Saturday, June 18, 2011

Channa Saag (sort of), and some blathering

This is an example of how using a recipe as a guide, but not following it exactly, makes life much easier.  And this turned out great.  I decided I eat so much raw food during the week, I want to start cooking more on the weekends.  But it's summer so I only want quick and easy things.  I gotta get outside and play!   If you a member of Dr. Fuhrman's website, you get a weekly recipe (or you can see them all at the recipe center).  So I went through a bunch of those emails and picked out about 15 recipes that looked good and easy for this time of year.  This morning I went grocery shopping and bought the kale, collards and spinach because they are local (around here, local tastes way better!).  I also made my weekly pot of beans--didn't even bother to add anything to them because I figure I can flavor them as I go.  So I did my usual thing of picking 2 packages of beans (1 lb each) from my rancho gordo stock--I usually go for a big one and a small one of different colors, or else just pick random.  Today's was a big white bean and a little orange one.  I soaked them last night, and cooked them up this morning--can't get any easier than that.  By the way, that cooked up into about 9 1.5 cup servings that I put in tupperware bowls and froze for the week.

Okay, so time to pick a recipe.  How about Channa Saag (Spicy Chickpeas with Spinach).  Now all the substitutions start because no way am I going to work hard at this, it's just lunch!  And since I made so many substitutions I can call it a new recipe and post it.

Ingredients for a 1 large serving or 2 small:
1/2 medium onion
1 garlic clove
1-2 medium tomatoes or 1/2 can
1 green chili or other pepper (I didn't use any, don't like them anymore)
1/2 tsp garam masala (the recipe called for tamarind powder but my co-op doesn't have it, and I didn't want to buy a big jar of concentrated tamarind for one lunch recipe, so I used garam masala and boy was that good!)
1/2-1 tsp curry
---(the recipe called for coriander powder which I don't really like so I didn't include it)
8 oz of spinach (wo that's a lot!  amazing how it cooks down though).
1.5 cups beans (recipe calls for chickpeas, who cares what kind of beans you use!)
cayenne pepper if you want (not me!)
herbs from the garden (not in the recipe, optional):  I threw in a lot of cilantro and chives, and a little dill and rosemary (because they were there).

Water saute the onion and garlic until tender.  Add the spices and herbs and peppers, cook for a few minutes.  Add the spinach, cook until it wilts, a few minutes.  Add in the beans, cook until heated.   Serve.

It was a great meal after a hard mountain bike ride.  Really yummy!


Niki said...

Yum! That sounds delish. I will try your recipe sometime. BTW - love your blog. It is very inspiring and gives me lots of helpful tips from someone who successfully lives the nutritarian lifestyle. Personally, I struggle. My brain knows it is the best thing (and has known for years) but I'm always finding excuses not to fully commit.

kneecap said...

Good luck to you Niki. We have an instinct to desire high fat and sweet food, so it takes work to resist the unhealthy foods available all around us. You're not alone finding this difficult, but please keep trying!

Niki said...

Thank-you for your kind words of encouragement.

One of my issues is dealing with the notion that family/friends have that eating in this way is "extreme". I sometimes feel guilt (yes, guilt!) adhering strictly to healthy eating. I feel guilt when saying no to celebratory foods with my young children and husband, or bringing my own foods to gatherings with friends and family because I know it will trigger me for several days following. Plus, I honestly feel that other people are questioning my sanity! However, I should try to remember that not one of them is without either a weight problem, food addiction, or medical issue that would be improved with better nutrition. :)

Food is such an emotional thing - I'm sure you've heard this same issue a million times. I feel sure that if I could just stick to it for a month I could overcome my desire for bread (big addiction), sugars, chocolate... etc. I really do eat rather well the rest of the time - I'm a long time ethical vegetarian, so that part is easy. Eating cheese, eggs, or milk products is a rarity - so becoming fully vegan wouldn't be much (though I would miss my occasional pizza and ice-cream). Plus, as I was a raw foodist for a while, I know how to make a darn good salad! LOL

Anyway, I'm blathering on... Keep spreading the good word! I really appreciate reading about how you make healthy eating a permanent part of your life!

kneecap said...

Hi Niki,

I understand perfectly what you are dealing with. I used to be the same way! I felt very self-conscious for wanting to eat different food, very afraid to offend, and left out of the 'fun'. But over time I realized that people don't care nearly as much as I thought they would; you can make some white lies up so as not to offend your grandma for example (it gives me a stomach ache, grandmas identify with stomach aches :) ); and I just started wanting to eat healthy more than wanting to please. I'm working in my spare time on a new project: a nutritional counseling website! free. (my part-time community service project). If I can make the time for it, I hope to get a version up and running in a month or 2. I hope you check it out. You can give me feedback!

and, yes, you are right. if you can stick to it for a month, it will be so much easier, and you will feel great. I have tried this and it works!!!

Please to share your salad recipes with us!


Niki said...

That's a good point, Barb. I need to get into the mindset of wanting to be healthy more than wanting to please. For me, eating healthy isn't about weight-loss. I'm 5'9 and about 130 lbs, pretty reasonable. It is strictly about health so you would think it would be easy to just go forward with 100% commitment. There is an emotional side to food though, at least for me. It was easier to quit smoking and coffee for me 11-years-ago, by far.

I started this weekend avoiding gluten, dairy, sugar etc - eating strictly Dr. F's way. Honestly, I've woken up every day since feeling sooo much better. I think this feeling needs to be my driving force to continue. Energy, clear head, stable mood!

I'd love to see your website and give you feedback! What a lovely and generous idea to share this information. I really believe in the message that Food = Health!

kneecap said...

HI Niki, thanks for your comments. I hope you are still eating well. and if you aren't, you can start right back! I think for most people, we just keep getting better over time and it's not useful to fret about the stumbles, just learn from them. today is a new day, and you are going to feel great eating this way!

Niki said...

Yes, I am still eating well!! Thanks for checking up on me. It is coming up on a month now of no sugar, minimal to no oil or salt, no gluten, or animal products (totally vegan). I've been in many situations (eating out particularly) where I could have caved, but didn't. I'm pretty proud of myself! I've found routine and meal planning to be my friends. Green smoothies for breakfast (this has been habitual for me for many years), lunch is one of your awesome Grand Canyon salads, and dinner is a stir-fry with greens, mushrooms, onion, veggies, and maybe some brown rice or quinoa added.

Thanks to you and your blog - it has been so helpful to me to see nutritarianism in action. Very inspiring!