Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

You are going to love this. It is one of my ultimate favorite smoothies

1-2 cups raw spinach, kale, or chard (this is optional but a great way to get your raw greens early!)

1 - 2 frozen bananas
1 cup (or more) frozen cherries
2 cups plain soy or almond milk
2 dates, optional - if needed (check first to see how sweet your smoothie is. You might not need any)

2 heaping tablespoons raw cacao powder (whatever brand is in your local grocery store)
2 tablespoons ground flax seed or chia seeds (for omega 3 oils)

1 cup ice

Put all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Add additional milk, if necessary.

To change it up, delete the chocolate and maybe add some vanilla extract. A cherry vanilla smoothie. YUM!

This will easily make 2 servings. But make more. And whatever you don't drink you can freeze in canning jars. On those rushed mornings when you barely have time to feed the kids (or animals), grab one from the freezer and take it to work. By the time you start getting hungry it might be ready for a quick shake and drink! I have even been known to take it to work, forget about it, throw it back in the freezer for a bit to get cold again and then drink it for an afternoon snack.

Prepping Your Kitchen for the Challenge

It's two more days until the 6 week challenge begins for my fam and friends. I'm a bit excited. Okay, I'm super stoked to say the least. I cannot wait to see and hear the results!!!! Life changing.
That being said, I want to help them prep their kitchens to help make things a little easier. I do believe everyone has to find what works best for them when it comes to meals and their preparation. I know for me it was the biggest adjustment...finding a whole new way of cooking and eating.
That being said I just wanted to make a quick list of things that I buy everytime I go to Costco. Yup. It's a plug for Costco. I HATE GROCERY SHOPPING but I love going to Costco. So I try to pick up as much as I can there because it means I don't have to go to a regular grocery store for a long time. Between Costco and the farmer's market I hardly EVER have to visit a supermarket. And if I do, I ask someone else in the family to go.
Here's my list (for Costco and grocery store):
  • Ground flax seeds (when they have it).
  • Dates (they last a long time so you could buy a couple).
  • Whole wheat tortilla.
  • Whole grain flat buns (great for veggie burgers).
  • Dr Praegers burgers.
  • Pomegranate juice (in cold section) for smoothies. Saw it on Dr. Fuhrman's videos.
  • Canned beans! Black and garbanzo. And kidney if you want. Rinse them before using because they contain sodium and even sugar! Making your own with dried beans is best but they only have pinto beans and it is a HUMUNGANOUS bag.
  • Tomato sauce or diced tomatoes in BIG cans. Way cheaper. Better to make your own with fresh tomatoes but those are so expensive! Use the canned then freeze leftover sauce in baggies or tupperware.
  • All the frozen fruits!! Cherries are extra sweet. Blueberries excellent in smoothies. And mixed fruits too.
  • And buy a few bags of fresh bananas because you want some to go a bit overripe so you can peel and freeze for smoothiesI always throw in a frozen banana or two in the blender. (although bananas are usually cheap at the farmer's market. That would be my first option but for many it's not an option. GO LOCAL when possible).
  • Plain almond or soy milk.
  • Coaches Oats. Faster and easier than steel cut. And cheaper.
  • Tofu.
  • Salsa. Great in veggie tortilla roll ups with romaine and no Refried beans. And with sliced cucumbers.
  • And all the fresh fruits and veggies you can eat within the week because they don't last that long. If they start fading before you're done, FREEZE!
  • Oh. And frozen veggies. Frozen edamame is always good. Great snack that kids usually like.
  • Brown rice.
  • Asian delights - miso, buckwheat soba noodles, vegetarian oyster sauce, shiitake mushrooms (dried), 
  • Nutritional yeast (it will be your new best friend)
  • Raw nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews (if you know someone going to Trader Joeʻs thatʻs where to get cashews)
  • lite coconut milk (or you can use regular and not use as much)

What else do you buy at Costco that sustains you on a plant healthy diet?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Taking on the Challenge

Several of my friends (and family!!!! YAY!!!) are going to take Dr. Fuhrman's 6 week challenge. June 1 - August 12, 2011. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. I do realize, however, that some won't make it. Yup. I said it. I'm realistic. I watched Dr. Oz's show where he had about 30 members of his audience that took the challenge and a good handful couldn't even last one day. And by the end of the challenge only 2 survived (maybe it was just one)! I am sure there will be more than two that will survive our challenge. And if it's just one, I will be happy. That will be one person whose life will be changed.
I took the challenge for the first time starting at the beginning of February. And I must admit I wasn't perfect. But I stayed close to it. There were some non negotiables. And there were times that I had to bend a little. The hardest thing to give up was the coffee. But I geared up for that and started weaning myself off of it a few weeks before hand. I didn't want to suffer from headaches during the big change.
The thing I did not give up was alcohol. I knew I was going on a trip (SFO) and I knew that I would be going out at night. And I felt that if I could just agree to that deviation then I could stand the rest. Another area that I bent a bit was with using chicken broth instead of vegetable broth when I cooked my own food (stews and soups). I love the taste of chicken broth. And I think a part in Dr. Fuhrman's book said it was okay to do just that. Sometimes eating out posed a challenge but I did my best. When I ordered the all fruit smoothie at Jamba Juice, I asked to substitute soy milk in lieu of the fruit juices since that is not allowed during the challenge. I needed to eat my fruit, not drink it. Restaurants didn't have oil/sugar free dressings so I just used a minimal amount. And there were a couple of other faux pas. I would go to Thai restaurants which always have great vegetarian options. And Korean veggies are the greatest. Japanese has options, too. Love miso soup! Even Hawaiian food has great options. Poi and the lū'au stew minus the meat. Or just the lau on the laulau. There are always healthy choices.
All in all, I had great results. Of course I walked everyday and that helped. We all know that diet and exercise go hand in hand. It's the key to good health. Both. But for many of us, it's one step at a time. I cannot wait.
Good luck to all.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hold the Rice and Noodles, Please

I <3 Korean food. We frequent H & K in Hilo (near Soontarees, another favorite spot to eat) so frequently that my granddaughter, when asked where she wants to go eat, will say, "Her friend's house." That's H & K. We know everyone by name. Hulali runs behind the counter to hug everyone.
Since eating a plant-based diet it has been a bit more more meat jun or spicy pork for me. Fortunately, like most Asian cuisine, Koreans include lots of veggies in their daily diet.
While the veggies may be cooked with a bit of sesame oil and contain some sugar (in the gochujang sauce maybe?) or perhaps too much salt (in the kimchee), in the greater scheme of things, it's still great for you!
When you get to know the owners/cooks you have a greater chance of getting just what you need! We love bibimbap (mixed veggies with rice) and bibim kook soo (mixed veggies with noodles) but since we are trying to minimize consumption of refined carbs we just ask for the bibim part! ALL VEGGIES! Put a little kochujang sauce on it, mix it all up and be prepared to experience love. Korean style.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Two (Three) Bean Chili

The following recipe is based on a recipe by Colleen Patrick Goudrea. Don't ask me where I got it. I don't remember. But it is delicious. The original recipe is below. Following the recipe I'll let you know how I modified it based on what was in my kitchen pantry/refrigerator.

3 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 medium Spanish or yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsps ground cumin
1.5 tsps dry oregano
2 tbsp tomato paste
6 sundried tomatoes, soaked and chopped
1 can (16 oz) diced tomatoes (I like Muir Glen fire roasted)
1 can (15 oz) canned corn
1 can (15 oz) kidney beans
1 can (15 oz) black beans
1 can (15 oz pinto beans)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1) Saute peppers, onion, garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, and cayenne for 5-10 min, until soft and onion is translucent. 
2)  Stir in tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, tomato paste, corn, and all the beans.
3) Lower heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until chili is fragrant and flavorful. Season with salt and pepper and turn off the heat. Serve topped with Daiya chedder, if desired.

I didn't have three beans. Well I did but I didn't want to add white beans or garbanzo. So I opted for two cans of black beans and one can of kidney beans. I also added an extra can of corn AND a can of black olives. I used one can of Muir Glen fire roasted diced tomatoes and one can of a regular Del Monte brand diced tomatoes. I only had two bell peppers so that's all I used. And I didn't use any oil. I did a water saute. Oh. I also did not have cilantro. Give me another month and the ones sprouting up in the garden (wild ones!) should be ready for use.

This is good stuff. I like the addition of the cinnamon. And the olives. I heart olives. It took a good deal of energy not to pick them all out of the chili and into my bowl.

We had brown rice with our chili. And fresh chopped round onion to top it off. The dairy eaters in the house added cheese. I didn't even miss it.
Bell peppers and way more garlic than the recipe called for

Most of the cans (one more diced tomatoes and black bean

sundried tomatoes soaked in warm water

Herbs and spices

I love this tomato paste from Whole Foods because you only use the amount you need!

It fed my fam of 6 with plenty for lunch the next day

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Quick Meals

When I changed to a plant strong diet, it changed everything I knew about cooking. I lived for fat and sugar. I bought olive oil, butter (real only please) and cheese (a couple different kinds) in bulk from Costco. Everytime I went there. Oh and eggs too.  Grabbed two 18 packs everytime I went. And if you know me you know I made my own Greek style yogurt and other scrumptious goodies as often as I could.
Well things are different now. None of that. The first six weeks was the big challenge. No dairy. No sugar (not even agave or stevia, no splenda or anything fake). No oil. Definitely nothing that was born with eyes. Not even fish :-(. No salt. And I had to learn a whole new way to cook.
But really, it wasn't that bad. Instead of frying in oil, I use a little bit of water. No big deal. Instead of adding meat, I don't. Simple as that. I just thought I'd share a few pics of simple meals you could surely whip up.
Plain ole veggisd, ready to be grilled.  You don't need any seasoning or olive oil.

Corn salad. Just corn, avocado, and tomatoes. I think I threw in some green onion, too.

Grilled pineapple. Its sweetness increased 10x by being grilled.

A veggie burger! Costco has at least 4 different options. I love Dr. Praegers California Veggie Burgers. Read the ingredients and get the one with the least (and no oil or additives)

Kōʻelepālau (just plain old cooked sweet potato and coconut milk)

No pork and squash soup. Just make it the same way. But no pork.

Fried brown rice. Just saute all kinds of veggies first. I used onion, zucchini, bell pepper, and chard.

Miso soup is SO EASY!! Dashi and miso.

Add tofu and wakame
Anything good for you takes a little time. But you deserve it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chocolate Fondue

For dessert tonight (because every once in a while I like to make a dessert for my family, especially since we live plant strong and can't just open up the fridge for some ice cream or open up a box of Big Island Candies) I prepared a chocolate fondue, compliments of The Chef and The Dietician (a.k.a. Chef AJ and Julienana Hever, the plant based dietician. And together they are the chef and the dietician and together they make healthy taste delicious).

It was so delicious. In fact, once my family heard what the ingredients were, my husband said, "Oh, I thought it was chocolate!" That was a compliment. He thought it was the fat laden, sugar-ful chocolate that he grew up with. Nope. The only reason they stopped eating it was because we ran out of fruit and everyone was too full to stand up and get more in the kitchen.

This is a date. There is ONE seed in each date. I didn't know this until a few months ago. It was a rude awakening. I threw the whole thing into my vitamix and the clanking of the seed made quite a racket. Chinese cracked seed came to mind.

The date on the left is opened up to reveal the seed. Easy peasy to remove.

Date syrup is super easy to make. One cup of dates and about one cup of water. Just whirl it up in your food processor. See it whirling?

Smooth date syrup, homemade. I don't even know if they sell this stuff. If they do I don't need to buy it!

Cacao powder, date syrup, vanilla extract (that I made last year0, and some plain almond milk.

Strawberries and bananas are PERFECT for this!

I can't wait to make a truffle or two with the leftovers (another youtube episode 22!)

What's 6 Weeks in a Lifetime?

Back in January of this year I read the book Eat to Live and decided that after YEARS (25+) of trying to lose weight (and get out of that damn obese category on my Wii Fit), it was now actually a matter of health. Not weight. Weight would be a wonderful byproduct. But I wanted to live. I didn't want to go on drugs for high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, any of it. I knew that it was a matter of time before it would happen. My blood sugar counts were already starting to rise according to my physician. That's how age works.
The book made me realize that I couldn't blame it on genetics. That's a cop out. Nope. It would be a matter of whether I valued a good quality of life. It was a matter of whether I wanted to be able to enjoy my children and grandchildren, not from a rocker or bed but in the yard, on excursions, at the beach.
So I committed to Dr. Fuhrman's six week challenge. And I kept telling myself, "What is six weeks out of a lifetime?" Six weeks. 6 weeks x 7 days = 42 days. Big deal. A month and a half. Surely I owe it to my body.
What does this diet entail? I tell everyone: fruits, veggies, beans and a handful of nuts. Really. That's it. In all shapes and forms. I could eat all the fruits, veggies, and beans I wanted. And when I got hungry in between, I could have a small amount of nuts to curb my hunger.
I made smoothies, steel cut oats, no oil hummus, I ate raw bell peppers and cucumbers, I cooked lots of mushrooms, stir fries (fried with water, not oil), lots of stews (w/ beans and sweet potatoes). I stopped going to Yogurtland and drank all fruit smoothies from Jamba Juice. They know my order. Five fruit frenzy. No juice. Soy milk substitute. Or oatmeal. No brown sugar. Just banana on top.
It's a whole foods plant-based diet. Nutritarian. No oil, sugar, salt, artificial "stuff". No diet soda or juice. No diet bars. No fast food. Heck, I didn't even want to get a Jack in the Box or McDonalds salad because I'm sure they put preservative junk on it to make it look fresh longer. I bought almost all my fresh veggies at the open market. I bought en masse frozen fruits and veggies from Costco.
And it changed my life.  I went back to my doctor after the 6 weeks and he was blown away. Weight dropped SUBSTANTIALLY (over 20 pounds) and my cholesterol levels AND everything else improved a great deal.
I won't go back to being the fat girlfriend in my group of 4 close classmates. I always hated that.
I know what feeling good feels like now. First time since I became an adult.
The food is actually great. My taste buds are definitely heightened. Sweet foods are generally TOO sweet for me now. Same with salty foods. Just a little is PLENTY for me. I never would have thought it possible.
Went through my pics to try to grab some before and afters. Painful. And joyful.

So I want to encourage you, if you want to lose ANY weight and/or improve your quality of life, follow these steps:
1. Get the book Eat to Live (audio, kindle, paperback, vook)
2. Go to the doctor and get your weight checked, get some blood work done (test your cholesterol, A1C/blood sugar), check your blood pressure and whatever else your doctor thinks is important to good health. And let her know what you plan to do to improve your health.
3. Prep your kitchen (get rid of the crap food despite moans from the family members and stock up on fruits and veggies, fresh and frozen, and beans. And canned tomato sauces.
4. COMMIT! No more "I'll try". DO IT. It's your choice.

You won't go hungry. You won't starve. It's not too expensive. Seriously. Meat costs and weighs more than fruits and veggies. I can eat all day long. And there are many eateries that have nutrient rich, low calorie choices. You just have to know what that really means. No oil, salt, sugar.

Six weeks out of a lifetime. What harm will it do? You follow the challenge as the book says and I PROMISE you you will lose weight. Lots of it. And you will feel great. And you will improve your quality of life. 

Choose health. Interested? Join the So Duck Soup Facebook page.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Savory Swiss Chard Pie

I have tried growing a garden full of vegetables here in Pa'auilo for 18 years. Every year. Without fail. My husband would retill the land and replant. A gorgeous garden plot. Fresh and filled with seedlings. And then it would get cold and wet in the winter months. And the weeds would start creeping in and before I knew it they would choke out my beautiful veggies. So sad. So depressing. So defeating.
This past year, my husband made me garden boxes, my son filled them with great soil, and I have been able to control the pesky weeds! Plus I think it helps to control the live pests, including my dogs and cat, and the miscellaneous turkeys, fanklins, and pheasants.
As a result, I have more kale and swiss chard than I know what to do with (besides throwing them in my smoothies). I went from never eating kale and swiss chard ever in 50 years to trying to find uses for both of them. Daily.
Here is one recipe I found on the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen blog. It's kind of a quiche substitute. Give it a try! I bet you could change up the veggies very easily. Click here for the recipe.
I included a bit of flat leaf parsley and a few pieces of kale.

No oil saute. Just need a little water in the bottom of the pan.

Chop it up!

I had leftover firm tofu in fridge so I didn't use the silken tofu. You'll probably get better results if you do.

Nice and creamy

Ready to pop into the oven!

All pau! Nice yellow color.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Random Gardening

Evidence of why sandy soil is necessary for growing carrots. But still, THEY GREW! I'm thrilled.

My mom gave me this. Something I definitely wouldn't buy but who knows...

Finally planted more seeds: beets, zucchini, red peppers, swish chard.

I MOWED! Here is a view of my gardening area.

The tomato plant on the left is a "wild" plant. Cherry tomato plants are popping up everywhere.

Yay! A new box! Now all I need is soil.

Chicken coops sans chickens.

The "Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter" upside planter kit my mom gave me. I planted a zucchini plant in it. Box said it would work! Will keep you updated.

My composting area. Got a brand new spinning composter from Costco.

The tomato plant is really aggressive.


Chard looks a little wilted but it perks right up in cooler weather. Asparagus is growing heartily, too.


S L O W   F O O D    F R I D A Y Wow. Has it been that long? Don't think I fell off the face of the earth due to my increased weig...