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

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!

Kale

I have a confession to make.  I never ate kale in my life until a few weeks ago.

My experience with leafy greens for most of my life was limited to canned spinach, upon which I gagged, iceberg lettuce, and later, raw spinach in salads.  I didn’t even have a clue there were other kinds of lettuces until I was an adult.

So kale was a foreign concept to me; somewhat frightening and intimidating.  Having been  introduced to ‘green drink’ (green vegetable juice) recently I bought some kale and spinach to take a shot at it. I tried it, and I liked it!  I screwed up my courage and decided to try my hand at cooking it as a vegetable.

Kale is a very good source of iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K, Carotenoids (which provide vitamin A), beta carotene, lutein, and reasonably rich in calcium. Kale contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties. Kale is a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties and is considered to be anti-inflammatory.  Sign me up for that!   Kale comes in a variety of colors and leaf shapes; curly, flat, purple and every shade of green.  The mature leaves are a little tough and are better cooked (or juiced!); baby leaves may be added to salads raw.

All this leads me to today’s lunch.  My very first attempt at a tofu scramble. YUM!  I parcooked a potato in the microwave, then cut into bite sized pieces.  Threw into an omelet pan with some olive oil, chopped kale and chopped onion until browned. Added some roasted garlic seasoning, salt, pepper, a little Earth Balance for flavor, and then some extra firm silken tofu, crumbled.  Served with a side of mango.  It was delicious!

I am really enjoying how my relationship with food is changing.  I never thought about food much before.  It was always something to  just shove in my mouth and eat til I was stuffed.  Now, while I still fall into some bad habits when I’m really hungry, I think  about the food; what purpose is it serving in my diet today?  Is it fresh?  How does it smell?  How does it look?  Then, how does it taste?

Kale has been my new veggie of choice.  It’s so versatile, so nutritious, and so lovely.  I love sauteing it in the pan, with just a tiny bit of oil, a little water or broth.  The color is amazing, changing from a matte dark green to a brilliant shiny emerald green.  The texture is wonderful too; a little crunchy, a little chewy.  I’ve come pretty far from the little kid who hated vegetables.  You can too!