Vegetarian Pot Pie with Biscuits, Caramelized Onion, White Beans and Thyme

Overhead view of 9 biscuits on pot pie filling in a skillet. You’ll notice the little knot in the bottom right hand corner- I hate wasting perfectly good biscuit dough!

I spent years as a vegetarian without enjoying pot pie. Nearly every recipe or every restaurant featured chicken. I’ve tried tofu (gummy), seitan (chewy), and omitted a protein all together (starving afterwards). However, I think I cracked the case with this recipe. It’s hearty, it’s very flavorful, and it uses up all of those frozen vegetables we stocked back in March when we all thought we were going to run out of food.

The key to this recipe is to find comfort in improvising. I estimated how much of the vegetables I needed; the pan was looking rather light when I added the broth so I added more peas and corn to bulk it up. If you bulk it up too much, just add a little more stock. Just remember that it will thicken as it cooks.

If you are intimidated by making your own biscuits, fear not. They truly are the easiest baked good to make and made easier by using a food processor. The food processor chops the butter into small pieces without warming it up too much. Using plastic wrap while rolling reduces any heat transfer from your hands and makes it less messy to do. Giving it a couple of folds will make those layers sing when they bake in the oven.

Be confident! You can make biscuits! Or, if you really can’t, use the store-bought stuff. No one’s judging.

Vegetarian Pot Pie with Biscuits, Caramelized Onion, White Beans and Thyme

Ingredients

Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 tbsp butter, salted or unsalted, cubed
3/4 cup whole milk

Filling
1 small/medium onion, peeled and diced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 cups carrots, diced
1.5 cups celery, diced
1-2 cups green beans, 1” trimmed
1/2 cup green peas
1/2 cup corn
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable stock
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp thyme, fresh or dried
1 14-oz can of small white beans or cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp cream cheese
Salt and pepper to taste (more pepper the better!)

Instructions

Prepare the biscuits

  1. In a food processor, pulse the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt a couple of times. Add the butter and pulse 20-30 times. Check the mixture- there should be small to medium lumps of butter in the flour. Slowly add the milk and pulse until combined.
  2. On a clean but lightly floured surface, turn the dough out. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the dough and roll it out to about 1/2” thick. Fold over and roll again so that it’s about 1/2” to 1” thick. You can fold and roll again if you like, but it is not necessary.
  3. With a 2” biscuit cutter, cut out 8 biscuits, using the scraps, rolling them out, and getting more biscuits out of them.
  4. Put the plastic wrap on a small tray and place the biscuits on the plastic. Let it sit in the fridge while you make your pot pie.

Prepare the filling

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. In a large, deep frying pan, over medium-low heat, caramelized the onions until lightly browned and softened, stirring periodically. This will take about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, green beans, green peas, and corn and cook for 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and mix well.
  5. Add the vegetable stock, lemon zest, thyme, and beans and simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened.
  6. Add the cream cheese and mix well. Taste and season accordingly.
  7. Remove the biscuits from the fridge and place gently on the pot pie filling. Bake for 15-20 minutes on the middle rack until golden brown and cooked through.

Notes:
– For the vegetables, it is best to eyeball the ratio. I provided a best guess but ultimately I tweaked the amount of corn and peas to bulk up the mixture.
– You can use frozen vegetables for everything. I keep diced carrots and celery in my freezer for quick soups and stews.
– Brush the biscuits with melted butter before baking for a shiny golden brown.
– Don’t be afraid to add pepper. Seriously. Pot pie should always have lots of fresh pepper.
– Top with puff pastry instead of biscuits. Reference this great post by The Kitchn on how to avoid a soggy bottom.

Lemon Ricotta Cake

Top view of the lemon ricotta cake that is topped with slivered almonds and confectioner’s sugar and plated on a white plate.

Lemon ricotta cake is an Italian bakery staple. Traditionally it is made with almond flour or semolina flour but all-purpose (or cake) flour does the trick. It has the creaminess of cheesecake but carries this oxymoronic density that is also light.

View of lemon ricotta cake with a slice taken out. The upper portion of the cake is cake-like with a slight density towards the bottom.

You’ll notice it’s a bit dense at the bottom. This is likely because the cake was made in a 7-inch pan where it took too long to rise and fell. Or, it happened from over-mixing. My bets are on baking in too small of a pan but only more testing will tell!

Ingredients
1 1/3 cups (188g) all-purpose or cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine salt
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 tbsp lemon zest, grated or finely minced
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp almond extract
1 1/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
Your choice: Fresh fruit, sliced almonds, confectioner’s sugar, whipped cream, candied lemons

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees and set a rack to the middle of the oven. Grease an 8-inch springform pan and line with a round piece of parchment paper. Grease the parchment with butter. Set aside.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar, butter, and lemon zest until pale in color and lightly whipped. If you are using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and set it to a medium speed.
4. Mix in one egg at a time until incorporated. Batter will be lumpy.
5. Mix in the vanilla.
6. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add half of the dry ingredients until just combined. Mix in the ricotta. Add the rest of the dry ingredients until just combined. Gently fold the batter incorporate any residual ingredients on the side of the bowl.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and level the top. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the cake is set. The middle of the cake will be the slightest bit wobbly but a toothpick will come out clean. Or, the thermometer will read 210 F.
8. Once baked, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Use a knife or icing spatula to loosen the edges from the pan and remove the springform ring. Allow to cool completely before topping with your choice of fresh fruit, sliced almonds, confectioner’s sugar, whipped cream, candied lemons.

Notes:
– Be careful not to over-mix once the ricotta and flour have been added. Go slow. Even better, turn off the mixer and just fold it in by hand with a spatula. Why? You don’t want the gluten to over-develop.
– If you do use a 7-inch pan, expect the slightly dense bottom. I didn’t find it gummy or anything like that. I rather enjoyed it, actually. I read many complaints about similar recipes about 9-inch pans not getting a good rise. An 8-inch pan seems to be pretty safe.
– Cake can be left at room temperature for 2 days. Otherwise, fridge it.
– If the cake was in the fridge, let the cake sit for 30 minutes at room temperature before serving it.

Rum Raisin Cake

Rum raisin cake in a bundt form with white icing drizzled over it.

As many people are isolating at home, there’s definitely an uptick in baking. Flour can be difficult to come by in NYC. I’m personally at a point where I pick up a bag when I see it and have been ordering from small mills to get special flours like bread flour or rye. I wasn’t at all surprised to see the lingering bags on the shelves have mostly been self-rising or whole wheat. I think people either don’t know what to do with them or just simply don’t like baking with them. That’s okay, more for me.

This means every cup of flour needs to be worth it. I got it in my head a few weeks ago that I wanted to make a rum raisin cake. My grandmother had this amazing whiskey nut cake that I coveted as a kid. As much as I like making hers, I wanted to have a boozy cake that was my own. This rum raisin is more of a tea loaf; it is not sticky or dense. It is light, fluffy, and spiced with a touch of cocoa, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The rum flavor is faint, which is how I prefer for my booze-flavored cakes.

If you don’t have time to soak the raisins in the rum, you can hydrate them over a low heat to speed up the process. I suggest planning ahead, though, and soaking overnight.

Rum Raisin Cake

Ingredients
Cake
1 cup raisins (golden, regular, other dried fruit if you like)
1/3 cup dark rum
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups applesauce, unsweetened
2 cups (300g) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Icing
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 to 4 tbsp milk (or hot water, for desired consistency)

Cake Directions

  1. Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with the rum. Let sit at room temperature for 4 hours minimum (overnight preferred).
  2. Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease and lightly flour a 10-cup bundt pan.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix in applesauce. The mixture will appear to separate. This is okay and will be fixed when you add the dry ingredients.
  5. Gradually add flour mixture into the wet mixture, until fully incorporated.
  6. Fold in raisins, rum, and walnuts.
  7. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes until middle of cake comes out clean when poked (internal temperature about 210F). Let cool on a wire rack. While the cake is cooling, make the icing.

Icing Directions

  1. Combine butter and vanilla extract in a medium bowl.
  2. Using an electric mixer, slowly add powdered sugar to the butter. Add milk (or water) until you reach your desired consistency.
  3. Slowly pour over the cooled cake.

Running after a Virus

As some of you know, I’m a runner. I was training for a 10k at the end of March and I had several other races lined up for the spring. I finally built what I felt to be a pretty strong base; I was chasing a sub-30 5k and felt I could pull through the mental dregs of fatigue to keep pushing. I was feeling so strong and capable. I am someone who knows their body well; it’s just something you have to do as a runner.

February 29th, 2020: My longest and farthest run to date.

I came back from California on March 9th. I went to a conference on March 10th. I was at work for one day that week before we were instructed to all work from home starting from the 12th. I also went for one run that week and it ended up being a long walk with a few spurts of running. I was out of breath and tired. I went for a 7.2 mile hike that Saturday. I still don’t know how I managed that.

By Sunday, I couldn’t move. My throat felt like it had a shard of glass digging into it. My chest hurt in a way I had never felt before. I was uncomfortable temperature wise but no fever that I could detect. My back hurt and my head ached so badly I turned to my trusty friend, Advil, for relief. I couldn’t taste anything or smell anything. That part was weird and out of fear I ignored it. I cross checked every single list of symptoms for COVID19- nothing was consistent so I just stayed home, just in case.

For the next few days, I worked and napped when I felt I needed to. I didn’t really give it a second thought- I had a respiratory thing for sure but I wasn’t sure if it was, “the virus.” I know I wouldn’t have been able to get tested based on the criteria at the time: I am young, healthy, and not considered vulnerable in any way. I didn’t want to take resources away from someone else and I most certainly didn’t want to go to a place that could expose me to something worse.

So, I didn’t get tested. A friend posted on Facebook that he had gotten tested and his positive results came with some interesting symptoms that aligned perfectly with mine. At this point, it had been about three or four days since I displayed symptoms. I had one feverish night where I slept on the bathroom floor for a little while. I never got back to 100% though. I’ve been hovering between 40%-75% each day, never really sure how strong I’ll feel.

It’s been over two weeks since I first felt my discomfort in my chest. If I breathe real deep, I can still feel a little twinge of pain. But I need to breathe deeply because I need to run. Running is the only way I maintain a healthy relationship with my body and food. Without my job that requires me to run around, I’m sedentary in a way that makes my whole body hurt. Even though we’re not eating to excess, I lost my ability to taste food and my ability to determine if I was hungry or just bored. So I lace up and go.

My runs right now look like this: I gear up, I start the app on my watch, and I jog for almost a mile before needing to stop. I pick up the pace again and not even ten minutes later, I have to slow to a walking pace. I do this off and on until I hit two miles. I dodge strangers walking around kids on their scooters and I remind myself constantly not to touch my face. I try to tell myself I’m not invincible. Another day, repeat.

March 21st, 2020: My new reality.

It’s hard to run again. My chest feels like it’s been replaced with a defective set of lungs. I feel like I lost a base that I worked so hard to build. I worry I have nothing to shoot for now that my races are either canceled or postponed. In the face of society, we have to be strong and endure. We can’t complain about our disappointment because it is interpreted as selfish and insensitive.

Well, I’m complaining. I am grieving. I am mourning the Shayla from before the virus. I am saddened by the people are getting sick and are losing their loved ones. I am desperate for a sense of normalcy in this new normal. I am worried about having infected others even though I self-isolated as early as possible. I miss people but I’m overwhelmed by everyone’s need to virtually connect. I have no guarantee of income after May. Every day I have to question why my body hurts and if it’s something that needs medical attention. And with this much uncertainty and anxiety, running would make things a lot easier. I can’t run, though, in the way I was running before. My body just can’t handle the aerobic exercise right now.

This won’t stop me from lacing up. I have to learn to reset and let recovery happen at its own pace. This might look like a long walk or a 20-minute pilates session. It might look like hours on the couch watching trash TV, trying to stay hydrated. Whatever it looks like, I have to learn to accept it.

So here’s to running and all the ways it teaches us patience and grace. Please be well, stay safe, and wash your damn hands.

Why I Hate Squats

I was working out nearly every day at a local franchise gym. I was mainly on the elliptical but would incorporate some circuit workouts with squats, dead bugs, and rows. A trainer came over to me and said I wasn’t squatting correctly. I said thanks for the tips, etc. He tried to get me to buy personal training packages. I get it, they have to hustle. And I was grateful he was looking out to avoid any injuries. But I wasn’t interested in buying any PT sessions.

As I (and most women) usually do, I said maybe and I wanted to leave it at that. Every single time I saw him he’d say something about the sessions, about my “form”, or about my body. I felt like I couldn’t tell him to bug off and I really just wanted to be left alone. It made me not want to go to the gym anymore. Being introverted with an anxiety disorder has taught me that I needed to learn how to navigate the world successfully but nothing gets you to revert to your safe space faster than unwanted attention by a stranger who can lift your weight 2x.

I signed up at my current gym and told the managers about my experience. They ensured me that wouldn’t happen there. When I was ready to sign up for personal training, I asked to work with a woman. I told her my story too.

You know what? She taught me how to squat. She’s taught me a lot of things from exercises, stretching, and perspective. I can’t thank her enough for being my advocate and my role model.

I love squats now. And I’m darn good at them.

Learning static stretches for running.

Scallion & Spinach Biscuity Muffins

A view of the muffin split in half to see the inside

Sometimes I really miss biscuits. And muffins. It’s not the plant-based diet that causes this yearning; it’s mostly that I try not to eat too many refined carbohydrates unless there’s a solid protein alongside of it. So here’s a combination of the objects of my desire. I recommend using 100% all-purpose for the most biscuit-like texture but you could swap in some whole wheat to give it fiber.

Ingredients

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or half AP, half whole wheat)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 1/4 cups unsweetened dairy-free milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp ground flax
1/4 cup olive or canola oil
1 cup packed finely chopped leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc)
1/4 cup minced scallions
vegan butter or oil to grease the muffin pan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, mustard, garlic powder, paprika, and nutritional yeast.
  3. In a small bowl or a 2-cup measuring cup, combine the dairy-free milk and flax. Whisk together until frothy.
  4. Add the oil slowly while whisking the mixture. Let sit while you finely chop the greens and mince the scallions.
  5. Mix the wet ingredients and the greens and scallions to the dry ingredient bowl until well incorporated. The batter will be thick. If it is too thick to mix, add a little of the milk to loosen it. Be careful not to add too much.
  6. Spoon about 2 tbsp of the batter into each muffin cup. Bake for 23-27 minutes until cooked through.
10 scallion and spinach muffins in a muffin tin from an overhead shot

Really Healthy Banana Muffins

In true Shayla fashion, I forgot to update this thing. What’s funny is that I really enjoy writing even though I’m not particularly good at it. I’ve always taken a “whatever” approach to the things that I’m mediocre at. However, there is something I’m very good at doing and that’s what this post is about today.

That thing is baking! When I started this weight-loss journey I stopped baking. I’m sure you can imagine why. It’s hard to stay accountable when you’re sabotaging yourself. But!!! You can have treats on occasion and it doesn’t even have to be a bad treat. I have a terrible sweet tooth and pastries are my downfall. When I was looking for a way to use up some ripening bananas, I found this beaut by GimmeDelicious.

Layla, the curator + composer of GimmeDelicious, posted this delectable healthy banana muffin recipe and I’m all over it. I made a few minor adjustments but she gets full on credit for its awesomeness. This recipe makes 12 small muffins or 6-7 large muffins. You can make it dairy free and I’m pretty sure a flax egg would do the trick if you need to substitute those eggs. Gluten free subs would work great too!

FullSizeRender 2

Healthy Banana Nut Muffins

What you’ll need:

  • large + medium sized mixing bowls
  • baking spatula
  • hand mixer (not necessary but will help)
  • measuring spoons + cups (all of them pretty much)
  • Large dinner spoon

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour (WW or GF flour will work too)
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp old-fashioned oats, plus 1-2 tbsp for sprinkling (get the GF kind if you need it!)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup ripe bananas, mashed (that’s about 2.5 med bananas)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup honey (or maple syrup or agave)
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2-1 cup chocolate chips, raisins, pecans, walnuts, etc (e.g. your choice!)

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease a muffin pan with butter, oil, or insert liners.
  2. In the large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Be sure you saved some oats for later. Set aside.
  3. In the medium mixing bowl, mash that banana. Add the eggs, honey, olive oil, almond milk, and vanilla. On a low speed, mix until combined.
  4. Combine the wet with the dry and mix with the spatula until fully incorporated. Stir in your fixin’s.
  5. Pour the batter into the cups until it’s about 3/4 full. Sprinkle with those reserved oats because it’ll make them pretty.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until browned on top and cooked through. You should use a toothpick to check the doneness. The toothpick should come out clean.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool. Slather it with butter, more honey, peanut butter. Go crazy, you deserve it.

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Dal for Days

 

It was cold and rainy in New York City this past week. To warm up my belly without putting too much strain on my wallet, I decided to make dal. Dal is an Indian lentil stew and boy, is it good!

Sometimes I get intimidated by making Indian dishes because of the number of spices used, etc. I want to do it “right” but don’t always have the opportunity to stock my pantry with every seasoning. The recipe I go by is as minimal as it gets.

If you make the spice blend ahead of time and keep some on hand, your prep time will be even shorter. Let me know if you have any variations you’d like to share!

IMG_0356

 

Easy Dal

What you’ll need:

  • cutting board
  • chef’s knife
  • high sided non-stick pan
  • medium sauté pan
  • garlic press
  • small bowl
  • measuring cup
  • measuring spoons
  • can opener

Dal Spice Blend (make this first)

  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (ground)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seed (ground)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne or paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mix together in a small bowl. Taste a tiny bit to gauge heat/flavor. Feel free to add a little more or less depending on how you like it.

Ingredients

  • 3 tsp olive oil (2 tsp + 1 tsp)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled + minced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
  • 2 tsp dal spice blend
  • 1/2 cup red split lentils
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 can lite coconut milk (do not open until ready to pour)
  • 1/2 bunch kale, washed and roughly chopped
  • chili sauce, sriracha, liquid aminos (you’ll see later why they are no measurements)
  • cilantro, roughly chopped (sub parsley if you don’t like cilantro)
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • Rice (start cooking before the lentils) or naan (toast in the last 5 minutes until warmed through)
  1. In a high sided non-stick skillet, heat 2 tsp of olive oil over medium high heat. When hot, sauté the ginger and shallot for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the dal spice blend, salt to taste, and stir.
  2. Shake the can of coconut milk and open. Add the coconut milk, 3/4 cup water and red lentils to the pan. Bring to a simmer then lower the temperature to medium, stirring occasionally. Cook for 20-22 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Squeeze the juice from 2 lime quarters into the lentils and stir.
  3. After the lentils have cooked for about 10 minutes, heat 1 tsp olive oil in a medium sized pan over medium high heat. Add the kale – be careful for any spattering from the water hitting the oil. Sauté the kale until wilted. Season it with some chili sauce and liquid aminos if you’d like. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Evenly distribute the lentils into two bowls. Top with the cooked kale, carb and cilantro. Enjoy!

Tip: Great for lunch the next day. You can double recipe easily- just test the spice blend before adding. You can top the dal with any sautéed or roasted vegetable and protein!

Can’t get any easier: Chia Pudding

Weight Update: I’m at 169lbs (down from 181lbs)! Finally below 170! Only 4 more pounds until I reach my first goal. This is the slowest, most agonizing process but I have to keep going. Follow me on Instagram for more frequent updates.

Happy Sunday everyone! It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post so I’m going to give you two recipes to get you through your week. It’s the same base, two different ways, and an endless number of possibilities.

I drink a meal replacement shake every morning and it doesn’t change much. 1 scoop protein powder (I use IdealShape!) almond milk, almond butter, chia, and banana (239 calories). Yum!!! But it gets kind of boring after 10 or 15 of these. So when I need to switch things up but still want to keep it low cal + healthy, I make chia pudding.

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View from the top of the breakfast hunger

If I forget to make it the night before, I toss all of the ingredients into my Nutribullet and voila! Easy breakfast.

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Blended Chia Pudding – great breakfast for the office!

Blended Chia Pudding

What you’ll need

  • high speed blender
  • spatula
  • tablespoon
  • 1/2 c. measuring cup
  • small container with a lid

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, cashew milk, etc)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • cinnamon
  • toppings! fruit, nut butter, nuts, cacao, dried fruit, coconut, granola, whatever you like

Instructions

  1. Combine the chia seeds, milk and maple syrup in the blender. Sprinkle cinnamon to taste.
  2. Blend on high for about 1-2 minutes, until thick and smooth. It will be slightly gelatinous to touch. Pour into the container and top with your favorite things. Enjoy!

Est. 203 calories without toppings

Overnight Chia Pudding

What you’ll need

  • small container with a lid
  • tablespoon
  • 1/2 c. measuring cup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice (almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, cashew milk, etc)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • cinnamon
  • toppings! fruit, nut butter, nuts, cacao, dried fruit, coconut, granola, whatever you like

Instructions

  1. Combine the chia seeds, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon to taste. Give it a good stir.
  2. Let sit in the fridge for a least 4 hours. It should thicken up immensely and have a gelatinous, tapioca like consistency. If it’s too thick when you’re ready to eat it, add a little extra milk to loosen it up. Top it with your favorite things. Enjoy!

Est. 215 calories without toppings

Tip: Feel free to add 1/8 tsp of almond or vanilla extra or 1/4 tsp orange zest to brighten the flavor. You can also do milk blends. I personally like using almond milk and canned, cooking coconut milk. It makes it so creamy!

 

A Story About Forgiving Yourself… Sort Of

This is a tough topic to bring up and I’ve decided to post my thoughts on it, raw and probably circular, on the internet.

I feel some serious frustration towards myself for letting myself become overweight. I’ve pushed healthy food professionally and personally for so many years but I didn’t commit to what I was preaching. I blamed the catering life for a while. How could I say no three cheese mac or coffee-cacao rubbed brisket?

A life-long, turbulent relationship with food and body image has brought me here. The reason I am overweight is because I have been saturated in denial about being in control of the issue.

2016-03-08 11.06.18

March 8th, 2016. Somewhere between 176-181lbs.

I know I’m not huge but I’m uncomfortable. I feel it most when I’m active but I can feel it even when I’m sedentary. My back has next to no strength to support itself and my poor hips and knees are achy.

When my brother decided to move forward with his weight loss surgery, I decided it was my turn to get serious about making some changes. So on January 6th, I started counting calories and slowly incorporating more activity into my day.

2016-03-23 11.59.27

Ow ow ow ow ow ow

Fast forward to today. I’ve lost about 9-10lbs. With the sun shining for the first time all week, I went for a run and I was slow (14 min avg pace!?!?). I was beginning to beat myself up for not being able to go longer or faster. Why didn’t I jog more? Why was this so hard? I wanted to give up halfway through the mile but I couldn’t. As a personal philosophy I don’t give up until I know the returns will be zilch.

I know this is going to be a long and slow process. I did the math- I would have to eat 1200 calories/day to lose 1lb/week to which I said, “Oh HELL no.” I love food and all of its complexities. Giving up my connection to food would be sacrificing a part of my identity (see personal Instagram tagline: Data nerd, Brooklyn biker, vegetable pusher). What I need to do is kickstart my relationship with food.  I don’t need to eat all the snacks because they’re there but if I want a donut, I should have a donut. And I should plan for that donut. I should savor that donut and all of its doughy sweetness. And then eat a giant bowl of vegetables when I’m hungry.

I’m trying to forgive myself for treating my body so badly all these years. Hundreds of days of endless drinking, mindless eating, and minimal movement that have damaged parts of me I didn’t know I had. I don’t know how to do this but I need to start somewhere. So I’ll start here, telling you about how like every other person struggling with their weight, I am mad at myself. The only way I can move forward psychologically and physically is to identify it, acknowledge it, and then let it go. Let self-love repair all that I’ve destroyed and salvage the few parts of me that are still ready to do this.

I’ll keep counting and restricting calories until I’ve reached a healthy point but I will not let anger fuel my desire to get there. To all of you sharing the same struggle, do yourself a favor and forgive yourself for failing time and time again. You’ve only lost when you’ve given up.

Also, get yourself a mantra. It helps.

Mine? Be strong, but gentle.