Monday, November 30, 2009

Autumn in a Bowl

I think this meal just screamed AUTUMN!! It was warm and comforting and colorful and good!

The bean dish is an adaptation of a common macrobiotic dish- Azuki Beans and Squash. This was my first foray into soaking beans overnight and cooking them. I've only used canned beans in the past. It was fun to make them from scratch and I will be doing this a lot from now on.

I used acorn squash for this dish. It was sweet and hearty. The greens are collards. I sauteed them in a touch of sesame oil and a clove of garlic, and a hint of shoyu. Both dishes are garnished with toasted acorn squash seeds. After I cut the acorn I rinsed the seeds and dry pan-roasted them with a splash of shoyu- so yummy and a perfect accent to the greens!

I ate this meal for days!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

7 layers of heaven

I made a miniature 7 layer dip inspired by a recipe in The Kind Diet (I'm not sure mine actually had seven full layers...). This was supposed to be my dinner one night since I made about a quarter of the actual recipe. I ate this for FOUR meals! So you can imagine how big of a crowd the full recipe would feed!

I won't quote the entire recipe here, but 7 layer dip is pretty standard and made several changes to the recipe so I'll describe what you see in the pics.

This is a side view before I baked it. In a small Pyrex bowl I layered black refried beans, fresh avocado mixed with key lime juice, Tofutti sour cream mixed with a couple tablespoons of Bearitos Taco Seasoning, and Nacho Teese. I then baked it for a while until everything was hot throughout.

Then I added a layer of salsa, kind of in a heart shape...

Lastly, and I consider this a layer :), I ate it up with Have'a Corn chips- my favorite corn chips with a hint of soy sauce and lime.

I ate until I was full and there was so much left over. The next meal I crisped up an Ezekiel tortilla and cut it into wedges, the next meal I ate it cold with a toasted whole wheat tortilla and then just a spoon!

This was my first experience with Teese. I liked it okay. It has a slightly strange tang to it, and I think the dip would be just as good without it. The spiced-up sour cream gives it enough 'cheesyness' on its own. But it was still YUMMY and satisfied many cravings!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes Rock!

Chipotle Mashed Sweet potatoes are a staple of my Thanksgiving feast! I have been making them since 2002, the year I got married and the first year I cooked my very own Thanksgiving dinner all on my own. (for 45 people, no less!!) I have since veganized and adapted the recipe. It was originally from the magazine Cooking Light. This recipe serves about eight people. There really are no hard and fast measurement rules here… you can use more or less of pretty much everything depending on how creamy, sweet, spicy, etc. you like your food.

Here is my version of this savory/sweet/spicy dish:

  • 1 40 oz can cut sweet potatoes in light syrup, drained and rinsed (Bruce’s makes organic canned potatoes)
  • 1/2 cup (or less) plain non-dairy creamer (like Silk Original)
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Spread
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 (7 ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 cup (or less) packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Place potatoes in a large saucepan over medium heat. While they heat up, mash them a little with a wooden spoon.

Add creamer, EB and lime juice and mash to desired consistency (at this point I use a hand mixer. An immersion blender would probably work awesome here, unfortunately, I don’t have one.) Cook until heated thru, stirring nearly constantly.

Remove 2 chiles from can and chop (I try to get most of the seeds out at this point, too); reserve remaining chiles and adobo sauce for another use. Stir chopped chiles, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon into potato mixture.

PS- I had the leftovers heated up with a chopped Field Roast Apple ‘Sausage’ for breakfast and it was truly divine!

PPS- I made these last Friday for a pre-Thanksgiving potluck and they were a huge hit- even though there were no other vegans/vegetarians in attendance. I forgot to take a picture! I’m making them again for actual Thanksgiving, but wanted to get the recipe posted before then… sorry!

PPPS- Please feel free to use fresh sweet potatoes. I have done it both ways and honestly cannot taste the difference. The canned potatoes are just so easy and quick to work with! If you choose to use fresh ones, just peel, chop and boil till tender, then drain and proceed from there.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Quinoa

I made something that I think might be my new favorite thing to eat, ever!

Pumpkin Pie Quinoa!

I mixed about 1/2-3/4 cup pumpkin puree with a tablespoon of brown rice syrup, about a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, and about a 1/4 cup unsweetened soymilk. This alone would make an awesome sweet pumpkin soup/pudding snack or dessert. But to ramp up the filling-ness and nutrition factor- I poured it over cooked quinoa for breakfast.

As I was preparing it the night before I had to force myself to stop eating the pumpkin mixture so there would be something leftover for breakfast! I am such a fan of anything pumpkin and have been really craving it lately. Fall will do that to ya, right? This would be good over any cooked grain you like.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

First Meal from The Kind Life- Success!

The other night I tried my hand at a recipe from Alicia Silverstone's book, The Kind Life. I made the Ginger Zucchini Pasta. It was so simple, clean, and awesome! It has an Asian-y taste because of the Shoyu and ginger. The recipe makes two servings so it was perfect for dinner and then breakfast the next morning. I will definitely be adding this to my regular weeknight rotation.

It isn't super colorful since it is primarily whole wheat pasta, tofu and zucchini, but it is colorful in your mouth! The next time I make it I will probably have a side of veggies or a salad, for more color, but as a quick, healthy, filling meal- it is a hit!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I’m getting busy with the whole grains!

Quinoa with apples, agave, spices and soy milk- where have you been all my life?

I had some cooked quinoa in the freezer (it held up quite well) that I wanted to use up. I also wanted something quick to put together last night to take with me to work this morning for breakfast. So I put about 1 cup of quinoa in a pyrex bowl, added a giant chopped Jonagold apple, about a ½ cup unsweetened soy milk, about 3 Tbsp Agave syrup ( I went a little crazy with this on accident- but it was nice and sweet!), and some ground cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. When I got to work this morning I heated it in the microwave and the apples got nice and soft. It was seriously good!

 you can always click on the photos to see a close up

For lunch I got inspired by The Kind Diet’s ‘Clean Mean Burritos’. I had some simple black bean soup leftover from lunch a couple days ago, so I strained a ½ cup of the beans, added a ½ cup brown rice, and then some chopped veggies- romaine, jicama, red pepper, radish sprouts. I drizzled all of this with some of my sesame vinaigrette and wrapped it up in a warmed Ezekiel tortilla. Hearty, filling, yum. I don’t know if I could ever get tired of rice and beans and their infinite possibilities!

 The beans are there in the middle and the rice is at the bottom.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Veggie Pot Pie- I love you.

For dinner a few nights ago I made a veggie pot pie. The temperature outside is just barely getting a slight chill in the air here in South-Central California, but it feels autumn-y and I’m workin’ it. Pot pie is autumn comfort food at its best, right? I took a traditional chicken pot pie recipe and adapted it to be a little healthier and, of course, chicken-free. I used Smart Balance Light to make the crust, but only as much as seemed necessary and I used whole wheat pastry flour. I also only put a crust on top- even though I REALLY LOVE a double crust pot pie… *sigh*.

the crust is 'rustic' :)

For the veggies I used the traditional carrots, celery, onion and peas. I had it for dinner and then breakfast the next morning. It made an awesome breakfast!

I really enjoy eating dinner-type foods for breakfast. They seem to fill me up and satisfy me better and for longer than 'breakfast' foods. I'm going to continue to work with this recipe to make it even healthier but still 'comfort-food-ish'.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Usin' up the leftovers and last bits!

Seriously delicious food day today. My meals today were a combination of food inspired by The Kind Diet (lots of whole grains, veggies, non-processed foods) and leftovers (which is also very 'kind diet-ish' as Alicia advocates using up everything and getting creative with leftovers!).

I started my morning with some oolong tea. Coffee just sounded icky to me today. But the oolong has just enough caffeine since it is a mixture of green and black teas.

For breakfast I had brown rice and a mashed sweet potato. I put a tiny bit of Earth Balance and cinnamon on the potato. I cooked the rice using the 'excess water' method, where you cook it like pasta and drain when it's done. Turned out awesome and it only took 30 minutes instead of 45! I added a tiny bit of soy milk to the rice and kind of mixed the two as I ate. This was so delicious! I also had a cup of Morning Thunder tea after breakfast. This had a good amount of caffeine and I still wasn't ready for any coffee. It was also my last bag of Morning Thunder.

For lunch I had a sandwich with the last of the mock tuna salad I made last week on Ezekiel bread, and a yummy salad of romaine, purple cabbage, jicama, red bell pepper, radish sprouts and zucchini, with a sesame vinagrette I whipped up last night (olive oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, dijon, agave, salt).

I didn't eat all the salad and later I got hungry and used the leftovers to make a wrap with an Ezekiel tortilla as my afternoon snack. I had a third cup of tea this afternoon- Tummy Mint. (keeping with the theme, it was my last bag of Tummy Mint, too.)

not wrapped up yet

wrapped up 

After hitting the gym for some light cardio and a stint in the sauna (still 'detoxing' :)), and to bring the day to a close, I had the last of the Pumpkin Pasta from last week (cannot wait to make it again!!) with some cubed extra firm tofu and cubed zucchini thrown in. I added these items at the last minute so they would heat through, but so that the zucchini would stay mostly raw and crunchy. Yowza- it is still sooooo good!

 there is a hunk of ginger root in the background... 

I think I have finally fully recovered from my rowdy weekend!

I'm too old for this... ;)

Oy Vey did I have a doozy of a weekend (but it sure was fun!). I overindulged on Friday night and also stayed up waaaaaaaaaaaaaay past my bedtime. I paid for it the rest of the weekend. I just “had” to compensate with greasy food all weekend and lots of lying around doing nothing but recovering this old bod.

Last night I decided that I just needed to ‘detox’. Now, there is nothing about my ‘detox’ that is scientific in anyway, it is simply things that I’ve always done that make me feel better when I’m hungover, ill, or generally icky feeling.

I started with a dry brush full body scrub. Starting at my toes with a dry sisal brush and using short, firm strokes toward my heart I brushed my entire body. That always feels good. I do this a couple times a week anyway. Then I did something called a Hot Body Scrub that I read about in Alicia Silverstone’s new book, The Kind Diet. It is essentially scrubbing your body from head to toe with a hot, wet washcloth. It felt really nice and invigorating. I’m going to incorporate this into my grooming routine now.

After the double body scrub actions I took a nice steamy shower. I closed the door in my little bathroom to let the steam build up. I took lots of nice deep breaths and just relaxed and ‘detoxed’.  Afterwards, I applied some antioxidant serum to my face, moisturizer to the rest of me and put on my nightie and fuzzy slippers. I made some hot lemon-ginger water with agave syrup and sat on the couch while I soothed myself.

Finally, getting to bed at a decent hour, I woke up mucho refreshed and back to normal this morning! Yay. Just in time to start incorporating Alicia’s ideas from The Kind Diet, which I will talk about more this week.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pumpkin Pasta Perfection!

Breakfast, lunch and snacks were the same today as Monday (except I didn't make juice and ended up super hungry all morning!). 

So- check out my new lunch tote bag: Smurfs! Only a buck in the $1 section at Target. It is the perfect size, just big enough to carry my breakfast and lunch and snacks to work and it is washable! I feel like I seriously scored with this find. My 7th birthday party was Smurf-themed and I have always been a fan!

I also recently received a $50 Target gift card as a thank you for my roll on a project at work and I used it to purchase a variety of sizes of covered Pyrex dishes- to house leftovers in the fridge and freezer and to bring my meals to work. I got rid of all my icky semi-disposable plastic storage containers (recycled the ones my city program will except) and couldn’t be happier about my new containers. 

Another random tidbit- I donated blood last week. It was the first time since I have gone veg and guess what? My iron was higher than it has ever been in my blood-donating years! In fact, the last time I tried to donate when I was still eating meat- I got rejected because it was low! Take that people who freak out that I’m not getting enough protein or iron!

Now on to food: I made some seriously delicious Pumpkin Pasta for dinner tonight. I got the recipe from this post at The Palatial Palate. I subbed out whole wheat rotini for the penne since I had it. I also added two tablespoons of raw sugar because I like even my savory pumpkin dishes a little sweet. I also added the juice of one key lime to brighten it up a touch. Other than that I followed the recipe and it was super easy and I wanted to eat more, more, more!! I restrained myself though... I will have it again for dinner tomorrow- I think I'm going to have it for breakfast tomorrow, too! I'd eat it for lunch but I have a lunch date. :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Everything I ate today!

Well Vegan MOFO is over and I did- eh- ok for my first time and without any planning, I guess. I definitely slacked off there at the last half of the month, but it wasn’t because I didn’t want to post or was too lazy. I was busy and due to the busy-ness, I just wasn’t making blog-worthy meals. Anyway, on to something new…

Since I log my food daily for Weight Watchers, I figured I could blog about it too. This way I can have a visual record of what I’m eating- and really see how balanced (or not so much) my diet is. What seems to be working, what leaves me hungry or tired, etc.

Yesterday I busted out and dusted off my grandmother’s old Champion Juicer (thanks, Grandma!). I made some carrot/apple/cucumber/key lime juice and it made me feel so vibrant and healthy! With the time change I was able to get up early enough this morning to make myself a nice glass- I added in some celery, too.

I juiced:

3 small carrots

1 large celery stalk

1 large cucumber

1 large jonagold apple

2 key limes

It made about 18 oz of juice- and about 2 WW ‘points’. A really yummy way to start off the day. I sipped this all morning- while I was getting ready for work and then on my drive to work and then finished it up at my desk.

I waited about an hour or so and then made myself a pot of coffee- when I say ‘pot’ I mean a tiny French press which makes enough for one mug. (I drink organic dark Sumatra- my all-time favorite!) I drank this with a splash of unsweetened soymilk, sometimes I use Silk Creamer- Original flavor. Along with my coffee I had a bowl of steel cut oats (I make a double batch the night before since it takes 30 minutes to cook) with soymilk. This was satisfying and filling for another couple hours.

Around 10 o’clock I had some jicama slices and fat free spicy black bean dip. This was so delish it was worth the effort of peeling and cutting the tough outside of the jicama yesterday. I sliced it up and now I have easy snacks for the rest of the week.

I ate lunch at noon-ish. I made something I’ve wanted to make since my veg conversion- Mock Tuna Salad. I made the recipe from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch which calls for grated parsnip and then some other typical tuna salad ingredients (celery, onion, sweet relish). While it is slightly reminiscent of tuna salad, it is absolutely delicious! I used just enough reduced-fat Vegenaise to hold it together. Spread onto two slices of Ezekiel bread it is a hearty lunch! (I have to admit that I ate it with a few potato chips- I just love a sammy and chips lunch- reminds me of childhood) Alongside, I enjoyed a nice navel orange.

By 3 o’clock I’m always ready for a snack so today I had half of a Sweet & Sara Peanut Butter S’more and another cup of coffee. I don’t often drink a second cup of coffee- but I’m babysitting a 6 year old and a 3 month old this evening… so I have a good excuse.

Dinner was one of my go-to and favorite stir fries. Szechuan tofu with sweet potatoes. I peel and cube a medium sweet potato and then partially cook it in the microwave (if I’m pressed for time- which is usually). Meanwhile I cook minced onion and garlic in a bit of cooking spray. When the onion is translucent I add the potatoes, then I add other fresh veggies- red or gold bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, cabbage, whatever is on hand. Finally, I toss in a serving of Pete’s Soyganic Szechuan tofu (sometimes I use the teriyaki variety, sometimes I use plain tofu, but the Pete’s has just enough sauce to flavor everything and it is so easy). I add a dash of salt to taste and voila. I had it with a tortilla tonight because I was in a hurry to get to my sister’s house to babysit my darling baby niece and nephew. But I also eat it with couscous, quinoa, brown rice, jasmine rice, you get the picture.

I feel really good about today’s eats. Lots of produce, plenty of whole grains, plenty of water. And I stayed well within my Weight Watchers Points allowance.

And PS- I finally ordered Alicia Silverstone’s book since it apparently is not available at Borders OR Barnes & Noble in my town! It should arrive soon and I’m super excited to devour it. In the meantime I’ve been devouring her new site! Check it out-