I abandoned this blog to return to my old blog..and then only posted 11 times in 2011. Huh, I wonder if there's some sort of symbolism there? Probably not. Anyway, I'd like to start posting here again, but I'm not quite ready yet. I had fallen back into old patterns, and though I feel like I'm on the right track again, I'm just not there yet. I wanted to post here as a sort of.... placeholder. I don't want my blog to suddenly disappear in a puff of smoke just before I return to it. So, until later...
I am rather addicted to having either oats or an oatmeal pancake in the mornings..
Now that I'm trying to keep my grain servings to 1-2 per day, I sometimes want to eat something non-oat in the morning. I read on Dr. Fuhrman's website about "lentil pancakes". I soaked 1/4 c raw lentils overnight, then rinsed and drained them in the morning. I whirled them in my food processor with a small banana (84g), 1 T ground flaxseed, 1/4 tsp champagne vinegar, and 1/4 tsp baking soda. Then I cooked it like a pancake. It actually tasted pretty good after I drizzled on some almond butter and some Crofter's Fruit Spread. Here's how it looked "naked".
I roasted some golden beets and WOW, I thought they were FANTASTIC! I will say, though, that the leftovers weren't quite as delish.
Roasted Balsamic Golden Beets
6 large golden beets, scrubbed clean, trimmed of any rootlets, and halved
1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
Stick the beets into a large ziploc bag with the oil and shake to coat. Put them cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast at 375 degrees until beets are tender, 40-45 minutes. Cut the beets into smaller chunks and place in serving bowl (if you want, you can let them cool a bit to be able to handle them better). Sprinkle with salt and a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
I originally made this for dinner, but ate leftovers for breakfast two days last week (along with a banana and 8g of natural peanut butter) and it was quite satisfying. I lasted until past noon easily both days, in spite of eating at 6am.
Southwestern Tofu Potato Scramble
serves 4 - about 170 cal per serving
2 med red potatoes, diced
1/2 med onion, diced
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeds and core removed, minced
8 oz mushrooms
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
squirt of Sriracha, if you like hot and spicy
14 oz firm tofu, crumbled (I didn't press it first, and it took FOREVER for the liquid to cook down, so you may want to press out the water before crumbling)
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz prewashed baby spinach
Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray and saute the potatoes, onion, jalapeno, mushrooms, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and Sriracha for 3 min, stirring often, over med-high heat.
Add the tofu and salt and stir to combine. Add 1/2 c water (if needed) and cover the pan. Cook for 5 min. Add 2 more T of water if the pan seems dry.
Add the spinach to the top and cover til it wilts, a couple of minutes.
Stir to mix in the spinach, and continue to cook, uncovered, until as much liquid as you like has evaporated.
My 12-year-old found this "too spicy", but I thought it was wonderful. I'd never bought fennel in my life, but figured the recipe wouldn't taste quite right without it. This came from a Cooking Light cookbook originally, but I changed it a bit. The recipe book gave the nutritional info as 217 calories per serving, but I figured it as more like 300. I don't know if I had more caloric cheese or polenta or ?? Anyway, it was yummy, and the leftovers reheated well.
Italian White Bean Polenta Pie
Serves 6 - about 300 calories per serving
1/2 lb fennel
2 c water
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 c instant polenta
1 tsp olive oil
3/4 c finely chopped carrot
3/4 c finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 (14 oz) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1 cup (4 oz) shredded provolone cheese
Wash fennel, trim off the outside tougher stalks. Cut the interior bulb in half the long way and dig out the core to throw away. Cut the rest into matchsticks, which will hopefully make about 3/4 cup. I want to try chopping the fennel next time - it didn't incorporate very well into the dish.
Using an oven safe skillet (I just put foil over the handle of my nonstick skillet before I put it into the oven and it's fine), combine the water and salt and bring to a boil. Slowly pour in the polenta, stirring to prevent lumps. Turn the heat down and cook, uncovered for 3-5 min (til it pulls away from the sides of the pan). Take the pan off the burner and smooth the top of the polenta evenly. Let stand 5 min.
In a second skillet sprayed with nonstick spray, cook the fennel, onion, carrot, and garlic in the tsp of olive oil until tender. Stir in the beans, sage, and red pepper; then spoon over the polenta. Bake at 400 degreens for 10 min; then sprinkle the top with cheese and bake 5 more min (til cheese melts). Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.
I had to modify the Eat to Live plan to suit my status as a mom and wife. I was trying to cook two meals on many evenings, and it was just getting ridiculous. So, I have compromised with making a vegan dinner for my family 4-5 times a week, and cooking them something with meat on the other 2-3. On those nights, I eat leftovers or simply a salad with beans. It seems to be working well. My dh definitely does not LOVE any of the vegan dishes, but he also isn't complaining. My kids are iffy on some, but have enjoyed others. I'll post some of the tastier things later this weekend.
I am trying to keep my grain servings to 1-2 a day. I usually have oats in the morning, and a grain serving at dinner. At first, it was really difficult. I really wanted to eat bread. Somehow, it's gotten easier, and there have been several days when I ate only the oats. I have been stuck on one particular salad at lunchtime:
an orange, cut up
dressing made with 1T orange juice, 1 T flavored vinegar, and 1/2 T jalapeno mustard
I eat other veggies too, but keep them separate because I just like the above combo so much. Yum. If I haven't had my serving of nuts with my oats, I put some nuts in there too. Good fat, you know.
I have lost a few pounds -- was 155.8 on the scale this morning. I went months without weighing myself last year, so I'm not sure when I've been down to this weight, but it's been a while.
Today will be the 15th day since I started trying to stick to the "Eat to Live" plan. Though I've lost six pounds, I've had a couple off really off days. Last Friday was my dd's end of the school year sleepover, and we had a luau theme. I ate everything that they ate, including subs, chips, s'mores, ice cream floats....and overate it. I didn't feel sick or anything, but definitely felt regret. However, I let it go as just one day in my life, and carried on as usual the next day. Until dinner, that is. We went to my nephew's birthday party, and I didn't take any food with me, thinking that they'd have the same thing they always have: sandwiches, raw veg, and lots of fresh fruit. Wrong. They had burgers, brats, hot dogs, macaroni & potato salad, and watermelon. I felt a bit of dismay, let me tell you. I don't even like macaroni or potato salad! I waffled, but knew I'd binge later (due to massive hunger!) if I didn't eat something. I ended up eating about 1/3 of a burger (which completely disgusted me because it was a frozen patty from wal-mart and was only med-well done....blech!!!), about 2 T of each salad, and about 3 cups of watermelon. It was okay. I was about 80% full, and even turned down cake and ice cream (unheard of for me!). That was made easier because it was wal-mart cake (trans fats!) and Breyer's ice cream (don't like theirs much). In hindsight, I wished I'd taken a veggie burger and stashed some crudite in my purse or something. Live and learn. I don't want to be the weirdo who brings her own food to people's houses, but I also want my cholesterol to go down!
I saw my doctor to have a bump removed from my scalp (which is hopefully nothing!), and told her about my eating change. She asked if I wanted to go off my cholesterol medication for the summer and then have a blood test to see if it had made a difference. I jumped at the chance, though she cautioned me not to be too upset if there wasn't enough of a change to stop the meds. I feel hopeful that there will be, though.
I used my food processor to shred a sort of cole slaw made of red cabbage, carrots, and raw beets. It's kind of blah by itself, but with an orange or 4oz of fresh pineapple cut up into it...yummers. Tomorrow I'm making my family Black Bean Burgers from the cookbook Veganonicon. I'm curious to see if they like them or not. They do like most bean dishes, so I'm optimistic. My 7-year-old chose 15-Bean Soup from the grocery store last week, and ate two bowls of it at dinner. I left out the seasoning packet, adding some spices instead, and made it meatless. My dh and 12-year-old didn't seem to love it, but didn't complain either. I've been feeding them meat 2-3 times a week, so maybe that's keeping them satisfied.
Today is day 4 of eating to live. I was very tired and draggy yesterday and the day before, but that could be related to not getting enough sleep. The afternoons have been difficult because I get really hungry. I don't want to overeat at lunch, but Dr. Fuhrman frowns on snacks. I've been eating one anyway -- and still end up ravenous at dinnertime. Dr. F says that is fake hunger -- "toxic hunger" -- and is my body detoxing from the not so healthy food I was eating previously. Huh. That sounds like a huge bucket of bologna to me, but the book Becoming Vegan for Dummies (or something like that) described the same thing. Perhaps it's not just diet-speak for "don't eat over 1200 calories"?
After the smoothie I made on Wednesday morning had me feeling hungry after two hours (in spite of the white beans and flaxseed in it!), I have gone back to my faithful oatmeal pancake. The oats will just have to be my grain for the day. Oats are just so much more satisfying than anything else I ever eat for breakfast. The "pancake" isn't quite kosher according to Dr F because it has egg whites in it, but if it keeps me from eating the pencils on my desk before lunch arrives, I'm fine with being slightly rebellious. I spent Wednesday morning chopping and cooking, making a soup from the website peertrainer.com. I had it for lunch with some kidney beans yesterday and today and it is quite rich and delicious tasting.
Our neighborhood's "biggest loser couples" challenge started June 1. Our neighbor created a website on which we can enter our combined weight as a couple every Friday. The website has a "smack talk" corner, which I think is quite hilarious. I'm curious to see the results of everyone's first weigh-in.
So....I read this book -- Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I think I heard about the book on Peertrainer, where a friend and I belong to a group. Anyway, I read it, returned it to the library because I thought it sounded too radical, but checked it out and read it again. In the meantime, my doctor's office called me to ask if I was taking my cholesterol medication. Apparently, the insurance company called them to tattle that I wasn't refilling it enough to be taking it daily. Big brother, indeed.
I hate taking medication. I can't even really say why, except that I've always prided myself on being so healthy that I rarely even get a cold. The last time I had the 'flu was when I was a kid. I just don't like taking it. In his book, Dr. F tells of people being able to go off all sorts of medications for all sorts of maladies after they've been eating per his advice for several months. I couldn't stop thinking about that. Could I do it? Could I change my "familial" high cholesterol, reduce my risk of heart disease, and maybe lose some weight in the bargain? Hmmmm. I decided to try it. I started trying to ease into it by incorporating more vegetables and fruits, and eating fewer grains. That was okay, except for the days when I threw a virtual tantrum and ate several helpings of crap food. I waffled, but in the end, I want to try it. If I don't, I'll always wonder if I could have.
Today was day 1 of his initial six week plan. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. I did get quite hungry around 4pm and had difficulty concentrating on my work by 4:30pm, so I need to either take an afternoon snack or eat a bigger lunch. I felt satisfied after lunch, though, so maybe a snack is in order -- at least temporarily. Dr. F frowns on snacks because your body needs to be empty for a while in order to let it do its work in cleansing everything. Or something like that.
A day in his 6 week start looks like this:
1 lb of raw non-starchy vegetables
1 lb of cooked non-starchy vegetables
(he stresses greens for both kinds)
4 servings of fruit
1 cup of whole grains or starchy vegetable
at least 1 cup of beans
1 T ground flaxseed
1 or 2 oz nuts or natural nut butter
there might be some mention of 1/4 avocado somewhere in there too
no (or very limited amounts) meat, fish, dairy, sugar (or honey or agave or syrup, etc)
I didn't stick STRICTLY to this. I had a greek yogurt to use up, and forgot about the nuts. This is what I ate:
breakfast (I did walk the dog a mile and do the elliptical for 30 min before eating and felt okay): smoothie with 3 oz baby spinach, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, small (85g) banana, cup of mixed berries (black, blue, rasp), T ground flaxseed, and 1/2 c of cannellini beans. I think the beans added some staying power, because I was okay until noon. I ate the smoothie in a bowl a la Kath, which made it seem more like a meal of soup. I sprinkled on 1/4 c of Kashi GoLean for some crunch.
lunch: leftover eggplant "mash" I'd made last weekend (eggplant, garlic, onion, diced tomatoes, peas), a container of plain 0% Oikos greek yogurt, and an orange.
dinner: Veggie Enchilada Pasta, 1/8 of a small cantaloupe, and a few baby carrots, celery, and cauliflower florets...along with 2 bites of dd's pizza crust.
Right now, I feel good about my day. I really didn't eat very many calories -- 1300 maybe? But I wasn't overly hungry, didn't dwell on food all day, and liked what I ate.
I ate a delicious dinner today, adapted from this recipe for veggie enchilada pasta. She doesn't really give any quantities, but I used:
6 1/4 oz whole wheat shell pasta (cuz that's all I had)
3 smallish zucchini
3 smallish summer squash
1 lb 12 oz can of crushed tomatoes
16 oz jar of (medium heat) enchilada sauce
12 pkg of frozen corn
can of black beans, rinsed and drained
can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 T minced garlic
an entire bunch of green onions
and all of the spices in copious amounts - cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. I like spicy and hot. It was spicy and delicious. I made it a few weeks ago and froze individual servings for later. It still tasted quite yummy and the noodles didn't get all dried out. I'm glad I used a firm pasta and cooked it JUST til al dente. Otherwise, I think it would have been mushy.
I gave the recipe to a coworker who has a vegetarian daughter. She made it for her family and they all raved about it. I think my kids would like it, but I'd have to make it with "mild" ingredients.
I was looking over what I've eaten over the past seven days and realized that I've eaten meat only once. Huh. I know that meat has seemed less and less appealing to me lately, though I'm sure I'll never stop eating it all together. I have a bunch of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks checked out of the library, and have been perusing them for easy recipes that don't have a lot of servings or exotic ingredients. I'm pleasantly surprised by how many I've found, though it seems I would be eating a lot of beans and lentils if I don't want to eat fake meat. I'm okay with that. Tonight we're going out to a bbq place. Normally I'd want to get ribs or pulled bbq. I'm kind of leaning toward salad or salmon though. A nice, big salad sounds so good right now.
Anyway, I tried a new banana muffin recipe and we all liked it quite well. I fiddled with the original a bit, so here's my incarnation.
Banana Banana Muffins
makes 12 muffins
1/4 c butter
1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
5 bananas, very ripe
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Place the peeled bananas in a large bowl and beat them well with an electric mixer. The riper the bananas and the more you beat them, the more tender your muffins will be. There will still be some lumps, however.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Add the butter, applesauce, and eggs to the banana and mix well.
Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and stir JUST until the batter is thoroughly combined.
Pour the batter into greased muffin cups - mine just about filled the 12 cup pan
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a rack in the pan; then remove and cool completely.
If you knew me, you'd know that I enjoy cooking and baking immensely, but I ALWAYS have to follow a recipe. In fact, I obsessively check the recipe every other step in the recipe to make sure I'm doing everything okay. Since I've been reading food blogs, I've noticed that people seem to make up recipes with abandon, tossing all sorts of ingredients together and ending up with delicious sounding concoctions. I have little scribbled notes everywhere with things like mashed garbanzo bean sandwiches and almond dip directions on them. When I got ready for lunch last Friday, nothing really appealed to me, but I spotted some Kashi whole grain pilaf that I needed to use up, and started thinking about how good it would taste with some beans and sauteed veggies. So I totally made something up and it was delicious!
I sauteed some minced garlic, an onion, a green pepper, mushrooms, and some celery with a spritz of olive oil cooking spray while I cooked one package from the box of pilaf (I think it originally came with 3 or 4 little packets). To the veggies, I added a can of kidney beans that I'd drained and rinsed, as well as a jar of locally made salsa. I thought about making it a Mexican tasting dish with chili pepper and cumin, but saw a bottle of garam masala in the spice cupboard, and tossed some of that in instead, along with some turmeric, a bit of curry and black pepper. I stirred in the pilaf and YUM! It turned out to be quite delish. For some reason, I didn't take a picture of the finished product, but it looked tasty too. I ended up with about five servings that were quite filling.
My family LOVES pancakes. I've tried a lot of recipes for them, and found one that's FABULOUS. It isn't the healthiest, though, since it has melted butter and uses all white flour. I came across this recipe somewhere, and my family really liked it. The pancakes were tender and fluffy. I didn't take a picture of them because they looked like any other pancake you've ever had. My husband and 7-year-old don't like it, but I make a fruit syrup for waffles or pancakes that my 12-year-old and I love. Just combine 3 cups of frozen fruit (I usually use raspberries and blueberries) with 1/2 cup of real maple syrup and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. Simmer until you like the texture - I like to let a lot of the berries break. It's great on waffles too - and I like to mix the leftovers into plain yogurt, either as a snack or with oatmeal to make overnight oats.
Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes
makes 12 pancakes
3/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour
3 T sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c low-fat buttermilk
1 T canola oil
1 large egg
1 large egg white
Lightly spoon flours into dry measureing cups, and level with a knife. Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine buttermilk, oil, egg, and egg white; stir with a whisk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. There will be lumps and bumps.
Heat a nonstick griddle or skillet (I use an electric skillet at about 355 degrees); coat with cooking spray. Spoon about 1/4 c of batter for each pancake onto griddle. Turn pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked.
I have always thought making homemade salad dressing was a big pain, and rarely do it. I still kind of think that, but this sounded so yummy, I tried it out. I liked it, though I had to add some extra orange juice to make it less of a dip and more of a dressing. It looks kind of...well, maybe we shouldn't think about it. It was pretty delish though. I think I'd add some more garlic when making it again.
Avocado Ctirus Dressing
makes about 2 cups - 11 cal per T
1 large ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
1/3 c orange juice
5 T lime juice
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
dash of cayenne pepper (I used 1/8 tsp)
Blend all in a blender til smooth. It will get thick in the fridge, but will thin out when warmed a bit.
I baked these muffins for me, but - amazingly - my 12-year-old loved them. My husband ate one, but didn't comment on it, so I'm not sure if he liked it or not. Anyway, they were quite tasty, especially with some Barney Butter. I used raspberries.
Banana Berry Muffins
12 muffins - 111 calories each
1 1/2 c mashed ripe bananas
1 c plain nonfat yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 T honey
1 1/4 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c wheat germ
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries or blueberries
Stir the bananas, yogurt, eggs, vanilla, and honey together. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and stir in the wheat germ. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture just until combined. Gently fold in the berries.
Spoon the batter into a 12-cup muffin tin that has been oiled (or use papers). About 1/2 c of batter fits into each cup - the cups will be full to the brim. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees, til a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
I've been feeding my family a lot of vegetarian meals lately. It's definitely a challenge, since they don't enjoy a wide variety of vegetables. They do seem to enjoy most dishes with lentils, so I tried this vegetarian chili - and it was a hit! They ate it with shredded cheese on it, and scooped it up with tortilla chips. I added Sriracha hot sauce and extra chili powder to mine. I think it would be good with Ro-tel or salsa instead of the tomatoes, and if I had lots of time, I'd have used fresh veggies and garlic. It was nice to use the convenient canned and frozen stuff on a working weeknight.
Vegetarian Lentil Chili
6 servings, about 1.5 c each - about 325 cal each
4 15-oz cans diced tomatoes
2 15-oz cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 12-oz pkg frozen chopped green peppers
1 12-oz pkg frozen chopped onions
2 cups dry red lentils, rinsed and drained
1/4 c chili powder
2 T garlic powder
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 6-oz can tomato paste
In an 8-qt Dutch oven combine undrained tomatoes, rinsed and drained beans, 3 cups of water, green peppers, onions, dry lentils, chili powder, and garlic powder. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, and 1/8 tsp black pepper; heat through.
I never tried eggplant in my life until about 6 months ago. I tried roasting it and thought it was pretty good, but haven't made it much since then. I found a recipe somewhere for an eggplant spread that sounded tasty and whipped it up, though I changed it a bit. I'm not sure it looks all that appetizing in this photo, but it was quite tasty when scooped up with Kashi crackers!
made about 2 1/2 cups
1 medium eggplant (about a pound)
1 T olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 c chopped onions
1 tsp ground ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh chile (I used a Poblano, which probably wasn't the best choice since it took forever to get tender. Next time I'd try either an Anaheim (mild but more tender) or habanero (hot!))
1 cup chopped tomatoes (fresh)
1/2 tsp salt
~1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
big squeeze of Sriracha hot sauce
Prick the eggplant a few times with a fork, put it on a baking sheet, and roast at 425 degrees until soft, about 30 min. Remove from oven and set aside to cool
While the eggplant roasts, heat the oil in a large skillet on med-high heat, add the cumin, onions, ginger, and garlic and let them sizzle for 10 seconds or so. Lower the heat to med-low and cook until onions are translucent and starting to brown, about 12 min. I added a little water as I went because it was starting to stick. Add the chile, tomatoes, and salt, and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are soft and their juice has mostly evaporated, about 15 min
When the eggplants are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthwise, scoop out the flesh, coarsely chop it, and add it to the skillet. Stir in the cilantro and cook for about 5 min, until everything is heated through. Give it a whirl in the food processor and serve it warm or cold.
I made this bread and my family gobbled it down in one day! I think I got one piece and wow, was it delicious. It tasted like cake. I haven't yet experimented to see how it would turn out with partly whole wheat flour. I think it would probably be good with any fruit puree, or with nuts added (or chocolate chips!).
Peanut Butter Applesauce Bread
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp vanilla
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together and set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the sugar, peanut butter, and butter in a large bowl until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg until smooth. Beat in the applesauce and vanilla. Add the prepared flour mixture and stir just until moist and there are no traces of flour visible. It may be a bit grainy.
Spoon into a greased 9x5-inch loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it, about 55 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 min, then turn loaf out nto rack and cool til room temp, about an hour. Store at room temp for 4 days or wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.
I read a reference to this article on another blog and I really like the tone of it. Well, the beginning of it. I'm not going to start eating more raw foods - I like my food cooked! But the part about making today the best day of your life -- I like that.