Chicago Bound Again: Vegan Travels

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Hello Genki Friends!  Hoping all of you are excited about the weekend, still can’t believe it’s already Friday.  We just returned from a trip to Chicago, a second home lately since it has the O’hare airport.  It is the largest airport with the best price in the local area.  It takes less than 4 hours to travel to Chicago, so it’s really not that bad of a drive and it saves a bundle on plane tickets.  Genki Husband and I decided to travel together and get out of the house.  It was a spur of the moment trip and we were so thankful we had the chance.  (Not so thrilled about the O’Hare parking ‘police’ almost giving me a ticket though… always an adventure.)  As this was a trip of relaxation from all the stress in our lives lately, I did not take many photos.  But, I did take a few since I have a slight photo addiction.  Here is our trip in photos:

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Food Fuel for Long Run Mornings

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Three weeks ago we started a new training plan for our running and Sunday just happens to be our long run day right now.  It will probably get changed once we move but for now that’s the day for us.  We tend to get up at our normal time and skip our coffee sipping time of relaxation and just head on out.  Sometimes Genki Husband and I will grab a few dates or share a banana before leaving the house but basically we eat nothing before our long run.  Last weekend was 80 minutes in duration so you can expect we really burn off a lot of calories.  Upon our return, we tend to make a large breakfast at around 10A.M.  Here’s what we have been eating after our long runs:

Waffles are a hit with Genki Husband – I try to mix it up and add different berries or fillings for variety. Then we usually have watermelon too, if I haven’t eaten all of it first.

Vegan Sausage and Gravy with Homemade Biscuits. This is so incredibly easy to put together, I’m not sure why people always think it’s a lot of work. This photo was actually leftovers warmed up but I’m sure you can get the idea. It was so filling and delicious after a long run.

Dark Cocoa Zucchini Muffins made with no oil. These were a bit sticky but they were tasty after a long run.

This is something we will eat for an afternoon run post fuel up or as a fast breakfast after a run. This is a tortilla (whole wheat is better but it’s hard to find here), sliced banana, 1 tbsp peanut butter and a few chocolate chips. So delicious and can be eaten in the car while driving.

It all depends on when we get back from our run but occasionally we have more of a brunch style meal. Vegan Lunch: two slices bread slathered in hummus, cucumber slices and sliced pickles.

Biggby Coffee is a Michigan coffee house that has vegan option but beware of the high sugar level content. Biggby does have soy milk, we’ve had issues before in a few stores but it is a general practice to have soy milk available. (Make sure you ask specifically for no dairy syrups. Some drinks have dairy pre-mixed!) I’m not a fan of Biggby as the stores smell like hazelnut and I can’t breathe (I’m allergic) but they are all over the place and that’s where people in Michigan go around here. Boy did I get off focus… This is a African Autumn Rooibos Tea Latte with soy milk. It’s very sweet so Genki Husband and I share the drink and normally we have leftovers for another day. They serve Harvey and Sons tea, so delicious!

Blended bananas (2-4 each person) with a little water in the first bowl. Then we had freshly cut watermelon and blueberries, all from Michigan. Then I also had the leftover tea bag from my tea latte above (yes, it does work for tea later- hello my cheap side. haha) Mine is on the right.  Genki Husband added Vegas Raw Vegan Protein powder to his banana smoothie so it turned more brownish in color.

Vegan Post Run Lunch: bean burritos, homemade salsa, watermelon, blueberries, raspberries and a banana. Delicious!!!

My cute manager for the day – Genki Cat.

Note:  It’s important to make sure you are getting enough calories in when you are training for a marathon or just increasing your workout plans.  Food is fuel and medicine for your body so when you fuel it with enough food, it will heal your body.  If you do it correctly, your body will not hurt as much the next day.  Additionally, if you fuel your body, you will see weight loss and higher levels of energy.

NPR Zucchini Bread Recipe

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Promises are very special to me, so when I say I’m going to do something I normally will complete the promise.  So many of you have probably been waiting for this recipe since I mentioned it a few hours ago and I didn’t want to either a) forget or b) wait much longer.  Because seriously, when you have tons of zucchini what’s better than making zucchini bread?  Right?!  Mmmm  This recipe was from NPR and turned out a bit darker than I expected but it was perfectly done on the inside.  It was simple to put together as most zucchini breads are and tasted great!  I highly recommend it to anyone.  Continuing my quest to pass along my blog love- simply click HERE for the Original Recipe.  Or if you want a vegan version look below and see how I made some slight changes to the original.

Makes 2 loaves, about 12 slices each
 
3 ½ c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 ¼ c coarsely grated, unpeeled zucchini
1 c sugar
2-4 tsp ground flaxseed (I used 3 tsp but you can chose)
½ c vegetable oil (or ½ c applesauce; or 1 mashed banana)
2 tsp grated orange zest
1 c coarsely chopped toasted walnuts or pecans, optional
 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 1/2-inch loaf pans.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves into a bowl, and set aside.
Combine the zucchini, sugar, oil and orange zest in a large bowl, and mix by hand until evenly blended.
Add the sifted dry ingredients to the zucchini mixture. Stir by hand just until the batter is evenly moistened and blended. Fold in the nuts. Divide the batter between the prepared loaf pans.
Bake until the edges are browned and starting to pull away from the pan, and the bread springs back when lightly pressed with your fingertip, about 55 minutes. Remove the loaves from the pans and let cool on wire racks before serving.
 

*Note: I do not use nutmeg in my bread since I’m allergic – you can add it back in if you would like to use it. Additionally, I omit nuts in my banana bread since Genki Husband doesn’t like them. So, it’s all up to your house preference.

Fresh Produce Cooking As Of Late

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It’s late summer here in Michigan and that can only mean one thing – the harvest has begun!  Right now zucchini, sweet corn (non-GMO), tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, watermelon, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, a few apples and etc are waiting for you at your local farmers market.  Here’s what we have been tossing together with fresh produce from our local farmers market.

As of late, there are tons of zucchini’s available for consumption in Michigan. It is the crop of choice right now – so basically everyone has an abundance and can’t seem to get rid of it fast enough. Life is good for us zucchini lovers though. Normally I make a few loaves and place them in the freezer for the winter months. Unfortunately this year we are traveling around so we will not have the chance but if you are stationary, I would highly suggest it. The original recipe for the zucchini bread is HERE.  (I’ll share the vegan version in another post.)

Another recipe I found on Pinterest that we were impressed with even though it was simple and to the point. This utilizes a lot of fresh produce that many of you probably have in stock from your own personal farm. It’s really easy to put together and have on the dining table in 10 minutes or less. I think it would be perfect for BBQ parties too – just add some chips on the side for dipping.  Note: If you can see past my terribly fuzzy photo, you can tell I didn’t use the cherry tomatoes but a regular heirloom one since it’s what was available and in season.  Less eye appeal but same great flavor: The original recipe is HERE.

Roasted Tomato Salsa made from all fresh ingredients from the farmers’ market and our neighbors tomato plant (with permission of course). It’s funny in Michigan when you help neighbors out in the country, they give you fresh produce. Guess that’s the traditional way and we aren’t complaining. This was a bit more runny but it was delicious and perfect for chip dipping. The recipe made a ton and we ended up taking some of the homemade dip to our neighbors as we all went for a boat ride on the lake. Sharing is caring – especially when it’s homemade vegan goodies. Mmmmmm  The original recipe is from a new website I found on Pinterest lately found here.  It’s soooo delicious!  Warning, it makes a ton!  We like our chunky but you can make yours more creamy if you prefer.  Genki Husband wasn’t sure about the spice factor so we went a bit more bland – I’ll share later.

Potato, scrambled tofu and vegan sausage buddha bowl for breakfast. Some mornings we want something super hearty for breakfast and that’s when we normally pull out the tofu and potatoes. It was that kind of morning for this meal. We dry baked the chopped potato, tossed in scrambled tofu with red pepper, tomato and a bit of sauteed vegan sausage. Delicious!

This is another dish that I tossed together with a ton of fresh in season vegetables from our local farmers market. It had regular Japanese ramen noodles (vegan approved), carrot, onion, pepper, cabbage, wakame and some soy sauce, sugar and oil. Nothing special since Japanese sauces aren’t easy to come by around here. This was okay but not up to my tastebuds to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t make it again.

We devoured his pasta dish the other night. It was inspired by what we had left in the fridge and the pasta in the cabinet. It contains cabbage, carrots, onion, dill, vegan ground sausage and some ground black pepper. Super simple but super tasty!

We are still working through the cabbage we bought the other day (so far we have made about 6 dishes in total with it I believe). This was sliced onion, sliced cabbage, a drizzle of reduced sodium soy sauce and some celery salt. So delicious! We wanted more right afterwards.

Those are just a few of the meals we have been eating lately.  I have some heartier recipes and meals we have had in the last few days to add later but for now I thought I would get you all to drool over these and maybe inspire you all for dinner.  It’d be so easy just to stop by your local farmer and pick up a few things for dinner tonight wouldn’t it?

Yep, it’s still the country…

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Yep, we’re still in the country as you can tell.  We have a few more weeks so we as expected we are taking in the sights and just enjoying nature in beautiful Michigan countryside.  There really is no place like it.  Have you been to the state of Michigan, USA?  If not I highly recommend it (especially before the snow comes).  Come on over!  Here’s a few things that I have been enjoying lately.

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Michigan Natural Preserve

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Recently our weather has been very sporadic in Michigan, USA (thanks to climate change) and our days here are filled with hot weather then freezing cold.  It’s always a guessing game but at least we can be thankful we aren’t getting snow or anything of the sort right now.  Give it a day, maybe it will happen – who knows?!  So Genki Husband and I went on another trip to a natural preserve and walked along the country roads nearby to just take in the beauty that the area has to offer before we move.  It’s amazing how much we miss by driving in a car instead of walking.  Try it out, walk a road you normally drive on everyday – you will see how much you are missing by not walking.  Let me know how it goes – or better yet send photos!!!  I love hearing from each and every one of you Genki Friends.

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Tomato Recipes

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Yep, they’re in season too!  Hooray!  Seasonable recipes are just so enticing to me, I can’t get enough seasonal produce.  (And it’s not just because our farmers’ market has homemade apple cider slushies.)  Zucchini has definitely been showcased on our table lately, tomatoes are close in line though.  See Zucchini Recipes Here.  They are very useful to have just sitting around in the kitchen starring you down whenever you enter the room.  You know the look, “why haven’t you eaten me yet – eat me now!!!”  Everyone’s tomatoes stare their down right?  So if your’s are doing that right now, look below to create a beautiful seasonal dish.

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Vegan Visits Chinese Buffet

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Good Morning Everyone!  Cuppa on me

Happy Tuesday Genki Friends!  Hopefully all of you had a wonderful weekend and are well into your week already.  It’s always nice to have a weekend, especially gorgeous ones you can get outside as much as possible.  That’s just what we did this weekend – get out as much as possible.  Not sure if I mentioned it just yet but Genki Husband and I are back on the training program for running.  We did take a few weeks off the last two weeks because stress was just getting to us so we continued on with walking longer distances and more frequently.  Sometimes one just has to listen to his/her bodies to learn the keys to when to train and when to just get in that heart-pumping fitness.  Genki Pup doesn’t mind though, she gets more walks in than normal.  So that’s what we did, run, walk Genki pup, boat on the lake and sit out in the sunshine.  I’m not going to lie, there was also some BBQ’ing going on too.  Oh the life in Michigan on the lake.

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Last Week: In Photos

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Where and when did did the calendar turn to August?  It really did sneak up on us this year.  Last week was very busy with scheduling and getting things done around the house so we did not have much time to jump on the internet.  Regrettably I did not get much done last week to share with all of you which I deeply missed.  Thanks to technology though I was able to snap a few photos here and there to share with all of you.  Here’s my last week in photos (1 of a 2 part series).

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