Wednesday, December 29, 2010

OH! It's snowing again...



Im craving salad. This is very weird for me. I rarely eat salad. I never crave salad. I think I ate way too many wimpy sad salads made of the somewhat nutrient deficient iceburg lettuce.

Dont get me wrong I love a bowl filled to the brim with yummy fresh veggies drizzled with a fresh vin, but it's not something I crave.

I think the prevalence of snow is causing a longing for the days of summmer...hence the salad craving. I would try the whole "eat local" thing, but I feel like I have SAD and the summery country imports in the grocery store are just what I need to make me feel better.

A fruit smoothie is just what the doctor ordered. Of course the doctor in this case doesnt have an MD, but thats how i like it.


Strawberry Spoon Smoothie
So thick you'll need a spoon for it!!


1 frozen banana, sliced
5 frozen strawberries
1 t cinamon
1 c almond milk
5 dates
2 T flax meal

Blend til smooth top with flax meal and grab a spoon.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

TOFU!


Mmm..Tofu.

Admittedly the first few times I had tofu I said "eww..tofu" But then I had it prepared just right for my taste at the time and I havent looked back since.

My first impression of tofu was as it looks above: a white block of flavorless "stuff". But then I came to realize that it is really a blank slate of endless food possiblities


Fried tofu, General tso's tofu, shake and bake tofu, tofu scramble. These were my first encounters with tofu after i started liking it. Three of these ways i prepared myself.

Look what tofu can turn into:

veganyumyum.com

tofufortwo.net




When i started eating a more plant based diet tofu was $3 and I was broke. I knew I had to get the cooking right or I would have to eat something that was inedible rather than waste $3. Witht he advent of diet acceptance the market value of tofu has changed and you can find a tub of tofu for $1.50 at you local Trader Joe's (I love you Joe! Call me! Let's make lunch!).

So go buy a few tubs and experiment. I suggest you bake one, fry one and scramble one. This will give you an idea of the textual variations.

For beginners firm tofu is a great place to start. It has a great chewy texture.
Tofu is a blank slate flavor wise, so choose a spice or seasong you like and go wild. You can also soak the tofu in marinade (over night or for a few hours or just a few minutes) and then prepare it as you wish.

Italian Scrambled Tofu


1 can diced Tomato drained (but save the juice in a jar for soup)
1/2 to 1 cup frozen or fresh Spinach
1 medium onion sliced thinly
2 cloves of fresh Garlic (2 t powder)
1 Block of Firm Tofu
Extra add ins: 1/4 c mushrooms, 2 T nutritional yeast, dash of cayenne powder)

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oile then throw in the tofu. Break it up with a spoon and spread it our evenly in the pan. Let it sit for a few minutes so the bottom begins to brown then stir it so all sides get browned. When its done scoop it into a bowl.

Heat 1 T olive oil then add onion. When lightly browned add in garlic and saute then add spinach and tomato.

Add tofu back in and let sit over low heat a few minutes to heat the tofu back up to temperature and let the flavors meld with the tofu.

Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

fried tofu


Drain tofu and slice into thin rectangles. Pat with paper towels.

Optional step: Sprinkle with seasoning of choice or soak in marinade of choice.

Heat up 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil in a pan and add in the tofu when it is hot.

Brown both sides of tofu and then put on paper towel to dry and cool.

While it is hot sprinkle with seasoning of choice (if you are already familiar with nutritional yeast try a blend of nutritional yeast and sea salt with a small sprinkle of garlic powder).

How to eat this: Right off the plate, as the "meat" of a sandwich, as the "meat" in a stir fry, or as a side dish for an extra boost of protein in your meal.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cheap Lunch

What do you do when you've got $4.00, a hungering for lunch, and a few minutes to get to work? Go to Trader Joe's of course! There are lots of excellent option for a fast and cheap (not to mention tasty) lunch at Trader Joe's. If you are going home for lunch the options of what you can purchase for under $4 are nearly limitless, but I'll have to save that for another post.



So, on to the good stuff. This is what I got for a little under $4.

1) Seaweed Snacks $0.99






Look at this beautiful green rectangle of salty crunchy love. Nom nom nom!



And yes that is what you think it is hiding behind the Seaweed snacks bag in the above photo.

2) One Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar $1.29 and One Cashew Cookie Larabar $1.29






Doesn't this picture just scream "bite me"?? But in a good kind of way of course.



Someone was kind enough to buy me a black tea while I was out in field service (Thank you R!).



And I brought two clementines this morning just in case I couldnt get lunch, but they ended up rounding out a quick lunch.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Food review: Hummus and Chips? No! Hummus Chips!



What could possibly be better than sitting down with a smudge of freshly made hummus and sesame seed encrusted pita chips? Possibly, sitting down with a bag of Hummus Chips and not even pretending to share or stop at one serving. Throw some fresh veggies on the side and a glass of ice water and you've got what I call a balanced, if not incredible lazy) snack.

Enter the Humbles Baked Hummus Chips. Remember how I told you I bought lots of goodies at Soergels Natural Store? Well this was one of them. For authenticity's sake I tried the Sesame Garlic flavor and was completely blown away by how tasty they are.

They have a wonderful burst of flavor in each chip and are deliciously crisp.

A visit to their website provided quite the education for moi. CHeckout how these babies are made:

Preparation Method: Vacuum Baking

This process utilizes very small dough pellets (called micropellets) which are placed into a device that looks similar to a miniature waffle iron. As this device is heated, the top of the iron is pulled away from the bottom, forming a vacuum. The combination of the vacuum and heat causes the micro-pellets to expand and combine with one another, which forms a chip. Each chip is composed of dozens of micro-pellets.



They have another product Avocado oil Potato Chips that I really want to try, but since im on the other side of broke at the moment it will have to stay on the list until after my missionary trip to the Dominican Republic. No non-essential food item purchases (aka healthy junk food) until then.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Love Letter to a yummy coworker...

I can no longer hide my feelings for you. They are too strong and deep to deny anymore. My adoration is becoming quite obvious to my friends. I talk about you all the time and its not hard to ascertain that you are the reason I smile so much.

You are a bit rough around the edges. But inside you are so smooth and sweet. Some would say you arent much to look at, but I could stare at you all day and night. You are so sweet! I can't imagine my life without you.

We've been working together for quite a few years now, but only recently did I realize how deep my feelings are for you and how wonderful you make me feel.

Some would say your personality is one dimensional, but you have so many sides. You seemed only one way when I met you but i have seen so many sides of you.

You beautiful bowl of oatmeal! You boost my iron and brighten my morning. You warm me up and help me face the cold winter morning. But there is so much more to you than just a breakfast cereal. You make a delicious cookie, pancake and muffin. A warm oatmeal chocolate chip cookie and a cup of tea is all i need when things get tough.



Look at you! All smothered in walnuts and agave. With a hint of flax meal and a drizzle of agave. So delicious and so good for me too!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Field Trip: Soergel's Orchard



There is something about this cold weather we are having that makes me want to visit a farm stand. In that spirit I am revisiting a trip taken when the summer weather was still here and in full swing. September 5th to be precise.

We visited Soergels specifically for their annual corn roast. Hence the beautiful first picture of this post.

Pictured below is the unique corn roasting machine that looks rustic and innovative at the same time. It appeared to have been constructed from other machinery to form this hybrid machine just perfect for roasting corn. I wonder if its good for roasting anything else.



An added perk to going to the agricultural wonderland known as Soergels is their store "Naturally Soergel's". As if it wasn't enough to have a beautiful farmhouse market stocked to the brim with an exquisite variety of vegetables and fruits Soergel's also has a mini-shop that features loads of allergen free food including gluten free and dairy free.

They sell my favorite Edward and Sons Mushroom gravy mix that i discovered in Hawaii, which is probably part of the reason i developed such an affinity, but i digress.

On this particular visit I discovered these lovely little things called "hummus chips" boy were they yummy, but you can read more about them when I review them. I also purchased some rediculously reasonably priced sundried tomatoes and of course gravy mix.



You should visit and when you do don't miss the Market, Garden Center, Gift Barn, and especially Naturally Soergel's.

Soergel Orchards
2573 Brandt School Road
Wexford, PA 15090


If traveling south on I-79:
Take Wexford exit
Turn left onto 910 (Orange Belt)
From far right lane, take first right (Brandt School Rd.)
Soergel's is one-tenth mile on the right

If traveling north on I-79:
Take Wexford exit
Turn right into far right lane
Take first right (Brandt School Rd.)
Soergel's is one-tenth mile on the right

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

For fear of the Pit...Avocado



Have you ever been afraid to purchase a food item because it seemed tricky to prepare? Honey its 2010! You can find a tutorial for almost any food on the internet so don't be afraid to experiment and play with your food.

Today we will address a very serious topic. De-pitting an avocado. You will save oodles of pennies learning how to do this yourself instead of relying on a restaurant to prepare your avo-based goodies for you.

Cut along the pit:




Twist the two sides and seperate them:






Hack knife into pit and twist to remove (If that sounds too intimidating use a spoon and slide it around the edge of the pit to pop it out):




Optional Step: Create a funny face with your avo sides:




Slice length wise then cross-wise being careful not to pierce the skin of the avocado:



Slide a spoon along the inside edge of the avo skin to release the pieces into a bowl, onto a plate, or directly into your mouth.

Not wasn't that easy? Have fun with your new power over the avo. And remember "with great power comes great responsibility"

Happy avocading!

Monday, November 22, 2010

:Re:laxation Tools... Kill Cravings by Keeping your Hands Busy

Another relaxation tool that beats stress and keeps my hands busy is jewelry making.

Crafts that involve your hands can distract you from stressors. More importantly they can keep your hands busy so that you cannot put food into your mouth with them.

Although I have heard that people who are desperate for a nosh will eat without their hands... How odd... No offense... Okay actually I dont care if that offends you because 1) that is quite odd 2) there are some things you should never do with your feet when you have hands 3) because i said so.

But I digress... I know you are just chomping at the bit to see what I've made. Okay maybe you arent but im going to show you anyway so...




The bottom three bracelets were made using a weaving technique that I may or may not show you how to do in a future post. Depends on how generous Im feeling when I do or dont get around to typing that posting...

Did I mention I also sell do-it-yourself jewelry making kits? Call me! Seriously!

Mixing my Metaphors, etc.

I have a very serious adoration for all things Greek, culinarially speaking.
A current food obsession of mine is mujadara, a yummy dish of lentils and rice cooked with cumin and topped with carmelized or frenchfried onions.

The classic Greek flavors are fresh and vibrant including olive oil, lemon, oregano and thyme so that even something heavy like lentils taste light.

Never being one to settle for delicious i took it to the next level adding avocado.

But then I got a little crazy and decided to try a further variation by cooking the lentils with quinoa adding tomatoes mushroom and Trader Joes 21 Seasoning blend then topping it with avocado and adding some Food Should Taste Good Olive chips on the side.



This would make a great dip for an easy appetizer tray, but its so yummy in a bowl eaten with a spoon, which is how i had it for lunch today. Very yum!




Confused Mujarada

1) Add 1/2 c lentils and 2 T quinoa to 2c boiling water.

2) When the lentils are half done add in 1t of seasoning of choice

3) When the lentils are done add 1/2c canned diced tomatoes and another 1t of seasoning.

4)Top with chopped avocado and serve with tortilla chips.

5)Enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Field Trip: Parkers UK Connection



A few weeks ago a good friend and I took a little field trip to a lovely little spot that serves a lovely spot of tea.

Upon arriving at Parkers UK Connection , a tea house that is quite literally a converted house, we were greeted by the owners and ushered into the tea room. We were the only customers as it was quite near closing time, but you would not have known closing time was so emminent from the fine greeting we received.



Pictured above is the very pretty table arrangement including fresh cut flowers and charming sugar bowl.

The excessively obliging hostess (Mrs. Parker to be precise) suggested I try the beans on toast and offered to include a baby greens salad with vin to round out the meal. I have wanted to try this inherently UK dish for ages, but was hesitant to say the least. It was surprisingly good! And doesn't it look adorable:



In the background of the above picture my tea bag is in its proper place. Resting peacefully on its own little plate. Very cute indeed!



My field trip companion wanted the full "English Tea" experience, so she accepted the suggestion that she have the Afternoon Tea. This includes a pot of tea, finger sandwiches, tea pastries, 2 freshly baked scones, clotted cream, lemon curd and preserves. It was wonderfully arranged on a three-tiered serving tray. She yummed everything she was able to try, but that was not much because there was too much to finish it all. Beautiful!



We sat and chatted and enjoyed our tea and sumptuals as our tea pot was continually filled with hot water and our tea bags were oft refreshed. Before we left we took a stroll through the shop and made mental shopping list for our return trip. Their shop features imports from the UK that will allow you to recreate the experience at home.


Final Verdict:

Walk, run, or crawl to this adorable little shop and tea room! My tea cup runneth over with delight! And please be sure to check out the "Shop" portion of Parkers UK Connection.

Parker's UK Connection - British Grocery & Tea Room
81 Robbins Station Rd,
North Huntingdon PA 15642
(724) 382-4389


And because I really wanted to bring this home with me, but I didn't here is another shot of my teacup:


Saturday, November 20, 2010

:Re:laxation Tools



In my attempts to reduce my stress load I have rediscovered one of my favorite de-stressors: relaxing with a hot cup of tea.

Ive read wonderful things about the relaxing benefits of Earl Grey tea spiked with Bergamot. I have to admit I'm a bit of a tea snob. I like to be able to see the composition of the tea in the bag. I find it thrilling to look in the tea bag and see bits of dried orange and lemongrass. This, of course, can do terrible things to ones wallet.

So, in the interest of pinching pennies (sounds gruesome for those poor pennies) I considered the lower costing teas. To be perfectly honest I was not hopeful when I selected this tea.

But for a change the tea that cost the least ($2.99) was surprisingly good (Mind you i was shopping at Whole Foods and its pretty hard to buy an awful product there). Bigelow Tea has a wonderful quality to its taste even though it is not a whole leaf tea. And as I was perusing the tea boxes I noticed that it is one of the few teas that has actual oil of Bergamot and not just extractive or faux flavoring.

In a very ladylike fashion I sip my tea, revel in the depth of its flavor, and whisper to my teacup.....

"Thank you Mr.Bigelow!"

Friday, November 19, 2010

Now I know how Christopher felt....

Don't you love it when you discover a great new site??
Well I didn't exactly discover it like Columbus. I wasn't on a boat. And there was no attempt at a hostile takeover. I didnt give anyone the flu. Ummm... You get the point.

The website is called Auntie's Beads. To be perfectly honest (not that I am anything but that) the name immediately endeared them to me. I make jewelry with my aunt. Awww....

They don't have the biggest collection I've ever seen, but that definitely works to their advantage since everything they have is beautiful and so much of it is very unique.

Definitely check out their "pendant section"!

Just click on the logo below to go straight to the site. You won't be sorry! I can't wait to get my first order in! I will show you what I make with all my beading booty!

Auntie's Beads & Jewelry Supplies

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Yummy Coworkers

This post is not about that cutie in the cubicle near you because 1) it's kind of creepy to describe people as yummy unless the people in question are made out of gingerbread 2) this is not a dating blog 3) because i said so.

"Yummy coworkers" are foods that work with your body and not against it.



Agave - Sweet, Yummy and low glycemic

Almonds, Walnuts - Beneficial for cardiovascular health

Almond Butter - Delicious Decadent with all the benefits of almonds

Flax Seeds and Flax Oil - Fiber, heart healthy, skin, hair, nails and rich in Omega-3's

Tofu - protein, calcium

Whole Fruits and Vegetables- fiber, vitamins, nutrients, water and so much more.


Another great thing about these yummy coworkers (sometimes called secret weapons) is that they are so versatile in their uses. Nuts for example are delicious roasted and ligthly salted or mixed with dry seasoning for added flavor. In their raw form they can be made into butter or cream (i.e. cashew cream, more on that later).

Crummy Coworker (aka Abominable Anti-workers) work against your body.


White Sugar = The coworker who is on your team and promises to finish their portion of the project on time, but never does = It gives a boost of energy that makes you think you are okay but then you crash, crash, crash into a ditch

Desserts Made with white flour and white sugar = The coworker who does an assignement for you and it looks okay, but then you turn it in and instead of it being 50 copies of the 3rd quarter report, its 50 copies of the 2nd quarter report with a 3rd quarter cover sheet. And you only find out after your boss drops all 50 copies on your desk in an angry huff. = It looks so good and you feel okay right after you eat it and you get that great boost, but then you crash and then you bloat and then the scale tells you exactly what you did wrong.

High or full fat meat = The coworker who seems really nice for years, but then you find out they have always hated you and have been talking about you behind your back to your boss all along. = It tastes good and it looks good and you dont eat it that often, but then you find out its been slowly clogging your arteries and depressing your immune system over the years.

Crummy Co-workers are no fun in the office and can be killer in the body. There are so many substitutes that are better for you or good for you. There is no such thing as a perfect diet, but there are little changes we all can make to keep our bodies running efficiently.

Have you ever had a "craving" for something really bad for you? Wouldnt it be great if you could train your body to "crave" foods that are good for you? You can!!

For instance, right now I have a craving for something sweet. A cookie? Nope. Some cake? Nope. Im craving a baked sweet potato smothered in almond butter and drizzled with agave! The almond butter melts a little from the heat of the potato and the agave syrup lends its sweetness to the butter while wonderfully complementing the natural sweetness and flavor of the sweet potato. I would say add a touch of coconut oil, but i dont know if you can handle all that decadence in the middle of the day... Oh boy! I need a moment!

Until next time..Happy eating..

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Food Review: Gardein Buffalo wings

For the record no I have not suddenly become rich and started buying expensive processed food!

These were on sale at whole foods and i downloaded a $1.00 off coupon from the Gardein website (no longer available). I've had another of their products (the marinara Chicken Good Stuff...weird name but delicious product) so I decided to use the coupons. I had two coupons so i bought one package of the Marinara chicken and one package of the buffalo wings.

Here's how you prepare them.........


Brown them in a pan with 1T oil over medium high heat:





Throw on the sauce (which has been thawing in a bowl of hot water):



Plate it (with Trader Joe's "Water" and "Flax" crackers):




In my opinion...


They were pretty good. The sauce was spicy, but the spiciness didn't overpower the flavor at all. The texture of the chicken was spot on for a boneless chicken wing. I'm going to have to try springing them on a meat eater to see just how convincing the texture is for them tho. Friends beware! mwahahaha....Wow! Even my evil laugh typed out isn't very convincing...lol

I think if i ever buy them again i will try using the chicken part in a chicken Alfredo (chicken, fettuccine noodles, nutritional yeast cream sauce, broccoli and mushrooms). I would also like to try breading the chicken and then adding the sauce. I really like breaded wings....nom nom nom...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Soy Yogurt



Plain Soy yogurt with dates and ground flax seeds....


Yum!
Soy is not my favorite yogurt, but who can afford coconut milk yogurt? Maybe if i got a coupon book i would buy it more regularly.....

*hint*

*hint*

*hint*

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mmmm...avocado

There are so many uses for the wonderful avocado. A few of them I have not tried yet (such as using an avocado in a smoothie), but I have tried them sliced on a sandwich, sliced and sprinkled with salt and pepper, mashed and mixed with diced tomatoes and onions, guacamole, etc

There are so many ways to eat an avocado. If you google "avocado recipe" you get over 3 million results, so obviously Im not the only one with an obsession.

And not only is it delicious it has loads of health benefits as well. According to those expert fellas they have vitamin E, vitamin C, folate, fiber, iron, potassium, lutein and beta-carotene.

Here's one use:

Verde Avocado Salad

Vin:
1/4 c olive oil
1 t sea salt
1/4 c HERDEZ® Salsa Verde

Veg:
2 avocado's chopped
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 c cherry tomatoes sliced in half
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Toss the Veg ingredients in a bowl.
Mix the vin ingredients in a seperate bowl.
Pour the Vin over the Veg.

How to use it:
1) eat it out of the bowl
2) eat it over rice
3) eat it with rice noodles or spaghetti cold or hot
4) eat it on bread or toast or wrap

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Whats for breakfast? With Recipes!

Another common question veg people get is: What do you eat for breakfast? Although I would like to reply tree bark, I have become very efficient of rattling off my list of favorite breakfast foods: pancakes, hashbrowns, veggie tofu scramble, smoothie, oatmeal, cream of wheat, fruit soup, leftovers, quiche, cereal and almond milk.

All of these things are pretty run of the mill food-wise, but they always elicit surprised looks from my listeners. I think this is mostly because people think of eating Veg as being very restricted. But at this point i eat pretty much everything i did when i wasnt veg, but in a healthier vegetable based form.

My fave brunch menu: Quiche, blueberry pancakes, Tofurky italian sausage, fruit compote and hashbrowns.


Blueberry Pancakes:


makes 6 regular sized pancakes

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 t cinnamon



1 t vanilla
1 cup soymilk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


1/2 c frozen or fresh blueberries

Mix dry ingredients together.
Stir in wet ingredients.
Fold in the blueberries. (working with frozen ones helps prevent bleeding)
Spoon amount of batter for desired pancake size in a pan over medium heat.
Flip the pancake when the top starts to look more solid and the edges brown

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Secret Weapon: Breakfast



It is so important to start the day by breaking fast. Think about it. When you wake up when was the last time you ate? If you stop eating at a reasonable hour it might have been 10 hours since you body was refueld. What would happen if you didnt refuel your car for 10 days?

Our bodies need fuel to run properly. It really disturbs me when I ask someone what they had for breakfast and they say coffee. Not that you have to have a full 3 course meal when you wake up , but please give your body something to work with. Coffee has enough caffeine to give us a false sense of energy, but think of the strain you are putting on your body.

Im not a fan of eating in the morning and the less sleep i get the more I feel this way. But I have come to accept that food really is fuel for the body. So, if i really can't deal with having food I will make a smoothie (frozen blueberries, fresh bananas, dates and almonds if i feel like chewing). Or just have tea and toast with a fruit spread or drizzled with agave.

Eating something (not anything but something) shortly after waking also prevents a ravenous search for food in the vending machines at midmorning or the compromise lunch. Have you ever said "Im so hungry I could eat just about anything"? When you let yourself get that hungry you make poor food choices out of desperation.

So do your body a favor and have a bite to eat. Tomorrow i'll be talking about some veggie options for breakfast. And giving a few recipes. Some will even have actual measurements. Yay! And i'll even have some options that will aide you in weaning off eggs, bacon and sausage. ;-)

OH and the picture above is the breakfast buffet we enjoyed everyday while in Hawaii last November. It was a wonderful trip with lots of delicious food. Since we were staying in a hotel we took advantage of the free breakfast as eating in Hawaii can be rather rediculous pricewise. You know how Subway has a $5 footlong? That same sub cost $8.50 at the Subway along Waikiki Beach. The fresh fruit was absolutely fantastic and at the time I was still drinking juice so i really enjoyed the guava juice every morning. And there was a delicious veg restaurant right down the street from my hotel, which i will be blogging about in the future. It was in Hawaii that my addiction to smoothies began!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

You know what this blog needs.....

Pictures!

Naughty Pictures
cake made with white flour and sugar
ice cream

Nice Pictures
coconut milk ice cream
larabar pb cookie
yogurt with dates and agave

Im afraid of getting sued tho so most of the pictures will be of food ive made unless i can get permission.

If you like what you see then you should hire me to cater your next dinner party. Or hire me to teach you to incorporate more veggies into your families diet. Call me! My rates are very reasonable and drop when you purchase food items. Need help with shopping? Field trip! I also do shopping consultations.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chipotle..Im not addicted...I just need some REAL bad

Hi. My name is Stephanie....And Im addicted to CHipotle. ITs been 30 days since the last time I got high off that delciousness...er I mean that terrible burrito bowl.

Sike! Im so not quitting Chipotle. But Im going to be a semi-traitor and show you how to make your own at home.

Ingredients for everything:
-2 cups Steamed rice
-2 tomatoes, chopped or diced
- 1 cup sweet corn
-2 lime
-1 lemon
-2 jalepenos, diced
- 1 red pepper
- black beans
- cumin
- garlic
-sea salt
- romaine lettuce
-2 big red onion, one sliced the other chopped
-1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped stems and all
-2 ripe avocados, chopped or cut into chunks or mashed, however you like it


Black Beans

Simmer 1 can black beans sprinkled with 1t cumin and 1t garlic powder (or 1 cloves of garlic) and 1/2 t sea salt.

Rice
Cook the rice
Remove from heat
Mix in the juice of 1 lime, half the lemon, 2t of sea salt
Put the lid back on and let the heat of the rice cause the flavors to become one with the rice. While that happening make the salsa.

Fajita Veggies
In a medium high heated pan saute the sliced red onion and red pepper with 1 T oil and 1/2 t sea salt.

Salsa

Chop tomatoes.
Dice then mix in half of one red onion and one jalapeño pepper(no seeds).
Add chopped cilantro.

Guac

Depit and chop or mash avocados
Mix in cilantro, other half of chopped red onions, one chopped jalapeño peppers, juice from half a lime and half a lemon, 2t salt and either 1 diced clove of garlic or 1t garlic powder.

If you look at the chipotle website it says "selected spices" and im prety sure on of these spices is crack, but Im trying not to jump to any conclusions because otherwise the CEO seems pretty ethical.

Assembley

Step 1: Chop lettuce and layer rice, black beans, sauteed veggies, corn, salsa and guac.
Step 2: Devour like its nobody's business.
Step 3: Ponder what a great cook you are
Step 4: Go stick leftover in the fridge so you dont eat everything.
Step 5: Eat leftovers for lunch the next day.(Note: I said lunch and not dinner because if you try to wait until dinner you will think about it all day and not get any work done and probably get fired. I dont want that on my conscience.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What is that?

I often hear this question in two context: 1)a non-vegan being snarky about my unfamiliar looking meal 2) a new vegan befuddled by what rolls off my tongue as a somewhat experienced veg-head.

I think the biggest mistake you can make in any new endeavor is immediately starting at level 3. Think of a brand new skier hopping on the slopes and immediately going for one marked with a jack rabbit. Stupid and disheartening when said skier is run over or simply out skiied.

Food is the same way. If you are incorporating new vegetable based foods in your diet why not try decreasing meat intake slowly and simply eating more healthful plant based foods (i.e. Have a chicken salad for lunch instead of a burger. Have fish tacos for dinner instead of a steak.). Since meat is addictive it requires weaning for some.

Quitting meat cold turkey (pardon the pun) and running to the store to buy tempeh and seiten is bold, but can be disheartening (i.e.gross) if you dont know how to prepare these items.

To start eating more veg-based meals read some veg cookbooks and see what looks/sounds good to you. If you like a particular ethnicities foods start there. Italian food your weakness? Try a yummy plate of spaghetti marinara or a veg lasagna (think Regular lasagna just dont add meat or sub it out for Veggie Crumbles meat replacement or Tofurkey Italian Sausage).

A really easy way to get used to veg food is to eat in restaurants that offer it on the menu. Last night I went to P.F. Changs. All of their menu items marked vegetarian are vegetarian. Who would have thought! Vegetable based and delicious I might add. I ate there last night and had the Buddha's feast with a pot of tropical green tea. It was just what I needed to calm down, relax and refuel. Many chain restaurants offer veg options. Check the menu online and it you still arent sure feel free to call ahead and ask.

Monday, October 25, 2010

You know what this blog needs....

Recipes!

Ive included some very off the cuff recipes in previous post, but I will try to get better at including actual recipes with suggestions. Okay?

Im not a recipe perosn per ce. When Im experimenting in the kitchen I literally add a dash of this and that until it taste right and i usually dont know how much precisely, but I will make a concerted effort for any novice cooks or novice veg lovers reading this. Is anyone actually reading this? :-)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Secret Weapon #5 Popcorn and #6 Naughty day!!!

#5 is Popcorn! With a chaser of ice water! Its salty, full of fiber (but who cares about that healthy stuff) and its super filling. It can kill cravings by filling you up. If you feel full you are less likely to indulge.

It's also got the same satisfying crunch as those potato chips you are craving.

But Im not talking about just any popcorn. Im talking about gourmet popcorn. And as we all know "gourmet" is just a fancy sounding word that means "throw some flavor on that sucker and charge an arm and a leg for it". Except in this case you will be doing the gourmeting and actually save yourself some money. Heres how:

Step 1: Drive yourself to the store. Unless you are a licenceless loser like me, then go catch the bus...loser!

Step 2: Buy popcorn kernels. (bulk is cheaper of course Take your own container and score points with everyone who cares)

Step 3: Return home. (Did you really need this step? It's okay if you did. I will still be your fake virtual friend. No I won't.)

Step 4: Go in you house.

Step 5: Lock the door behind yourself. You dont want anyone walking in on your Gourmeting. People are very judgmental.

Step 6: Find a pot that has a matching lid. If you do not own one go sit on the couch and ponder why you are so lame and do not own a pot with a lid.

Step 7: Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pot and then pour in enough popcorn to coat the bottom of the pot in a single layer.

Step 8: Turn on the burner under the pot. If you are a child go get an adult to help you with this step. If you are a child why are you reading this?

Step 9: When the first kernel pops put the lid on and wait for popping to slow.

Step 10: Turn off the heat. Sprinkle an awesome seasoning on your popcorn and devour it before someone comes home and asks to taste it.

Some seasoning combinations that dont make me gag:

- Powdered barbeque seasoning (for when i want bbq potato chips)

- Nutritional Yeast and Sea Salt (reminiscent of cheesy popcorn)

- Sea Salt and Rosemary (...mmmm...classy..)

#6 is naughty day! Ironically my suggested naughty day is also the 6th day of the week Saturday (depending on where you live). For some reason it seems to be the universal day for our bodies to behave like toddlers and demand food that no reasonable person should really consume. But we are trained from an early age to desire naughty foods even when vegan we cannot excape them. So on this 6th day take a rest from your good eating behavior and have that (veggie)burger, fries, (soy)milkshake or whatever processsed ot high calorie food you want, but dont go crazy because you stomach will make you pay for this day that is supposed to be a treat day not a "my stomach hates me" day. And try to balance the naughty foods with good for you ones. Okay?

Naughty day is also a great day to not cook. Go to your favorite restaurant that offers a veg menu item that you know isnt the healthiest but gives you the warm fuzzies. Or go buy that microwave dinner or tater tots.

Possible cheat day menu:

Breakfast: Pancakes, tofu scramble with lots of fake chedder cheese, fruit salad, home fries, green tea

Lunch: Loaded veggie burger, mound of fries, 1/2 pint coconut milk ice cream

Dinner: Large vegan cheese pizza loaded with veggies, more fries please

Dessert: tiramisu, chocolate cake, ice cream, you pick!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Secret Weapon #4

In case you havent realized it yet, other than the first secret weapon these arent really ranked in order of importance. They are simply in the order I feel in the mood to share them. That said....

Secret Weapon #4: Pilates

And no I am not claiming Pilates is the miracle slimmer that will take you from a size 14 to a size 4 in 4 weeks. I like the number 4, dont you? Anyhoo, it does wonders as far as keeping you limber (i.e. less workout injuries or kinks in the neck from sleeping).

It is also a great stress reliever, which helps with the sleep area as well as the stress-based overeating. And apparently they have proved it in the lab that people with high levels of stress retain weight. Something about a creepy substance called Cortisol. This is not an educational blog so go google it for yourself.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Secret Weapon #3

Hips Replacement. No not the literal surgery. So do not go telling your real life friends (or your imaginary ones) that you read a blog today by a crazy lady who suggested surgery to lose weight. That doesnt make sense in my mind (especially since hip replacements are made of metal so that would make you gain weight..duh!).

So, now that that's out of the way let's focus on what I do mean: Replace those foods that are adding weight to your frame and replacing your womanly curves(hips) with unsightly fat deposits (HHIIPPSS aka hippo hips).

Another name for this is craving replacement. When you crave something naughty try to find something that will fill the craving without throwing your body into a junk food tailspin. The replacement should be similar in taste or texture or you will just keep craving that thing.

Some examples:

-When I am craving potato chips I have a baked potato topped with veggies and hummus. Its filling and really hits the spot. But if that is too healthy I will slice a raw potato into wedges, rub it with olive oil and bake it 25 minutes at 400 degrees.

-When I am craving ice cream I have banana based soft serve. This is basically a frozen banana (or two) blended with fruit or cocoa powder depending on what kind of ice cream im craving. A yummy combination: 1 or 2 frozen banana 2 teaspoon cinnamon(a cinamon based spice blend is even better) 1/4cup coconut milk (the creamy canned stuff)

-Craving something fried? Oven fry it and save loads of calories. Use panko bread crumbs in the coating to help simulate the crunch of fried food.

-Craving something sweet and decadent? Have a baked sweet potato with a heaping tablespoon of almond butter and a healthy drizzle of agave. This taste really naughty, but every ingredient works with your body instead of against it. More on that later.

Secret Weapon #3.5:

This secret only works if your overeating results from compensation (there is something else you want so you eat instead). Are you ready for it? Are you sure? Are you sitting down? I hope so because my insurance will not cover you for any injuries incurred while reading this blog. That was my disclaimer. This is the secret: fall in love. I was doing pretty good with portion control, but then I fell in love and completely lost my appetite.

You do not neccessarily have to fall in love with a human. You can fall in love with a designer dress that you will only fit into if you lose weight. That is a wonderful motivation if you can afford it. I, however, am rather poor and so was forced to fall in love with a human being because that is a free endeavor.

Let me know how that works for you....

Disclaimer: On the odd chance that the fella I love actually reads this I'd just like to clarify that I would love him even if I was rich cause im just that kinda dame. And he's just that amazing! winkety wink wink!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Where have you been? Secret Weapon#2

I have been in the land of the Silently Going Crazy. Well maybe not so silently!

Good news first: My official weight loss is 30lbs! That is an amazing amount of weight, but I am not done yet. I have about 15 more until I think I will be comfortable. In 10 lbs I will have a healthy BMI, but I would like a 5 lbs cushion for the occasional emotional eating or recipe testing.

That's right dear readers! Being the brilliant creative lady that I am, I have decided to create a cookbook right in the middle of a weight loss adventure...Wait maybe that is not a good idea at all...lol

This is actually a very good thing as it is a test of my willpower and creativity in creating recipes that are good for your whole body and not just your taste buds.

Secret Weapon #2:
Agave Syrup is delicious and sweet and doesnt cause those nasty blood sugar spikes that make you want to clean out your refrigerator after you have dessert.

It's also all natural and derived from the Agave plant so no scary after taste or unknown side effects. Yay!

Well that all and good, you are saying to yourself, but how do i use it? I was getting to that. Patience darling!

Agave is great as a substitute for honey, maple syrup, and brown sugar. Well I should say the way I used those sweetners. So, I love it on pancakes and crepes and in my tea and oatmeal or cream of wheat and especially over a sweet potato(add some almond butter and you will need to leave me alone with my potato, but more on that later in secret weapon #3).

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Secret Weapon /Vegan Friendly Restaurant Review: Chipotle!

My # 1 secret weapon is being able to get food quickly (i.e. fast food) without ruining my healthy eating goals or undoing weeks of progress.

CHipotle is definitely one of my secret weapons. It is technically fast food (i.e. usually inherently evil) but they offer fresh and deliciously seasoned vegan options. My favorite is a burrito bowl or a salad.

The burrito bowl takes away the carb load of a tortilla, but includes all the burrito fixins: lime cilantro rice, seasoned black beans, Fresh Tomato Salsa (Mild) Chopped red, ripe sweet tomatoes, mixed with red onions, jalapeño peppers and freshly chopped cilantro for a mildly tangy, refreshing taste. Roasted Chili-Corn Salsa (Medium) Sweet, succulent corn, blended with roasted poblano peppers, jalapeño peppers, red onions and freshly chopped cilantro. This unique, robust salsa is both sweet and mildly hot, and Tomatillo-Green Chili Salsa (Medium). With a generous scoop of guacamole on top!

It is basically "delicious" in a bowl. Calorie-wise the bowl is pretty reasonable, but it is still a splurge item when you are watching what you eat. It's a fast meal that makes you feel that you are being naughty without actually messing up your healthy eating pattern.

A note of caution: The employees of CHipotle are very nice and generous with the portions when they get to know you (yes I was eating there every weekend at one point), so be careful of portion size.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

How I'm doing it....

This post could easily be titled "how to stop eating your emotions". I mentioned in an earlier post how food is closely connected to my emotional responses. So, over the past few months I have been training myself to react in different ways to emotions. I also have stopped buying things that trigger overeating (one snack leads to another).

Instead of Happy= Eat a piece of cake, the equation is now happy= share the love with someone else. Usually stress means overeating for me, but now it is just the opposite. Rather than eating when stressed I pray, try to eliminate the stressor and move on. If it is a problem I cant fix I just keep praying and leave it in Jehovah's hands. Why stress myself into a tizzy over something i cant change anyway.

I also had to learn to replace the foods i loved to binge on with healthier options or just new options. That whole want something sweet eat a piece of fruit works sometimes, but sometimes i want the chocolate or a cookie. So, I use food substitutes like raw food bars (i.e. Organic Food Bar and Larabar). But its 10:30 and tomorrow is shopping day, so ill have to tell you more about that tomorrow. g'night!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wow..It's been a while...

Looking at the date I see it has been approximately 3 months since I wrote my first entry. Good news: things have been going well in the weight loss department. Otherwise it's been a whirlwind of happenings. With the surgeries and deaths and moving and learning languages I have been a very busy girl.

But through prayer I have been able to maintain my weight loss goals. I haven't done the official measurements yet, but I have managed to lose about 4 inches from my waist, which as anyone who knows me knows is my mortal enemy.

The most popular question: How did you do it? (Actually it usually goes more like: "Girl you gettin so skinny? What you doing to lose all that weight?")
Well, you will just have to tune in tomorrow to find out...See you then!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day One

Bonjour!
This is day one in my attempt to eat healthily and deliciously as I work to lose weight.
People automatically assume vegans are emaciated, anemic people. Looking at my frame is a clear contradiction to this theory.
I wish I had some excuse like a medical condition, but I just really like to eat. And my emotional shifts are usually met by a plate full of something. Feeling happy? Have a piece of cake! Feeling sad? Eat a whole cake. But more than that eating can be a bit of a hobby for me at times. I really like to cook.
Seeing that I really need to lose about 40 punds I am going to combine my Foodie status with my desire to reduce calories without depriving myself.
We'll see how this goes. Stay tuned!