Sunday, May 31, 2009

tomato-walnut dressing


1 large tomato or 2 medium
a handful walnuts (0.5-1 oz depending on how much you want to consume)
some green onion or chopped onion or leek or onion powder. small amount. I prefer the mild taste of green onions
herbs of your choice (optional but may include chives or cilantro or basil etc)

blend everything in the blender until smooth.

berry-sesame-sunflower dressing


1 bag frozen blueberries or mixed berries, or raspberries, or strawberries, or cherries (or fresh if you have it)
1 Tbsp raw sunflower seeds or flaxseeds (or sesame seeds)
1 Tbsp raw sesame seeds, rinsed
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice or pomegranate juice or water
1 Tbsp blueberry vinegar or other mild flavored vinegar or maybe some lemon juice

Blend the seeds and juice and vinegar in the blender until smooth. If you need more volume to blend, thaw some of the blueberries in the microwave for 30 seconds and throw them in and blend until the seeds are nicely ground up. Then add the rest of the blueberries and blend some more. Then pour over your salad. yummmmmmmm.

may 30 & 31

It was a busy but fun weekend.    Let's see if I can remember the food:

brekky:  yesterday, oatmeal & spinach.  I'm weird, I like it.  but now I'm already tired of oatmeal. 

lunch:   was gone all morning and early afternoon, snacked on apple, banana and carrots that I brought with me at 1 pm.

Then went grocery shopping, and made a salad for a picnic.  snacked on that while making it.  made pretty much this one--black bean and corn.  a double recipe, used 2 cans of beans.  let's see what I forgot (didn't look at the recipe):  forgot the lime, and the store didn't have kumquats.  but it did have a ripe mango.  It is really good in this salad.  added red bell pepper, garlic chives, some cumin powder.   I ate a bunch of this salad both while preparing and at the picnic.  In fact I ate so much I got overfull.  Those beans really expand in the tummy.  I also ate some fruit salad at the picnic and celery and strawberries and watermelon.    Food that I chose not to partake in included toasted marshmallows, spaghetti, s'mores, birthday cake, cookies, etc etc.  Some would say I deprived myself, but I really just didn't want it, plus I don't think any of it except the spaghetti was vegan.  I like veggies and fruit.

This morning I wasn't hungry, just sipped on housemate's smoothies while making them.  and had half a cantaloupe.  and some handfuls of spinach--local and really tasty.

Lunch was hurried, had some berries (strawberries and blueberries), a carrot, some fresh, local salad greens, yum!  and some walnuts and sunflowers to give me some calories.  like I said, in a hurry, no time to prepare much.

dinner was a salad.  I've been looking forward to this since I went grocery shopping yesterday.  the co-op is full of fresh local greens now.   so had a giant plate of lettuce with red bell pepper and blueberry dressing.   The dressing was really good so I ate all of it.  I figured I needed the calories anyway.  It was a great dinner.  Then I had to make more dressing for housemate so I made a tomato one.   It's similar to the russian fig but easier and less garlicy.  In fact it is super duper easy.   It was good--the flavor is dependent on how flavorful your tomato is, and we know how that can vary.  I had fresh local green onions and that made it delicious.  The tomato was local but not organic and not the most flavorful.  

My tastes seem to change with the seasons.  I'm now in the mood for fresh greens and berries and fresh fruit, and I'll definitely need the nuts and seeds and beans for calories.   I'm not really in the mood for the root veggies and soups anymore.  at least not at the moment.  It all seems too heavy.  funny how that works.

Friday, May 29, 2009

busy days at work

I'm back.   Was busy with work.  now I'm worn out because the adrenaline has gone away.  It was interesting to do this big push without caffeine.   On Tuesday night I had to get a draft of my 15-page proposal to my administrator by Wed.  So I expected to stay up all night.  I got to bed at 4:45 am.  I was pretty tired without caffeine to prop me up.  I ate an orange and banana at 2 am and that perked me up.  Here's the funny thing though:  Then the adrenaline kicked in.  I woke up at 6:45 am and couldn't get back to sleep.  So I got to work, still had a bunch of other work to do on the proposal.   I worked all day--from 6:30 am until 10 pm.  ugh.  I took a short nap but couldn't sleep much, maybe 15 minutes.  then I  only slept 6 hours that night.   I had a break in the action Thursday morning (yesterday), waiting for input from team members, so went to my morning exercise class and got some needed groceries.   got the proposal in last night.  then I still only got 6 hours of sleep!  because of the adrenaline I guess.  So I went to my morning exercise class this morning.  It was hard but enjoyable.  I ate breakfast and then hit the wall.  I was so tired.  I went to run a long errand with housemate and I just wanted to collapse.  I took an hour nap when I got home.  I hope I can get a good night's sleep tonight. 

So how did I do eating-wise?  This is also the first time I didn't use food to get me through a deadline---sweets and chocolate.  oh, except for the banana-walnut ice cream!  that was good!  I had that wed. and thurs night.  I didn't cook much, just ate stuff from the fridge.  Did you know a red bell pepper tastes great all by itself, just eating it like an apple?   I don't recall much what I ate on Wed.  Yesterday I ate a bag of fresh cherries (really good), raw carrots, frozen peas from the bag (really good).   Ate lots of spinach from the bag--fresh and local, really good ate an entire 8 oz bag.  had spinach and oatmeal for brekky.  oranges and apples.  

Today was more normal:  I had spinach and oatmeal again for breakfast.  I like that because I really like spinach.  At lunch I used the pressure cooker to make eggplant, kale, (cooked that first for 2 minutes, then added), cauliflower, mushrooms, tomatoes (cooked for another 2 minutes), then added herbs from the garden--cilantro and chives.  It was good, and I totally overate (and by the way, it was a bit overcooked, still learning to use the pressure cooker).   Then I ate a bag of frozen peas for dinner.  I wasn't going to but I just got going on them.  I was going to have a salad.  oh well.  I wasn't that hungry because lunch was big and late.  and I ate two oranges.

Oh, I did find that in my tiredness and stress, I did want to pig out more on sweets like fruit.  When I'm tired I want to use food to perk me up.  Today I did that at lunch, and I overate and it made me more tired.  I didn't overeat on calories, just ate too much at one sitting.  

Well, anyway, I'm just happy I didn't go off and buy cookies and muffins and cupcakes.  I didn't have any desire to.   Now I just hope I can get a good night's sleep and enjoy high energy levels tomorrow.  so much to look forward to in getting back to my enjoyable activities.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

may 26

brekky:  smoothie

lunch:  collard greens, tomatoes, mushrooms cooked in pressure cooker.  cooked collard greens first for 4 minutes, then added the others and cooked for another minute.  ate a red bell pepper and some peas while prepared.  I love raw red and orange bell peppers.

dinner:  finished off the cabbage salad.  banana.  orange.  some edamame and corn.

ugh, I think I have to pull an all-nighter tonight for work.  oh well.  I am well-fed and well-rested, and just took a shower to perk me up.  s'okay.  

Monday, May 25, 2009

may 25

brekky:  smoothie and apple

lunch:  lots of cabbage salad.  oops I forgot to add the vinegar.  tasted good anyway.

dinner:  banana, lots of cabbage salad, some frozen peas.

it doesn't sound like much but I put a lot of walnuts in the cabbage salad and ate a lot of it so I think I had plenty of calories.  I'm busy with work so not much time for anything except my 2 hour escape to exercise class.  Work involves sitting in front of a computer all day so it's quite sedentary.   

my menus might be boring this deadline on friday.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

may 23 & 24

I've been having fun making quick and easy meals this weekend.   had smoothies for brekky, that's easy.  

Lunch yesterday was kale and sweet potato sauce.  Made it in the pressure cooker so it went fast.  there wasn't enough kale so I added arugula.  it was locally grown and had long stems.  they were chewy.  housemate did not like them!  I did.  I also threw in a beet because it was getting a bit old.  We also had a delicious berry salad.  Sometimes the berries at the co-op are really good, sometimes not so good.  Yesterday they were really good--strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and a ripe mango.  had that for dessert after lunch and dinner and then some more today.

Dinner last night was corn and bean salad over lettuce.  I'm not sure I like the texture or feel of bean salad over lettuce.  I think I'd rather have the bean salad in a separate bowl and the lettuce  in a separate salad.  Also my bean salad was a bit bland until today when I added 1/2  chopped ripe cantaloupe.  Then it was really good.  The other half cantaloupe I had at brekky with my smoothie.

Lunch today was more bean salad over lettuce, a whopping plate.  and some carrots while preparing.

Dinner today was pea and avocado guacamole with lots of steamed veggies--broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.  They took 1 minute to cook in the pressure cooker!  orange for dessert.   very satisfying meal.

another bean and corn salad

1 cup dried black or other beans, soaked, then cooked.  or a can.
2 cup frozen corn
cilantro, to taste, chopped
other herbs if you want, I like chives as they grow plentiful in my garden.
chopped tomato
some lime juice to taste
some chopped kumquat peels (optional)
1 ripe mango or 1/2 ripe cantaloupe chopped, or grapes cut in half (1 cup?)

cook the beans for a few hours on the stove or 5 minutes in the pressure cooker (if they are small, 10 minutes if they are bigger).  Drain the beans, add the frozen corn.  That will thaw the corn and cool the beans.  If you use a can of beans, then don't worry about it, the corn will thaw eventually, but you can always heat it up in the microwave if you want.    Add everything else.  

sweet pea and avocado guacamole

I love peas and I love avocado, so I had high hopes for this and wasn't disappointed. This is a variation of guacamole that doesn't use tomatoes, onion and garlic like the traditional.

1 ripe avocado
1 cup sweet peas
juice of 1/2 lime (about 10 g)
juice of 1/2 small orange (about 20 g)
some cilantro (optional)
bit of red bell pepper (optional)
other herbs if you want--e.g., chives, parsley (optional)

Blend it all up in in a food processor.

Note to self: don't add goji berries to this. too sweet.

Friday, May 22, 2009


I made this up when I didn't have any onions or bell pepper.  This is my favorite salsa recipe so far.  The exact measurement of ingredients is really to taste.  you have to decide for yourself how much flavoring you want.

1 can tomatoes (16 oz in my case)
kumquat peels (cut them in half, squeeze out the insides)--this was from about 5 kumquats.
cilantro (to taste--a handful for me)
goji berries (to taste--1/4 cup?)  (optional)
1/2 red or orange bell pepper would be good too (I didn't have any)

blend in a food processor.   no need to chop, so this takes only about 5 minutes to prepare.  

may 22

Today I was running out of food so I became creative and it turned out quite good. Brekky was the usual smoothie.

I froze some bananas in equal portions and had some leftover. I didn't feel like eating it right after brekky, so made a salad dressing out of banana, fresh mango, 1/2 oz walnuts, and 1 Tbsp blueberry vinegar, all blended up. I prefer beets instead of banana but this was still good.

Lunch was a salad, made from lettuce, orange bell pepper, 1/2 cup edamame, cilantro, and chopped kumquat peels (like orange zest), and the dressing I made. Cilantro and kumquat peels are good on just about anything, for future reference. This was really good! I ate some carrots while preparing.

I made a salsa for housemate's dinner (chips and salsa). I didn't have any of the usual ingredients, except canned tomatoes and cilantro, so I made it with tomatoes, kumquat peels, cilantro, and goji berries. It was really good, better than the standard recipes. I had some with celery sticks.

For dinner I used the pressure cooker (PC) to make vegetables with rutabaga-sesame sauce. This was easy and good. It is one of my favorite recipes because it feels like comfort food, and is somehow reminiscent of meals you get in restaurants (because of he sauce I guess) except this is healthy. First I cooked up the rutabaga and a beet in the PC for 2 minutes (peeled and cut them first). put the rutabaga in the blender. then added broccoli and mushrooms (the only veggies I have left in the fridge) to the PC and cooked for a minute. The extra minute finished cooking the beets and the other veggies. Then took the leftover liquid, added it to the blender with the sesame seeds and lemon juice. I forgot to rinse the sesame seeds and that does seem to make a difference--it did seem more bitter. I added some lime juice from my last 1/4 lime in the fridge. Blend this up into a nice sauce and pour it over the veggies and beets. yum. I didn't notice the bitter taste of the sauce when mixed with the veggies. Here's what it looked like before I devoured it. The sauce had a purplish color because of cooking the rutabaga with the beets. It was actually kind of pretty.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

may 21

Today I had the same smoothie as 2 days ago (second half, frozen then thawed overnight) for brekky.  and a small peach.

Lunch and dinner were leftover eggplant dish from yesterday.  At lunch I also had carrots and celery, and a small peach.   I was tired of the eggplant dish by dinner time.  I would have preferred a salad--will have to do that for lunch tomorrow.   I added edamame to the dish at dinner and that was good.  Dessert was an orange and small peach.  had an apple and carrots before dinner.  

I made housemate some guacamole for dinner and snacked on it a bit at lunch.  It was good.  Oh, while making the guac., I discovered that soaking the carrots and celery in lime cilantro juice makes them taste good.   I'm making housemate a lot of salsa and guac. this week to try to use up the cilantro from the garden.  She eats it with tortilla chips at dinner.  She's not fully onboard with Dr. Fuhrman's program so this is a treat for her to have chips at dinner.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

may 20

Today I made another fun dish in the pressure cooker. That makes cooking so easy! I peeled and cut an eggplant, ripped up a bunch of kale (that's how I "chop" it), cut up a bunch of mushrooms and an onion, combined that with 2 cans of tomatoes and cooked for 2 minutes! Then threw in a bag of arugula to get more greens (shared some of the kale with housemate). and a half chopped red pepper. and some cilantro (I will be eating cilantro every day now because it's growing crazy in the garden). I let that cook a little in the hot pan (no additional stove heat). It was great. Really, all you have to do is throw in whatever vegetables you want, it and it will taste great. nothing hard about it. I'm into eggplants right now. I had that for lunch and dinner. wasn't hungry at breakfast. had some carrots and an apple too.

may 19

I guess I can't resist posting even though I need to focus on work.

yesterday I had a smoothie at brekky but didn't have spinach so used arugula and mixed baby salad greens.  This is much more bitter so I added some lemon juice.  I actually liked this but most people might think it's too bitter for a smoothie.

for lunch I snacked on the dish I was making for the meeting I was attending in the evening.  This is the greek salad recipe I made on Sunday too (described in this post).  It's pretty good.  I substituted for many of the ingredients and added extra.  I was at a thesis defense in the afternoon and there were lots of treats including watermelon.  No one else ate the watermelon so I kept eating it--and pineapple.  I wasn't hungry but it was there...

Dinner was at my meeting where I had the greek salad.  Someone brought some "bumblebee bars" from the co-op.  These are peanut butter, sesame seeds, honey and salt mostly.  I thought, that's not so bad, so I had one--they are big so it was probably loaded with calories, and the three keys to overindulgence:  fat, sugar and salt.  Boy, you can really taste the salt when you aren't used to it.  Indeed, my fingers are swollen the morning after.   And the honey went straight to my head.  I forgot that honey is refined sugar (now how could I forget that?).  Interesting how that affects me more than fruit sugars--difference between sucrose and fructose, I guess?  Anyway, I do have to stay away from those refined sugars.  I don't like how they affect me.  The conversation was really interesting and I had to focus myself.  I was feeling ADHD for a while.   That combined with the chickpeas in the salad made me too full.

Today (may 20) I am not even hungry.   I''ve been eating too much fruit and nuts lately.   I think I'll eat more greens and veggies today.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

may 17

The next few weeks are going to be really busy for me at work.  I think I'm just going to have time for work and exercise.  I don't want to miss exercise.  It gets me out in the sunshine on my bike, and away from sitting at my desk.  So blogging will probably be more sporadic.  Here's my eating plan:   smoothie for brekky.   veggies made in pressure cooker for lunch--various things like eggplant, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, herbs from the garden.  I have lots of cilantro right now so I'll be using that a lot.  I don't want to eat too much at lunch because I exercise 3-4 hours afterwards.  Dinner will be salad and beans.  I'll probably use the cilantro there too (maybe make black bean & corn salad, or black beans with cilantro and orange juice--nice combo).  Then chives are going strong to so I'll start using that too once I can use up some cilantro.  For snacks I'll have the usual carrots and celery, apples and oranges.   I still have a half cabbage left so might make cabbage salad again.  I'll get my healthy fats in with the sunflower seeds and flaxseeds in the smoothies at brekky, and then nuts in my sauces and dressings (sometimes lunch, sometimes dinner).

Today I had smoothie for brekky, greek salad at the potluck (see yesterday's post), grapes, carrots & celery, apple, banana.  Dinner was some brazil nuts, orange, salad with arugula, cucumber, orange bell pepper, blueberry vinegar; more carrots.  

I'm going to make the greek salad again on Tuesday for a little potluck.

Okay, here's hoping I get a lot of work done tomorrow...

may 16

brekky:  not too hungry, not in the mood for a smoothie (probably the "ice cream" and nuts from previous night).  had a late breakfast of spinach and carrots and celery.  I was in the mood for veggies today.

lunch:  more fun with the pressure cooker!  This is a life-changing device!   I just made a giant plate of veggies for housemate and me.  cooked up potato, beets, asparagus, and carrots for 1 minute.  Then added broccoli, cauliflower, grape tomatoes and mushrooms for another minute.  Some of these veggies are for me only, some for housemate only, but the pot is big enough to just have them pushed to one side.  I had the beets and asparagus, housemate had the potato, more of the broccoli and carrots, and the rest was shared.   Super easy and good.  a giant plate of veggies--whatever is in the fridge.  what a concept.   I could have this every day.

late snack after yoga while waiting for the peregrine falcon to arrive at it's nest, which it did!:  apple and banana

late dinner:  made a "greek salad" recipe from Dr. Fuhrman's Eat for Health book.  I can't repeat the recipe here but it was good.  it has chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, potato (I substituted part sweet potato), green apple, onion, brazil nuts, flavored vinegar, cilantro and salad greens.  I also added peas and corn because I took them out earlier in the day and didn't use them.  I also added chopped kumquat peels since I still had some kumquats that were going to go bad.  These are like, what do you call that when you scrape off citrus peels, oh citrus zest.  Anyway, they add a great flavor!   I got that idea from strix.   

I made a double recipe so I could take half to a potluck.  I was hungry when I started cooking at 8 pm so I just kept eating as I added ingredients, and then I ate a helping when it was done at 9 pm.  I got overfull.  oops.  but it was good.

Friday, May 15, 2009

nut/fig/coconut snack

1 oz brazil nuts
2 white turkish figs
2 Tbsp (or to taste) dried coconut shavings

cut the brazil nuts in half. chop up the figs, at the coconut. good snack after exercise. Or make a big batch for guests. Then use 1 cup nuts, and several figs (to taste), and coconut to taste.

may 15

brekky:  smoothie, carrots and celery

lunch:  cabbage salad, strawberries and blackberries.

dinner:  cabbage salad.  had guests over and made my nut/fig/coconut snack and banana cherry ice cream.  I ate more than enough of the nut snack.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

may 14

brekky:  smoothie.  carrots and celery.  These give me something to chew and make me feel more satisfied.  a good addition.

lunch:  steamed veggies (in the pressure cooker!  asparagus, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and peas, yum) and rutabaga-sesame sauce.   some leftover ratatouille

snack after exercise:  1 oz brazil nuts + 2 white turkish figs + some dried coconut chips.   This was a great snack!   Those figs are so good.  They remind me of fig newtons which I used to love, but these are way better.  

Dinner:  lettuce topped with black bean salad.  I added mango to it, which was good.  rest of the ratatouille.  Then later I went grocery shopping and ate some fresh strawberries, blackberries and grapes, and part of an orange while making house mates orange juice.  It was good.  

It's magic!

I tried out my new pressure cooker today and it magic!  I cooked rutagaba in 2 minutes!  That takes about 30 minutes in a regular pan to get tender.  I cooked asparagus at the same time, so also in 2 minutes!  These were thick ones and you know how long those take to get tender in a regular pan (about 30 minutes!).   I cooked carrots and broccoli and cauliflower and peas in 1 minute.  Holy cow.  This was too fun.  and easy to use.  I am going to have so much fun with this!   Meals are going to take even less time to prepare!   Not only that, they preserve more nutrients than steaming in a regular pan.  Thanks to leangreenmama for an informative post about pressure cookers.  I bought the one she bought, without bothering to research.  Here's the amazon link.   

Before and after pictures

Here's what I looked like before I became a healthy vegan. I was 45 years old, and ate the Standard American Diet.

I looked okay, but I always felt like a dork, to be honest. More importantly was how I felt, which was not great.

Here's a picture of me and my dad about to embark on an exciting adventure, flying my airplane to Alaska. Whenever I looked at this picture, instead of thinking, "what a great trip!", I thought, "I wish I weren't so dorky. "

Funnily enough, this one just cracked me up:

The pants didn't flatter me.

I weighed about 150-155 in those pictures. I'm 5'9". I purchased my first pair of size 16 pants in Spring 2005, and thought that was just a natural part of aging. Then I became vegetarian for environmental reasons, and secretly because I didn't want to eat animals (I barely admitted that to myself). I learned more about animal suffering and became vegan in July 2005. I lost weight over the next year, and felt better, which caused me to investigate this surprising result, and I discovered the unbelievable health benefits of eating a mostly vegan whole foods diet through websites like Drs. McDougall, Fuhrman, and Barnard. Here's a post describing how my health improved. So, as I mentioned in some other posts, I discovered the route to health by accident!

Now I just turned 49 and I weigh 120 lbs. I do wonder if that's a little low for my height but it is stable, and I have never had much muscle mass even though I've always enjoyed physical activity.

Here's the tired and weakling vegan:

Here's me at White Sands National Monument on our recent vacation. The wind was blowing really strong.

Another vacation picture:

In a furniture store last fall modeling our new bench.

At Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Getaway in Florida with Gail. She told me to post the bikini picture but that would really be embarrassing:

may 13

brekky:  smoothie

lunch:  leftover ratatouille.  very good.  tiny fruit salad (1/2 banana, small mango, shared with housemate!).  carrot and celery.   This seemed to be a good amount of food so I wasn't full during yoga class at 4:15, but then I was hungry for dinner.

Dinner packed and eaten during a meeting (not the way to enjoy a meal):  apple, carrot and celery, black bean salad over lettuce.  The black bean salad is like my quick bean salad, only I used dried black beans (soaked and cooked), and didn't use onion (too lazy), cinnamon (forgot), or tomatoes (didn't have any).  Used fresh cilantro from the garden.  I realized I was needing some nuts, so stopped at the co-op and got some brazil nuts.  I ate about 1.5 oz.   I was hungry plus was doing manual labor after the meeting.

I was hungry when I got home at 10 pm so had 2 white turkish figs.   I just discovered these at my co-op and I really like them.  They are sweet so definitely go in the treat category.  If I were trying to lose weight I wouldn't eat them but I'm trying to maintain weight.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

my schedule change

I changed my schedule around last week in order to be more productive at work.  I now work in the mornings and early afternoon, like normal people.  I used to work in the afternoons and evenings to be more compatible with housemate's schedule.  The schedule change seems to be working, as my brain works much better in the morning.    

This is changing my eating schedule too.  I still like my  morning smoothie.  I want to get to work right when I get up so the smoothie is easy and a quick break whenever I get hungry (usually pretty early).  Then I switched my exercise classes to afternoon.  This is changing my lunchtime eating.   So far I've been too full when I get to my 4 pm exercise class so I need to eat lower quantity and easier-to-digest foods at lunch, so more vegetables and salads.  And eating beans at lunch makes me too bloated at 4 pm so nix that.  So then my evening meal needs to be bigger, and richer.  That is when I want to eat the beans and nuts/seeds.    Plus that is good replenishment after the exercise and then I have all night to digest it.  

It's a change of habit so will probably take me a while to get it figured out.  But I think this might be an improvement.   

ratatouille #2

I threw a bunch of vegetables together and realized it was essentially a ratatouille recipe.  In the past, I've found this to be a boring dish, but I liked this one.  And I liked how the eggplant tasted.  In several of my past attempts at cooking eggplant, it was bitter.  I think slow cooking in tomato sauce works well.

1 eggplant
1 onion or a couple of leeks
1 bunch collard greens
1/4 cup pesto (or lots of chopped basil, chopped garlic, 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast and 1 oz ground walnuts)
2 garlic cloves (or however many you want, I kind of like this to be garlicy)
2 16-oz cans tomatoes (or 1 28 oz, whatever the big ones are at the store)
a bunch of mushrooms (I must have had a pound)
zucchini would be good too, I didn't have any
herbs:  I had some tarragon and chives from my garden.  dried italian seasoning would work fine or just fresh basil (above) if you have some.

Chop the onion, put it in a big pot, add the tomatoes and start cooking.  Peel the eggplant, chop into bite-size pieces, add to pot.  Wash and chop the collard greens, add to the pot.  Chop the garlic and add.  Wash and chop the mushrooms and add.  Add the pesto or ingredients therein  (you can grind the walnuts in a coffee grinder, or don't bother with them, they just happened to be in my pesto).   chop the zucchini and add.  Let it cook until the eggplant is tender.  40 minutes after you add it?

I think the nutritional yeast was a key ingredient, neutralizing the metallic taste of tomatoes when you don't use salt.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

going off the wagon

I still had symptoms from Sat's unhealthy splurge yesterday (Monday).  Especially the grogginess was familiar from the way I used to feel all the time--I'm glad that's gone today.  I had a runny nose but maybe that was just coincidence or the slightly cold weather.  My face broke out a bit.  It gets splotchy when I eat processed grains and sugar.  My heart skipped beats Sunday night.   

I was thinking one reason I still will occasionally partake in white flour and sugar products is that a part of my brain still thinks, oh come on, this can't be that bad for you, because everyone else eats this stuff all the time.  I question my extremism on these occasions.  On top of that, someone very nice has just made something delicious and home-made for me.  And I was tired and hungry.  I'm not making excuses, just analyzing.  It's really the first reason that is the main reason I splurge.  A part of me really can't believe that it can be so bad for you.  Yet, I really do feel like crap for a few days.  

okay, gotta get to work now...

may 11 & 12

It's a busy week, with most dinners out and late nights, so posting might be more sporadic.

Yesterday's food log was

Brekky:  smoothie

Lunch:  veggies cooked up in a pot:  turnip, can tomatoes, herbs from garden (cilantro & chives), bag of spinach, zucchini.   it was good and easy.  I may be doing this a lot this week.

Dinner:  got home late, had to rush off.  I was going to have a salad but didn't have time to prepare or eat it.  Ate some berries I had just bought (strawberries, blackberries), some raw carrots, thawed some lentil-carrot soup and ate that, headed off.

Here's my plan for today

Brekky:  smoothie

Lunch:  veggies cooked up in a pot:  eggplant, can tomatoes, mushrooms, collard greens, herbs from the garden (tarragon, chives).  the herbs came up from last year.  yea!  we haven't started planting yet but got a bunch of starter plants yesterday.  We got lots of greens.  It's going to be a great year I hope!  [update:  this turned out really good and I wrote it up as ratatouille.]

Dinner:  salad (lettuce, arugula, mango, yellow bell pepper), rest of lentil-carrot soup.   I'll eat this out so will prepare at lunchtime.  [update, was hungry when I got home so had an apple]

Sunday, May 10, 2009

may 10

Brekky:  not too hungry after yesterday's indiscretions, so just had a pear and 1/2 banana

Lunch:  steamed kale and ramps with some vinegar.  Still not too hungry for anything rich.  also had a carrot, and some strawberries and blackberries.

Some friends dropped by for some cherry ice cream.

Dinner:  Made strix's no-grain granola.  I really liked this!  It uses chickpeas instead of oats!   I snacked on this after it was done and then had some arugula and vinegar and carrots.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

may 10

I strayed today...wah

brekky: smoothie

lunch: well, I was working all morning on our remodeling project at church. I didn't bring a lunch. It was 1 pm. I was tired and hungry. The woman who brought lunch for us is a really good cook. She made home-made pizza which I didn't eat because it had cheese on it and I'm vegan. No problem. Then she brought in a baked vegan sandwich. I forget what it's called --bread (white pizza dough) with tomato sauce and peppers and mushrooms baked inside. well, I couldn't resist. And I was touched by her generosity. It was good. But it went straight to my brain like sugar and made me hyper. After I left I wanted more so went to this place that makes really good vegan baked goods and got a chocolate chip cookie and a cupcake. I only ate half the cupcake, but the frosting was good--light and sweet. Then I buzzed for a few hours. I did a bunch more manual labor at home, hauling dirt around. Then I had a normal dinner, baked sweet potato and a bunch of fresh spinach from the garden and a carrot and orange. Now I have a tummy ache and I'm really thirsty. really thirsty. I drank 3 glasses of water and I'm still thirsty. There must have been a lot of salt in something I ate. When am I ever going to learn? Okay, if I were a SAD eater (Standard American Diet), this wouldn't be so bad. But it makes me feel like crap to eat this stuff now. I wish I would stop. Oh, here is an interesting article that relates to this. If you scroll to the top of the page to the "toolbox", you can print it out. It's about a book, "The End of Overeating," by David Kessler, former commissioner of the FDA. He talks about how addictive salt, fat and sugar are and how restaurants use that to their advantage by serving food loaded with these things.

failed nut butter experiment

Today I tried to make almond butter in the blender and it was a pain and it didn't turn out very well.  Other people tell me this should work but maybe I just don't have the patience to blend long enough.  Anyway, it doesn't seem worth the effort to me.  I can buy raw from Dr. Fuhrman or freshly made (but not raw) from the co-op.   I soaked the almonds overnight and then put them in the blender.  The blender was working really hard so I added some soy milk and pomegranate juice to try to help it out.  Like I said, I probably just wasn't patient enough.  It never got that smooth.  I dumped it down the sink (oops).

I was inspired to try this to make a replacement for my peanut butter treat that I like to give myself for splurges.  Peanut butter, since cooked, has acrylamides, which are bad for you, as pointed out by Mr. Curious.  Well, I think I will stick to the peanut butter.  It's only about once a week when I have this.  And I'll probably tired of it one of these days but right now it's my treat.

may 8

brekky (7 am):  smoothie

lunch (noon):  sweet potato and chickpea hummus & steamed veggies.  repeat of yesterday.   kiwi.   I ate lots but didn't feel overfull.  Plus I was really hungry when I started.

Dinner (8 pm):  dinner was late, after exercise, and I had my planned splurge:  banana and peanut butter.  probably 3 Tbsps.  I was very hungry and it was good and satisfying.  also had a 6 oz box of blackberries.  I ate those with arugula and blueberry vinegar.  and 2 small oranges.  I didn't need the second one.  Oh I had some almonds too, because I was soaking them for an experiment and I hadn't eaten almonds in a while.  I definitely didn't need these.  I ate about 2 handfuls.   So I had way more nuts today than I needed, but that's okay every once in a while.  

Thursday, May 7, 2009

mango dressing

easy and good:

1 large ripe mango or 2 small (or a bag of frozen I think)
1 oz walnuts (or 1/2 oz, if you prefer)
1/3 cup soy milk (guessing, I didn't measure)

peel the mango, cut off everything but the seed and put in blender with everything else.  blend until smooth.  It's a bit bland without the vinegar, but then the vinegar makes it taste very good.  If you don't have vinegar, maybe substitute pomegranate juice for the soy milk.

sweet potato & chickpea hummus

I really have a thing for baked sweet potatoes even though Mr. curious has informed me of the health hazards of acrylamides. Sweet potatoes and peanut butter are my acrylamide weaknesses. Anyway, this was good!

1 baked sweet potato (350 F for one hour, let cool) (or steam it and no worries about acrylamides)
1 cup chickpeas soaked overnight, then cooked in water for about 4 hours. or 1 can.
1 clove garlic (or a bunch of ramps like I had today)
1 tsp ground cumin
juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp sesame seeds (or tahini)

Today I used ramps instead of garlic. I like to cook them (either one) slightly. I added the onion part of the ramps (or garlic) to the hot beans. or you can heat them in water for a few minutes. I chopped the ramp greens and heated them in water for a few minutes---otherwise they have a very strong peppery garlicy flavor (which is good but strong).
Okay, put the garlic, sesame seeds, lemon, and some bean water and chickpeas in your powerful blender. Put in enough stuff so that it can blend nicely. Let it blend up for a while so the seeds get nicely ground up. It thickens up when this happens. Then throw everything else but the ramp greens in and blend. Add bean liquid to reach your desired consistency. Then throw in the ramp greens and blend just enough to chop them a bit (I chop before adding too).

We only have ramps a few weeks a year, so I will use garlic the rest of the time. but you could throw in chives or cilantro or basil at the end. or parsley.

may 7

brekky:  smoothy

lunch:  sweet potato & chickpea hummus, with steamed and raw veggies (broccoli, cauliflower carrots were steamed, celery and red bell pepper raw).  It was super yummy.  We only at half the hummus and yet I was still very full.  I will still full 4 hours later at my exercise class.  beans definitely fill you up and bloat you out. I also had a kiwi.  and some sweet peas while making housemates dinner salad.

dinner:  salad (lettuce, orange bell pepper) with mango dressing.  snacked on carrots and celery a some sweet peas while preparing.  had an apple and orange for dessert.  I ate all the dressing on a very big salad.   Again, I was very full when finished.  I definitely ate too much.  But it sure was good.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

may 6

7 am brekky:  smoothie 

11 am snack (I know, not supposed to):  celery and carrot.  (wasn't much)

noon lunch:  asparugus (a lot) and ramps (yum) in rutabaga-sesame sauce.  yumbo gumbo.   and house-mate's potato skin.  She had baked potato with pretty purple cauliflower, carrots, peas and corn.  

7 pm dinner:  snacked on apple and carrots while preparing steamed artichoke and mango-beet sauce.  the artichoke wasn't as good as last time.  Maybe I didn't cook it long enough.  however, the mango-beet sauce will make anything taste good.  I had the leftover sauce on arugula.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Today as I rode my bike home from exercise class, the maple trees were raining seeds or whatever they are on me, the magnolias were flowering, flowers were blooming, trees were sprouting leaves.  It was spring at its peak.  See my biking blog for pictures.  It occurred to me that I can't remember the last time I sneezed!   I get a daily allergy forecast on email which tells me allergy levels and what it's due to.  I started subscribing a few years ago when I had seasonal allergies, before I became a crazy healthy vegan.  Right now, the pollen levels are high every day.  I have had not a symptom.  I guess I can unsubscribe to this allergy alert email!

An argument people put forth about why they don't want to eat healthy is that they want to enjoy life.  Well, maybe they should try eating healthy.   I'm totally enjoying not having allergies!

may 5

Today after a good workout at the gym and bike ride to and from, I had a smoothie for breakfast.  

Lunch was steamed kale with sweet potato sauce.  Oh, I added chopped ramps and leek to the kale, which was good.  This sauce is like pudding, yum.  I had carrots and celery while fixing.  fruit salad for dessert (strawberries, raspberries, bananas), plus a 6 oz container of blackberries.  next time I will just have the blackberries.  The fresh strawberries are usually not super good (picked not ripe for their shipment to Wisconsin?) and they are expensive.   The frozen berries in my smoothies are cheaper and usually more fresh (before freezing) so I think I'll cut back on these fresh berries.  

Dinner:  salad with lettuce, arugula, edamame (microwaved for 60 seconds to thaw), topped with mango-beet dressing.  This is soooo goood.  some carrots and celery while preparing.  I should have stopped here but I had an orange and 2 apples.  at least I should have stopped after the first apple.

I'm probably eating too much fruit.  At least I ate lots of greens today.  

Monday, May 4, 2009

black bean hummus

This is the best hummus I have ever had. My house guests are in agreement. This is very similar to the recipe on Dr. Fuhrman's member's only website, so I feel guilty about posting here but I want to remind myself of my technique for making it because I use sesame seeds instead of tahini, to name one difference.

1 cup dried black beans, soaked overnight, cook for a couple of hours (or 1 15-oz can)
juice of one lemon (or orange juice!)
1 cup water or cooking liquid from the beans
1 Tbsp VegiZest (optional)
1/4 cup sesame seeds (raw, unhulled)
1-2 tsp low sodium tamari or soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1-3 garlic cloves or 1/4 tsp garlic granules
paprika for garnish
pinch cayenne (optional)

If using garlic cloves, I like to cook them a little to mellow the flavor. I put them in a little metal measuring cup, in some of the bean water or lemon juice, put that in the oven for about 10-20 minutes at 350 F, until you can smell the garlic a bit.

I made this in the blender so I could get the sesame seeds grinded up into a tahini sauce. So first I put the sesame seeds, lemon juice, tamari, garlic, some juice from the beans (say 1/3 cup to start), some of the beans, and blend that up. You need enough volume and thickness (with help from a few beans) to get the sesame seeds to blend. It seems to be about 1 cup total in my blender that's required. You can tell when they are getting ground up because the liquid thickens, and it steams from the heat. Then add everything else except the paprika and blend some more. Add bean liquid for desired consistency--you may not need a whole cup, just whatever you like. The makes a nice very smooth hummus.

may 4

Today I had an unexpected 30 mile bike ride, as described here.  This was after a workout where I did 75 pushups (knee), 75 chinups (assisted), 75 sit-up-and-reach, and ran 3/4 mile (the easy part).  After the workout and before the bike ride I had an apple (9 am).  Then halfway on the bike ride we stopped at a coffee shop and I had a fruit smoothie.  Fortunately a lot of coffee shops make these now.  Then I had a banana on the way home.  

By the time I had lunch at 2 pm I was hungry!   I made black bean hummus and had that over lightly steamed broccoli and carrots, and red bell pepper strips.  It was super yummy.    Housemate and I ate all the dip and veggies but I probably ate 2/3 of it.  It was good.  I still managed to eat an orange after that even though I wasn't hungry (oops).

For dinner, I should have had a salad but instead I had mango-banana pudding because I was prepping bananas for the freezer and had a partial one leftover, and had a small ripe mango.  So I blended them up, yum.  Then I also had 2/3 cup frozen peas, thawed in the microwave.  And sipped on the smoothies I made to freeze.  Not a big dinner but I wasn't that hungry after lunch.  Oh, and I finished off with a carrot.

great posts on other blogs

Lots of great posts today!

Chewing lessons, by strix (eating mindfully and chewing your food).

Eating healthy, a pain or not?  by leangreenmama

Whole foods vegan momma has a bunch of good posts.  Here's a recent one on 60+ questions answered.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

McDougall newsletter

McDougall's latest newsletter has an interesting article about how big money gets in the way of health and healing in the medical industry.  It's criminal that people aren't told they can cure most of their diseases with dietary change alone.

may 3 food

Brekky:  smoothie

snack:  apple & orange

late lunch:  baked sweet potato, steamed broccoli, carrots, peas and corn.   fruit salad (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, banana).

Dinner:  steamed artichoke heart.  dipped in mango-beat dressing.   This is kind of 
a new food for me (the artichoke I mean) and I'm not even sure how to eat it.  But I recall eating it a long time ago with a friend and we peeled the leaves off one by one and you slide it between your front teeth to get scrape off some of the 'meat'.  Then after you've done all that, you eat the heart.  I think.  I did that and it was good.  [updated later: I got some useful info form the Fuhrman forums.  Here's a link for how to eat an artichoke, but I don't recommend the butter!  Also, you aren't supposed to eat the fuzzy layer on top.  It can make you choke.]  Here's a picture of the partially eaten artichoke, the discarded leaves, and the dip. 

When I was done with that, there was still some dip left so I had that over arugula.  I stopped bothering to wipe my mouth at this point.  Housemate snapped this picture.  It is so ugly, it cracked us both up.  You can see the beet color on my hand too.

After all that I had a few carrots and an orange.  I wonder if I eat too much fruit.   I'm too busy right now to think about it.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

may 2 food

I was on a road trip today.

Brekky was my new smoothie.  This is satisfying and more filling than my previous one--though that it's only got 35 more calories.  Ah, it's got more fat, and protein.  The fat makes it more satisfying.   In the car I snacked on celery and carrots and a banana (even though Dr. Fuhrman says we shouldn't snack).  

Lunch was a salad I made ahead with a new dressing I invented today:  mango-beet.  It is the best dressing I've ever made.   I may eat this every day for the next week!   My co-op has these small mexican mangos on special and I bought 5 of them today when I got home.   The salad had lettuce, arugula, red bell pepper, and 1/2 cup edamame.  It was fantastic.  I followed that with a big orange, and an apple.

Dinner was my new favorite splurge: banana + 3 Tbsp peanut butter (freshly ground!).  Peanuts have accrylymides which are not good for you but Dr. Fuhrman recommends it for people trying to add muscle because it has lots of protein and calories.   So it can't be that bad for you.  While watching a movie I ate 6 oz of blackberries (planned).  

It was a satisfying day all around (in all respects, not just eating).  I think I need to feel like I'm getting treats so I don't do these silly splurges like I did last week with the cookies.  The splurges have nothing to do with taste and are more about feeling different from everyone else and stupidly thinking I'm deprived.

mango-beet dressing

Oh my gosh, this is the best dressing I've ever made.  

Ingredients for 1 large serving to smother all over your salad or steamed veggies:
1-2 medium baked beets (or steamed)
1 small mango, peeled and cut enough to remove seed (I use the smaller yellow Mexican ones because I haven't had good luck getting the big multicolored ones to ripen).  oh, I bet frozen mango would work just fine.  1/2-1 cup? 
0.5 oz  walnuts
1 Tbsp blueberry vinegar (optional)
1/4 cup pomegranate juice and/or soy milk  (actually I didn't measure, just enough to get the blending to go)

Blend everything in a blender.  soooooo gooooood.

Friday, May 1, 2009

may 1 food

Brekky:  smoothie, some celery and carrots

Lunch:  baked sweet potato, which I smashed up and mixed up with leftover beans from yesterday.  This was really good.  Dessert was fruit salad (strawberries, raspberries, and bananas).  I also ate a small container of blackberries (6 oz).  I love these.  I used to not like them.  My taste buds have changed.

Dinner:  a bunch of asparagus with a sauce made from raw yellow zucchini, sesame seeds, soy milk, and lemon juice.  It was good.  The sauce was a touch on the bland side, compared to one made with rutabaga.   I also had an orange, some carrots and celery, an apple, and some strawberries.