Easy, quick results….ok, I’m sold.

I decided to share this with the inter web because everyone deserves to see a little truth behind working out once in a while. I am not necessarily bashful however, I AM a little embarrassed of myself when I let laziness or “life” carry me away from my passion of being active and fit. And that’s how this story starts. 
Over the last month and a bit I really let myself go….by my standards. Why? Well my little baby dog died and a slew of other obstacles presented themselves and instead of keeping focused, I internalized, I drank too much wine and I didn’t work out beyond walking my dogs a couple of times per day. I stopped cooking every day and was eating out at least once per day…it was madness for my usually clean, active and positive world. 
In this amount of time I managed to gain weight and become trapped in a cycle of bad moods and lethargy. 
Then the new year happened, I kicked it into high gear with running, yoga and cooking at home. What I didn’t expect to do was to join this 30 day challenge online (for free) and see results in 9 days. I’ve still had the odd beer, wine and even nacho’s last weekend. 
No money, no equipment and just 12 minutes per day, all arriving in my inbox. 
I didn’t adhere to rest days, and usually run for 30 minutes or do a 1 hour hot yoga/flow class to pair up with the 12 minutes. I also love skiing, hiking and spinning…..so changing it up helps. 
If you have 12 minutes to watch TV (ok, I don’t have TV but say Facebook then….)you have 12 minutes to at least give yourself the gift of movement. 
Check out BodyRockTV here https://www.facebook.com/BodyRock.Tv
If you’re looking for menu tips, check out some of my recipes and skip purchasing their menu plan. If you’re looking for alternatives to their equipment, check my feed on TWITTER: @trimmingthefat for alternatives on exercises and what equipment I did or didn’t use. 
Long story short, I’m astonished at the results for what I think is very little effort on my part. 
I’m proud of myself, and if you need a nudge, I hope this got you there. 
Sasha
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Faux Fish Sauce – Vegan

Ever since I stopped eating meat to save the planet – yes, that’s REALLY why – one thing I’ve longed for is a decent replacement for fish sauce. This isn’t the exact flavour, but will definitely more that do in any Vietnamese recipes.
This one is a *bit* spicy but nothing to write home about, or to get the nearest topless fire crew involved about.
Ingredients: 
1 tbsp Rice vinegar
3 tbsp agave nectar – or as much as you like!
1 Jalepeno chopped or sliced – habanero if you like it hottttttt
2 cloves diced garlic** updated ingredient
1/2 large shallot sliced thinly** updated ingredient
Juice of 2 medium limesLime
1 pinch Himalayan salt
Method: 
Mix all ingredients together, let stand for 1/2 a day or longer for great flavour.

Raw Vegan mushroom burgers with cashew cheese

I have to say that this recipe is by far, one of the easiest and most tasty for raw vegan fare. This makes it completely approachable and very rewarding. 
A few tips before you start: 
Be sure that you start this recipe with a few hours to spare for marinating and dehydrating!! Nothing worse than getting stoked to make something only to realize there is a time crunch that will leave your meal tasting less than stellar. 
Do not over salt your mushrooms and make sure that they are nice and plump so they don’t turn into hard disks in the process. 
Most of all, have fun and treat your body well.
Ingredients:
Burger
4 portobello mushroom caps
2.5 tbsp grape seed oil
2 tbsp namashoyu or low sodium soy sauce
Dress with lettuce, tomato, sauerkraut, kale or whatever else comes to mind. 
Method: 
Clean off mushrooms and remove stem. Mix oil and soy sauce in bowl, coat mushroom caps & continue to stir every 30 minutes or so for a few hours to coat and marinate. 
Place mushrooms in dehydrator on live food setting and dehydrate for 3-4 hours. You can opt for oven baking at it’s lowest temperature if you do not have a dehydrator. 
Remove from dehydrator & put together all toppings and cheese to serve as a burger. 
Enjoy quickly and while still warm for best flavour. 
Serves 2. 

Vegan/Vegetarian Potato Asparagus Soup

 
I like to think of this recipe as fast food. All told, it takes only 45 minutes to make from start to finish….pretty simple for such great flavours.
 
If you’re feeling daring, try adding some cheese to the mix for extra flavour!
 
Great winter dish with very limited calorie intake.
 
Ingredients:
 
2 lbs red potatoes – washed well, sliced into cubes/1/8 inch thickness
1 bunch asparagus – washed and sliced thinly with mandolin or slicing side of manual grater
2.5 cups almond milk
3 cups veggie broth
2 medium yellow onions
1 tsp powdered thyme
1/4 cup earth balance soy free spread
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cracked pepper
 
*Vegetarians etc…you can add a cup or 2 of grated cheese to this dish – cheddar or smoked gouda would be nice – to thicken it up/add a flavour boost.
 
*Vegans – we all know vegan cheese SUCKS (be honest) so I would say add nothing.
 
Method:
 
Heat large, deep frying pan to medium-high heat. Add earth balance and melt. Add chopped onion and cook for 10-15 minutes until translucent and browning. Add all other ingredients *except asparagus* and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 20 more minutes until potatoes are tender.
 
Remove from heat and ladle into a blender to mix or use a hand blender right in the pan (my preferred method) once potatoes are mixed in well enough, return to heat, add asparagus and cook for another 5 minutes.
 
Serve topped with fresh pepper & salt.
 
Serves 6.

Vegan/Vegetarian chickpea curry with naan

Indian food. A million flavours, colours and places rolled into (at times) one dish. I’ve had a love affair with Indian food since for at least the last 15 years. 
Moving to Calgary has meant giving up A LOT of my old familiar favourites ~ and sadly, after 2 years here, I can find no honest to goodness replacement for some of them. 
So, unwilling to suffer any food loss, I take control of the situation and roll out some pretty damn good Vegan/Vegetarian curry – WITH homemade Naan bread, my first try and definitely NOT my last. 
This meal was amazing. I can’t wait to go to India. 
Ingredients: 
Garlic Naan – if going gluten free skip Naan or use GF flour
1 tsp dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
2 cups organic all purpose flour
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp vegan yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fennel seed
5 tbsp melted butter or earth balance spread
6 cloves garlic pressed or diced
Method: 
In a large glass, dissolve dry yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar with 3/4 cup warm water. Let it sit on your counter until it’s frothy, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, sift the flour, salt, remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar and baking powder into a large, deep bowl.
Once the yeast is frothy, add the yogurt and the olive oil into the glass, and stir to combine. Pour the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients and add fennel seeds and gently mix the ingredients together with a fork. When the dough is about to come together, use your hands to mix. It will feel like there isn’t enough flour at first, but keep going until it transforms into a soft, slightly sticky and pliable dough. As soon as it comes together, stop kneading. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let it sit for 1.5 to 2 hours. 
When you’re ready to roll, make sure you have two bowls on your counter: one with extra flour in it, and one with water. The dough will be extremely soft and sticky-this is good! Separate the dough into 6 equal portions and lightly roll each one in the bowl of extra flour to keep them from sticking to each other.
Shape the naan. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a teardrop shape, narrower at the top than at the bottom. It should be 8 to 9-inches long, 4-inches wide at its widest point and about 1/4-inch thick. Once you’ve formed the general shape, you can also pick it up by one end and wiggle it; the dough’s own weight will stretch it out a little. Repeat this method with the rest of the dough. (If you’re making the gluten-free version, you’ll have better luck pressing the dough out with your fingertips, than rolling.)
Warm a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until it’s nearly smoking. Make sure you have a lid large enough to fit the skillet and have a bowl of melted butter at the ready.
Dampen your hands in the bowl of water and pick up one of your naans, flip-flopping it from one hand to the other to lightly dampen it. Gently lay it in the skillet and set your timer for 1 minute. The dough should start to bubble.
After about 1 minute, flip the naan. It should be blistered and somewhat blackened, don’t worry – that’s typical of traditional naan! Cover the skillet with the lid and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute more.
Remove the naan from the skillet, brush with a bit of butter **mixed with crushed garlic** and sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt. Place the naan in a tea towel-lined dish. Repeat with the rest of the naans and serve.
Cook’s Notes:
* If you would like to make this gluten-free, you can substitute in 2 1/4 cups of a gluten-free all-purpose flour mix for the regular flour, plus 1 1/4 teaspoons of xanthum gum.

Curry
Ingredients: 

5 yellow potatoes peeled or not, sliced or cubed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion sliced and diced
1 can of chickpeas or equivalent thereof of fresh/dried & re hydrated
1 cup vegan cream or real cream
5 large chopped and pureed tomatoes
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cumin
2 inches fresh grated ginger OR 1 tsp powdered
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp curry powder
6 cloves minced garlic
1-3 handfuls of washed & chopped cilantro
Method: 

Boil potatoes for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain, rinse and set aside. 
Heat oil in skillet cook onion & garlic until translucent. Stir in all spices and cook for one minute. 
Pour in blended tomatoes, cream and beans simmer for 10 minutes, allow to cook on low for 1-1.5 hours. No additional liquid should be necessary – very soupy. 
Top with sprinkle of chopped cilantro and serve with fresh HOT garlic naan. 
Serves 6, add basmati or jasmine rice if desired. 

Naan Adapted from Aarti Sequeira

Vegan or Vegetarian kale & broccoli pizza

Pizza is one of my favourite pastimes….wait, is that even possible? Well, in my world it most definitely is. Altering your diet strictly or even moderately could mean that you have to kiss certain foods goodbye. Well, my beloved pizza is something I have never been willing to give up. 
Here is my recipe as an ode to pizza and all of the hangovers and late nights it has seen me through. 
** Dough will need time to set up – you need 2 hours once it’s made. 
Ingredients: 
Crust: 
1 cup warm water
1 package dry active yeast
1 tbsp granulated sugar/cane sugar – or none if you prefer
3 cups unbleached, organic, all purpose bread flour & some reserved
1 tsp himalayan sea salt
1.5 tbsp olive oil
Pizza toppings: 
1/5 cups broccoli florets
3 cups torn kale
1/2 cup re-constituted sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 jalepeno pepper diced
1 large yellow onion
5 cloves garlic diced
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 small fresh tomato chopped
1 green onion
Optional: 
Shredded fresh parmesan
Sauce: 
1 large organic tomato
1 handful basil
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp fresh oregano
Method: 
Preheat oven to 350 – 375 degrees.
Place warm (but not hot) water in measuring cup. Add yeast to activate it. Add sugar and dissolve into water. Wait approx 10-15 minutes for the mixture to begin foaming/bubbling. 
Combine 3 cups flour with salt in large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture and add your yeast mixture with your oil. Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture and blend out any lumps. Knead, turn and repeat until elastic consistency is reached. 
Do not over knead!!
Coat dough ball in oil lightly and place in bowl, cover with tea towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours. 
** This will make 1 16″ pizza or a couple of 12″ pizzas if you roll it out right. Dough will last in fridge for about 36 hours. 
Moving on…….
Once your dough is rolled out, place onto a greased pizza pan or pizza stone and pinch up the edges to create your desired crust! Toppings are coming….
Use a small hand blender or food processor to combine pizza sauce ingredients. 
Spoon over raw dough. ADd all toppings with the exception of nutritional yeast.
Bake pizza in oven for at least 30-35 minutes. Remove and coat crust area with olive oil if desired. 
Remove from oven at 35 minutes, sprinkle with nutritional yeast and cheese – bake for another 10 minutes. 
Serves 4. 

Vegan Latkes – Potato Pancakes

 
 
Since I was a kid, I have been eating delicious potato pancakes. The ones that my mom used to make are far different from the version I love best today, but any way you slice it – fried potatoes satisfy something in those of us who have had them as a diet staple.
 
I took some inspiration from my best friend who is from Germany in coming up with a consistency I liked. I was used to thicker “hashbrown” style latkes until about 15 years ago.
 
Ingredients:
 
5-6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1 large yellow onion
3/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chilli powder
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Olive or coconut oil for cooking
 
Method:
 
Heat oil in frying pan to medium-high.
 
Using the smaller measurement on a hand grater grate peeled potatoes and onion into a bowl. Drain out any excess liquid.
 
Mix in cumin & chilli powder.
 
Form into miniature patties no more than 3/4 of a cm in thickness.
 
Fry in hot oil until both sides are browned.

 
Finish with freshly cracked red, black or white pepper (or all) and Himalayan Sea Salt.
 
**Kids love them with ketchup.
 
***For a more dessert-style latke replace onion with thinly sliced apple, spices for cinnamon & serve with agave nectar, fresh sliced fruit, crème fraiche or chocolate drizzle.