Saturday, December 27, 2014

Easy and good mushroom stroganoff

This started as a simple breakfast dish, and only got a little more complicated as I improved it.  It takes about 10 minutes to prepare and to me, tastes heavenly.

Ingredients for one person's breakfast (I measured today just for you):
~4 oz mushrooms
~6 oz spinach and/or arugula
4 oz soy yogurt
a little less than 1/4 tsp onion powder
a little less than1/4 tsp garlic powder
rounded (i.e., a little more than) 1/2 tsp oregano
rounded 1/2 tsp tarragon
rounded 1/4 tsp dill
rounded 1/2 tsp paprika

combine the mushrooms and spices and 1/2 cup water and cook a few minutes.  Add the spinach and arugula and cook a few more minutes until they are to desired consistency.  Add water as needed, or let it burn off as needed.  Add in the soy yogurt last and serve.

Note:  if you don't mind it taking 20 minutes to prepare, use real onion and garlic, chop and cook up at the beginning with the mushrooms.

Beet Chickpea Salad

This is inspired Dr. Fuhrman's Greek Chickpea Salad, but modified so much I think I can call it my own.  Plus I mainly just want to remember what I did which is why I'm posting here.  I modified it because I don't like store-bought tomatoes in winter, and I wasn't in the mood for a potato, and I was in the mood for a beet, and wasn't in the mood for nuts, and other random reasons.

~2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 can is fine
1 beet, chopped and steamed
1-2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1 red bell pepper
2 Tbsp spicy pecan or other flavored vinegar
1 large granny smith apple or 2 small-medium
chopped cilantro
a head of lettuce chopped

Combine everything except the lettuce.  serve the mixture on top of lettuce.   I'll try to remember to snap a picture tomorrow when I eat another serving.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cold Slaw

That's what I thought it was called when I was a kid.

I made a recipe today from the Fuhrman Forums called Super Slaw.  I modified it enough that I hope it's printable here--that's why I'm posting, so I don't forget what I did.  It's not that different from what I've made before here.  I can't find my more recent inventions which are much simpler (cabbage, carrots, orange juice and chia seeds).    I didn't measure anything so these quantities can vary by a factor of 2.  I just went by taste.

2-3 ripe pears or apples or some of each
3-4 cups shredded carrots
3-4 cups shredded cabbage
1/2-1 cup soy yogurt
1/2 cup currants or raisins
1 Tbsp spicy pecan vinegar
1 Tbsp riesling raisin vinegar
2 medjool dates--soak in the soy yogurt for a while if you think of it and they will soften up
1/4 cup toasted pecans (I cooked them in an initially unheated oven with the temp set at 350 for 10 minutes--half that time they probably weren't even warm).

Shred the apples, carrots and cabbage in a food processor or buy them already shredded.  Add the currants.  Combine the soy yogurt, dates, and vinegar in a blender and blend until smooth.  Take a taste of this--it's yummy.  Combine with the rest of the salad and add the pecans.  Super good.

"Pumpkin Pie" ice cream (without the pumpkin)

This was my favorite holiday treat this year.  The two things I miss most from the SAD world are pumpkin pie and peanut butter cups.  But I think I have a good substitute for both (the latter is still in my mind).  I made a half-recipe of StraightUPFood's Pumpkin Pie and made it into muffins with the crust at the bottom.  It was good, and next time I'd make a quarter recipe since I'm the only one to eat it.  Hmm, I wonder if it would be better with the butternut squash too.  Pumpkin is not very tasty on its own.

I like this ice cream even better than the pumpkin pie and it's less calorie-rich.  It was inspired by Carol on the Fuhrman forums.

4 oz frozen cooked butternut squash (I baked mine)
1 frozen banana
1 medjool date
1/2 oz walnuts
1/2 cup soy milk
1 tsp vanilla or scrape in some vanilla bean
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (it was actually good without)

Put it all into a high-powered blender.   Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the frozen stuff isn't super hard.  Then blend up.  you might have to walk away again for a few minutes and let it sit (blender off) and thaw some more.  Blend it up nice and smooth.  It tastes like the decadent pumpkin pie frozen custard that I used to get.

Note:  If you don't have a high-powered blender, you could try making it in a food processor.  Or in a low-powered blender add more soy milk and another date and a little more pumpkin pie spice and call it a milkshake.

Here are the ingredients in the blender:

I used vanilla bean which you can see as the black specks.

Here's 1 yummy serving (makes 2 and I eat them both for a meal).

Friday, December 12, 2014

Dec. 12 food

B:   banana and 2 walnuts.  cooked mushrooms and spinach.  raw carrot and kohlabi slices.  some frozen grapes.

L:  at a friend’s house (more below).  lentils and roasted cauliflower on soba noodles topped with a tahini miso sauce.   cookie and small orange.

D:  big salad with lettuce, grapefruit pieces, and spicy pecan vinegar.  sliced carrots and kohlrabi while making the salad. 1 flax cracker.  Dessert was a small bowl of frozen blueberries, cherries, and pomegranate seeds and soy yogurt.

E:  Monkey Bar Gym.  and a 30 minute walk outside.

1.  I don’t always eat that for breakfast, just happen to have some good bananas right now.
2.  A group of 2 friends and I started up a “Dharma Friends of Animals” group and we’re having our first meeting (a potluck) on Sunday.  We had lunch at Lynn’s to plan the meeting.  We’re all vegans.  I came out to Lynn a few weeks ago and said I don’t like salt, oil and sugar in my food.  She loves to cook so thought it would be a fun challenge.  The meal was good and only had a little sodium in it, from the miso, and a little maple syrup in the cookie (I forget that people don’t think of that as sugar).  The fat was from almond and tahini.  The cookie wasn’t very sweet so I think the amount of sugar was acceptable—and it tasted better too.  Funnily enough though, I liked the little orange even more!  It was bursting with flavor.  For the potluck, I will have to exercise willpower and not eat all the decadent vegan food.  They are bringing moussaka and sweet potato pie (and probably vegan ice cream and whipped cream) and will have a bunch of fancy vegan cheeses and crackers.  None of that will fit in with ETL guidelines.  I’m going to bring the Greek chickpea salad.  I think I’ll bring some fruit salad too to keep me away from the pie.  ooh, and some yogurt.
3.  I made the sesame flax crackers today and they were good!  thanks Kathy and Claudia for the suggestion!
4.  I wasn’t that hungry for dinner.   Our lunch serving probably had a cup of noodles and a cup of lentils.  So salad was enough for dinner.  I love the frozen berries and yogurt!
5.  At the gym, today was the “body power” class, which is held on MWF.  This is the one that scares me because of my back.  I can feel the exercises (esp. with the kettle balls) on my back during class, but so far, the sensation goes away after a few hours.  I’m hoping that building up strength and losing weight will fix the problem.  My back is probably the biggest threat to my planned backpacking trip next Fall.  Well, that and not eating right.  They are kind of related.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dec 11 food logs

Breakfast:  banana and 2 walnuts.  cooked mushrooms and spinach. 3 raw carrots.

lunch.  1 raw carrot.  1/4 small butternut squash (cooked yesterday), BBQ beans and greens (cooked yesterday), salad with dressing from yesterday (orange, mango, grape, seeds).  frozen grapes for dessert.

Dinner.  1/4 small butternut squash, BBQ beans and greens, salad and dressing.  dessert:  frozen cherries and blueberries with soy yogurt.

Exercise:  1 hour class at the Monkey Bar gym (torture).

1.  It was an easy food prep day since everything was made yesterday.  I just had to make the salad (lettuce and orange bell pepper and a little raw red onion).
2. This time of year you can get fresh walnuts in the shell.  I get them raw from and they are the best I’ve ever tasted.   
3.  I don’t like flax seed.  It slimes everything.  But I’m open to suggestions if anyone has any.  In the meantime, I decided to try out some hemp seeds in the shell from  They are really crunchy and good toasted.  They are probably an acquired taste because of the crunchy shell but I like them.  I just eat them alone.  1 Tbsp of the hemp seeds has only about 1/2 the omega-3 fats as 1 Tbsp of flaxseed.  I’m happy to eat 2 Tbsp.  I also have the shelled hemp seeds, aka, hemp hearts.  Those are good blended into milks and creams for recipes—I use them instead of cashews.  
4.  A local farm here specializes in growing carrots and supplies my co-op with fresh carrots from about Sept. - Mar.  They are really good so I eat a lot of them.  I should rename myself the carrot lady.  When I saw my relatives a few weeks ago they were alarmed by my orange hands and feet.  I told them I was alarmed by their pale hands and feet.

5.  the frozen berries and yogurt are fun because they yogurt freezes.  I don’t know why that is fun but it is.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

6 week plan baby!

I rejoined the Fuhrman forums and started a journal today for my 6-week plan.  As I said there I'm going to keep doing it until I lose my 21 lbs.  And then keep doing it afterwards because it has everything I want to eat on it.

I don't think I'll have the energy to post my meals in both places.  But I did today:

Breakfast:   two walnuts and a banana.  I was hungry as I didn't eat until after my yoga class and grocery shopping

Steamed mushrooms and spinach.  I love this.  It tastes salty to me.  According to cronometer the spinach only has 89 mg of salt in it.  It tastes like more. 

I also ate some frozen grapes.

Lunch:  I snacked on raw carrots and a few more of those grapes while preparing BBQ beans and greens from Plant based katie.  I used carrot and celery juice so I only put in one big medjool date instead of 5 in the recipe.   I ate a big bowl of the beans.


I made a really good salad dressing from a couple of small mandarin oranges, and some frozen mango and grapes (let them thaw a bit), and sesame and hemp seeds and vinegar.  The only problem is, it seemed like a lot of fruit went into that dressing.  I didn't measure or count up the calories, but it would certainly use up my allotment of fruit for a meal.  I might rather have some fruit for dessert than in my salad dressing.  so I may just go with the flavored vinegars as my dressing at least some of the time.

I cooked up a small butternut squash and had half of that with my beans for dinner and a little soy yogurt.

Exercise:   yoga class.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Today I brought up the juicer from the basement after 3 years or so.  I find this humorous.  I thought I had given up on juicing carrots, though I make it a policy to never say never.

I juiced a pound of carrots and half a head of celery.   I put that in my beans to cook them.  This is a stealth way to get salt in your food!   According to cronometer, 1 cup of celery juice has 340 mg of sodium.  and it did have a taste of salt in it and it was good.  (My beans usually last 3 days so this is an acceptable amount of extra sodium).  I was going to cook up some eggplant but my eggplant wasn't good, so I just went with a bunch of collards and kale from the freezer (summer garden produce!), and onions and tomatoes and mushrooms.  I blended the tomatoes to make it creamy.   It was good and very Fuhrmanesque.  And housemate even wanted some because it didn't have anything she doesn't like in it.

Then I made a dressing I've been thinking about for a few days since I bought some frozen mango.  This has 2 sumo oranges (small and easy to peel and no seeds!), mango, 1 Tbsp sesame seeds, and 2 Tbsp hemp hearts.  I added enough mangos so that when blended it made about 18 oz.

That fits nicely into 3 6-oz bell jars for three days worth of dressing.  It's creamy and delicious.

Oh, and this is really funny.  I am sad to throw out carrot pulp but I also don't want to eat gross things.  I tasted it and was surprised that it still had some sweetness so I don't consider that gross.  I thought okay how about flax crackers.  I dislike flax seed, not the taste, but how it makes everything I put it on gooey.  so I hardly ever eat it, even though it's highly recommended.  I thought I'd give this a try.  I mixed the carrot pulp with 3 Tbsp of ground flax seeds and one date.  I made three patties and baked them in the oven (350 for 30 minutes).   I thought it tasted good.  It could be a good pre-exercise food since I am hungry then but don't want to eat much.  I'll see how I like it tomorrow and the next day.  

food log following ETL

Here is a day of logging food following Dr. Fuhrman's 6 week plan (6WP) outlined in his Eat to Live (ETL) book (click to enlarge).

The logs from a few posts ago were McDougall's Maximum Weight Loss (MWL) plan.   Here was another.

In today's log, I separated the foods into the way Fuhrman recommends:  about 1 lb of raw veggies, 1 lb of cooked, 1 oz of nuts and seeds, 1 cup of starch.   But the foods were actually combined into meals.  For example, I made a mushroom stroganoff (very good!) with lots of the cooked veggies and yogurt with chia seed in it--that thickens it up and gives me some omega-3.   The squash, banana, walnuts and a splash of soy milk went into a pudding that was delicious.   The oranges and juice and hemp seed and sesame went into a salad dressing for a salad, also delicious.  I finally have a taste for that sesame flavor--used to hate it.

So which one do I like better, the Fuhrman 6WP or the MWL?  I never got over my taste for fat so the 6WP wins for me.   The 6WP day was 15% fat and the MWL day was 6% (7.5% on the day I included chia seeds).   I also like the salad dressing way better than any non-fat I've tried--in fact, I just stopped using salad dressing with MWL.   The low-fat guys say fat is an addiction and you'll lose your taste in a few months.  I never lasted more than a month on MWL but I did get tired of the starches--literally, they make me groggy when I eat too many.  Also most of the McDougall/Esselstyn meals require salt to make them taste good.  I really developed a taste for salt following these guys.   I didn't allow it most of the time but I craved it and went off plan to get it--not their fault of course.

So I'm considering drinking the Fuhrman carrot juice again--literally, as I am thinking of making some tomorrow to go in my next creation, haha.

Here is my current thinking:  My problem the last few years has been going off plan way too much.  I went off plan for a dose of salt, sugar and fat, I think.  If my diet has some of all of it and it tastes good, why should I go off plan?   Fuhrman lets you have fat (nuts, seeds, avocados, soy), and sugar  (dried fruit), and about 300 mg of added sodium above what's in natural foods.   So maybe, I'll allow a little dose of added sodium too.  I think I'll give the 6WP a try and see if I can stick with it.  that's the key is sticking with it!