Thursday, December 27, 2012

kitchen tool

This banana slicer may or may not be useful to you but the reviews are hilarious.

Friday, December 14, 2012


It's been a festive fall/early winter.  I'm having a great start to winter, enjoying my job and my impending job transition, enjoying getting back to exercise and rebuilding strength and flexibility in my arm/wrist (broke it Sept. 26), enjoying my meditation classes and yoga classes and socializing and  pretty much everything--except today's horrible news about the shootings in Connecticut.

But moving on, I have three food-related things to share.
1) I took Colin Campbell's online Plant-Based Nutrition course this fall--that's why I stopped blogging, to make more time for the class.  It was outstanding!  It was the most scientific presentation of nutrition (with a plant-based emphasis) I've ever seen.  And I love that, being a scientist myself.  I thought I knew this stuff pretty well, having read every popular book on the subject I could get my hands on.  But I didn't, because popular books don't go into that much detail.  I'm so glad I took this course.  I have definitely modified my eating habits as a result.
2) I saw some TEDx Fremont  videos by some of our favorite plant-strong promoters.  The ones that stood out for me were Dr. Neal Barnard's and Rip Esselstyn's talks.  Barnard gave the most compelling arguments in 20 minutes I've seen for going plant-based.  and Rip is entertaining and motivating.  Dr. Lisle also talked about the pleasure trap, which is great if you haven't seen it already.  I haven't seen most of the other videos, maybe I'll check them out sometime.
3) A few days ago I started a new blog with friend Hojo, logging food, exercise and recipes.  Why a new one?  for the fun of it.  and to include Hojo.  and because my eating program has changed somewhat so my recipes are different and this will be less confusing to me.   Here is the blog:

Have a good weekend!

Monday, October 15, 2012


Here is a fun website describing all the types of winter squash.   So far I've tried acorn, buttercup, butternut, festival (=carnival?), delicata, kabocha, and red kuri.  The only one I didn't especially like was red kuri.  I think my favorite was kabocha, with buttercup a close second and acorn third.   Actually I haven't tried delicate yet, just prepared it for tomorrow.   And I will be giving festival a couple of more tries this week.  Butternut is nice but not as complex in texture and flavor as my top 3.

this week's food

This week my lunches are even simpler than last week's!  (I broke my wrist and I'm still doing one-handed, or as easy as possible, food prep).

Breakfast continues to be a large bowl of oatmeal.   That is also getting more spartan.  Sometimes I add a banana but usually just some cinnamon, ground flaxseed, and a splash of plain soymilk.  I may stop using the soymilk soon because I don't use up the 1-qt container before it goes bad.  I'm going  to try some ideas from this post, especially the idea of infusing the water with an herbal teabag before adding the oats.  Interesting, eh?  and nutritional yeast. I gotta try that once.  I'm not so interested in the sweet concoctions but I'm also not interested to add greens to my oats.  I pretty much just want oats.  I also eat several handfuls os spinach while preparing housemate's smoothie.

We are now getting local sweet potatoes so I changed up my lunch a bit.   On Saturday, the sweet potato was so large I just had that with collards:

I ate the sweet potato like a burrito:  :)

Today I had I smaller one, a baked potato, some broccoli, and beans.   The rest of the week will be the same except substitute collards for broccoli.  I prepare them every week as described here.

Dinner is still baked squash with a veggie.  Last night the veggie was frozen okra cooked in tomatoes from a can.  That was great and super simple.  

Tonight was acorn squash with cabbage.   Tomorrow will be brussels sprouts on delicata squash.  I'm trying out all varieties of squash.  Sometime I'll post on my ratings of them.  I should try them more than once to account for individual variations.  Ripeness is a factor and I don't know how you pick out a ripe one.

Snacks are carrots, celery, a small apple, and salad fixings eaten with my fingers:   lettuce and red bell pepper.

Have a good week!

some good links

1)  For diet I think this is website has useful tips:

If you sign up for the free 100 days or one-year challenge, you can get some free materials including monthly calendars.  I like this--print out this month's calendar, then mark each day with a green, yellow, or red mark, depending on if you lose, maintain, or gain weight.   This can be modified for healthy choices or exercise, you get the picture, right?   I think it's fun.   Try to get as much green as possible.  Try to get better each month.

2)  this 3-page document explains how to do a plant-strong healthy diet--concise and simple!

3)  For info on how to live your life, this free online series of interviews looks pretty good:

Saturday, October 6, 2012

this week's food prep

Today I made a big batch of collards, onion and mushroom for the week--see last week's post on the method.  This time I chopped the onion and mushroom myself.   That was enough for me and that's all the chopping I plan to do until next time I make this.   I made 8 1-cup servings which I froze.

I made a double batch of burgers.   I really like the sausage seasoning in these (Jeff Novick describes how to mix this seasoning on his DVD).  I also added onion and garlic powder and arizona seasoning (sort of a Mexican mix).  it's good!  and will be even better with my ketchup which I also made up today.  I made 8 balls and froze them too (will smash into patties after thawing)

I ground up some flaxseed, added some chia, and put that in the freezer.

I made yogurt last week, should have enough to last another week.  If not, it is really easy to make any day.

That was tiring enough for me.   It's work to do things with just one arm and hand, and even more so when it's not the dominant hand---though I think my hand is really enjoying getting to do everything.

My daily chores will be to bake my squash and potatoes and prepare my oatmeal each night for the next day; then assemble my meals in the morning (will probably eat lunch and dinner at work).   Should be easy.

barb's ketchup

This is inspired by cathy's ketchup but that is too thick and apple-y for my tastes.   so here's my version.

1 6-oz can tomato paste
1/2 16-oz can tomatoes, drained mostly (I use the rest of the can to make burgers with)
1  Tbsp high-quality balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider or juice

blend in high-speed blender until smooth.   I pour into 4 bowls to freeze.   one bowl lasts two meals for me, allowing for a generous sugar-free, salt-free portion in each.

one-armed meals

I'm eating variations on a theme until I get tired of it.

breakfast:  big bowl of oatmeal.   soak overnight 3/4 cup oats, 1.5 cup water, 1 Tbsp raisins, 1 Tbsp flax/chia seed, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, and a fruit or 1/2 baked sweet potato mashed in.   Favorite fruit choices (still experimenting) have been 1/2 ripe banana or 1/2 cup blueberries and/or sweet cherries.   heat in microwave until steaming.   Let cool a bit (cooks the oats).  Add 1/4 cup nut-milk or water as it thickens.   yum.

Burger and fries, and a veggie.   sometimes top with soy yogurt (e.g., for curry burger and fries with indian spices)...

...sometimes top with homemade ketchup, salt-free mustard and cucumber soaked in d'angou pear vinegar and dill.   

My favorite veggies of late have been collards, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and okra.

Dinner:  baked squash, a veggie, corn, peas or beans.  (no pic--I'll try to remember to snap one tomorrow)

snack:   some subset of lettuce, spinach, red italian fry pepper (even better than red bell pepper), celery, maybe a small apple or 1/2 large.   I don't make a salad because chopping is a pain with one hand.  We're getting local salad greens and spinach which I just eat with my hand like snack food--it's delicious.

I bake my potatoes and squash (whole) the night before, 375 F for 1.5 hours.

I logged my food in cronometer for a few days to guide my calcium intake (for healing my broken bone).   My high-calcium foods are the green veggies, especially the collards, and squash.   Yea squash!   Okra is also high in it which is why I bought a bag of frozen,   So I've been getting about 800 mg a day which is a lot!   With my diet, little should get leached away (no salt, caffeine, animal protein) so this should be plenty.

Monday, October 1, 2012

One-armed food prep

To get ready for the week I cooked up 2 big pots of kale and collards.  Fortunately this only required hammering a couple if big bags of frozen greens:
Housemate had to chop the onion and mushrooms though.

I also made a batch of soy yogurt.  easy peasy:

Then the daily food prep will will be easy.  Here's tomorrow morning's oatmeal (oats, banana, raisins, flax and chia seeds).  slicing bananas is easy enough.  I'll add a splash of soy milk after cooking.

 Here's tomorrow's squash and potatoes (one for housemate).
We harvested a bunch of collards from the garden.  Housemate just had to rinse them and stuff them into plastic bags for freezing.  We also harvested some broccoli that we'll have for lunch tomorrow with potato fries and carrots.

For salads, I'll snack on romaine leaves, salad greens, and these fabulous italian fry peppers--they are like red bell peppers only way better!  no chopping, just eat 'em with my hands.

one-armed dinner

yep, I've done it again.  Broke my arm mountain biking on vacation.  came back early.  I've decided to retire from mountain biking.   I've already started bragging about how good I was, which I never did before, but I'll do it a lot now.  :)

A good thing about one-armed meals is:  no high expectations.  makes it easier.   here's tonight's meal:

That's festival squash , corn and chickpeas.  I also had cooked collards.  Greens and beans are high in calcium so I plan to eat a lot of those.

Housemate doesn't like squash so I made her rice, chickpeas and corn.  Fortunately she's easy to please:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hotel food prep

I tried out a new method of food prep while on road trips.  It's to follow Jeff Novick's fast food method.  Here's my setup:

That's an electric burner, a big pot, a wooden spoon (not shown),  2 containers of go-go brown rice, a can of tomatoes, a can of beans, and 3 lbs of veggies.  It's not exactly the ratios Novick recommends but it's what I thought would work well for 2 day's worth of food.  I thought the 3rd lb of veggies wasn't going to make it in the pot, but it was greens and they cook down nicely.  Just mix and heat.

Here it is dished out into 4 big containers for myself and a small one for travel companion.    I added different spices to each one:  curry, italian, creole, and Mexican.  how fun is that?

Then I made a couple of salads.  I also baked a couple of potatoes in the microwave.  And prepped some oatmeal and banana and almond milk and cinnamon and for fun, fenugreek.   fenugreek smells like maple syrup.   so if that works, it's a healthy way to get that flavor with no added sweetener besides the banana.  It's soaking overnight in the fridge, so it will only take a couple of minutes to cook up in the microwave in the morning.

I found a great salad dressing at Whole Foods today (my last stop there for a few weeks--now I wish I had gotten more!).  This has no oil or sugar.  It has 40 mg of sodium per 2 T.  That's acceptable to me.  This is so convenient!

Now I'm ready for some mountain biking tomorrow!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ann Esselstyn's Lovely Collard Wraps

I'm a sloppy cook and a sloppier presenter.  Even so, these turned out great.  I used this recipe.   I made this hummus.  And I didn't have carrots but I had some mushrooms, so cooked those up real quick on the stove and added them.   Here they are with everything added:

Then I rearranged to the sliced peppers and cucumber so I could fold lengthwise:

Then you slice them up sort of like sushi:

I ate it with corn on the cob.  It was a great meal!

Easy delicious healthy hummus

I'm kind of stealing this from the E2 Extra website with some changes.  But it's so basic, I hope it's okay.

2 cans unsalted chickpeas, drained, but save the liquid!
3 cloves of roasted garlic
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp ground cumin (or if that seems too strong, start with 1 tsp and you can add more later to taste)
1 tsp low-sodium tamari (or soy) sauce (optional)
liquid from the can, to desired consistency

Roast the garlic in the oven, 375 for 20 minutes (just put them unpeeled, uncovered in a little pan).   Let cool.  Squeeze out the gooey insides into your blender (smells great!).  Add the lemon juice, some liquid from the can (start with 1/4 cup), the cumin, the tamari, and about 1/4 of the beans.  Blend until very smooth.  Add all but 1/4 of the beans, blend until smooth, add liquid if you want it less thick.  Then add the last of the beans and blend to desired consistency.  If you want a smooth base with a few chunks of chickpeas, blend some.  If you want it all smooth, keep blending.   Spoon into a bowl and top with paprika to make it look pretty.

I've become such a salt wimp that even 1 tsp of the tamari seemed too much.  So I think I'll go without it next time.  Or go down to 1/2 tsp or 1/4 tsp just to get that little flavor.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Weekend cooking

I did some experimenting this weekend and went overboard with maple syrup in the process.  okay, lesson learned.  Even when you do everything else right, the maple syrup in excess is still a problem as I'm feeling the creaks in my joints.  :)

Yesterday I made mighty muffins (without the walnuts and raisins).   These are good and don't have an excessive amount of refined sweetener in them.  So I would say I can repeat these in the future.  They remind me of banana bread.  However, I made the full recipe and ate too many of them both yesterday and today.  But it looks like it would be really easy to make 1/6 the recipe in the future.  I'll do that!

Today I made blueberry-spelt pancakes which I topped with gallons of maple syrup.  Boy was that good--of course because of the gallons of maple syrup.  The pancakes on their own, I'm not even sure what they tasted like.  The batter tasted kind of yucky actually.  Now I still might consider doing this in the future too, on special occasions and with only small amounts of maple syrup.  But I don't think I'll desire it for a while.

I was very much looking forward to real food again tonight.   I made Kichadi.  It was great!  I added 1 cup of fresh corn to the recipe.   I also had a fresh corn on the cob with it for dinner.

Tomorrow I will have more kichadi for lunch, and Ann Esselstyn's lovely collard wraps for dinner, along with other delicious healthy stuff.  Yeah, I prefer that stuff.  Nice to know.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Today's food

I had to leave kind of early this morning so breakfast was just snacking while preparing lunch:  a few blueberries, some cabbage and spinach, apple peels (from food prep).

Since I had that ketchup experiment in my head, I had to have a burger and fries to try it out.  So for lunch I had:

potato "fries".  Do those look good or what?  seasoned with Penzey's mural of flavors and onion powder;

Collard wraps.  1/2 burger in each + ketchup + mustard and "pickles"  (cucumber + dill + d'angou pear vinegar).

and cooked cabbage + apple + cinnamon.  Here it all is.  What a great lunch!

Dinner was the vegetables and pasta.  What a great dinner!

pasta and vegetables

This is based loosely on Cathy's Pizza Pasta recipe, but I don't really think of it as pizza and I used different vegetables.  I think of it more like a pasta primavera or ratatouille.  I liked the idea of fresh basil and nutritional yeast--that worked really well.

Here are the vegetables I used, which is just what was in the fridge:
red fry pepper (like a red bell pepper)
a little leftover mushrooms
a little leftover green bell pepper

I fried up the onions, bell pepper and celery (the cajun trinity), added the others as I chopped them, added a little water when needed.   then added

1 can of tomatoes

simmered for about 10 minutes.  then added

some frozen corn
basil leaves (mine were frozen and I just crumpled them, about 1/4 cup)
1 tsp nutritional yeast

cooked for another 10 minutes.

I cooked up some organic einkorn whole wheat rigatoni pasta.   I like it.  It's very hearty.  I think I'm a little sensitive to wheat or gluten, but I understand if you only have slight sensitivities, these "ancient" versions of wheat (this has not been hybridized) might not be a problem.  So I thought I'd experiment and see.  So far so good.

I ate half tonight and will have the rest for lunch tomorrow.   Yum!

Cathy's Ketchup

This is really good.  I wrote a post yesterday on an instant ketchup that is definitely good in a pinch.  That got me curious to try Cathy's recipe.  It's really good.  I thought the apple would make it not taste like ketchup but it's great.  I didn't have lemon so I used fancy-pants apple infused balsamic vinegar.  I suspect that's even better!  

Now the only problem is, it makes more than I need for a day or 2, and what if it gets old before I'm done with it?  I decided to divide it into two bowls and freeze one.  I'm not sure how it will be after thawing.  I'll find out soon enough!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Instant homemade ketchup

I'm finding that I don't like much added salt.  I bought some sugar free ketchup but it has 70 mg sodium per Tbsp.  That doesn't seem like much but if I have 2 or 3, I notice the effect--my fingers swell up and I find that a little disturbing.   Now Cathy Fisher has a home-made ketchup recipe here.  I will try this sometime because it does look good.  But in the meantime, if you need a quick ketchup fix in a small amount, and don't want salt or sugar, here's an option.  It only has 2 ingredients!    You need a fancy-pants vinegar, probably apple-flavored.  Here are some websites with fancy-pants vinegars:  Cuisine Perel (they make the best d'angou pear vinegar),  Olive tap,  Vom Fass.  The other is a tube of tomato paste.  Those are nice because you can use small portions and the rest doesn't go bad.   Mix them together, add a little water.

Tonight, housemate was serving up a meatloaf dinner to her brother.  I was able to eat pretty much the same dinner, just subsituting my veggie burger (with ketchup and mustard) for the meatloaf and topping my potato with soy yogurt and chives.   It was fun. I had to pass on the dessert though (cake and ice cream).  

Speaking of veggie burgers, fat-free vegan just posted one that looks really good:
At the bottom of that post are links to some of her other burgers.

Here was a yummy meal this week

That's corn on the cob, cajun seasoned home fries dipped in soy yogurt, cooked kale, onions, and mushrooms.

Butternut squash veggie mash

This has been my favorite meal this week.   The amounts of veggies depends on how big the butternut squash is.  For small to small-medium ones, I make it all one serving and do a little less of the beans and rice.  If it's a big squash and I want to split it into two, then I do 1/2 cup for the beans and rice.

1/2 baked butternut squash
1/3-1/2 cup cooked brown or forbidden rice
1/3-1/2 cup cooked beans
1/2-1 cup sweet corn
1 small onion
1 red or green or both bell pepper
1 stalk celery (optional)
some mushrooms (optional)
1/2-1 tsp rubbed sage
1/4-1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (optional)
cinnamon to taste (1/4-1/2 tsp?)

Bake the squash in the oven.  I wrap in foil (is this bad?).   400 F for 1 hour.  Let cool.  I usually bake it the night before and then put it in the fridge overnight.
Chop and cook up the veggies--start with no water, but keep the lid on.  then add water if it looks like it's burning (I usually don't need it).  Add the corn if you need to thaw it or cook it slightly--only needs a few minutes to warm up.

Peel the squash.  (I usually eat the peel as it's soft).  Smash it with the rice and beans and almond milk using a potato masher.  add the veggies and sage and cinnamon.  mix.  serve.

Here was a batch I made for lunch and dinner:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Weekend food prep

Today was Sunday so I did some food prep for the week.  I got a bunch of groceries at the store:  potatoes, butternut squash, apples, veggies, non-dairy milks, juice (for housemate), oranges, frozen fruit, herbs, rice, etc.  During the week, I stop at the store on my bus ride home, so don't want to carry too much heavy stuff then.

Then I made a double batch of Jeff Novick (JN) basic burgers.  I divided the mixture into two, and added different spices to them.  I seasoned one half with (if I remember correctly) thyme, basil, oregano, and onion powder.  The other was sausage seasoning!   JN gives a recipe for this in his burgers DVD.  It's sage, thyme, savory, garlic powder, black pepper, and fennel seeds.  I think JN's burger method is sheer genius.  They are easy to make, are healthy and low-fat and high nutrition, taste good (maybe a little bland if you don't add enough seasonings), and the genius is in the variety:  regular, mexican, curry, falafel, italian (meatballs), southwest, kasha, and breakfast patties.  It's the breakfast patties I'm after with the sausage seasoning.  I'm going to eat them with my hash browns--starting tomorrow morning!  I made smaller versions for the morning "sausage".

Then we had a cookout.

Then during the rather painful Packer game, I harvested basil and kale from the garden.  Every month or so, I cut down most of the basil plant, pick off the leaves and freeze them.  That's about how often I mow down the kale too.  I don't know how much kale I harvested, several lbs.  After stripping the leaves, I stuffed half of it into a large ziplock bag to freeze.  The other half I cooked up in two large pressure cookers with onion and mushrooms.  After cooking and cooling I put them in bowls to freeze--easy to take out for a daily portion of greens.  Next weekend I'll harvest the collard greens.

Housemate is the tomato harvester.  She has canned 92 pints in the last month!  One reason I haven't eaten too many tomato dishes lately is that I'm saving them for later in the Fall after the fresh tomatoes are gone.  We eat lots of fresh tomatoes on salads and burgers and just on their own sliced.   It will be a treat when they are gone to start eating tomato-based cooked dishes using the cans.

This morning I made a batch of soy yogurt.  That will be ready in about an hour.  That is super easy to do, takes a few minutes in the morning to prep, and a few minutes 12 hours later to turn off the heater, put on the lids and store them in the fridge.

Finally, I cooked up some rice, and soaked beans to cook tomorrow morning.    I make these in fairly small batches because I prefer to make them every 3 days or so, and not have them sitting around longer than that.


Today was our first annual first Packer (football) game of the season cookout.  The cookout was fun even if the game was less so--all the more reason to enjoy a cookout!     Here I am cooking up the food:

That's my Jeff Novick (JN) veggie burger, 3 bratwursts (brats for short) for housemate, 3 grilled corn on the cob (2 for me).   I cut my burger in half and made collard wraps.  To make it seem more classic I added ketchup (no sugar), mustard (no salt), and my "pickles" (cucumber slice soaked in d'angou pear vinegar and dill).   

I also made JN fries, which are the best fries I've ever had, seasoned with my cajun mix, which I got this from a Happy Herbivore cookbook.  I prefer making my own season mixes with no salt and much less hot pepper.   I dipped in ketchup for a treat.  Even though the ketchup has no sugar, it has salt, 70 mg per Tbsp.  I thought that was okay but I can feel it in my fingers.  I think I will make my own next time.  JN gives a recipe for home-made ketchup on his DVD.  Actually he got it from Cathy at StraightUPFood (one of my favorite recipe sites) so you can see it here.  I bet it will taste better than Heinz and it won't have any salt. I would just make a small batch with a quickly cooked apple piece (so no need for blending if apple is cooked) and herbs and vinegar mixed in--should be easy.

Here's my lunch. 

 I saved one of those collard wraps and a corn for dinner, along with butternut squash.   This sure is a fun way to eat!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Carob milkshake

about 1.5 bananas frozen in pieces (about 150 grams or 5 oz)
1 Tbsp carob powder (cocoa can be substituted)
some almond milk or other non-dairy.

Blend in the blender.  I just added enough almond milk to make it blend up nicely.  It was probably 2/3 cup total?  or 1 cup?

macaroni and "cheese"

(and peas).
This may need more perfecting but it was easy, and cheese-eating housemate liked it.  I based this on Happy Herbivore's recipe from her recent cookbook, but I substituted soy yogurt for yellow miso (because I don't have it and it's high in sodium) and I used different amounts of things.

Cook up some macaroni (I started with 2/3 cup dry for 2 small servings).  I used corn macaroni.  About halfway through, I threw in some peas because housemate and I love peas and macaroni and cheese.

While doing that, make some sauce (the measurements aren't exact yet)
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
2 Tbsp soy yogurt 
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp cornstarch (optional, I didn't have any but it might be a good idea)

Whisk it all together, heat up a bit on the stove.

Drain the water from the macaroni and peas, add the sauce, stir, serve.  This makes two fairly small servings.  If you want more than a side dish, double the recipe.

Hash browns

This tasted as good as I've ever had at a restaurant.  I admit, I wanted to put salt on it because that's how I remember it.  I could have put a little on, but I don't want to get attached to it again.   Maybe a little lemon zest would work as well.  Or I could try celery in it.

The ingredients are some vegetables, herbs and potato.   It doesn't matter too much what, or how much.  The method probably matters more.  I used an already-baked potato (cold in the fridge), and non-stick pan.  I started by cooking the onions and mushrooms with no water (or oil).  The liquid from the mushrooms provides plenty of moisture.  Then I added green pepper.  I chopped the potato, and added fresh herbs from the garden:  chives, rosemary, and parsley.  The rosemary is a great addition.  Otherwise, you can do any variety of dried or fresh herbs.  Yesterday I used a pasta sprinkle which consists of basil, oregano, garlic and thyme.  Penzey's mural of flavors would probably be great too and the lemon peel (and citric acid?) in it is reminiscent of salt.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Food logs

I joined the Engine 2 Extra website and they started a 28 day challenge on Sunday.     I decided to join at the "Fire Chief" level.   I love that--reminds me of being a kid.   Anyway, they suggest tracking your food logs on the blog on their website.  Let's see if I can copy and paste here:
My meals are similar to yesterday and will be similar again tomorrow because I'll be gone again until late in the evening.  However, I love this stuff so it's no problem.   These are my quick go-to foods.
B:  oat/corn grits/buckwheat cooked with some almond milk, water, 1/2 banana, 1 tsp ground flaxseeds, and cinnamon
L:  Jeff Novick curry burger wrapped in collard greens (I call it a collard wrap) with tomatoes and a dollop of home-made soy yogurt;  Jeff Novick potato fries seasoned with cajun seasoning (I used Happy Herbivore's recipe for making your own salt-free and in my case, less hot, mixture!) and topped with another dollop of home-made soy yogurt; salad (lettuce, red bell pepper) topped with 1 tsp chia seeds and mango vinegar.  
D:  1 small baked, then smashed butternut squash, 1/2 banana, splash of almond milk + 1/2 cup chickpeas smashed in, and cinnamon; bowl of cooked collards and onion; same salad as lunch.
Snack:   carrots, sugar snap peas
here's my lunch (salad not shown but see dinner):
Here's my dinner (cooked collards not shown):
Oh, I eat a lot of collards because they are abundant in my garden.  :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Here was a fun meal from last week.  This was the first time I've had pasta in about 4 years.  If you think I'm crazy, you are probably right.  But aren't the crazy people the most interesting ones in your life?   Be grateful for us!  

Here's the pasta I used--it's a brown rice penne, and I didn't notice that it tasted any different from the usual but then it has been 4-5 years since I ate pasta...

I just cooked up summer veggies from the fridge:  patty pan squash, sweet red frying pepper (like a red bell pepper), onion, mushrooms, and fresh basil.   I enjoyed it!

my favorite breakfast now

This breakfast is comfort food to me.  I have southern roots and I used to love grits and cream of wheat.  This is reminiscent of both.  Ahead of time, I mix equal parts of buckwheat (medium cut), corn grits, and oat bran into a bowl and mix that up and store it in the fridge.

Then each morning I take out 1/4-1/3 cup depending on how hungry I am, add 1/4 cup soy or almond milk (unsweetened) and twice the amount of water as the cereal.  I also add 1 tsp of chia seeds and, occasionally, 1 tsp of maple syrup.  It's delicious without them also.   Note:  I just bought some almond milk and will probably start using that instead of soy milk since I use soy milk in my soy yogurt and want some variety.

 I stir everything up in my bowl, microwave for 2 minutes, stir again, and then go do something else for 10 or more minutes.  I usually make house-mate's smoothie and go get the paper and nibble on spinach since I use that in the smoothie.  Then I probably will add a little more water, microwave for another minute, add a little fruit if you want (1/2 banana, or 1/4 cup blueberries); let cool some, and then enjoy eating it.

Today I tried an experiment by trying to make waffles out of this.  It was a pretty hilarious disaster because I don't know how to use a waffle iron, but I think there is hope for this.  I will keep experimenting and report when I get something good.  I also tried adding a tsp of cocoa powder to this and it was very good too!

Hi there

It's been two weeks since my last post.   I've been meaning to post and have taken lots of pictures of food.  I went on a long weekend vacation last week.  It gave me the opportunity to test-drive some new vacation food prep ideas, such as Jeff Novick's fast food meals--I think he calls them SNAP.  I just googled that and found a link:  A Simple and Nutritious Plan (SNAP).  He gives lots of examples in his Fast Food video.  I'm going to watch that again this week to prepare for my upcoming longer vacation in September.  Anyway, I tried this out on vacation and it was indeed a snap.  That plus microwaving potatoes plus having my favorite cereal for breakfast took care of me easily.  Here's an example of one:

The ingredients were a can of chickpeas, a can of tomatoes, some frozen corn, frozen peas and carrots and a couple of containers of already-made brown rice.  This is the ideal meal when traveling.  The grocery store I went to did not have a great produce section, but you can always from frozen veggies in a grocery store.   I tried some different seasoning mixes--Mexican was good.  Next time I will bring several more and experiment more with them.

Here they are mixed into two bowls
 then I put them in 4 smaller containers for lunch and dinner for a couple of days, along with a potato.  The potato was more of a floater to hold me over if a meal was late or if I wanted some energy before mountain biking--it's a great easy to eat snack food.  I love plain potatoes.  Sometimes I cut it up and add some parsley, other seasoning (mexican etc) and soy yogurt, other times just eat it plain.

Fall is in the air and my food choices are in transition too.  I've just started eating butternut squash and boy is it good!   We're getting local apples and cabbage.  Fresh sweet corn will be leaving us.  Here's an example of my transition meal from lunch today:

that's cabbage an apple and cinnamon at top left, boiled in a little water.  Top right is 1/2 baked butternut squash mashed up with 1/3 cup almond milk and cinnamon.  and of course sweet corn.  It was  delicious.

The collards in my garden are very healthy and the fear of winter is making me want to eat a bunch of collard wraps this week (eat them fresh that is, rather than frozen from my freezer in winter).  So I made up some Jeff Novick burgers today (the curry one) and will make some white bean red pepper hummus tomorrow, and I have some cooked brown rice on hand, and I'm making a batch of soy yogurt, and  I'll have some other fresh veggies to add to make some nice collard wraps all week long!   and I'll make some potatoes and butternut squash and my favorite cereal for breakfast.  I'll post about that next...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

weekend food prep

Housemate has canned about 48 pints of tomatoes so far.  This week two of them didn't seal so I had some tomatoes to use up.  I decided to make a chili.  You can find the recipe at this link, scroll down to the third recipe.  I like it.  Here is the pot cooked up:

I cooked up a batch of brown and forbidden rice and combined the chili and rice into bowls to freeze for later.  I also wanted to try it with polenta.  So I cooked up some polenta (corn grits):  1/4 cup dry + about 2/3 cups water.  I heated that in the microwave for 2 minutes then let it sit for about 10 minutes.  it got nice and thick.  I divided it into 2 servings with the chili.  

I harvested a bunch of collards and kale from the garden.  Here are four large bags ready to freeze.

I cooked up some greens, onion and tomato for a daily serving in my breakfast (or elsewhere) next week.   and froze those in individual servings.

Last week's food

It was more of the same but I haven't got tired of it yet.

Monday lunch was a leftover "burger" from our cookout, corn on the cob, green beans and carrots, and sliced tomato.  The burger is topped with salt-free mustard, cucumber and tomato.  My drink is water that the carrots and beans were cooked in.  I admit, that's going a little far but it tastes pretty good.

The weather turned cooler and I started panicking about summer and the corn season ending, so I started eating 2 ears of corn!  I don't get it every day so it probably evens out.  Here it is served with some broccoli, and a small baked potato topped with parsley and home-made soy yogurt.

This time the corn was served with beans, sliced tomatoes and baked kohlrabi (sliced).

Today I cooked up some okra (from the farmer's market, a rare treat here), tomato (from the garden), and a cut up potato (baked last night), and a little parsley and basil.  very good.

Breakfast had a new twist this week.  I combined oat bran, buckwheat and corn grits in equal amounts, cooked that up (1/4 cup dry), and added in the greens I made the previous weekend (kale, eggplant, tomato).  I like this.

My weekend breakfasts were treats from the farmer's market.   Saturday it was melon (like a cantaloupe), blueberries and soy yogurt:

Sunday it was a peach, blueberries, and soy yogurt:

Dinners were usually beans and rice (from last weekend's food prep), a salad, maybe a small potato.

On the bad behavior side, I overate blueberries and carrots this weekend.   You might think that would be hard to do, but I succeeded.  The carrots were from the farmer's market and were very sweet.   Having eaten them all, the temptation is gone now.  sigh.