Saturday, August 30, 2008

another pesto recipe

I have discovered this summer that you really don't have to follow recipes very closely, unless you are baking, which is why I'm a lousy baker.  So today I experimented with pesto and made a good one.  It's a variation on my old recipe which is a variation on a cookbook recipe.

3 cups packed basil
little less than 1/2 cup walnuts
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds.    The seeds and walnuts totals 1/2 cup.  oh, I should have tried the pumpkin seeds in my freezer---next time
2 Tbsp lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
a few mushroooms, say 1/4 cup?  I would have done more but didn't have that much
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp water
1/8 cup chives, something like that (optional)

Blend everything but the basil and water in a food processor.  not to a paste, just so it's all small pieces.  Add some of the basil and water, blend, add some more, blend etc until all the basil is mixed in.    Now everything in this recipe is optional except the basil and some nuts and lemon and garlic.   I liked the mushrooms though.  I think it could have used just a bit of sweetener.  maybe a date?  I'll try that next time.   Each batch I split into four small plastic containers.  so that would be only 1/4 date per container so I don't think it would be overpowering.  or maybe just a touch of maple syrup, 1 tsp?

food aug 30

breakfast:  smoothie

snack:  1/4  musk melon.  sadly, it wasn't very good so I probably only ate half of it.  juicy Colorado peach.

Late lunch:  corn on the cob and avocado spread, cabbage salad.

snack:  juicy Colorado peach
dessert:  orange

I made 3 batches of pesto and snacked a lot on the ingredients while making it.  So I ate quite a lot today.  But that's okay,  I don't want to get too skinny.  It took two hours to make the pesto.  But I was listening to Prairie Home Companion and I made 12 containers, so that's 12 easy meals, so a worthwhile investment of my time.

exercise:  jog 3 miles.  I tried out my heart monitor and this time it worked.  First I checked my resting pulse while sitting on the couch:  46!   It still astounds me because before I went vegan it was 70.  Then when I jogged, it got up to 152 after about 5 minutes and didn't vary much around that, even going up the hill at the end.  I think I must just vary my speed to get a comfortable breathing rate.   According to this website, my target heart rate should be between 120 and 155 if I'm in really good shape and doing vigorous exercise.  I wouldn't say that was vigorous.  I think my heart just beats fast when I exercise.  I have a heart murmur (mitral valve prolapse) so maybe my blood flow is not as efficient.  But then you'd think my resting rate would be faster too.  I wonder why the target heart rate goes down as you age.

greens and tomatoes and onions and garlic


greens, say, collard greens and kale, what I had today from the garden
can of tomatoes, if you are lucky, canned from your garden
1 onion
1-2 cloves garlic, or more, depending on your preferences
herbs, I used my usual, chives and basil from the garden

wash the greens, chop everything up, cook for 10-30 minutes.  spinach only needs about 5 minutes but the onions and garlic will need more.  swiss chard 10 minutes.  kale 15, collard greens 30.   those are just rough numbers.  

food aug 29

breakfast:  smoothie

lunch:  corn on the cob with avocado butter, collard greens, kale and tomatoes and onion and garlic cooked up, very good.  dessert:  colorado peach, very juicy.

dinner:  half a small yellow watermelon, handful of brazil nuts.   these locally grown yellow watermelons are the best I've ever had.  And I don't know how long the season will last.  Corn season is almost over!  dessert (ha, like watermelon wasn't enough):  orange

exercise:  1.5 hour yoga class.  

Thursday, August 28, 2008

food aug 28

breakfast:  smoothie

snack:  decaff cafe americano (a shot of expresso and water), and soy milk.  

lunch:  corn on the cob with avocado spread, boiled potatoes and sweet peas with chives and basil (boiled in a small amount of water so nothing was left and hopefully vitamins remained with the veggies), fruit salad consisting of banana, strawberries, and fresh cut pineapple.  yummy

dinner:  leftover black bean salad, watermelon (yum!), and pluot, and an orange.  I was in the mood for fruit after realizing yesterday that the summer fruit and vegetables are going to be gone soon!

I worked with a colleague at a coffee shop this morning and started off with an herbal tea, and then couldn't resist the coffee.  It was very good, but I felt the caffeine even though it was decaff.  I prefer how I feel without it.  Geez, I am so boring now, not liking caffeine and alcohol.  I'm worried about my upcoming trip to Heidelberg where I will be hanging out with friends who have enjoyed drinking beer with me for many years.  I will probably drink and then I will feel yucky in the morning.  What should I do?  

An interesting thing happened with my eating habits.  I changed my schedule around because I have so much work to do and I'm more productive in the morning.  So I moved my exercise routine to the afternoon.  That seems to regulate my eating very well.  I'm not snacking.  I can't eat too much at lunch because I don't want to be full while exercising.  I hope I keep it up.  However, I might lose too much weight without the snacking.  If that happens, I'll figure out something.  I certainly won't mind eating more!  I'll just have to figure out when.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

black bean and corn salad

I kind of stole this recipe from Jennifer Raymond's "Fat Free and Easy" book, but I didn't follow it that closely so I'm hoping that means I'm not violating copyright laws by publishing it here.   and I used less beans and less onion and less spices and more corn because I don't like eating too many beans.

1 cup dry black beans, soaked overnight, then cooked for 1-2 hours or one 15-oz can
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
4-5 fresh corn ears, slice off the corn with a knife.  or a bag of frozen corn.
2-3 tomatoes, from the garden if you are lucky, diced
herb of your choice, for example, cilantro.  I used my favorite right now because it grows so well in the garden:  chives and basil.  I probably put in 1/4 cup chopped.  you don't need any at all if you don't want.
1 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar or whatever vinegar you have or none at all
1/2 lemon juiced.  

her recipe also called for ground cumin and coriander and more vinegar and lemon and red pepper.
but the veggies were so good and fresh, I just wanted to taste them and not the spices so much.

mix it all together.   yum.

aug 27 food

breakfast:  smoothie

lunch:  corn on the cob with avocado butter, broccoli and carrots

dinner:  black bean & corn salad, nectarine, a few mushrooms, strawberries and pineapple pieces.  snack:  orange.  I was making OJ for housemate UR and it looked so good I ate an orange.  I should eat more oranges.  the organic valencia oranges are great.

I started realizing Fall is coming so I'd better enjoy the fresh fruit while it's there, so I bought some at the store and will eat it the next few days.  We probably only have about 1-2 weeks left of the corn.   The black bean salad was really good because of the fresh sweet corn!  yummy.  man, the produce has been so good this summer.  we are so rich to have all this food delivered to our grocery stores.

exercise:   body power class and yoga at MBG

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

food aug 24-26

time flies.  what did I eat on Sunday?  oh yeah.  smoothie for breakfast.  corn on the cob with avocado butter, and salad for lunch.  salad was lettuce, tomato from garden and mushrooms, with orange-cashew dressing (leftover from last week, still good).    In mid-afternoon, housemate UR wanted to snack on crackers so I baked some sprouted corn tortillas with pesto on them, cut into bite size pieces.  This was yummy.  Then we wanted more, but we were out of tortillas but had one more frozen baguette from my neighbor so I toasted slices of that with pesto on them for UR, and I had boiled edamame with pesto.  I should have stopped there but I thought I should eat more so I wouldn't get hungry later (dumb), so I decided to have some kohlrabi and carrots.  That made my stomach too full and bloated.  so I need to pay more attention to how I feel than to schedules.

On Monday, Aug. 25, I was gone most of the day so had half of a muskmelon for breakfast, berry smoothie for late breakfast, green smoothie for late lunch, and leftover salad and dressing for dinner.

Tuesday I had berry smoothie for breakfast.  Lunch was corn on the cob with avocado butter, and a mixture of everything left over in the fridge before grocery shopping.  so that was beets, remainders of a kohlrabi, half a sweet potato, half a small cabbage, a tomato from the garden (needed to eat it since it was leftover from canning and had no skin), garlic, boiled in a small amount of water, and I added in chives and basil at the end (since they are my most popular and healthy garden herbs).   Now the tomato did not really fit in with this.  probably not the garlic either.  I think cabbage, tomato and garlic would have been good.; or beets, kohlrabi, sweet potato and cabbage would have been good. but all together it was kind of weird.   the herbs would have been good either way.   Dinner was half a watermelon at the co-op followed by leftover cabbage mixture at home.  The watermelon was the best I've ever tasted.  It was fantastic.  It was a yellow melon, not technically a watermelon, I forget what it was called, was locally grown.  The cabbage mixture tasted better at dinner.  Then the tomatoes seemed good.  Dessert was a pluot (plum-apricot hybrid).  

I had fun at the gym today.  We had to run up and down stairs for 25 minutes and I kept up with one of the jocks.  I wonder if she was irritated by it because I'm such a weakling.  But I have clean arteries so can run up stairs I guess!   It was a really hard workout though and now I have a bit of a headache.  Oh, and then afterwards, the chin up bar was calling me and I did a full chin up, my first one since I was a kid!  wow.  so maybe I'm not such a weakling anymore.  well, now I'm only the second or third weakest one in the class, except for the chin up which I can do because I weigh less than average.  I can still barely do one full pushup.  But I can do 60 knee pushups.  Some day, I'll do the full pushups and chinups.  I never thought this would be possible but now I do think it's possible.  That's not from diet but from the classes at the gym that push me way more than I ever would on my own.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

why am I doing this?

I'd like to point out my motivation for all of this. It was all an accident. I accidentally got healthy and then the new energy made me motivated to get more healthy so I started working out and got stronger and got more balanced and started looking great and it was just a reinforcing pattern.

So how did this happen? I explained some of this in my first post but I rambled a bit. of course, I'm going to ramble here too. I'm 48 years old now and this started when I was 44. That winter I started getting lower back aches. I swam at the gym but that didn't help. One of my friends told me she really enjoyed yoga. I didn't know anything about it but my back was hurting so I looked it up on the web and found a nearby studio and it said newcomers welcome so I showed up at class one day and it turns out I stumbled on the perfect teacher for me. It was really hard at first and my goal was just to make it through the class. I don't know if that started changing my mentality or not. It rested my mind and I think that had an effect.

About 5 months later I decided to become a vegetarian, sort of from a random conversation with a vegan. Oh, a year or two before that I had read "Fast food nation" and was grossed out by our meat production system and was buying organic meat. and I had read a book about environmentally friendly consumer choices you can make and I learned that not eating meat has the biggest effect. So I was sort of heading this way and then took the plunge when another friend did too. I enjoyed it immediately. I just enjoyed not eating meat.

I also accidentally didn't drink milk for 2 weeks while traveling in Mexico and Sicily and discovered that my daily indigestion went away! That clued me in that I might be lactose intolerant so I experimented with ingesting dairy, and discovered that I was. Well, that made it easy to go vegan a few months later.

Then I started losing weight and had more energy and it was really a surprise for me! I started researching veganism more and realized that it's healthy for you! And I also learned more about the horrors of animal exploitation and food production and that sealed my decision to remain vegan. I lost 30 lbs and not only felt great but looked great. Wow. what a surprise for someone my age. I've always been dorky looking and now I'm less dorky looking than ever before.

I had a set-back when I broke my kneecap in 2006, but yoga really helped me get back my strength and mobility. I joined the Monkey Bar Gym to help me get stronger in my leg, and discovered that it helped me get stronger everywhere. It was really hard at first. I could only go one day a week because I would get sore for the next 5 days. But eventually I started getting stronger and feeling stronger and looking stronger and it was so much fun, it just motivated me further.

So I'm just tickled that at the age of 48, I'm feeling and looking good. I never ever expected that treat. According to Dr. Fuhrman, this should be perfectly normal for everyone, but the Standard American Diet has ruined everyone's health.

The thing that surprises me the most is my heart. I have a murmur and I used to get skipped beats all the time and had a fast resting pulse rate. Now my resting pulse rate is 45! I just bought a heart monitor because I'm curious to see how good my heart is now! I don't get out of breath like everyone else. Note, this is mainly from my eating habits and also going to an exercise or yoga class 5 days a week, running 1 day, and taking 1 day off. so it's not like I'm exercising 3 hours a day. I ride my bike everywhere but I ride slow and enjoy the view, I hardly think it's a work out.

I'm just surprised by the whole thing and that's why I'm writing this post. I wish everyone could experience this.

aug. 23 food

Breakfast, what else:  smoothie

Snack:  delicious ripe peach!   they've been hit or miss lately (sometimes mealy), but this was a hit.

Lunch:  what else:  corn on the cob (only a few more weeks of corn season!) with avocado spread, and cabbage salad.

Snack:  delicious ripe peach.  all gone now, sadly

Dinner:  watermelon & cabbage salad.  the watermelon was not very good.  first bad one.  it was seedless and had too much white stuff in it, not sure what that is.

Exercise:  jog 3 miles.  I tried out my new heart monitor.  it didn't work due to operator error.  I'll get it to work next time.  I think this will be fun because my heart is so much healthier than it used to be.

aug 19-23 food

I guess I haven't blogged in 5 days?  I have to remember what I ate.  I have had a steady stream of guests for the last 4 weeks.  Given that, I did pretty well.  not so well yesterday though...

Okay on Tuesday I had to go to campus all day again so had a fruit smoothie for breakfast and a green smoothie for lunch.  I think I had cabbage salad as a snack.  Tuesday night I was busy too and I decided I was due for a splurge so I ate from the willy street co-op deli.  I didn't have a big meal but it wasn't particularly healthy---small portions of: mac n "cheese", lasagna, gumbo, and a mexican pie (beans and polenta) (all of it vegan, you can always assume that).  I finished it off with a cowgirl cookie (healthier version of the vegan chocolate chip cookie).   so that was my splurge.  it didn't make me feel like I was missing much.  oh, you might ask, why was this not healthy?  well, mainly that it didn't have a high nutrition to calorie ratio and too much oil and salt probably.  not many vegetables or fruit or greens to it.

On Wednesday, let's see another long day on campus, and the usual fruit smoothie for breakfast, corn on the cob and avocado spread for lunch, huge bowl of collard greens for dinner.   watermelon at lunch and dinner.   snacked on mushrooms and cherries.

Thursday, fruit smoothie for breakfast.    Lunch #1:  peeled squash with pesto sauce and chopped fresh tomato from garden.  Visitors arrived for a late lunch of corn on the cob with avocado spread, salad (lettuce, fresh garden tomato, mushrooms, orange cashew dressing), steamed potatoes and beets seasoned with chives, basil, lemon juice and maple syrup (just a touch).  Dinner snack was a green smoothie while visitors had appetizers and dessert at an Italian restaurant (nothing vegan there!  so the green smoothie is a great thing to have on hand).  Came home and drank 2 glasses of wine with visitors.   and this gave me a little hangover!   

Friday I was tired from lack of sleep and wine and I just decided to splurge again so I had a fruit smoothie for breakfast and then half a bean burrito from chipotle's for lunch, nothing muffin and 2 cowgirl cookies for dinner.  the muffin and cookies gave me a bit of a tummy ache.   I kind of did this because I want to try going without grains and do more raw eating and I thought of that as a last supper kind of thing.  I just want to try it for a few weeks before I head off to a business trip.  I'm going to meet a healthy raw eater on Monday and get some tips from him.  I do think I feel better when I don't eat grains.  and this time of year it is soooo easy because there are sooo many good vegetables and fruit to fill yourself up on.   

As usual, the breakfast smoothies were a big hit with the visitors, as were the avocado spread and the corn on the cob.

Should I add my exercise log to this?  I guess so if this point is to show how to do this.  So I went to the monkey bar gym for exercise class on Mon-Thurs., and went to yoga class on Friday. 

Monday, August 18, 2008

aug 18 food

Breakfast:  smoothie

Lunch:  2 nectarines, mushrooms, cherries.  I dipped my mushroms in my neighbor's salsa.  It was good.  This seems an odd lunch, just something I threw together in my lunchbox.  and I wasn't that hungry because my breakfast was late.

Early Dinner:  green smoothie

Snack:  mushrooms, cherries, many sips of tomorrow's smoothies, many spoonfuls of tomorrow's cabbage salad.

Interesting, an all-raw day.  it's easier to eat raw when you are in a hurry which I am for a few more days.

avocado butter

1/2-1 avocado, peeled and pitted
some chopped chives or basil or cilantro or other favorite herb (optional)
lemon or lime juice (optional)

peel the avocado and smash it in a bowl. Add any optional ingredients or none at all! Truly, I recommend nothing but the avocado because I eat this on corn on the cob. It is best to just have the avocado and corn flavor and nothing else. It is great on corn on the cob! My house guest loves this way better than butter.

food aug 17

Breakfast:  half a musk melon, handful of walnuts

Snack:  nectarine, cherries, mushrooms, some lettuce.  Guests had smoothies and bagels.  They like the smoothies!

Late Lunch:  3 corn on the cob with avocado butter (this was soooo goood, like butter only better, and guess how you make it:  smash 1/2 avocado--that's it!), watermelon.  Guests had hotdogs and bratwurst and corn on the cob with lots of butter and salt, and Italian potato salad.

Late snack:  carrots and kohlrabi sticks, and large slushy water-juice thing (I half froze a water bottle filled with ice cubes and juice--some berry juice that housemate UR buys).  We were at the terrace and the guests had popcorn and beer.  I didn't want beer because I have three very long days of work ahead of me.

Dinner:   green smoothie.  Guests had fried cheese curds and large turtle sundaes.   I'm sure by now they think I am so far out and weird that they would never for a moment every consider trying to eat healthy because I am too extreme and it looks appalling to them.  They also think I'm weird for exercising a lot.  I'm anything but a role model to these dear friends because they think I'm a whacko extremist.  However, I think their eating habits are as whacko as they think mine are, and their health is poor and they are overweight, so they aren't swaying me anymore than I'm swaying them.  In fact, I haven't had any desire to splurge during their visit--I figure I'm due for a "nothing" muffin (my current favorite splurge) but I don't need it yet.  It's actually interesting psychologically how sometimes with friends and visitors you are influenced by them to go one way and other times to go in the opposite way.  

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Side Benefits of Eating Healthy

1.  Clean up of dishes is easy when you don't cook with animal products or oil.   Doesn't even require soap.   This makes camping trips much easier.
2.  Without animal products, the kitchen and refrigerator are now cleaner than your toilet!  (meat and dairy and eggs are the biggest source of bacteria and viruses in your house by far).
3.  On a similar note, so you leave out your leftovers for a few hours, no big deal when it's all plant food, which makes it easier to travel with too.
4.  If you are feeling lazy, don't even bother to cook your vegetables, just call it a salad and congratulate yourself on your healthy raw meal.
5.  My arms look good in a tank top.   It's kind of fun for a 48 year old.

Well, so far this is kind of boring.  Hopefully I'll think of something else to add.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

aug 16 food

We have guests this weekend and they eat so differently from me it's actually easy because I just eat what I want and they eat what they want.

Breakfast:  smoothie
The guests also had a bagle and butter and cream cheese

Lunch:  3 pieces of corn on the cob (the third was too much), finished the tofu jambalaya (too much), piece of watermelon.  some cherries.  some mushrooms and bites of my dinner salad while preparing food.   I overate!
The guests had brats (bratwursts) on buns and Italian potato salad (same as regular but has pesto instead of eggs, so both mayonnaise and oil) and corn on the cob with butter and salt.

Dinner:  1 beer, cabbage salad
The guests had fried cheese curds and large turtle sundaes at the custard shop.  I took my salad to the custard shop. 

cabbage salad

1/2 medium cabbage
2 carrots
1 green apple
1 orange, peeled, remove seeds if they have them
1/2 cup boiled peanuts or raw chopped walnuts (boiled peanuts are yummy!)
1/2 cup raisins
fresh beets, sweet potato, fennel, kohlrabi
half an avocado, smashed (substitute for nuts)
fresh herbs (chives, basil, parsley, dill, whatever you have and like)

You can make this pretty fast if you have a food processor, using the grater blade to shred the veggies, and the S-blade for the orange. I peel the apples and carrrots before shredding. Combine everything in a large bowl.

Aug 14-15 food

two days worth of food that were similar so I'll combine them into one.  

breakfast was the usual smoothie.

On thursday I made tofu jambalaya, from Susan Voison's blog, but I changed several of the ingredients because I didn't feel like going grocery shopping for just a few things.  I didn't have celery and my green peppers were small, but I did have kohlrabi and there was a can of water chestnuts in the cupboard (my only can, besides a leftover can of beans from a trip!).  so I threw those in to replace the celery and supplement the small green pepper from the garden.   I also used herbs from the garden, oregano, thyme, basil, instead of the recommended spices because how can you pass up on fresh herbs?   It's hard to ruin jambalaya and this was no exception, tasted great.  I also don't bother with tomato sauce.  I had two canned tomatoes (the last from last years garden!)  and I added a few more tomatoes from the garden.  Otherwise I pretty much followed Susan's recipe.  Oh wait, I also used a wild/brown rice combo instead of white, and I didn't bother to fry anything up, just threw stuff in the pot as I chopped it, starting with the rice since that takes longest to cook.  I let it cook for at least an hour to make sure the rice cooked, adding water as needed.  So I didn't follow the recipe much at all, but it was great anyway, and easy.    So I had that for lunch the last two days and it should last through today too.

Dinner on Thursday was a green smoothie and nectarine and pluot (cross of plum and apricot).  and I snacked a bit more on some cherries and jambalaya, and maybe some kohlrabi, I forget.  I probably overate, what's new.

Dinner on Friday was a quick salad made from lettuce and salad mix, kohlrabi, beet, part of sweet potato, carrot, and half an avocado.   It was enjoyable.  It must have been inspired by talking to my raw vegan friend the day before.     I actually didn't overeat on Friday.  That is a first.  I ate that salad while we were at a frozen custard shop with our weekend guests.   They had large turtle sundaes (vanila custard, like soft ice cream, pecans, caramel and hot fudge topping).  Most people would think that is weird,  but I was in the mood for the salad.  Dairy products don't interest me anymore so I don't feel deprived about not getting frozen custard.  I have my own splurges I can do anytime if I want to.   Like "nothing" muffins and vegan chocolate chip cookies from my co-op grocery store.  But I'm not in the mood for those right now either.  But that will change, ha.

Aug 15 rambling

I was a model healthy vegan the last two days.  I wonder how that happened.   There might be something to my switching my schedule around a bit.  Work is really going to be busy for me for the next few months and, well, my productivity of late would not cut it, so I decided to switch my schedule around and put work first, a philosophy I normally would object to.  So I've been starting work the moment I get up, and then exercising in the afternoon.  And I got a lot of work done, so it worked.  In the past I didn't do this because I wasn't disciplined enough to stop work and go to the gym.  But maybe now I'm so hooked on the gym I can do it.  It wasn't just discipline, it was not having the guts to tell people (usually students) I don't have anymore time for them because it's time to go to they gym.  Another strange thing that happened with this schedule is I stopped snacking.   I'm not as hungry in the morning and then after lunch I don't want to eat because I'll be working out in a few hours.  So I go 6-7 hours between lunch and dinner and don't feel hungry (according to Dr. Fuhrman, when you eat a healthy diet and you don't have all these toxins in your body, you don't detox in between meals and you can go a long time without eating--I never was sure I believed this but I am starting to--I no longer get the headachy tiredness in between meals).  So for the last two days I was actually hungry at dinner.  I feel a little hungry at 4 pm but I think that's just my stomach emptying out a bit and at 5-6 pm I'm still not hungry.    Who knows how long this will last but it worked for two days, ha.   

Here's another story.  At the co-op the other day I ran into a guy who is more extreme than me!  He's a healthy raw vegan.   Note all three words together.  Most raw vegans eat a bunch of olive oil, which is not healthy.  We ended up  chatting for about an hour.  I'd like to chat with him some more.  It's nice to feel a little camaraderie.  And I think he's right for the most part.  I think raw eating is easier in many ways and maybe more healthy.   But I haven't yet read a raw book that is scientifically sound.  But I think their instincts might be right--they are in tune with their bodies unlike medical researchers, and just know that they feel better eating this way.  I think I feel better when I eat raw.  Then the only problem is they make up silly pseudo science to back up their claims and they sound stupid.  I'm not sure there's anything to all that enzyme stuff they talk about.  At least that's what Dr. Fuhrman says.  But Fuhrman recommends beans every day and I am feeling that this doesn't work for me very well.  I think those raw people might be on to something.  Some day maybe real science will back them up.  So I might try doing more raw stuff.  When I was at the golf tournament and ate raw for 5 days, I felt fantastic.  And I can still follow Fuhrman's advice eating raw, just not include the beans.  Maybe I'll ask him about it.   Well, this was going to be a food log post, but instead I've rambled, so I'll stop the post here and make another one.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

chive spread for corn on the cob

My visitor Gail and I came up with this

1/8-1/4 cup chopped chives
few leaves basil (optional)
1 tsp ground flaxseed
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp lemon or lime juice

I'll update the measurements more as I experiment with this.

blend the chives and basil and ground flaxseed in a coffee grinder or food processor.  put in a bowl and add the other ingredients.  Vary to taste (e.g., maybe you want 1 Tbsp of the syrup and lemon instead of 1 tsp).   You can also just do this with chives and nothing else---just blend them in the coffee grinder.  They get slimy enough to work as a spread on their own.  

This spread also works for other vegetables like potatoes. 

Note:  this was okay but later on I discovered avocado spread and it was way better.

Aug. 7-13 food

Well, I can't recount everything I ate for the last 6 days.  I had an out-of-town guest for several days and we visited some friends for a couple of days.   We ate well most of the time.  We splurged on soy lattes (decaff for me) and Nothing Muffins from the co-op.  And too much beer.  It took me a couple of days to recover from both the alcohol and caffeine (large decaff lattes have enough caffeine to affect me).  We went out to restaurants twice.  At one restaurant, we got a vegetarian burrito which was filled with a lot of good vegetables--reasonably healthy, though we also ate tortilla chips.  At the other restaurant, we had scrambled tofu and American fries and blueberry pie!  So a fair amount of oil and salt there.   But I enjoyed it and can't say I regret it.  The only thing I didn't enjoy was how I felt the next morning after drinking.  I am fine after one drink, okay after 2, and noticeably tired after 3.  I just can't handle alcohol very well anymore, maybe due to my age or the lack of caffeine to counter the alcohol.  Other than the splurges, we had the usual stuff, fresh sweet corn and veggies and fruit for the big meal of the day, salads with berries and fruit while staying with our friends (who weren't warned I was a vegan so it was easier for everyone that I brought food---no one was offended as far as I could tell).

I'm back to my usual summer routine which right now is smoothie for breakfast, corn and veggies for lunch, melons and fruits and salads or green smoothies for snacks and dinner, and a few oz of walnuts/seeds per day (mostly in smoothies or salad dressings).   For example, today I had steamed beets, sweet potato and kale with the corn.  The veggies were seasoned with rosemary, parsley and chives from the garden.   The salads and greens and mushrooms have more protein per calorie than fruit so I'm trying to change the ratios a bit, since I'm working out a lot.    I'm also cutting back a little on the quantities since I have been eating well past fullness which isn't healthy.   That's partly because I buy too much fruit at the store and feel that I need to eat it before it goes bad, so I just need to buy a little less.  

I'm pretty busy with work so probably can't blog every day anymore.  I'm going to have several more guests in the next few weeks.  I probably should log that a bit because that's the hardest thing for people to deal with.  I'm actually kind of tired of splurging so don't really feel like it right now, in part because it pushes out the healthy stuff and I'm having fun with my fitness routines.  But we'll see how I do with all the visitors.   

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Ingredients for 1 serving (increase as needed for more):

1/2 cup oats
water (usually about twice as much as the oats).
chopped walnuts  (say, 1-2 Tbsp per serving)
chopped apple or pear if you have one (optional)
raisins or chopped figs for sweetening
soy milk or other non-dairy milk (optional)
berries (optional)
chopped spinach (optional--yes, it is good!)

Cook the oatmeal until it tastes how you like it.  I like it well-cooked so I often go 30 minutes for the steel cut oats.  Or better than that, if you have time, let it get hot or boil, then soak for 20-whatever minutes, and then it will cook quicker and taste better.   Add more water or soy milk as it gets too thick.  Stir a lot at the beginning to prevent clumping.   About half-way through you can add the fruit and nuts and raisins and soy milk and spinach.  When the oatmeal is done, add the berries---if frozen, add them earlier.  

Aug. 6 food

Breakfast:  smoothie, oatmeal+fruit (peaches and nectarines and leftover fruit salad from yesterday.  I made the oatmeal for the guests but it was a treat for me too!

Lunch:  Leftovers from yesterday:  potato salad, fruit salad, salad, boiled sweet corn

snack:  nectarine, carrot, raw kohlrabi

Dinner:  zucchini "pasta" & pesto.   I used a fresh tomato from the garden.  yum.

dessert:  cherries and grapes

fruit salad

A good base is
1 large carton of strawberries
1-2 carton of blueberries
1-2 ripe banana

other great things to add when in season are:

Cut everything up and mix it in a bowl. Try to mix enough sweet fruit such as figs and bananas so you don't need other sweetener.

Steamed potatoes

This was super easy and good

a few potatoes
1 sweet potato
chives and basil from the garden.  and/or dill and/or cilantro (this time of year, chives and basil).
1 Tbsp lemon juice (fresh squeezed) (optional)
2 Tbsp maple syrup (optional)

If the potatoes are new and the skin looks tender enough, don't bother to peel them.  otherwise peel and cut into bite-sized pieces.  same with sweet potato.  Steam the potatoes for 5 minutes.  add in the sweet potatoes for another 10 minutes.    chop the herb, mix with the lemon juice and maple syrup.  Add to potatoes when finished.   if you are watching the sweets, just use 1 Tbsp of maple syrup, or none at all.  This is great cold as leftovers---then you call it potato salad!

Aug 5 food

had visitors today but since I'm the cook I'm in control.

Breakfast:  smoothie, snacked on fruit while fixing lunch, oops.  cherries, grapes, etc.

Lunch:  boiled sweet corn, steamed potatoes, salad (lettuce, ripe garden tomatoes, mushrooms, red pepper, avocado) with cashew orange dressing, fruit salad, pinto beans.

Dinner:  Leftovers from lunch + watermelon

The beans made me bloated and gassy.  So forget the beans for a while. The guests also had meatloaf, milk, frozen custard and special K bars.

Monday, August 4, 2008

cashew-orange dressing


1/3 cup cashews or some cashew butter (or walnuts or hemp seeds)
2 medium oranges: peel, cut into quarters and de-seed
1 Tbsp Dr. Fuhrman's blood orange vinegar
some grapes or pineapple or figs if you have them (optional) (figs are best!)

Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth. I've modified this recipe several times and it evolved into something that was different from the original recipe from the Fuhrman site, and now it's evolved back into the Fuhrman recipe, so I probably shouldn't post it here. But that is my excuse for why it's here, because at one time it was different. Note: you can substitute for the orange or part of them a variety of things like grapes, pineapple, mango, and/or figs. This keeps for a few days in the fridge or you can freeze smaller portions of it.

boiled sweet corn

Just in case you don't know how to do this...

large pot of water
sweet corn

Boil the water while shucking the corn (removing the outer layers). Add the corn cobs--I prefer to only do 3-4 at a time but if you have a crowd of people, add as many as you can. once the water starts boiling, set the timer for 5-6 minutes. after it's done put them on a plate and serve. They are delicious as is, with nothing on them. lately I've been adding chives to them because I am really into chives this sumer. or you can add a no-salt seasoning but I think they taste better without. I know, you've always put on butter and salt. But just try it a few times without. If it's really fresh sweet corn, it tastes great all by itself!

Aug 4 food

Today I seemed to return to normal.  The produce in the Co-op looked so good that I didn't want anything else.  I was thinking that even though I have had to admit my failings to be perfectly healthy on this blog, I am really fortunate to be in the situation I'm in.  In fact, I can't believe my good fortune.  I am lucky to have discovered how to be healthy, and it was an accident of becoming vegetarian for environmental reasons (and buried deep down, liking the idea of not killing animals).  Like everyone else, I didn't think what you ate mattered for your health.  But after becoming vegetarian and then vegan and then learning more about it, I discovered the health benefits.   I also finally had the nerve to try out yoga and the Monkey Bar Gym.  That has made me stronger and more fit than I was since I was 20.  And I'm 48 years old!  Now compared to other reasonably active people, I'm average strength, but compared to how I was 3 years ago, I'm noticeably stronger and I'm likin' it.   Then there is my fun job, and I love the place I live in.  I love how the weather changes so much in the summer.  We get the beautiful dry days, but it's nice to get the occasional hot and humid day too, and the thunderstorms.  So no complaints here.  But this is a food blog, so here is what I ate today.

Well, breakfast wasn't until 11:30 am and I got up at 6:30 am, so there was a plum after my exercise class, and a nectarine after yoga, both perfectly ripe and delicious.  Then the breakfast smoothie.   Lately I've been putting in 2 Tbsp of raw sunflower seeds instead of soy milk or other nuts (that's 1 Tbsp per serving).  I figure it's a good thing to eat after exercising, has a lot of protein.  Today I made some soy milk, so I'll put that in for a few days also, or maybe instead of the sunflower seeds, we'll see.

Late Lunch:  collard greens, boiled sweet corn, pinto beans.  snacked on cherries, grapes and mushrooms and a few bites of watermelon.   I decided to buy a coconut at the co-op, since my experiment with the pineapple a few weeks ago was so successful.   I googled "how to open a coconut" and found this website which explained it well.   I decided the coconut is more work than it's worth.  Opening it is easy enough but then trying to cut out the meat is hard work.  And it's not as sweet as I thought it would be.  I added it to the collard greens and it was good, added a good texture and taste.  But I think I'll be lazy in the future and stick with shredded coconut which I can get in the bulk section and is reasonably unprocessed.  I also added a Tbsp of vinegar early on and I think the advice is correct that it removes the bitter taste.  Oh, the collard greens were from the garden and they are great.   For the pinto beans, for spices I used ground cumin, then towards the end added thyme and oregano from the garden.  then at the very end chives and a little basil from the garden.  I am choosing these herbs because they are in my garden.  Everything for the next month will be topped with chives and basil.

late afternoon snack:  raw carrots and kohlrabi.  I really like kohlrabi.  You have to try it a few times before it grows on you.  It's got an apple-like texture, but not sweet,  but just sweet enough to make you want more. 

dinner:  leftover collard greens and watermelon.  and a few strawberries. 

I snack too much.  but at least it was healthy today.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Aug. 3 food log

We met friends and went to an all-day event (7:30 am - 7:30 pm).  We went to the Co-op and got some treats before we left.  uh-oh.  So I got another "nothing muffin".  I still have to find out how unhealthy they are, i.e., how much canola oil they have in them--the rest of the ingredients are fine if not as nutritious as fruits and green vegetables.  Then for the rest of the day had my breakfast smoothie, fruit (plum, grapes, cherries, apple), green smoothie, and some mushrooms when I got home.  oh yeah, and  a couple of bites of UR's vegan chocolate chip cookies.  So, not perfect but not too bad.   

Oh, I made a good treat for UR when I got home.  I don't consider this real healthy since it's white bread, but it's a good transition food (from Standard American Diet to healthy).  I had some frozen baguettes from my neighbor.  I thawed one in the microwave, thawed some pesto, sliced the baguette into coins, spread the pesto on them, and toasted them in the oven.  UR said it was really good.  I also made her a guacamole sandwich with another of the baguettes today.   I made some guacamole out of avocado, lime juice, chives and basil (our garden cilantro is long gone whereas chives and basil are going strong)--forgot the garlic but it tasted good anyway.  Then just put that in the baguette.  Again, it's not super healthy but compared to the alternative, which would have been hotdogs and fries, this was a good meal.  so UR ate well today, I think.  I have an idea for a healthier treat with pesto that I'll post when I make it--well, it's pesto on corn tortillas, toasted.   But we have to test it out first and see if it's good.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

popcorn with chocolate maple syrup flavor


maple syrup
cocoa powder

air-pop some popcorn.  pour some maple syrup (say, 1 Tbsp), some cocoa powder (say, 1/4 tsp), and some water (say, 1-2 Tbsp) in a small spray bottle.    shake well.  spray on popcorn and mix it around.  

really good!

July 30 - Aug. 2 food

Work is going to get really busy for several months so I'm not sure how much daily blogging I can do.  Also after the last few days I'm realizing I may not be such a good example to others on how to eat healthy.   I need to switch gears a bit and go back to eating regular sized meals and not snacking.

So, going back in time.  July 30, I had pretty normal meals except for those 3 beers, oops.  Let's see, usual breakfast smoothie, for lunch I had brought a green smoothie but also got a tofu dish at a food cart.  This was tofu in peanut sauce over salad greens.  The salad greens instead of rice won me over.  The peanut sauce was probably too salty but wasn't overly peanuty so probably not too bad.   Then I had my green smoothie later.  Then the 3 beers with the out-of-town meeting attendees.  whew.    I didn't eat much dinner, just snacked on the food I prepared for the next day.  

July 31 I was very bad as the food provider at my meeting brought in a bunch of vegan cookies.  So I had 3 chocolate chip cookies and 4 Newman oreo-like cookies.  I had my usual breakfast smoothie, didn't have hunger for the green smoothie so wasted it!  and for dinner had a healthy meal at a restaurant followed by a vegan cupcake!   So much for being a good example for you.  But at least I didn't have a beer.  I was definitely not in the mood for that.

On Aug. 1, the meetings were finally over and I returned to normal.  Had a smoothie for breakfast, lunch was corn, green beans, salad and fruit salad.  Yum.  for dinner I had curried greens.  It was like the version I posted but I didn't use cashews (wasn't in the mood after the rich food from the previous day), added beets and their greens, and used a large bag of saute greens from a local farm, instead of the mustard greens.  It was good.

On Aug. 2, today, I was gone from 4:30 - 7:30 am, ate a peach during that time, stopped at the co-op for groceries and got a fresh "nothing muffin".  okay, this is not as good as fruit but it's not awful. it's a "healthy" muffin and it tastes very good and is filling.  Canola oil is in the ingredients list but it's pretty far down.  It has flaxseeds and oat bran and soy milk and that flour that's not wheat but isn't gluten-free, I forget.   I'm going to find out how much oil is in one of these and see if I can add it to my list of occasional items.  Maybe that would satisfy my splurge urges and prevent me from overdoing it.  Anyway, that filled me up and then I was gone again for several hours so didn't eat again until our late lunch of sweet corn, potatoes, leftover curried greens, and watermelon.  yummy!   For dinner we sort of splurged and had air-popped popcorn topped with maple syrup and cocoa.  okay, this was good and the amount of maple syrup and cocoa we ingested was very small.  I put maple syrup, water, and cocoa powder in a squirt bottle and squirted it on the popcorn.  This was really good.  I will do this again!   The only reason I call it a splurge is that it's not unhealthy itself but it replaces food that would be much more healthy.  So these sorts of things should be limited.  I shouldn't do one meal of a muffin and another meal of popcorn in one day.

One thing I am forgetting is I'm doing this for my health (well, not the vegan part), so I should keep that in mind when I'm tempted to splurge.     Well, let's see if I can improve over the next few days.  Otherwise, why am I writing this supposed advice column?