Archive for eating

Day 6: Yummus

Posted in Three Week Vegan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2010 by smalltownhealth

You know it’s one of my favorites when I’m excited to eat the leftovers for breakfast. Some examples would be Chinese takeout, pizza (cold), shrimp & quinoa, and Apple Spice Squash. You heard correctly…squash for breakfast. Today it was served up alongside some fried polenta with maple syrup for pure morning awesomeness.

Crispy on the outside. Gooey on the inside. Sweet & salty goodness.

A perfect match.

I was a bit worried when I remembered I couldn’t use butter to fry up the polenta. Luckily, Earth Balance did the job perfectly. As Fabio would say, “I can’t believe it’s not butter!”

Considering I ate breakfast around 11am, I skipped a formal lunch. I did munch on a few tortilla chips with leftover Black-Eyed Pea Salad. I wasn’t really in the mood for a big dinner, either. I opted to keep it simple with some toasted pita chips, hummus, and a few carrots. I am the queen of dips, and I honestly think I could live on this one!

Yummus in my Tummus Hummus–Recipe @ Bottom!

Love me some toasty pitas ‘n sea salt!

No dessert tonight–housework and rain made (yes, forced) me to miss my run this morning :(. I’m a bad, bad runner. I do remember that I have a few pumpkins ready from the garden for the absolute most incredible dairy-free/gluten-free pumpkin pie EVER! Dare I share that recipe with you? I think I might. For now, you’ll have to settle for this one, which is every bit as delicious:

Yummus in my Tummus Hummus
1 can (15oz) garbanzo beans; drained
1 (4oz) jar roasted red peppers (I like the kind in oil w/ garlic)
3 Tbsp lemon juice (real lemons, people!)
1 1/2 Tbsp tahini paste
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 handful fresh cilantro or parsley (I prefer cilantro)
and for you non-vegans…1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese!
Blend it all together, and let it chill for about an hour (if you can wait that long). Best served up w/ warm toasty pita chips, but it’s also great on wraps, sammiches, and veggies!

If you’re in the mood for a little something spicy, sub the roasted red peppers for some pickled jalapenos, lime juice for lemon juice, cilantro for parsley, and ditch the feta all together (if you used it in the first place). This version is great on tortilla chips!

Sweet pumpkin pie dreams, food nerds. Until tommorow!

😉

Day 3: Vegan on the Fly

Posted in Three Week Vegan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2010 by smalltownhealth

First things first, I’ve decided to stop referencing PCRM’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart as the program I’m following. While I am following a vegan diet, I am not using their meal plan, nor am I following their low/no use of oils/fats recommendation. I am still doing the whole vegan thing for 21 days, though; we’ll call this “Amanda’s 21-Day Veganventure.”

Day 3 started off in a hurry, and the rest of the day followed suit. Instead of enjoying a hot breakfast, I woke up late and ended up eating cold cereal (with soy milk) before work. I’m sure everyone can picture a bowl of cereal, so I’ll spare you the image–you’re not missing anything exciting…promise.

Lunch was leftover stir-fry from Day 1. Good and fast–gotta love leftovers.

Dinner consisted of tomato soup and a toasted veggie sammich. I also baked a potato, but found myself beyond stuffed after devouring the soup & sammy. I’ll save it for tomorrow.

Mmmm…grilled onions

Perfect Pair

I must confess, I made dessert…vegan chocolate peanut butter cups–aka: nirvanahhhh. Thank you, Chef Katelyn, for this quick chocolate fix! You’ll have to look at her pics…mine are long gone thanks to the kids, hubby, and yours truly.

I’m happy to report that I am not feeling deprived. It’s funny when people find out I’m doing this, and they try to derail me by saying, “I’m gonna eat a big, juicy cheeseburger right in front of you…” or something along those lines. Sorry, guys, not gonna work. It is unsettling to me, however, that people find such joy in attempting to make others fail. I could get political with this on many levels; I’ll spare you. For now, this is working. Come Thanksgiving, bring on the turkey. I never said I’d be vegan forever. Then again, who knows?

In other news, I ordered my Free Vegetarian Starter Kit from www.goveg.com. I can’t pass up a freebie, and it might come in handy as a reference. I really don’t know what to expect from a PETA publication, but I’m guessing it’s not leather-bound. 🙂

Today’s lessons learned:

  1. A plant-based diet is every bit as filling as a diet containing meat/animal protein.
  2. Vanilla soymilk + cereal is sugary…very sugary. I might as well have eaten a school breakfast.
  3. Not all juices are created vegan! This One contains fish oil. Phew–I nearly fell off the wagon. Thank goodness for my label reading obsession.

It’s turning out to be a chilly night up here on the lake. Perfect forecast for some home-style cooking! Tomorrow will be scrumptious, I can taste it.

Cheers!

Day 2: Dinnertime, and the Vegan is Easy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2010 by smalltownhealth

Day 2 of the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart: Almost out of fruit, wanting some Ezekiel 4:9 tortillas, and a mad craving for chocolate–time to shop. First stop, Kroger. Managed to pick up some cheap organic/gluten-free cereal for the kiddos, some wasabi powder, a couple loaves of Ezekiel 4:9 bread (on sale, plus coupons!), and some vegan soups (on sale, too, of course). I had planned on picking up some veggie burgers, but a quick glance at the ingredients (MSG!) changed my mind pretty quickly. I’ll make my own. This decision led me to my friendly neighborhood health food store.

There, I grabbed some TVP (texturized vegetable protein) for my veg burgers, some nutritional yeast, and the bargain of the day–Ezekiel 4:9 tortillas ($3 less than at Kroger!). That store has so many goodies, I could stay there all day. Alas, one more stop.

Meijer! This is where I stocked up on everything else for the week. Tons of fruits/veggies, some quinoa hiding way on the back of the shelf, navy beans, pinto beans, refried beans (vegetarian), black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans (that’s a lot of beans!), plus a few other necessities.

Three stores, one shopping cart, and two baskets later I was finally ready to go home. I hadn’t even had lunch yet (thanks, in part, to my filling breakfast of leftover oatmeal. It was 3:30–might as well make an early dinner. Grocery shopping night is always taco night in our house. They’re fast and easy, and most importantly delicious. The husband and kids had grass-fed beef tacos. I, being the good 21-Day vegan that I am, had portobello soft tacos w/ all the fixin’s.

Oh, avocado, how I love thee. ❤

I suppose I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m not a fan of MSG, and you shouldn’t be, either. Those little taco seasoning packets at the store are LOADED with it! After many failed attempts at making my own seasoning that actually tasted yummy, I finally found one. Trust me, this is the last taco seasoning recipe you’ll ever need. You’re welcome, in advance.

Nacho Mama’s Taco Seasoning
1 Tbsp chili powder (I use Hot Mexican-Style Chili Powder)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cornstarch or flour (to thicken and keep from clumping)
Adjust the red pepper flakes to your heat preference. Add 2-3 Tbsp of seasoning per lb of meat. To make it thick and saucy, after seasoning has been added to meat, stir in 1/3 cup water.

There you have it! Also, for all you cheese lovers (myself included!), I added a few slices of avocado to my tacos tonight and never even missed the cheese. Their creamy texture makes for an excellent mayonnaise substitute as well.

Green Goodness

Final thoughts for the day?

  1. Read your labels. MSG is hiding everywhere–be sure to know its aliases, too!
  2. Eat beans and oatmeal (not together, ew)–cheap and filling.
  3. Avocados are your friend.

Eat on, foodies.

Eat Me!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2010 by smalltownhealth

Tonight I’m posting one of my all-time FAVORITE recipes. It’s super-versatile, healthy, and oh-so-delicious…even cold.

Who You Callin’ Shrimp, Quinoa Tabbouleh
1 lb raw shrimp (pre-cooked are yucky…trust me); cleaned and deveined
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 lemon; juiced (c’mon, use a real lemon!)
2 cloves of garlic; crushed
1/2 tsp each salt ‘n peppa (whatta man, whatta man, whatta man, whatta mighty good man…sorry, sidetracked)
1/2 pint (or more, if you like…I like) cherry tomatoes; halved
3/4-1 cup Kalamata olives; halved (splurge on these–it’s not the same w/o them)
1 green bell pepper; chopped (I’ve experimented w/ the other colors–green’s the best!)
1 cup flat-leaf parsley; chopped
3 oz (approx) crumbled feta cheese
1 box quinoa, cooked in broth–not beef broth, not water
  • Place shrimp, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1/4 tsp EACH salt n’ peppa in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Grab a big serving bowl–combine tomatoes, olives, bell pepper, parsley, feta, and remaining olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt ‘n peppa.

Before the quinoa was added

  • Add cooked quinoa, and mix well.
  • Heat a pan over med-high heat. Place the shrimp in a SINGLE LAYER!!! and cook 2 minutes/side–enough to get a nice crust.
  • Mix shrimp into quinoa mixture.Eat your heart out!

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Seriously, this stuff is amazing. It’s gluten-free and can also be adapted to fit any vegetarian or vegan lifestyle–obviously just by omitting the shrimp and feta. Hope you try it and love it as much as I do!

Cheers!

Save Money; Eat Well

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2010 by smalltownhealth

Eating well on a budget isn’t always easy. More often than not, those 10 for $10 deals at the grocery stores are only advertising processed junk, and the coupons in the Sunday circulars are just as bad. What is the health-conscious, on-a-budget shopper to do? Here are some tips to help you save some money on your favorite eats:

  • Write (or email) the company. Do you have a favorite brand of organics? Is there something you’ve always wanted to buy, but feel guilty spending the money? Go to the company’s website, and click on “Contact Us.” Fill out the form, or mail a hand-written letter, telling them how much you love their products and would greatly appreciate some coupons! You will be amazed at the generosity of most companies. I’ve receive whole BOOKS with dollar off coupons inside.  Earthbound Farms and Amy’s Kitchen both send a bunch–and fast!
  • Trade in a bad habit. Do you smoke too much? Drink too much? Buy sugary cereals, candy, soda, or chips? Try swapping a weekly purchase of one of those for something healthy instead. Add up how much these vices cost per week–this number is usually surprising!
  • Shop seasonally. In case you missed my last post, you can save a great deal of money just by buying items that are in season. There is a reason strawberries and tomatoes are always on sale in the summer, squash and apples are always on sale in the fall, oranges in the winter, etc. Out-of-season foods cost more because of the cost of transportation to bring them in from other states, countries, and continents!
  • Shop locally. Not only does this give your local economy a boost (which is reason enough in itself to support a local farmer), but the prices of local produce are usually lower than the prices at the store–and for higher quality goods! Next time you see a little stand on the side of the road stop in, and see what kind of deals you can find!
  • Buy in bulk. When something is on sale, buy a bunch! Many farm stands will be happy to sell you a big box of “seconds” at a discounted price. I especially love doing this with apples and peaches. They may have a few bruises, but I just cut them out and they’re perfect for freezing or turning into sauce and preserving.

  • Grow your own! One of the best, and most satisfying, ways to save money on healthy foods is to plant a garden. Seeds cost next to nothing, and whether you have a patio or an average lot, there’s always room to grow! Even in the winter months I have had success growing herbs in a sunny window. If you’re planting a large garden, be sure that you know how to preserve your harvest; there’s nothing better than home-grown goodies available year round.

  • Make friends with a farmer. If you can’t grow your own food, buddy up to someone who can. Maybe you could volunteer at the farm for a weekly box of goodies. Bartering benefits both parties, and it’s an excellent way to form lasting relationships.

I hope you find a few of these ideas helpful. Just because the economy is suffering, doesn’t mean your health has to. There’s room to eat consciously in EVERY budget–find something that works for you!

The Seasonal Chef

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2010 by smalltownhealth

Most people take for granted the awesome variety of fruits and vegetables that are available almost any time of year at the grocery store. Very few people, however, realize the many benefits of buying locally grown, seasonal food items.

In-season food tastes better; it’s fresh, crisp, and colorful. The better something looks, the more likely we are to eat it. And the less passage of time between garden/field to plate, the more nutritious the meal.

In-season foods are environmentally friendly. Consider the fuel cost associated with the transportation of “ripe” fruits and vegetables to the colder climates in the winter months. Any item that has traveled thousands of miles to get to your table was picked too early and gassed to ripen. Like an airbrushed photo, it’s false advertising. Ever taste a tomato or strawberry in winter? Blech.

Cost is another benefit of seasonal cooking. When crops mature, there is an abundance of perishable food heading to markets. No one wants waste, especially the farmers who worked so hard to produce the food. The prices reflect this. Farmers’ Markets are excellent venues to find some deals!

To make things easy for you, epicurious.com offers this peak season map. Just click on your state to see what’s in season any time of the year–great for planning your shopping list!

What about those mid-winter months when NOTHING is in season? Eat stored items from fall–root vegetables, apples, and pears all store wonderfully. I think I could live on those for a few months; don’t you?

Summer is about to wind down in my neck of the woods. While I’ll certainly miss the fresh corn salsa, strawberries and cream, and Catawba Island peaches, I am looking forward to the hearty stews, stuffed squash, and of course Catawba Island apples. 🙂 Now that’s a delicious outlook!