Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kale Omelette

I am not opposed to eating eggs. I don't eat them nearly as much as I used to. In fact this is the first time I have eaten eggs in over a month. But I couldn't resist. After days of steel cut oats with fruits to sweeten it or fruitie smoothies, I crave something savory.

I went in the garden and grabbed a few leaves of kale. You could use chard or spinach. Just chop it up. How much, you ask? However much you want. No need to measure. I also thought some of the Ho Farms tomatoes that I puchased at the KCC Farmer's Market last weekend would taste fabulous in this omelette.

No oil needed. I put a small amount of water in the pan, added chopped garlic (about 3) and the kale and just let it water saute for a few minutes. Then I added the tomatoes and soon after that, the eggs. I used 3 egg whites and 2 whole eggs. For seasoning I used Mrs. Dash and freshly ground pepper. Since I didn't use any oil in the pan the eggs did stick. But because I used a nonstick pan it wasn't such a difficult clean up. Definitely worth not having to deal with the extra calories.

It seriously hit the spot. Savory delish.
Kale and swiss chard, fresh from my garden box

These were the cutest little tomatoes, each one a different taste

Definitely worth it

Chop up your greens

Eggs just added. No oil in pan. Just a little water.

Finished product plated

Oh so delicious

Monday, May 30, 2011

Protein

I don't consider myself vegetarian or vegan. I am choosing to eat at least 90% of my diet as plant based (fruits, veggies, beans, nuts). Biggest question I get from people? Where do I get my protein.

I spend almost all my downtime (when I'm not watching the early morning news or Grey's Anatomy) reading up on living a plant strong lifestyle. I recently read an interview between Jackie (of Peer Trainer) and Rip Esselstyn (Engine 2 Diet). And my best takeaway is this:

Basically, if you want to go to the mother source, the mother source of vitamins, of minerals, for protein, the essential amino acids, you want to go straight to plants because, basically, like the lion gets his protein from the antelope which gets it from the grass and the greens. And so, the lion's getting a recycled form of animal protein from the plants. So, just go right to the mother source. Meat is missing all kinds of stuff. That's the thing that people don't realize. It has no carbohydrates. Our primary fuels as human beings are carbohydrates. Our brains run off glucose. Our brains basically burn 500 calories of glucose a day, and meat also doesn't have water. It doesn't have fiber. It's missing about three vitamins. It has no phytochemicals. So, meat is missing all kinds of stuff. And then, the protein that it has is an acidic forming type of protein that has such a high biological value that it turns on cancers and tumors. It is an incredible inflammatory agent, so it inflames everything in the body, and it leaches calcium from the bones because it has such a high acidic kind of level in the body. And our bodies don't like being in that acid state that it cannibalizes your bones of the calcium which is a great alkalizing agent in order to buffer that acid load. So from a protein perspective, your best source of dietary protein comes from plants. It's the mother source. Your best source of absorbable or retainable calcium comes from plants. Think about it. Where does the cow get his calcium from? He gets it from the greens.

Take that one to the bank.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Come and Get It

If You Want It, Here It Is, Come and Get it...

If you're old like me, the title alone will ring a bell and take you back to an era long ago. The phrase (and line in the lyrics to the song of the same name) is taking on a whole different meaning to me now.

What do you want? Where is it? Are you going to get it?

Are you concerned about the way you eat? Why are you exercising? What is your priority? Are you meeting your goals?

Bottom line: If you want something bad enough, you can make it happen. If you want to buy something, you'll find the money to get it. Even drug addicts have that figured out. If you want to learn a particular skill badly enough, you'll figure out a way to learn it.  If you want to get somewhere, you'll find the means to get there. When you want something bad enough, you will do what it takes to get it. You can drive through the poorest part of town. There are satellite dishes on the roofs of the homes. They find the means to get something they value. You can stroll through areas populated by the homeless.  They have cell phones. It's a priority for them.

Ask yourself what your priorities really are. For many, a big priority is their kids. They may go to work every single day, rain or shine, do their job to the best of their abilities, but once a child is sick, there is no problem calling in sick for the day to take care of a loved one. Wanna go out on a hot date but you have other commitments? I bet you'll find a way to rearrange your schedule to accommodate a great night on the town.

If your priority is to exercise to get in shape or to better your health, and if it is a high priority, when you're exercising, whether it's Zumba or walking or kickboxing, you'll give it your all. None of the dillydallying around that you might see others do. Sure, you may not be at 100% like that cutie girl in the front row with the hot outfit and tight abs. But it's your all. Not hers.

If it's a priority, you're gonna go and get it. You're gonna give it your all. Because, bottom line, if you want it bad enough, you'll make it happen.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mint Chocolate Chip Kale Smoothie

I thought about not putting the word kale in the title but I think that's what attracts me to this smoothie. Oh. And I'm feeling like a stalker because this recipe, like the previous, comes from Chef AJ, but this time it comes from the website of her partner in HEALTH, Julieanna Hever, the plant-based dietician. They are incredible dynamic duo and I love watching their youtubes and visiting Julieanna's blog.

Click here to see Chef AJ and Julieanna make the smoothie and get the ingredients. I think it's my new favorite. The only difference is that I added a 1/2 tablespoon of unsweetened cacao powder. But the chocolate nibs made all the difference.
Dates, soy milk (Chef AJ did hers with pistachio milk but I had none), blender w/ kale & dates inside

I added the mint and there's my homemade vanilla extract on the right


Added some cacao powder at the end

Enough to feed three hungry monkeys and give someone else a taste of goodness

Grilled Veggies

I adore grilled veggies. Usually, when grilling, I put olive oil, salt and pepper on my veggies and definitely when it's done I slather the butter on the corn. This time, I did absolutely nothing. I just sliced. And peeled down the husks on the corn. My friend marinated the portabellos in balsamic vinegar and olive oil but I guess I could live with that.

I love grilled vegetables. If they are on the menu I can eat just that. And that's exactly what I did at this barbecue.

No Oil Hummus

I've written previously about Chef AJ. She's great. I want to be like her. Except I'm too scared to cut my hair short. But in every other way, including her charm on her youtubes videos. This recipe comes directly from her (BEST COOKBOOK EVER) book, Unprocessed.
EASY HUMMUS

Ingredients
1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans
juice and zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic (or more...I think I used more like 6)
pinch of cumin

Method
Drain beans, reserve liquid. In a food processor fitted with the "S" blade process all ingredients until creamy and smooth, adding as much of the liquid as necessary to achieve the desired texture. Chill.

Chef AJ suggests adding different ingredients for variations such as fresh herbs (cilantro or parsley), scallions, roasted red peppers. You can also sub out cannellini beans for the garbanzo.

I made this and as a former regular hummus maker (read into this: TONS OF OLIVE OIL), I can honestly tell you that it tastes GREAT! I seriously don't know what the difference is in taste other than it just feels better when I'm eating it (using my sliced cucumbers or bell peppers pieces) knowing that I am not consuming unnecessary calories through all the oil consumption.

If you try it, leave me a comment, especially if you try one of the variations!




Wednesday, May 25, 2011

White Bean Burger

A few weeks ago, my dear friend, Andrea Lependu, blogged right here on her white bean burger. I finally got a chance to make it myself and just thought I'd post the pics so you can start drooling. Start now.





Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sweet Potato Chips

Since embarking on a healthy eating lifestyle, focusing on plant based foods, I have been missing the crunchiness of potato chips. It is one of those "you can't eat just one". So I know that when someone offers me a bite I say no because a bite is physically impossible for me. I would want to consume the entire bag. Seriously.

I have been searching for a healthy alternative, something that is not fried in oil and does not contain any preservatives and doesn't cost an arm AND a leg. At our local farmer's market I can get about 4 nice sized Okinawan sweet potatoes (beautiful purple I can't resist). I experimented by using a mandoline to thinly slice the potatoes. For half the batch I did about 1/8 inch and baked it soft. For the other half I sliced them even thinner, more like a chip. I baked those crispy. It was worth it. Both of them. The crispy ones were thin enough to give me the crunch I needed. The soft ones were a great snack that satisfied any hunger I might have between meals. The thicker crispy ones (batch #1 that I forgot about) were too thick as a crispy chip and felt like I could break a tooth.

I put them on parchment so I wouldn't have to Pam the baking pan. I baked them at 325 degrees for about 20+ minutes. I tested them after the first 10 minutes and then every 5 minutes after that. Next time I might sprinkle some truffle salt over them after baking or maybe some dash before baking. Or some curry powder!




Yesterday's Meals

Breakfast (7:30 am) - Coffee, four clementines
Snack (10:15 am) - four more clementines
10:25 am - trying to fight off the urge to go to the workroom and consume the four remaining cookies I have been eyeing all morning.
Lunch - Beef broth (one of my few meat indulgences), lettuce, tomatoes w/ red onion,
Snack - 1/2 veggie wrap
Snack. Again - 1 lb. cherries and 5 pieces of brown rice california sushi from Safeway
Dinner - Veggie burger topped with mushrooms and cucumbers
Fail - 1 Chinese almond cookie. I finally took the tin to the teacher workroom hoping "outta sight, outta mind" will work.
Yay - Reminded myself how much I love cherries and even though they are over $5.00 a pound, it is a worth it splurge. Friend at work hid the chocolate chip mac nut cookies that I have been coveting. I told him that if I ever enter a 12 step program, I would ask him to be my sponsor.
Aha - I think I need to give up the coffee and only drink it on special occasions or once a week. I am beginning to think that it is affecting my mood swings. I also need to bring raw cashews to work to hold me over in times of need.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Today's Meal

So I'm still in the saddle. And now I am holding myself accountable to WRITE DOWN everything I eat/ate in a day.

Yesterday's breakfast - 1 cup of coffee and Coach's oats (from Costco, microwaveable, but note to YOU and ME: use a big bowl, even if it's only 1/3 cup oats to 1 cup of water. It always overflows in the microwave. I never learn my lesson on this one)
Yesterday's lunch - 1 giant bowl of miso soup (w/ tofu and egg though I don't normally do eggs, I am not opposed to them, especially in miso soup), 1 small piece of last night's vegan enchilada (not worth blogging about which is why there is so much leftover...I think I'll be eating it tonight and tomorrow, too!), some baked sweet potato (definitely something to blog about, maybe tomorrow), and some dried pineapple (just plain old pineapple sliced thin and dehydrated from our Hilo Farmer's Market--it seriously tastes like fruit rollup ala no preservatives)
Yesterday's FAIL - I don't know what came over me. I think it's hormonal. Someone brought in a most delicious bag of chocolate chip mac nut cookies and I ate 3. Yup. 3. That's my confession.
Yesterday's YAY - My carpool driver stopped at Starbucks on the way home. I opted for NOTHING. I had a previously frozen green chai smoothie. That sufficed. I felt good. By the way, it freezes really well. Tasted as fresh as the day I made it. Froze it in a canning jar.
Yesterday's dinner - Veggie wrap (using 100% whole wheat tortilla wraps from Costco) which included romaine lettuce, roasted bell pepper, roasted eggplant, sliced cucumber, salsa. I ate 2. And they were so fat I had to vice grip it with my hand and NEVER let go until the last bite. I ate two wraps. And I think I said that I could eat that every single evening this entire week. It was THAT good.
Yesterday's Snacks - Some grapes, pear, clementines

Yesterday's Lessons
  1. I am suffering from cravings and I just have to get over it. With the help of my family I think I can do it. I asked my daughter to grab me a piece of dark chocolate and she absolutely refused and might have said something about having to hurt me if I went to get it on my own.
  2. I think I'm hungry but I'm really not. I just need to get over it. Healthy Girl's Kitchen has a great post that is helping me on this.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Back on the Saddle

I was reading one of my favorite blogs this morning, Healthy Girl's Kitchen, and I swear I felt like she was watching me from afar. Yesterday was the first time since I started eating healthy (2/1/2011) that I indulged so drastically. I had 2 coffee milk chocolate candies (the best I have ever tasted, straight from Maui), one almond cookie (straight from Chinatown in SF), and half of a peanut butter brownie dipped in milk chocolate (from my favorite go to chocolate store, Big Island Candies). I don't know what came over me. And this was all between 12 - 3:30 pm. Fortunately, I got right back in the proverbial saddle and went on my nutritarian way. But it was scary.
Every since I embarked on this new eating lifestyle I swear my cravings have virtually diminished. But lately it has been rearing its ugly head and gone straight to my mouth. Reading Healthy Girl's Kitchen helped fortify my efforts. I have spent way too much time trying to be an eating perfectionist to no avail. And now I know, after all these years, that I don't have to be perfect, not in my eating or any other part of my life. And when I'm in a situation where I have to ponder my next move (keep on indulging or get back in the saddle) I think about the "road" I hope my own children would take. And whatever THAT road might be is where I take myself. I only want the best for them.

Guest Blogger - Andrea Lependu

The following scrumptious recipe for white bean burger comes all the way from TAHITI! I am proud to present a dear friend of mine, and fellow mom and lover of all things in the kitchen, Andrea Lependu. I can't even start to tell you about how I feel about her. I'll cry. I'll just say she inspires me in everyway and her heart is made of pure love. And she puts me to SHAME in the kitchen. Her husband and her kids worship the ground she walks on. And justifiably so. And so do I.

Here is a picture of Andrea (second from right). Two of our Wai'anae gang are just arriving (at the two ends) and two of us are returning to Hawai'i

Andrea, her wonderful husband, Andrew, and their five incredible children
So my husband an I are always looking for a good hamburger. In fact most of our lunch dates involved looking for the ultimate burger which was not so good on our waist lines. Since we've been together we have gained triple digits on our really bad eating habits. This past February I went back to Hawai'i for a quick visit and met up with some good friends. One of those friends being Ms. Liana and she looked fabulous. Out of curiosity I asked her what she was doing and she had informed me about a plant based lifestyle change. I told her I was very interested. I mean she looked fantastic which is testimony enough for me that it must be a good thing. The only problem with going plant based is the burgers suck. So since my husband was joining me on this life changing experience it was my quest to find a really good vegan burger recipe because my burger lunch dates with him is my once a week favorite thing to do. So I finally found a great recipe White bean burger and it was fantastic. Even my kids gobbled it up. I ate mine with dijon mustard and roasted pepper hummus topped with lettuce and tomatoes, of course. You can top the burger with whatever you choose or just eat it plain. It is really that good. Hope you enjoy it! As they say here in Tahiti,  Ta ma'a maita'i or Bon appetit (Good eating).

White Bean Burger
(This recipe comes from thevegannurse.com)

2 T oil - plus more for pan frying
1 cup red onion – diced small to medium size pieces
1/8 cup sliced black olives – optional
2 T finely chopped garlic
1 cup fresh and finely chopped mushrooms – fresh only, not canned
1 cup diced bell peppers – yellow, red or orange – sometimes I mix the colors
½ cup finely shaved carrot – I use the vegetable peeler and shave and then I cut the shavings into smaller pieces
3 T finely chopped flat leaf parsley
pepper and salt to taste
½ to 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
½ tsp coriander- optional
¼ – ½ tsp cumin - optional

Heat a pan to medium-high heat and add all of the above vegetables and garlic, turn down heat and allow the vegetables to sweat until the onions are translucent, approximately 10 minutes. Make sure to keep the heat low as you do not want the garlic to burn and turn bitter. Toward the end add the pepper and salt, paprika, parsley, cumin and coriander. Stir well.

While the vegetables are sweating away in the pan, set up a food processor( if you do not have a food processor just use a potato masher and mash really well)
2 – 15 oz cans cannellini beans – rinse and drain very well
1 – 15 oz can chickpeas – rinse and drain well
½ cup cooked brown rice
1 cup old fashioned oats - uncooked

Add the beans and chick peas to the food processor and mix well until nicely mashed. Add the brown rice and oats and pulse several times until well blended.
Add the sauteed vegetables/seasonings and pulse a few more times.
Check out the mixture and add bread crumbs ¼ cup at the time. You want a nice mixture that stays together well. This is also a great time to do a taste test and add more seasonings if needed.

Allow the dough to rest for about 10 minutes and then form into patties. I usually make some of the patties thick for dinner type meals and then I also make some thinner patties that are great for a sandwich at lunch time.
Once all the patties are formed, add a small amount of oil to a frying pan and heat up on low to medium-high heat. Cook the patties until they are a golden brown color about 305 minutes on each side.
These burger patties freeze quite well. Just wrap them individually and when ready to eat either heat in a pan or in the oven.

*** I used cilantro instead and dropped the coriander instead of using parsley and no salt or oil... :O) Enjoy!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Strawberry Sorbet

After you make this strawberry sorbet, I promise you will never have to buy frozen strawberry sorbet again. It was that good. The original recipe, found on the blog, MyWholeDeal.com, is shown below. Know, however, that I made a few modifications, mostly because, again, I didn't have all the ingredients. Here are my changes: In addition to strawberries (I didn't have a full 2 cups so I needed other fruit) I added some frozen cherries. I almost added some frozen fresh pineapple but I figured I had enough fruits. I'll try the pineapple another time. I used soy milk and orange juice (fresh squeeze that I froze in ice cube tray) and agave. And I completely forgot the vanilla extract. I started by using the food processor. Not a good idea. Switched everything to my Vita Mix. Much better.

Trust me. You will not regret it.


INGREDIENTS:

- 2 cups strawberries, frozen
- 1/4-1/2 cup almond milk, or your favourite non-dairy milk
- 1-2 tbs  orange juice concentrate OR agave nectar, see notes
- 1 tsp  vanilla extract

METHOD:

1. Put everything in your food processor or blender and process until silky smooth and sorbet-y, adding a teeny bit more almond milk if necessary. Garnish with sliced fresh strawberries, chiffonaded mint leaves  or mini vegan chocolate chips, if you’re feelin’ fancy.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

California Veggie Burgers


I usually make my dishes from scratch but I’m always on the lookout for something quick and easy, too, for those days when I just don’t have it in me to be creative AND spend lots of time in the kitchen.  In my make believe mind this usually happens on a weeknight when I get home late and am pooped. But in my real life mind it happens on a Sunday evening when the lazy days of Sunday have set in. Why slave in the kitchen when I can spend time in the garden, take a walk with the dogs, and do a load of laundry!
Add to all that work was an early trip to Kona, making several stops along the way, including MY FAVORITE PLACE TO SHOP...brace yourself...COSTCO! I <3 Costco. And I hardly EVER walk out of that place without having paid a bill well over $300. I think I like it most because buying food at Costco means that I don't have to stop at the grocery store at all during the week, maybe even during the year, save for veggie/fruit purchases at the open market. But that doesn't count. Basically I hate grocery shopping. Costco helps relieve that pressure. Quality. Good price. Lots of aisles. Everything I need and want from clothes and groceries to toiletries and office supplies.
Costco has at least 3 different brands of "vegetarian burgers" so after a small amount of hemming and hawing I settled on Dr. Praeger's All Natural California Veggie Burger.  Good choice. I just wanted to share it with you in case you're on the lookout for a good, fast meal that you can find at Costco.
Somehow this pic makes the burgers look a lot greener than they really are (buns on right)

Simple toppings

Love the thinness of these 100% whole wheat breads. Tasty, sturdy.

Love that each burger is individually wrapped. Make sure you "grill" it good on each side.


I added a little mustard

And finally opened a bottle of delicious Indian curry ketchup that I bought in Portland, OR.

I wish I opened it earlier! It is DELICIOUS!

I could have eaten 2, maybe even 3. But I just ate one.

Mexican Corn Pie

I'm not sure why this dish is called "Mexican" other than it has cornmeal and green chiles but I guess if that helps float the author's boat then it works for me. Corn pie is good enough for me.  This particular recipe comes from Dr. Neal Barnard's Eat Right, Live Longer and the recipe comes from Jennifer Raymond, M.S., R.D. I found it on NutritionMD. Again, like many of my recipes, I don't remember the trail of surfing that led me to the recipe but I know I'll make it again. I'm sure of it. Because once my family started eating it, I was shocked to hear how much they liked it. I didn't think it was anything to shout about but they kept going back for more! It kind of tasted like there were potatoes in it. No potatoes. I think they liked the fact that it had lots of onions, garlic and corn. We love all three ingredients.
I made a few alterations, only because I didn't have any bell peppers so I threw in some black beans (because I had some leftover in the fridge) and I used two cans of corn (so it was more than the 2 cups). I also used half the salt (trying to cut back) and used regular short grain brown rice rather than basmati. I try not to get too hung up on subbing out ingredients only because we live too far from a grocery store. It's not just a matter of running down to the store. That would take about an hour total.

Mexican Corn Pie

Makes 10 servings
Serve this spicy rice and corn pie with Quick Chili or Black Bean Burritos.
2 1/2 cups water, divided
1 cup dry brown basmati rice
1 large onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 4-ounce can diced green chilies
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
3 cups soymilk

Bring 2 cups water to a boil and add rice. Adjust the heat so the water simmers, then cover and cook until rice is tender, about 50 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large ovenproof skillet (see note below), braise onion, garlic, and bell pepper in the remaining 1/2 cup water until onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in corn, chilies, cornmeal, salt, cumin, nutritional yeast (if using), soymilk, and cooked rice. Bake for 45 minutes.

Note: If you don't have an ovenproof skillet, bake the pie in a 9"×13" casserole dish.


I had a can of whole chiles (7 oz). More than I needed but I like chiles since they are not spicy hot at all.

Cornmeal

Leftover black beans, I think probably 1/2 can

It looked kind of soupy, almost like a corn chowder


The finished product looks solid though not beautiful



I added some vegetarian refried beans with salsa and avocado, and some salad with pomegranate glaze


 There was only 4 of us and we ate lots. There was a small container of leftovers and we ate it for a mid morning snack. I will definitely make this one again and probably will add the bell pepper and maybe even some chopped broccoli for more color.