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:  http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2012/09/savory-lentil-mushroom-burgers.html
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.  :)