and set aside.
Prepare ‘stuffing’ by combining ingredients together in a food processor and blending until smooth.
Mix together dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, mash the banana and stir to combine the rest of the wet ingredients.
Add wet to dry and stir until just combined.
Fill muffin tins 1/2 full of batter, add a tablespoon full of the stuffing, and cover with additional batter.
Bake for 30-35 minutes; leave to cool before removing from tin.
Question of the Day: Cupcakes or muffins?
Get your veggy on:
Lately, sitting down to compose a blog post has been low on my list of priorities. While I would like to blame my neglect of cyberspace on the gorgeous (albeit very humid) weather, in all truthfulness, other life events have been demanding my attention. In all the years that I have been reading blogs and participating in this amazing community, what I have valued most is learning about other people’s similar life experiences. I will never forget perusing Angela and Gena‘s blogs and gaining insight into recovery from an eating disorder. I frequently revisit Katie‘s well articulated posts on veganism and Amy‘s thoughts on living a balanced lifestyle. It takes courage to amalgamate and share the dialogue that goes on in our minds, but from my experience I know it to ultimately be useful.
My computer is blowing hot air onto my lap as I listen to Simon and Garfunkel (man, if only all music was this good) and try to put into words what life has been dishing out in the past new months. ‘Challenging’ is one word that comes to mind, especially since becoming a retired student and dealing with ample unstructured hours. ‘Wavering‘ is another adjective that pops up. My friend and I often check in on how each other are feeling using a rating system, by assigning a number from 1-10 (on an increasing scale) to our current state of being. Instead of the consistent sevens and eights that I had been citing, lately I’ve been a five at best.
Let me fill you in a bit on why I think this is so: life can be stressful. Nearly two months ago I interviewed for the full-time nursing position of my dreams. Not only is this job in my city and field of choice, it would also enable me to teach yoga on the side; factors of great importance for me. My happiness and sanity has been riding on the prospect of securing this job, and the stress associated with waiting for an answer has depleted my coping abilities in other areas of life.
Have you ever heard of the stress curve? It’s basic premise is that moderate amounts of stress are motivating, but too much may be debilitating to performance. Over the past two months of waiting to hear about this job, I have been slowing moving from green, to yellow, through orange, and have alarmingly approached red territory. Despite being educated in the field of healthcare, I’m not immune to ‘symptom googling’. Recently my desire to sleep in excess, loss of appetite, reduction in feeling pleasure from my favourite activities (namely, blogging), fatigue, and feeling like I’m wading through pudding have been leading me to think that I’ve been going through a bout of minor depression.
Phew. Strangely enough, it feel good to get that off my chest. Since coming to realize the trend in which my emotions have been going, I’ve started to make small manageable changes in my thoughts and actions. Thankfully I have started to feel better, and come Wednesday when the results of my interview are delivered, at least I will have a clearer picture of where life is headed. As unfortunate as depression, mental illness, and feeling ‘off’ is, it is all too common (1 in 5 Canadians will experience some form in their lifetime). Although everyone will have their own way of feeling better, here are a few things that I have found useful:
1) Talk to Someone You Trust- sometimes just talking through it can be of extreme benefit.
2) Do Something, Anything You Love- express yourself in a way that normally makes you feel good. Writing, drawing, cooking…
3) Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Body- gaining the motivation to do so can be difficult, but refocusing your energy can be so beneficial. Follow along to a yoga video on YouTube or recruit a friend for a jog.
Whether or not you can relate to this post, I hope it provides even a glimmer of insight into how crucial mental wellness is. Before I leave you, I wanted to share this amazing quote from a book I recently read:
“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” ~ Pema Chodron (From her book When Things Fall Apart)
No questions, just your thoughts
Note: This post is based on my own personal experience. I am not a medical doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist and all opinions are my own. If you are seeking help please contact your healthcare provider.
Get your veggy on:
While talking on the phone with my Mom the other week, she quoted a phrase my brother had said to her. I couldn’t help but wonder why my brother felt so inclined to say that “I’m so glad to have a hippie as a sister“. A hippie? Moi? Now that I think about it, I guess I do have a few hippie-like tendencies. My closet consists of more than one tied-dyed piece, you will rarely see me without a mason jar or reusable container, I habitually flash the ‘peace’ sign at drivers to thank them for letting me cross the street, and I spent the better part of my weekend camping and doing yoga at The Groove Festival.
Another qualifying characteristic is the fact that I really enjoy making my own food. I’ve dabbled in bread-baking, kombucha-brewing, and more recently cracker-baking. I was jazzed by how easy and quick it is to create your own customized dipping vessels. This particular recipe has only five simple ingredients, although you could easily jazz them up with dried herbs, spices or additional seeds or nuts of your choice.
- 10 g of protein per serving
- loaded with fibre (2 g per serving)
- a good source of Vitamin E
- vegan, gluten-free, raw and 100% Canadian
5 Ingredient Hemp Seed Crackers
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: bake appetizer snack gluten-free nut-free soy-free sugar-free vegan wheat-free chia seeds hemp seeds hemp oatmeal
Ingredients (Approx 2 dozen crackers)
- 1/2 c. oat flour (store-bought or milled in a food processor)
- 1/2 c. North Coast Naturals hemp seeds
- 1 tbsp. chia seeds
- 1 tbsp. ground flax seed
- 1/2 c. + 2 tbsp water
- optional: dried herbs, spices
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Mix dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Stir in water until well combined (will be sticky, almost ‘PlayDough’ like).
Spread the mixture in a thin, even layer on the cookie sheet with the back of a spatula.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove tray from oven and score the crackers in any shape you like with a sharp knife.
Bake for another 10 minutes, checking often to prevent burning.
Turn off the oven, and leave tray in oven with door propped open to ensure crackers are crunchy.
Cool and enjoy with your favourite dips, nut butters, or on their own.
What do you like to dip your crackers in?
Disclaimer: Although I was not compensated for this post, North Coast Naturals provided me product to try free-of-charge. All opinions are my own.
Get your veggy on: