Day One of No Sugar, Again

Yeah, I haven’t stayed away from sugar yet, but today I am.

Some things I am trying to keep in mind today to help me focus on this goal for today…

I’m not back to the gym yet, but I thought this was a good slap in the face:

One of my favorite bloggers posted this the other day and it makes me want to eat raw kale (um, I don’t think I’ve ever said that):

Chop-It-Up Veggie Salad with Tahini Garlic Dressing

I was looking for a link to a tofu recipe I have in my mental recipe box that I wanted to try…I can’t find the link at the moment, but I am still looking… but I did find this tofu cooking inspiration. I do try to eat tofu at least once a week and I want to learn how to prepare it in different ways. I usually get it in my Thai food — like yesterday, I ordered Pad Kra Tiem — the sauce is light and broth-y rather than heavy, and it’s loaded with veggies (garlic, broccoli, baby corn, carrots, red bell peppers, garnished with sliced cucumber). With brown rice and steamed tofu it’s enough for a lunch and a half.

I am planning on going vegetarian for Lent again this year, but I also like to experiment with vegan and raw vegan cooking. I found this graphic and thought it was a good thing to keep in mind about all the food/nutrition sources available on a vegan diet:

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Quick Vegan Breakfast: Raw Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Quick Vegan Breakfast: Raw Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

I never plan ahead for breakfast during the week, so if I’m lucky I’ll grab a banana and a Greek yogurt on my way out the door. It’s the healthier and cheaper option.

If I’m not lucky and I’m running out the door I’ll try to stop on my way to the office for a breakfast sandwich. Not so healthy or cheap!

I found this recipe when it was first posted over at Fork and Beans. (If you haven’t visited her yet I highly encourage you to do so.)

I’m not a vegan but I am trying to eat healthier, and of late I am trying to “get back on track” with my “crappy eating.”

Since I’m working from home this week (what with the apocalypse ’round these parts), I thought I would try this. It does require advance planning since it has to chill overnight, but as long as you have the ingredients and a seal-able container (and electricity!), it literally takes 4 seconds to prepare.

I was unsure how I would like “pudding” made from chia seeds… but let me tell you… it was absolutely delicious. And chocolate-y. And really filling.

This one is a keeper, folks.

(BTW…If you don’t know about chia seeds… see what it says about them on Dr. Oz’s site… here.)

Raw Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding (for One)

Raw & gluten, dairy, egg and refined sugar-free

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 Tbs chia seeds
  • 1 c. non-dairy milk (I used unsweeted vanilla almond)
  • 1 Tb cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)
  • drizzle of agave for sweetness (optional, but i did)
  • Toppings of choice (fruit/nuts — I used bananas)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place all ingredients into a mason jar or other sealable container. Screw top tight and shake vigorously.
  2. Place in refrigerator overnight (chia seeds will expand as they set).
  3. Mix with a spoon and pour desired toppings on top.
  4. Eat.

A close up… the consistency was kind of pudding-y, and the chia seeds were soft yet smooth… if that makes sense.

CSA Share 15 and a vegan soup recipe

CSA Share 15 and a vegan soup recipe

As I just wrote in my other blog…

A brief note:
Thank you, readers, for sticking with me! I know my entry schedule has been sketchy at best. I have to try to manage my time better so I can find the time to blog. I have started several posts in my head in the past couple of weeks but I think you would enjoy the posts more if I actually wrote them. Lately, Sleeping. Always. Wins.

CSA Share 15 — October 11, 2012

That’s a lot of greens!

I’ve been frustrated in the last few weeks because some things from each week’s share weren’t getting used, even though I split this share with a friend. So when I got home Thursday afternoon I decided, rather spontaneously, to whip up a quick soup using a recipe from my trainer. Whipping up a “quick soup” might sound like no biggie… but I always try to limit my food prep time during the week. I’d rather be hanging out with my daughter than cooking, and I love cooking.

My trainer went vegan for Lent this past year and she kind of made up this soup recipe. She gave me some notes… so I’m kind of making up the amounts here…

“Super Vegan Soup”

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 full head of garlic
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2-4 cups of greens, washed and ripped into smaller pieces (I used kale and Swiss chard, but you could also just use anything you have on hand)
  • olive oil
  • seasonings you like… I used salt/pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, basil, mint and sage

Basic directions: in a large stock pot add about 1 tbsp olive oil and sauté the onion, shallots and garlic. After a few minutes add the carrots and greens and cook a few minutes more. Stir in seasonings and add 6 cups of water. Cook over a low heat for at least 20 minutes, but more if desired. The longer it cooks the more flavorful it becomes.

Instead of water you could also use vegetable broth. My soup came out pretty good, but I added a little Parmesan cheese to it… making it not vegan. I went a little light on the spice, so next time I would also add more seasonings, like at least 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of each one.

kale and Swiss chard… prepped and ready for the soup

I finished the rest of the soup leftovers today for lunch

 

Weighting Around

Weighting Around

I’m sitting here thinking: there’s so much I want to post about… and stuff keeps happening! I’ve been so busy. I’m frustrated that I haven’t had the time to sit down and write a few words and post a few photos. Anywho… recently:

  • I participated in the May 5th EIF Revlon Run/Walk in NYC
  • my husband and I have been watching “The Weight of the Nation” on HBO and we’ve both been re-energized to get this weight off
  • I finally “finished” the garden (well… just about)
  • I made a decision about eating meat vs. not — at least for now

EIF Revlon Run/Walk

I’m so glad I participated in an event where so many thousands of people came out to support loved ones with cancer…I really had a great day. But it was no way as physically taxing as I thought it would be! With all the people there, it wasn’t like I could speed walk — besides, I was walking and talking with cousins and my brother along the way. I will say that the walk back to my car (about 30 city blocks) in 35 minutes was much more of a workout.

Before the start of the walk, in Times Square

My team, Deirdre’s Darlings, is wearing the green shirts

Turning onto Central Park South from 7th Avenue

Team photo at the finish line — I’m on the right in the white shirt.

The Weight of the Nation

I have, in the last 15 or so years when my weight has been up and down, really only thought about the health effects of obesity in passing. Diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure… these things have never seemed to be tangible to me. But simply — this series on HBO has made me see things in a different way. I’m only halfway through viewing the 4-part series, but it’s really making me think about healthy food choices vs. unhealthy food choices in a whole new way. It really hit my husband too, and we’ve both resolved to help each other stay on track.

Garden!

It took me about 4 hours on two previous Sundays and over 4 hours this past Sunday — but I finally have my little garden in the ground. The only thing I have left to do is finish the fence to keep the bunnies and hopefully squirrels away. Why did it take me so long? We had a creeping vine removed from the side of the shed where the garden is, and all throughout the ground where I had pictured my garden was a horrible network of roots. One really wonderful aspect of all that work? It was a great workout.

the (almost) finished garden…from the top: one row of cukes, one row of peppers, then 4 rows of tomatoes

I spent hours and hours pulling this stuff out of the ground

Parsley will stay in a pot… It’s coming along pretty well

Lettuce? maybe!

I was so tired at the end of the day that I decided not to go for planting carrots or peas or lettuce. The garden is smaller than I had envisioned it, but I could not stand the prospect of pulling out one more root. On a whim I decided to put lettuce in this pot. I just threw a bunch of seeds in. I think they’re coming up. If it gets bigger I guess I’ll have to make the plot bigger so I can transplant them! Crap.

my “helper”

To Eat or Not to Eat… Meat

In my quest for recipes and health information and inspiration, I have been trying to figure out if I wanted to stay vegetarian after Lent. I’ve also talked a lot with my trainer about the pluses and minuses of animal-based protein…and, after many hands-on attempts to get a healthy low-carb (or no carb) dinner for myself + something for my daughter (and hubby if he is home) on the table in a half hour… I have decided that, at least for now, I am going to continue eating meat. But not everyday, and not a lot of red meat.

I think part of my problem lately is information overload. I’m certainly going to try to make the best choices I can make for myself and my family…and I’m definitely going to take into consideration some of the things I’ve read lately about the food supply. And I’m going to keep reading. I don’t want to feel like I am giving up on all this… but part of the reason is that I married a “meat & potatoes” kind of guy who basically likes to eat 5 different things, and 4 of them are meat. I can’t make 3 things for dinner every night. It’s maddening. Ahhhh marriage! But that’s just what it is… and I’m not blaming him… that’s who he is (and I picked him!).

Anyway… that’s it for this most recent update on my life and times =) Good night… and hopefully I’ll see you soon(er than 2-3 weeks).

NPR reports on “Pink Slime” … and Beautifully Green Broccoli Sformato

NPR reports on “Pink Slime” … and Beautifully Green Broccoli Sformato

It wasn’t my intention to just post links when I started this blog, but I was so happy to hear this story on NPR last week as I drove in to work — not because I’m thrilled to hear more about what’s really in our food supply, but because with more mainstream media reports there will be more awareness and (hopefully) more outrage about what’s really in the meat carnivores consume.

I was also happy to sign the anti-BPA petition Robyn O’Brien linked to in her story, “8 Ways You Can Avoid Chemicals In A Can.”

In other news, I made the time this past weekend to make something new: Beautiful Broccoli Sformato. I don’t know why I was so drawn to this recipe… though the photo on foodbuzz looked fricken amazing!!

Finally took out those ramekins I got at my bridal shower. I KNEW THEY WOULD COME IN HANDY SOME DAY!!!

I did make a few slight adjustments… mostly because I had cooked the broccoli before I started to read the recipe! So instead of cooking it vegetable broth, I just blanched it and drained it.

And I kind of eyeballed the amount of onions…I don’t usually measure out 2 oz of anything. But I followed the rest of it pretty much to a T… except I did NOT taste the filling before cooking to see if it needed salt and pepper. (Who tastes anything with raw egg in it?? Not me, especially not after I had read about this woman.)

grease the inside of the ramekins with a little butter and sprinkle the breadcrumbs inside, covering the entire interior

First mix: broccoli, broth, onion and 2 ounces of ricotta cheese

Whisking the eggs and béchamel sauce together

Eggs + béchamel sauce are blended with the initial broccoli mixture... and then the 1/4 cup of reserved broccoli buds are gently blended in for texture

Pour finished mixture into prepped ramekins... which are in a glass baking dish... then pour 1 inch of boiling water into the glass dish

The finished product

Anywho. These turned out awesome. The only thing I would do is 1. add a little more ricotta and 2. add a little more salt and pepper before the final mix. I probably added about an eighth of a teaspoon of each seasoning; it definitely needs more. I just sprinkled a little salt on top of mine. It was a delicate flavor…very tasty.

Veggie or Vegan?

Veggie or Vegan?

I have to tell you… I’m not really missing meat. I haven’t had any since February 22, aka, Ash Wednesday. I am still eating some seafood here and there, but not much.

I have been going back and forth about going vegan, but vegan seems very… a lot. I want to say severe, but that seems too strong of a word. Perhaps it is just my “dairy + egg” eyes seeing the choice of a no-animal-product diet as kind of strict.

My initial goal of giving up meat was just for Lent, but I am seriously considering not going back to carnivore-town. For now, though, I think I need to practice vegetarianism day by day and see how it goes. I have actually been finding a lot of delicious sounding recipes that I want to try, including the following:

Broccoli and Goat Cheese Pizza

Vegetarian Bolognese

Spinach Artichoke Dip (though I feel like I can lighten this one up)

Smashed Potatoes

So far, so good.

I went to a formal dinner for my husband’s job last Saturday night. It was fancy-schmancy, and while I said no to the meat that was being served, I did say yes to the apple cobbler dessert. So… a tad more sugar. But I haven’t gone back to it since then. I just gotta keep moving forward…

I will workout tomorrow for the first time since I sprained my ankle, which was almost two weeks ago; it’s still swollen and bruised so we’ll do upper body. I am also planning on weighing myself (I don’t do that that often). I feel like I have a lost a few pounds…which is good!