WIAW 11: It Ain’t Pretty [+ Pumpkin Sage Polenta]

I had this post all written out…

                                                …and then THIS happened…

I’m still in shock.

How did this happen? Well, for starters, I follow Bob on Instagram. When I was looking at my Instagram feed yesterday morning, I noticed that he posted a photo from Baltimore. I freaked out a little bit that he was just 45 minutes away, and then later on in the afternoon, he posted a photo from DOWNTOWN FREDERICK. Where I live. I decided to take Jackson for a walk over by Baker Park (which is RIGHT by my house) and as luck would have it, spotted him right away! He actually was walking right towards me, and said “Hi! That’s a beautiful dog!” My heart started beating so fast, and I tried to form words- and finally said “Whoa! What are you doing here??” He said that they were filming an episode, so I’m thinking that a contestant on the upcoming season must be from Frederick! He asked me what my name is, and said how much he LOVED my town and how pretty it is. He was SO NICE. Hooray for Instagram!!

The funny thing is- for the last five years or so, I’ve said that if I could choose ONE celebrity to meet, it would be Bob Harper… so my life is complete, right?


Moving on.

Here’s my disclaimer before you view this post: the food is not pretty (for the most part). But, it all tasted really good! And there aren’t really any “spooky snacks,” but I think Jen’s graphic is pretty darn cute anyway. :)

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats
This is my first WIAW post since Greg and I started the Vegan Experiment a little over a week ago- and I photographed eats from this past Monday.

I was teaching Spinning at 8:30 that morning, but got to the gym a little after 7:00 to do a Bodypump workout (and polish up my choreography- the launch is TODAY!). I grabbed a quick bite of banana with almond butter before heading out the door.

That’s about all I can stomach early in the morning. :(

After two hours at the gym (which included lots of stretching, I headed over to my favorite local coffee shop for my Monday morning ritual of coffee + list making).

I got a pumpkin spice coffee with a little soy milk. Oh, man it was good. I sat outside and enjoyed this very slowly- the weather was so beautiful!

I eventually made my way home with thoughts of pancakes dancing in my head. I attempted to make some using coconut and buckwheat flour, and it was a big, fat fail. I still haven’t figured out how to master the whole egg replacement thing, and ended up with a big pile of mush. I know that there are some great vegan pancake recipes out there, but sometimes I just don’t feel like measuring things… guess I’ll have to suck it up if I want pancakes!

After dumping pancake mush into the trash, I quickly whipped up my latest obsession instead: Laura’s TVP “oatmeal.”

Like I said… it ain’t pretty, but it sure does taste good!

I have been having a mini version of this almost every single day! For my version, I combine 1/4 c TVP, 1/4 c pumpkin puree, 1 T vegan sour cream, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 packet Stevia, a splash of almond milk and a huge shake of cinnamon. SO DARN GOOD. TVP is super high in protein, and has become my go-to source of it lately.

A few hours later, I had my usual lunch salad, which contained every vegetable in the fridge.

This bowl included mixed greens, red bell pepper, golden beets, cherry tomatoes, avocado, red onion, carrots, cucumber, sprouts, chopped pistachios and peanuts, hummus and chopped up Field Roast deli slices. I had a piece of toasted sesame Ezekiel bread and some homemade strawberry kombucha on the side.

I had a client later in the afternoon, and traded our usual indoor workout for a hike, since the weather was FABULOUS that day. Before heading out, I whipped up a quick protein muffin and topped it with some leftover flavors of fall dessert that I had made over the weekend and some coconut yogurt mixed with cinnamon.

Again, not pretty- but SO YUMMY.

I’ve been using Brittany’s recipe for microwave protein muffins- it’s the only vegan one that I’ve made that isn’t a pile of mush!

When I got back home, I quickly got started on dinner, which was totally experimental! I had a tube of polenta in the fridge that needed to be used, and just started throwing stuff together. It turned out to be a success!

Pumpkin sage polenta:

Roasted brussels sprouts with tempeh “bacon” on the side.

If I had used my SLR (and daylight) I probably could have created some really beautiful photos of the polenta bowl. But instead, you get a quick shot from the iPhone.

Pumpkin Sage Polenta

1 tsp olive oil

1 cloved garlic, finely minced

1/2 c sliced mushrooms

small handful of fresh sage, chopped

1/2 c vegetable broth

1 “tube” of polenta, chopped up into 1″ pieces

1/2 c pumpkin puree

salt + pepper to taste

1 tsp rosemary

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 c almond milk

2 T nutritional yeast

small pinch of nutmeg

In a small pan, heat up the olive oil and add the garlic, stirring often. Add the mushrooms and sage to the garlic and cook for about 3 more minutes. Pour the vegetable broth into a medium-sized pot and place over medium heat. Add the polenta to the pot and let cook for a few minutes. Once the polenta is soft, use a potato masher to mash it down. Add the all remaining ingredients (including the mushroom, sage and garlic) and stir well. Let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add more almond milk or vegetable broth if you want a thinner consistency. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

This dinner was SO good and filling! It might add a little more pumpkin next time, so that the flavor stands out a little more.

For dessert, I doctored up a Tempt ice cream bar. I was a little hesitant to buy hemp ice cream (I’m pretty picky about non-dairy ice cream!), but these are delicious! I mixed up a little bit of “pb fudge” and coated it over the ice cream bar, and placed it back in the freezer on top of a piece of wax paper.

This combination was UNREAL. Holy cow, I’m going to be eating this every single night. And for around 150 calories, I CAN. :)

See how delicious (and ugly) a day of vegan eating can be?

If you could have lunch with ANY celebrity who would it be? What’s your favorite “ugly” food?


  1. Holy cow!! You met Bob Harper! That’s awesome! :)

    You’re lunch salad looks amazing….I love “garbage salads” for lunch. They don’t always look pretty, but they sure do taste great. And your dessert bar….genius idea!

  2. Very cool that you met Bob.
    Have you tried using flax or chia as an egg replacement. I have used flax seeds and water–blended together using an immersion blender. Letting it sit for a few minutes, you get a thick gel.

    • The recipe I used for the muffin uses chia, and I found a pancake recipe that uses flax that works. I just hate measuring things, and apparently you have to when you cut out eggs!

  3. don’t you love those tempt bars?!! and the milk is good too! now, what is BOB doing there? He’s always so stylin. I love the randomness. I would have done the same thing!!

    • I’ll have to give the milk a try. I had another brand of hemp milk before and was NOT a fan.
      I like to think that Bob was in Frederick because he was looking for me. :)

  4. Haha, Jackson looks totally un-star struck.
    Mmm, I need some pumpkin polenta in my life. Also, speaking of sprouts–Kroger no longer sells them! Ever. They posted a notice that sprout farmers have packing procedures which they have deemed too unsafe, and so no more sprouts in the foreseeable future. Of course, my first thought was that I need to go back to your tutorial and sprout my own!

  5. OMG you met Bob!!! that’s so freaking cool!!!! :)

    I love how you coated your ice cream bar. I would totally do the same thing!

  6. oh man, he would be the nicest guy ever (until you get to the gym with him). ;)

    i need to make that TVP “oatmeal”. On it when I get home from indy.

  7. That’s so cool that he came up to you and Jackson. Poor Lance missed out.

    I’ve never had the tempt bars, but have you tried the So Delicious Coconut Milk ice cream? I get the sugar-free vanilla and it’s really good, pricy but good. I got some sort of So Delicious chocolate ice cream bars (similar looking to what you have here) and it tasted kind of freezer burnt, but that might be because I am the only person buying these type of things from my Kroger. Who knows how long it was in their freezer?

  8. When I saw you met Bob on FB yesterday I nearly died for you. I love the power of IG. :)

    So you put sour cream in the TVP?! Hmmm… something to try. I guess that’s like my mixing in the Greek into mine this WIAW. Very cool! Thanks for the link back!

    And those ice cream bars? Genius!!!

    • The vegan sour cream that I use isn’t “sour” at all- it’s just super creamy. It gives it an AWESOME consistency! I think it’s the “Follow Your Heart” brand.

  9. Ahhhhhh! That’s so awesome. Bob is such an awesome celeb trainer. :) So cool! I also happen to think it’s cool that he’s in Frederick. I lived in Germantown for a year before moving to Charlotte, and I loved taking little trips to Frederick even more than into DC!

  10. WHAAAAT. That is so aweseome. JEALOUS!!!!

  11. Girl, can you come cook for me? I want every single thing! (Especially that salad and the PB Fudge :))

    I am loving the TVP oatmeal idea, but I put a spin on it with some oat bran and a little more oatmeal. For some reason I find I need that in order to feel full. Maybe it is the fiber?

  12. How awesome that you got to meet Bob?! That’s so exciting, and great to know that he was nice in person.

    I have a great vegan pancake recipe if you’re interested: http://www.picklesnhoney.com/2011/12/28/my-favorite-pancakes/
    The recipe is really simple and basically fail-proof. :)

    • Funny thing was- I had looked up that very recipe of yours before (I went to your blog and searched for pancakes, because I KNEW you’d have a recipe)- but I was lazy and didn’t measure and used coconut flour. Big fat flop. Luckily it all worked out when I actually followed directions the next time. :)

  13. wow! so cool! meant to beeee!

  14. You met Bob?!?! WOWWWWW! Very cool!

    I loved that you doctored up the bar. You’re a genius, my friend.

  15. Very cool that you met Bob! He sounded extremely nice. :) Yay for you!

    That fake bacon and brussel sprout recipe is delicious. Made it last week and said, “Mmmm.” :)

  16. Pumpkin + sage and brussels sprouts + bacon are my absolute favorite fall dinner combinations!

  17. That is freaking awesome! That’s crazy that he’s your “celebrity” to meet, too. You guys both look good :)

  18. I think your pictures look great! Food is always pretty..just because it’s food:)

    I love “kitchen sink” salads, too. I literally throw together every fruit or veggie I have in the fridge, and they somehow always taste great!

  19. Heather @ Better With Veggies says:

    How awesome that you ran into Bob at the park, very cool! =)

  20. Yummy! Yes- vegan eating can be fantastic. How cool that you met Bob, and pumped right into him! I can hear him chatting away like that. I think you’re life is indeed complete. :)

  21. How exciting you got to meet Bob!!!! I have to admit.. I’m totally jealous! :) I’m so glad you are liking the muffins. :) I had one today and I thought of you!

  22. I am impressed you were even able to speak to Bob! I probably would have stood there, possibly even something even more embarrassing like pee myself in excitement! He is quite literally the celebrity I would want to have lunch with. The trainer I would work out with, the most inspiring individual I would ever want to meet. I would enter any contest to hang out with him… Excuse me, I must go follow him on instagram.

    • Lol- it sounds like you think JUST like me!
      Believe me- I was BARELY able to speak. I’ve been re-playing it in my head and am like “you are such a spaz- you should have said this instead!” Oh well… as long as I got to touch him and have a photo forever, I guess I’m happy :)

  23. Oh my gosh! So cool that you got to meet Bob Harper. Even cooler that you now have photographic evidence for all of the world to see :)

    That muffin looks super good. Whenever I try another blogger’s vegan microwave protein muffins they kind of turn out blah. Need to check that one out!

    • I have made a ton of microwave muffins using egg whites that have been FANTASTIC (I have a few on my recipe page) – but when you take out the egg, it’s not so easy!

  24. Your salad looks delicious!

    and OMG! I can’t believe you got to meet Bob Harper. I am super jealous :)

  25. YAY BOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. I’m so jealous. Wish I could meet Bob Harper and have my picture taken!

  27. I love that pic of you, you look so excited and nervous and happy! Brussels sprouts sound delicious, and that I like what you did to that ice cream bar, haha! :)

  28. OMG!! I can’t believe you met Bob Harper! Or more like, I can’t believe how easily you “ran into” Bob Harper! And the pic of the two of you came out great! That is so awesome girlie! You know what else is awesome? This polenta! Oh wow, I need this in my life! I’ve been loving on Laura’s TVP oats too…but I still need to try her pumpkin version.

    I’m not much on “celebrities” but I have always loved Julia Stiles. It would be pretty cool to have lunch with her.

    Favorite ugly food? Ha! Most of my random “throw it in a bowl” meals are pretty unsightly, but ALWAYS delicious! :D


  1. [...] last few months, things are finally starting to look up- and I’m certainly embracing it all! Meeting Bob Harper might have been the coolest thing that happened this week (um, or… ever?) but [...]

  2. [...] I’m not ashamed to admit- I love reading weight loss books. Not because I want to try every diet out there, but I just find the content interesting. And if I can learn just one useful fact to apply to my own life from a book, it’s well worth it. I’ve been wanting to read The Skinny Rules for quite some time now, and well, you know that Bob and I are basically BFF’s anyway. [...]

  3. [...] little later on I had a snack that might not look pretty, but it tasted [...]

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