Archive | June, 2011

A beastly return

25 Jun

The reasoning behind this name is two-fold. First, look who is back in my life full time:

SULLY! Sully Sully Sully! My little stinky furball! The world’s greatest pug zu!

Holy heck, does she need a haircut.

Anyway, the second reason is that the little monster and I made our first trip to the farmers market this year as a matching (or not) set. I’m still digging into the recesses of my closet (you don’t want to see that!) to find my camera, so I didn’t take any photos this time of the market itself, but expect them as soon as I get my crap together. Here’s our haul this time, though:

Clockwise from top left:

  • Fresh corn: $.50 each, or $2 for all four ears
  • Summer squashes: $3 for all four
  • Un-freaking-believable fresh Havarti from LOMAH Dairy: $9
  • A green bean/new potato bag: $5
  • Natchez blackberries: $4
  • TOTAL: $23

Yes, the Havarti was expensive, and no, I don’t plan to eat it, but one taste made me realize that the boy had to have it. It’s so, so, SO GOOD. Plus, the dairy doesn’t use antibiotics, lets the cows roam free, AND doesn’t sell off the retired milkers: they have their own pasture in which to roam and graze. How could I say no? They also sell pasteurized, non-homogenized milk by the gallon. I will have to see if the boy wants some of that next time.

My bag wasn’t as heavy as usual, but I was trying to be realistic. There are still things in the fridge we need to eat, so I didn’t want to go stopped myself from going crazy. Next week is another ball game, though. What were Sully’s thoughts on the whole experience?

She was a little tired. In fact, after three attempts to get in the car herself, I finally had to pick her up. Those fuzzy legs can only work so hard.

One final note: I want to send a huge HAPPY BIRTHDAY to another veg blogger in Tulsa, Ashley! Check her out if you haven’t yet.

Stick it to me

24 Jun

I had acupuncture for the first time last Friday during the $25 special being run by Golden Cabinet Chinese Medicine. I had read lots of good things about acupuncture treatments helping migraines, plus the Fitnessista seems to adore it, so I swallowed hard and made an appointment. Needles and I are not exactly close friends. In fact, I would call us mortal enemies. I have twice fainted from being stuck (once getting my ears pierced at 21 — I’m a wild and crazy gal, clearly), and when I don’t actually lose consciousness, I flip out like a crack fiend going through withdrawals. Or something. Anyway, I don’t like being poked by metal things. My migraines have been so insane lately, though, that I’m pretty much willing to try anything.

And you know what? I didn’t die. Actually, I had an extremely positive experience. Curtis, the acupuncturist, was great to work with. He made me feel relaxed and took the whole thing slowly because of my phobia. Since all the needles were on my back or my left ear (for realsies), I couldn’t see them go in, so once I got used to the feeling (which isn’t really pain, but rather just an odd tingling-pressure-thing), I felt very comfortable. The whole day following, I was in an exceptional mood. Not that I’m a total cranky pants in general life, but I don’t tend to be all sunshine and rainbows on a typical day, so I really enjoyed the feeling. Did it cure my migraines? I actually got one the next day but haven’t had another since. Of course, a week isn’t really very long to judge that kind of thing, but six pain-free days in a row is a lot for me this time of year. I’ll talk more about that in another post.

I decided to experiment with some of Curtis’ food and lifestyle recommendations this week, just to see how they did me. Let’s start with breakfast:

Yes, that is miso soup. I read on his blog (and several others that discuss traditional Chinese medicine and diet) that soup is a great breakfast. I know miso is Japanese, not Chinese, but my goal was to incorporate these ideas into my own lifestyle. During the work week, I enjoyed a warming, soothing bowl of soup featuring the following: about a tablespoon or so of white miso, one cup of spinach, coconut rice, and as much sriracha as I felt like using. Coconut rice was ridiculously easy to make: bring one can of light coconut milk to boil in a pot, add 2/3 cup of brown rice, and cook until it’s tender. Done. I used a quarter of what resulted for each serving, and it was amazing, seriously. I think I’ll do the same thing again next week. I also had a cup of my favorite Choice Premium Japanese Green Tea and a banana.

Curtis also recommended a “blood nourishing” meal following the end of my most special lady time each month. His recommendation included beef, which obviously doesn’t fly in my kitchen, so I read up on some iron-loaded options and made yet another variation on X’s Spicy Portobello Chili. This time, I used black beans, black eyed peas, and lentils for the legumes, and I cooked it up in the crockpot. (Pre-cook the beans but not the lentils and then throw everything in for about 4 hours on high.) I served mine atop a baked potato coated in nutritional yeast:

Unfortunately for my sensitive stomach, I made the beans from scratch but only soaked them for four hours prior. Apparently, I need to stick with the overnight method, as the tummy-attacking enzymes need far longer than four hours to die off. It still tasted delicious, though, and didn’t bother the boy, but I could only eat the meal twice. On Wednesday, I stuck with my potato but topped it with another quickie peanut sauce:

This was unmeasured amounts of peanut butter, nutritional yeast, sriracha, Newman’s Own Lighten Up Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing, and ground ginger. It was surprisingly good and filling, though it doesn’t touch my favorite version. Look for another peanut sauce dish soon.

So what’s the verdict? I felt good replenishing my lost iron through the chili (when it wasn’t angering my stomach) and the spinach in my soup. I will try to stick to this idea in the future. I loved — loved loved loved — starting the day with miso soup instead of oatmeal or something carbier. It was a major winner. I am still dreaming up next week’s variation!

Have you ever eaten soup (or something else weird) for breakfast? Tell me about it!

I did it!

18 Jun

Friends, readers, country(wo)men — I took the leap. You are now viewing this little blog on her own domain: http://www.veggingoutinttown.com! Eek! I’m excited, as you can tell. One day, I will upgrade to my own hosting, too, but for now, I’m basking in this first little victory.

I told you about my first foray into diabetic meal planning two weeks ago but was remiss in sharing the actual eats. My apologies. Between the ShakeDown in T-Town Shakespeare Festival 2011 and the crushing pain that refuses to leave my head (16 migraines in 35 days and counting — for realsies), I’ve been a bit negligent. So here’s what we’ve been eating round these here parts lately. I will note that I still consider myself a failure at the diabetes thing. It’s really, really hard and contrary to how I — a carb-loving borderline hypoglycemic — normally plan meals. I am picking up Dr. Barnard’s book on diabetes today, though, so hopefully I will gain some insight.

OK, here was the boy’s favorite meal of last week:

Clockwise from left: Swiss Chard with Garlic Chips (topped with a splash of balsamic instead of the reduction), Refreshing Cucumber Salad with Creamy Mint Dressing (minus the onions), and “Dry” Red Lentils (recipe below). He raved about the whole meal. I enjoyed it, too, though the following morning’s repeat Swiss chard performance was not ideal. (For the record, I blame my own acid reflux problems, not the green or the recipe.) I adored the dressing on the cucumber salad and plan to use it again on something else. Here’s the super-easy-basic lentil recipe.

“Dry” Red Lentils (adapted from World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey)

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, cut into fine half moons
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Rinse and drain lentils, then place them in a bowl with water to soak. The original recipe says three hours, but I only did one and it was totally fine. Drain when you’re ready to cook.

Place a medium pot over medium heat and add the oil. Add the onion and garlic, stir frying for about 4 minutes, or until the onion browns a little. Add the lentils, stirring for a minute. Add 1 cup of water and the salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Now cover, reduce the heat to very low, and cook until lentils are tender mush, about 20 minutes.

The recipe is pretty much fool-proof, and it’s completely delicious, despite the very small ingredient list. I recommend trying it as is before you start spicing things up.

After dinner, I whipped up some Pumpkin Pie Mousse.

I am total crap at food styling, but this was my attempt. Almost pretty, eh? The mousse is layered with banana slices and topped with a little coconut cream (from the top of the can of coconut milk) and cinnamon. The only changes I made to the original recipe were omitting the maca (didn’t have any) and sweetening with a little honey.

Another successful meal was what I’m calling Continential Breakfast for Dinner.

Clockwise from left: Italian-style Eggs, salad with homemade goddess dressing, and French-inspired Breakfast Potatoes. I didn’t use a recipe for the former, just sauteed two yellow squashes in olive oil and garlic then added four beaten eggs (sourced locally and cruelty-free), two chopped scallions, five or six chopped and seeded cherry tomatoes, Italian seasoning, dried oregano, and a little shredded Asiago cheese. It was incredible, if I do say so myself. I will share recipes for the other two dishes in a separate post so this one doesn’t get too cray-cray.

For my lunches, I made a nutrient-dense salad:

It was inspired by the salad I always get at Chipotle, but mine was awesomer. I made black beans from scratch in the slow cooker, precooked some red bell pepper and portobello mushrooms in a little olive oil, and made salsa. When it was time to eat, I heated up the cooked stuff, piled it on top of greens, and topped it all with salsa and sliced avocado. *Heavenly.* If anyone would like the full recipe, I’d be happy to do a separate post. I was a nice girlfriend and shared this salad for one of my diabetic love’s lunches, but it was hard to part with.

So those are a few of last week’s mostly healthy meals, and I promise there is more to come as I finagle this bidness. On an exciting note, I FOUND MY CAMERA CHARGER! Now all I have to do is find . . . my camera. For real. Sigh. Soon, though, I promise pictures will improve.

What’s your favorite breakfast-for-dinner meal? I’m not a big pancake fan, so I usually stick with something savory.

Lentils on FoodistaLentils

Me on the news!

9 Jun

This has nothing to do with food, but I was on the news this morning promoting the ShakeDown in T-Town Shakespeare Festival 2011, of which I’m the Managing Director. If you’d like to see what I look and sound like as a fully formed human being, check out the video. I’m the faux redhead in the black shirt, not the tall blonde in the fancy attire.

The time has come, the walrus said

7 Jun

So friends, I think the time has come for two things:

  1. I need to deal with the camera situation. We can all agree on that, right?
  2. It’s time to move from a “dot wordpress” to a straight-up “dot com.”

So here’s my question: should I buy www.veggingoutinttown.com, or is there another name I ought to switch to? I have placed a poll on the right side of this page. Please take a moment to vote. I greatly appreciate it!

Diabetic meal planning

6 Jun

This is the week I get serious about serving diabetic-friendly meals at home. A doctor visit last week saw an increase in his medication, and I just flat-out don’t like it. So, after doing some research, I have set out to prepare foods that are tasty, mostly vegan, and low in carbohydrates. Luckily this effort coincides with my desire to clean up my own eating and save money. Meal planning and cooking certainly helps with both of those goals, too.

First, let me say that I don’t eat a particularly low-carb diet. When I first started trying to follow Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s eating plan, I discovered that I actually have a very difficult time getting enough calories when following a very clean vegan diet. He encourages very little fat and grains and puts a big emphasis on veggies and beans. I tend to agree, but I quickly learned that I cannot physically eat enough raw or cooked vegetables to take in at least 1,200 calories a day. My solution has been more fat (almost entirely olive oil and nut butters) and more grains. I know neither are as healthful as vegetables and legumes, but there are only so many cups a day of raw, crunchy veggies that I can physically eat.

Adapting my style of eating to the needs of a diabetic who requires way more calories a day than I do is proving a big challenge. In no way do I think this week’s meal plan is perfect, but it’s a starting point. If any of you have resources or ideas to share, please do! I’m still very, very much a novice at this whole thing. Without meal planning assistance from his doctor (he’s supposed to get this info at his next appointment in three weeks), I’m winging it and aiming for 10 servings of carbs a day (or 150 grams). Here’s this week’s plan for both of us (I’ll share recipes later this week):

Breakfast

  • For me: Oatmeal (either lazy-girl or overnight oats) with peanut butter, almond milk, banana, and coconut milk creamer – This is just for me since he doesn’t get up terribly long before the lunch hour. 358 calories, 58 grams of carbs, 12 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein, and 7 grams of fiber.

 Lunch

  • For him: Salads (with either spinach or baby romaine) topped with two hard-boiled eggs, toasted cashews and homemade goddess dressing. 402 calories, 19 grams of carbs, 31 grams of fat, 20 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber.
  • For me: Burrito bowls with black beans, Portobello mushrooms, red bell pepper, avocado, lettuce, and homemade salsa. 348 calories, 45 grams of carbs, 14 grams of fat, 16 grams of protein, and 18 grams of fiber.

Dinner (for both of us)

  • Two nights: Sautéed Swiss chard, cucumber salad, and red lentils. 372 calories, 34 grams of carbs, 24 grams of fat, 11 grams of protein, and 12 grams of fiber.
  • One night: Breakfast for dinner! Scrambled eggs with yellow squash, tomato, and garlic and breakfast potatoes. 391 calories, 42 grams of carbs, 24 grams of fat, 20 grams of protein, and 6 grams of fiber.
  • One night: dining out at a pizza place. I haven’t figured this out yet!

Snacks

  • Small banana – 93 calories, 24 grams of carbs, 0.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein, and 2 grams of fiber.
  • Pineapple – in one cup: 76 calories, 19 grams of carbs, 0.7 grams of fat, 0.6 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber.
  • Watermelon – in one cup: 49 calories, 11 grams of carbs, 0.7 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein, and 1 gram of fiber.

Dessert (for both of us – probably once or twice during the week)

  • Vegan Epicurean’s Pumpkin Pie Mousse. 318 calories, 37 grams of carbs, 17 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein, and 11 grams of fiber.

As you can see, my breakfast and lunch alone go over the carb count I want for him. Today, his total will be 53 from lunch and dinner, leaving him plenty of leeway for snacking on fruit. I haven’t decided if I’ll make the pumpkin mousse tonight or not. We shall see.

Are you a carboholic like me, or do you watch your intake?

Summertime Cobbler

5 Jun

This recipe is making me very, very sad that my camera is still incapacitated (i.e. I can’t find the charger). It’s such a lovely dish, but all you get is this lousy cell phone pic. I am so sorry.

I am, however, incredibly happy with how it turned out — the cobbler, not the picture. I got my latest edition of ReadyMade magazine yesterday, flipped immediately to the recipe section, and declared aloud, “Oh my God, doesn’t Cherry & Nectarine Cobbler with Cinnamon Cream Biscuits sound incredible?” to which the boy could only say, “Uh, yeah.” A few hours later, he left for rehearsal, and I went right out to purchase a few missing ingredients, namely cherries and nectarines. I decided to be bold and veganize the recipe, too. It calls for butter, buttermilk and heavy cream. The latter was my concern. After some Googling, I decided to take the plunge with coconut cream. I’m incredibly happy with the outcome.

Even in crappy lighting, she’s beautiful, eh?

In addition to veganizing the recipe, I made used half whole wheat pastry flour to add a little fiber. The original recipe appears in the June/July issue of ReadyMade. Edit: It’s now on their website here!

Cherry-Nectarine Cobbler with Cinnamon Biscuit Topping

The filling

  • 2 pounds (about 3 1/2 cups) fresh sweet cherries
  • 1 pound (about 3 medium nectarines, or 3 cups) fresh nectarines
  • 1/4 cup vegan sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 lemon, zested and half juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
The biscuits
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup vegan sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (i.e. 1 stick or 8 tablespoons) Earth Balance
  • Sprinkling of vegan sugar

Settle onto the couch with your favorite show. Cover your lap and any nearby exposed couch cushions with a towel. Using patience and your favorite method, de-stem and pit all the cherries. It took me 35 minutes or so using a fork (insert two prongs halfway through the cherry to one side of the pit, then lift upwards to remove it). Cut the cherries in half. Now slice up the nectarines and add them to the bowl. At this time, heat the oven to 375° F. Combine the fruit with the sugar, flour, lemon zest and juice, and cinnamon. Pour into an 8×11 baking dish and cook for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, open the can of coconut milk and scoop all the cream at the top into a measuring cup. If it doesn’t quite measure 1/2 cup by itself, add a little of the milk underneath. Mine was almost exact, however. Set it aside. Now measure 1/4 cup of the milk and add the vinegar. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Take the stick of Earth Balance from the fridge and cut it into small pieces. Add them to the bowl and mix with your hands just until the dough forms large crumbles — do not overmix! Now pour in the coconut “butter” milk and the coconut cream and mix until it just comes together. It will be sticky and fun.

Remove the fruit from the oven and drop the dough in six large biscuits on top of the mixture. Leave space between them. Sprinkle with a little more sugar. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown and cooked through. It took closer to 30 in my oven. Serve warm. Makes six servings.

My version isn’t exactly healthy, but it does have 6 grams of both protein and fiber. Plus, it’s delicious.

What is your favorite fruit combination for cobbler? I’m usually a strawberry-rhubarb girl, but this is my new go-to.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,160 other followers