Fried Seitan?

I don’t know if it’s a recommended way of cooking seitan, but tonight, I coated it with cornstarch and fried it.  Served it with General Tao’s Sauce and rice.  Wow.  I put extra red pepper flakes into the sauce tonight, since it was only me eating; it was a bit potent, but GOOD.  I also probably over cooked the seitan, as it didn’t  brown well, so I didn’t know if it was done, especially since it was still a bit frozen in the middle.  It was still delicious.  This was seitan from my first batch, that I found in our freezer today.  I still haven’t made my second batch; maybe tomorrow.  Today was a very lazy day (meaning I only did two loads of laundry and three loads of dishes.)

My nutrition today was also less than stellar; didn’t eat breakfast; had Pad Thai soup (with WAY too much salt!) and english muffins with tofutti cream cheese for lunch.  Dinner, at least, was decent.  I need to shop; I want to make chili but am out of TVP, I’m out of spinach and kale for green drink; out of yogurt for smoothies, even out of cereal for morning.  But I have my chocolate mousse, so life is good.

B –
L- Pad Thai Soup, whole wheat english muffins with tofutti cream cheese
S – green drink, pumpkin and sunflower seeds
D – Seitan with General Tao’s sauce, rice, kale salad.
S – Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse

Work was trying today but at least it’s Friday.  Two whole days off!  Was feeling a bit better pain wise today, but rude customers at work and a minor run in with the Boss left me in a less than cheerful state.  Probably PMSing too.  So don’t really have much to say today – oh wait, I have a recipe!

I was hungry late night, didn’t want chips or salty food. Probably due to the PMS I was craving chocolate.  So I decided to whip up some chocolate mousse.  Didn’t have a recipe, but remember that Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie I made for Father’s Day?  I took a hint from that and made just the chocolate layer, as pudding.

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

1 package silken tofu
1 package vegan chocolate chips
approx 1/4 cup agave nectar (or to taste)

Melt chocolate chips in microwave; about 2 1/2 minutes; stir to liquify.  Place tofu, drained and agave in blender.  Add melted chocolate; Blend like crazy.  Presto! So easy and SOOOO delicious.  If our freezer wasn’t iffy, I’d have put some into our popsicle molds for a yummy ice-cold treat.  I might  use the leftovers as frosting, or ooooo a creamy middle for cupcakes. The mind boggles….

B – tofu scramble with potato, spinach
S – green drink
L – leftover  veggie burger with veggie slices cheese on half a “thin” bun, cucumber
S – Veggie Straws snack, lavash bread, nectarine
D – Tofu scramble with potato soyrizo, and kale; corn on the cob
S – Chocolate Mousse

Typing these daily menus reminded me that some question eating soy for those taking thyroid replacements.  I’m eating a LOT of soy. I’m thinking about perhaps next week trying to avoid soy, trying some seitan instead.  My first attempt at making seitan didn’t go as well as I’d have liked; but I’ve looked at a lot of recipes and videos and I think maybe I’m up for another try.  On the other hand, if I start treatment with Nathan Monday, I won’t know which thing did it if I feel better; so maybe I’ll talk to Nathan about it and see what he thinks.  I will probably make the seitan anyway to get a little variety into my diet.  I think this will be a batch cooking weekend; though I have to be careful since Sears can’t come out to look at our freezer (again) until the 12th.

Pain Continues

But we have a new plan.  I’m going to see our local expert in Chinese Medicine on Monday. I spoke with him today for a long while, and he sounds very optimistic that he’ll be able to help me.  I sure hope so.  My options are becoming limited.  I’m nervous about financing this little expedition; but he seemed very open to creative financing; and as he’s an Associate Healer for my employer (Natural Healing Consultants of Ojai; link to the right; new website up; check it out!) he will be able to track me down.

The pain really has been worse this week. Even resting overnight doesn’t help.  In fact; it’s almost worse, in that I literally wake up crying out in pain every time I move in bed.  I may fall back on the Laz E Boy tonight, since it keeps me from moving.  I could use some sleep.

The food, however continues to go well. I am really enjoying new foods; looking up recipes, learning new techniques.

I am, however very tired; so I think I’m going to call it a night.

B- Rice Chex, Blueberries, Almond Milk
L – Leftover Kale Salad, cucumber, Lavash bread
S – Green drink
D – Seitan chicken nuggets, home fries, fruit salad
S – Purely Decadent.. oh, you know this one by now.

Today’s menu is a little thin, I know.  Pain sucks even MY appetite, especially if it requires the least amount of movement to obtain food. Who knew? I should have tried pain as a diet aid ages ago!

Kale and Carrot Salad

The Beloved Cooks Vegan!

In a remarkable act of love, my Beloved took one of his favorite meals that he likes to cook, and veganized it.  He calls it “Motch” which he tells me means “Mixture of things” and consists of ground beef, corn, rice a roni, soy sauce and whatever is hanging around.  A great  “use up the leftovers” dish. He usually tops it with shredded cheese.  And it’s good!  Everyone in the family loves it.  But he’s been reluctant to make it since I went vegan, though I tell him this is my commitment, and I don’t want him to have to cook two meals for me; if I can’t eat what he’s cooking, I’ll find something myself.  But he doesn’t like leaving me out, sweet man, so he asked what he could use as a ground beef replacement.  I introduced him to TVP; and it worked!  I haven’t used it that much myself; had made chili with it that everyone loved, so I thought it would work well in motch.  PS; he also makes the most amazing fruit salads, that we had with dinner too!

To go with it, I made a Kale Carrot Salad.  Here’s the recipe!
Kale and Carrot Salad

1  bunch Kale, washed well, stalks trimmed
1 cup shredded carrot
2 Tbl Lime juice
2 Tbl Tahini
1 Tbl Tamari
2 tsp grated ginger root
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp Sriracha
2 tsp sesame oil
1-2 Tbl sesame seeds

Directions:

1. Blanche kale 1 minute in boiling water; remove to ice bath; drain, pat dry.
2. Place kale and carrot in serving bowl.
3. Blend remaining ingredients well.  Toss with vegetables.
4. Rest at room temperature at LEAST 15 minutes; as long as an hour.
5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or other garnish; serve.

The kale is “cooked” by the acids in the dressing to make it more digestible.  It really needs the rest time to work.  Refrigerated, leftovers will still be good the next day.

Source of recipe: Inspired by http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/2721 ; but in looking at the dressing ingredients I thought it needed, well, flavor.  I love ginger and went a little heavy on it; you may want to reduce it by half if you’re not a huge ginger fan.

Makes: 4-6 servings, Preparation time: 1 hour

  • B – rice chex, almond milk, nectarine
  • L – homemade veggie burger on “thins” bun, veggie straws snacks, dried fruit, peach
  • D – Motch, Kale & Carrot Salad, Homemade fruit salad
  • S  – Green drink, Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Ice Cream

It’s official!

I have now lost 40 pounds!  WOOT!

One quarter of what I want to lose.  In just under three months.  That’s about  three and a half pounds a week, just perfect for a healthy, sustainable long term weight loss.  The nice thing is it hasn’t been that hard.  A little, at times, like this past weekend, but I don’t feel like I’m starving all day every day. When I eat more than I really want to, it’s not because I’m hungry; it’s emotional or distraction eating, which has always been a problem for me.  I am learning, however, that I can eat healthy food when that emotional eating need arises, that I don’t have to eat an entire box of cookies or cake or other high fat, high sugar foods.  Giving up dairy has been the biggest boon to my weight loss, I think; it has removed many of the foods I used to binge on.  The benefit of some of the replacement foods for my favorite junk foods (speaking specifically of Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Ice Cream Chocolate Obsession) is first, they’re so rich tasting that I don’t usually want to eat more than an actual serving, and second, they’re so expensive, I feel the need to make them last!

It also means that if I keep up this average (which is unlikely; I know that the more I lose the harder it will get as I get closer to my goal) it will be another nine months before I make it to goal weight.  Best not to think of that.  This is a lifestyle change, not a diet, and it will need to be maintained for a lifetime.  And it’s fun!  I’m having a blast learning about foods I’ve never tried, cooking things I’ve never imagined I’d eat, and best of all, teaching my family to be healthy too.  That’s the real payoff; being able to watch my children grow up healthy and smart about food.

My boss teaches his son to “Eat with your Head” not with your tongue; and that’s becoming a catch phrase around here.  At first, I thought, blah; ok, you have to eat healthy, for nutrition only, and sacrifice taste.  Again, I’m finding that to not be true.  You can eat healthy AND deliciously, and you can be empowered to choose to eat healthy portions without  being deprived.  My best friend talks about eating mindfully, and that truly is the basis for a long term change in eating habits. Thinking about what you’re putting in your mouth, and why, and knowing it’s okay to choose less than perfectly on occasion.

Time to go make breakfast.  Reaching this landmark will help me to choose well today. Yay, me!

Exercise today!

So, after making the big commitment to document just what vegans eat, I copped out for a couple of days.  Sunday was a really pain filled day and I found it extremely hard to not eat to distract myself.  I did eat too much; but luckily, I did stick to eating relatively healthy foods.  Weighing in on Monday, I was sure I had gained back a few pounds, but somehow, I managed to lose a couple more.  Monday I ate:

  • B – Rice Chex with Blueberries and Vanilla soymilk
  • L – Oat Lavash bread, 3 Dolmas, cucumber, yellow pepper, grape tomatoes, carrots, green drink, peach
  • D – Due to a kitchen malfunction that necessitated the Beloved working under the sink for hours, I took him to dinner at Sea Fresh.  I exercised my “no more than once a month” pescatarian rule and had seared ahi, with onion rings.
  • S – Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Ice Cream (Chocolate Obsession.  Yum.)

I am aware that eating fish, even occasionally, might invalidate my vegan credentials.  I may someday choose to eliminate even the once a month rule, but for now, I have set my boundaries and limits and I feel comfortable with them.

For today:

  • B – Whole Wheat English muffins with tofutti cream cheese.  Green drink
  • L – Lavash bread.  3 Dolmas.    Veggie Straws snack.
  • S –   Fruit smoothie (banana, peach, blueberries, blackberries, So Delicious vanilla yogurt)  and a peach
  • D – English muffin, homemade veggie burger (TVP), Veggie Slices Cheddar cheese, asparagus.

Too much bread today, probably, but I didn’t sleep much last night because of the pain, so breakfast was at 4 am, and at least they were all whole grain. Also, the kitchen was still in too much disarray to even attempt chopping veggies or anything.  (The plumber came and fixed the kitchen, blessings on him, and my sainted husband cleaned up two days worth of kitchen mess, bless his heart.)

I even managed to get some exercise today.  In defiance of pain, Murphy and I walked to Bart’s Books, and I spent way too much money on books.  I was very proud of myself for making myself do it. It felt good to get out in the sun.  My knees are rather cursing me right now, but I’m not talking to them anyway.

So here’s a picture of tonight’s dinner.  A simple burger made from TVP, oats and spices.  Even Murphy liked it.  (In case you can’t tell, he’s becoming my barometer for what “normal” people might like.) I had to get Spidey in the picture.  I’m using the old diet tip of eating off of smaller plates, so that you have the illusion there’s more food.  Not that I needed to; I was plenty full after dinner.  Was too hungry to get the picture before eating, so when I’d scarfed down half, I managed to stop long enough to get the camera.  Can I tell you how much I love asparagus?  Baby stalks, cooked just enough so they’re still crisp but tender; just delicious.  I wish the season was longer.  I know you can get them year round, but so often they’re tough and woody, and just not the same.

Oh!  and I forgot kale chips in my list above.  I made kale chips yesterday and nosh on them occasionally.  So easy to make, and so delicious.  Almost as addictive as potato chips.  Here’s how you make them:  Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a cookie sheet with non stick spray (preferably olive oil).  Wash kale carefully, dry thoroughly.  Remove stems, leaving just the curly leaf.  Place on cookie sheet, spreading the leaves open as much as you can.  Spray the leaves with more non stick spray.  Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in oven until the leaves become crisp, 10-15 minutes or so but don’t go by my time, as my oven is not reliable.  Store in an airtight container.  Delish!

What do Vegans Eat?

People seem to think it’s hard to eat vegan. Well, it is, sometimes.  Going out to eat is tough; non vegan ingredients are in things you’d think are totally safe, and it’s better to avoid them.  For instance, did you know McDonald’s french fries are coated with beef seasoning?  But at home, vegans can eat a wide variety of foods in all the food groups and get plenty of nutrition from them.  So I’m going to try to post every day with my basic “what did I eat today” list, just for myself and those who wonder.  I may or may not include snacks and such; I just want to give an overview of a typical week.

B – Rice Chex, blueberries, vanilla almond milk.  Coffee with So Delicious Coconut Milk creamer.

L – Homemade tabbouleh on lavash bread; soy pudding

S – West African Groundnut stew, brown rice, baked tofu with leftover orange sauce.  Peach.

Protein sources: Tofu, peanut butter, almond milk.  Veggies: parsley, cuke, mint in tabbouleh, spinach and sweet potatoes in stew.  Fruits; blueberries, peach, tomatoes in stew and tabbouleh.  Grains; bulghur wheat in tabbouleh, brown rice, bread

Usually have green drink daily, but was out of ingredients; will make some tomorrow.

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