Friday, September 24, 2010

Eat to Live - sort of

I mentioned in my last blog post that I went on the Eat to Live diet for 2 weeks. And that I lost 4 pounds on it. I bought the book and was very determined. I'm not finished with the diet; I just got off track a little for various reasons. I think that it forced Ryan and me into some very great habits, though. We're saving money, too, which is an added bonus beyond our health.

I also checked out Joel Fuhrman's book Disease Proof Your Child from the library. I think I was hoping for some kind of diet recommendation that was new to me, and I was absolutely motivated to stick with it. However, it really was pretty close to how I feed the kids already. Great book, though, and I'm still poring through it.

I have been making a lot of homemade salsa lately. I was just sure that these ingredients would make the most beautiful salsa.

However, I kind of ended up with salsa soup. This was my first salsa-making attempt. (It tasted good, though, and I ate it all.)

I'm getting better at it.

I made these veggie burgers based on Fuhrman's recipe (but I used beans from scratch, not canned). Same ingredients (sunflower seeds, oats, beans, ketchup, and spices); I just didn't go through all the steps of baking them. It tastes delicious before you even cook it. We have went through a lot of these lately, which is good since I'm used to paying $4+ for a box of FOUR veggie burgers.

Our new obsession is roasted asparagus. I had some from the Whole Foods deli awhile back, and it was one of the BEST tasting foods I've ever put into my mouth. MY asparagus doesn't taste quite as good as that (I don't know how they did it - maybe it was drenched in oil?), but it's still great. I love squeezing lemon on it after I take it out of the oven. I spray oil on the kids' but leave it off Ryan's and mine.

I am a cereal addict; however, I mostly ate fruit (sometimes with a sprinkling of nuts) for breakfast. I also ate my steel cut oats, but I definitely used the oats as more of a condiment.

This soup is loosely based on the "Famous Anti-Cancer Soup" recipe in Fuhrman's book. (The only reason I don't follow it exactly: it's a little more time-consuming. You're supposed to juice celery and carrots for the base. One of these days, I'll get around to that.)

I basically just pour a container of low sodium vegetable broth into a pot and add water. Then I just throw in whatever odds and ends of vegetables I have lying around. (This particular batch I stuck with the original recipe: split peas, onions, zucchini, leeks, carrots, and celery. It also has cashews.) You don't even have to chop them. When the veggies are slightly soft, I puree it all in my BlendTec. (You also leave some of the split peas whole at the bottom of the pot, then pour the pureed mixture back into the pot.)

After my second batch of soup, I was getting a little tired...of soup. I added some extra split peas into this bowl to "liven things up" a bit.

This is what my typical meal looked like while I was following the diet.

I love salads like this so much that it wasn't a big change to have a salad as one meal a day. I always use my favorite recipe for dressing: Vegan Caesar. It doesn't contain oil (although it does use almonds).

This is why I said "Eat to Live - sort of" - I'm sure not every ingredient I used is technically part of the diet. I used Bragg's. I did put a very small amount of salt in my salsa. I sprinkled Kelp Granules on my soup. I'm just trying to cut way back on salt, and I have to find ways to live through this. After about a week, it did get easier.

This past month we've moved over to what I call the "Wal-Mart Diet" (which I'll explain another day). Basically, it's part of our money-saving venture. We were doing SO WELL with our budget. I thought we were going to end up spending A THIRD of what we normally spend on food a month. Then Wednesday night, I cracked, just a little over a week before the month's end. I went to Whole Foods and filled my cart. I didn't feel proud of myself so hopefully I've learned my lesson. However, I hadn't had sliced bread in WEEKS.

I just wanted a sandwich.

And it was so good. Funny that my carrot, chickpea, tomato, salsa, avocado, mustard, miso sandwich was so scandalous to me. It was just the price ($5.99 for a dinky loaf of hemp bread) that was scandalous to my Wal-Mart diet. It was the dozen biscuits I made and ate over a 24 hour period that made me realize I needed to go to Whole Foods and buy a few things to help curb my cravings.


BTW, what happened to Stacy (Shorty Can Burn)? Did she announce she was shutting down her blog?

I finally added comments to your responses to my last posts. I'm trying to get better about that. And Ryan thinks the only reason anyone said he was "handsome" was the food. He says you would have thought that of any man with raw, vegan food in front of him. I said that he makes a good point. BUT that he is handsome, anyway. :)

And I really don't always eat an entire citrus fruit one juice pocket at a time. I just really like how they feel in my mouth. But I didn't want you to think I'm that much of a woman of leisure.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Texas Revisited

Blogging hiatus is hopefully over for a bit. Had to have some time to get accustomed to our new schedule of activities. Also, I put myself on the Eat to Live diet for 2 weeks, and it was just too tempting, looking at all of your yummy meals. :) I have the afternoon free, though, and I plan to relax on my bed for a bit and do a little blog reading.

Early last month, my groom and I got to spend about 24 hours alone together to celebrate our THIRTEENTH anniversary. We decided to go to Dallas again because it's one of the closest big cities to us.

I packed a veggie burger for him and a Caesar salad for me to eat on the way. We also stopped at Whole Foods on the way out to pick up some car snacks. We chose: chocolate chips, watermelon, papaya chunks, Tofurky Jerky, Kale Chips, and B-Fresh Gum (which I always buy in a 10 pack to get the 10% case discount).

We drove straight to Bliss, a raw cafe we had never tried. It is a tiny place (but has more of an elegant feel to it). All of the seating is open-air, and I have to admit the temperature was definitely warmer than I'd prefer it to be while I'm eating. I liked it a lot, though, and I look forward to eating there again!

I ordered the Cowboy "Rawko" Tacos because that's just what I'd generally be drawn to on the menu, and I'd seen Amber Shea's (from Almost Vegan) post about them. Ryan and I each ate a taco, and we definitely liked them a lot. We felt very light and healthy, eating them.

I have to admit, Ryan was pretty bummed that I wanted to go to a raw restaurant, rather than Spiral Diner. It was definitely a tough call, but I knew we needed a new experience. Ultimately, we realized Spiral Diner is closed, anyway, on Monday's so that made it easier for him. He was glad we tried Bliss, though; he was impressed.

We also split the Rawsagna. (I'm a big, cheesey fan of cute, clever food names, by the way.) The lasagna was always delicious and very healthy-tasting. I think I preferred the lasagna, and Ryan preferred the tacos.

As we were looking over the menu, the waiter instructed us to "save room for their cheesecake," (what a mean thing to do, as you will soon discover) which is supposedly amazing and just like "real" cheesecake. Sign me up. Weeeell...when we were finished with our meal, we asked for slices of cheesecake. He told us they just sold the last piece! We did order this dessert to share - I forget what it was - a torte maybe? It tasted good, softer like a pudding.

We checked into our hotel, which was the Holiday Inn Market Center. It was great; I highly recommend because they were so helpful. We were able to park our car, and the shuttle van dropped us off at our next destination -

which was the American Idol concert. We thought it would be something fun and lighthearted to do together. This was actually the first season of the show either of us had ever watched. I never thought it was something I'd be interested in, but we really got into it, voting and everything. It was bonding time together after the kids went to bed.

Ryan got into it especially because he loved Lee DeWyze (the eventual winner), who is from his home state of Illinois.

Casey James - woo, woo!

It's as if the Heavens parted...

We were on the 4th row center. We really enjoyed the concert. We even enjoyed the contestants who weren't our favorites on the show.

The hotel shuttle came back to pick us up, even later than they generally run, which was so nice of them. When the driver found out it was our anniversary, he was very congratulatory and told us to go into the hotel lounge and order a drink on the house. I love nice people! I got a glass of orange juice. Which isn't what they had in mind, I'm sure, but I really like orange juice!

The next morning, we planned on stopping at a big Whole Foods I wanted to investigate. Ryan was a little like, "It probably wouldn't take any longer to stop at Spiral Diner... ." He really wanted to go. I'm so happy I have a husband who is just as excited to visit a vegan restaurant as I am!

I'm embarrassed to even say everything we got. Something comes over me when I'm faced with a menu with limitless options. I lose control a little bit. A lot.

Anyway, we took our food to eat on the road. We had the Chipotle Tempeh Quesadillas as an appetizer (Yeah - it's totally not meant to be an appetizer; it would be better served as a MEAL for two). Incidentally, I noticed there was a recipe for these quesadillas in the latest VegNews.

It was so filling - and decadent and delicious, and yet...we were laughing at ourselves because it was all sort of...disgusting. It was just that we were trying to eat it in the car. And I forgot to get napkins! Oil was dripping from us, and we felt like we were sweating because it was so spicy. The whole napkin situation was horrible. I did find a couple of tiny, flimsy napkins in the glove compartment, but they were no match for the oily Daiya quesadillas. It was one of those "you had to have been there" moments. Ryan got sort of quiet after he ate. His hand was off to the side, just curled up there, still covered in food for the longest time. I asked him (with a repulsed face) if he was okay.

He said, "I'm just still in shock over that quesadilla."

But did we stop eating? Nooo.

The Mitch

I got this same sandwich twice, last time we were in town. There's just something about it...the bread is so thin, yet there's that extra piece (like Ross's gravy-soaked extra piece of bread in his sandwich on Friends) - and with the thin tofu, bac'n bits, and Veganaise...I just love it. We split it.

"Ross, it's just a sandwich."

"Just a sandwich? I am 30 years old, I'm about to be divorced twice, and I just got evicted! That sandwich was the only good thing going on in my life! Someone ate the only good thing going on in my life!"

Meatball sub - mmmmm!!! I always pick the fruit as the side, as if that will somehow make up for my glutony.
I DID order several desserts, BUT it was more with the intention of taking them home for the kids. We just took sample bites of everything, then saved the rest in the cooler for them.

This was a tasty raw dessert. I'm always eager to try raw desserts.

I always go for the cinnamon roll, if it's ever an option. I love them, and I never get to eat them. I can't remember if I have ever made them, but I probably only get to eat one or two cinnamon rolls a year, if that.

The brownies were good. Soft in a way vegan brownies aren't always.

Peanut butter cup was good - probably no better than the ones I make at home.

...what I've failed to mention is that I had also ordered nachos and a taco salad. I just sort of had it in my head that we'd still be on the road at suppertime, and of course, we'd be hungry again. I hate not having anything to eat when I'm traveling. To be clear - I was NOT hungry again. I didn't even eat supper. I think Ryan and Tornado ate the rest of the food for supper that night.

Have a good day - more about my Eat to Live diet later this week. I've lost 4 pounds so far. I feel like it's necessary to say that after my narrative above.