April 27, 2011 § Leave a Comment
How are you doing?
We had a pretty busy day today running errands (I think I’ve mentioned this before, but when I say “errands,” Peter thinks I’m saying “Erin,” who is his aunt, my sister, and he assumes we’re going to her house to see his cousins. When we end up at CVS, he’s always disappointed. That got me thinking about other words he may misconstrue, and I realized that when I say “Ugh, I’m draggin’ today,” he probably thinks I’m saying ”Ugh, I’m a dragon today.”)
Anyway, in the car on the way home from karate this afternoon I asked Peter what he wanted for dinner and he replied: “Moe’s.” I almost said “OK,” but then I remembered that we had corn tortillas, rice, frozen corn, salsa, cheese, olives, and plain yogurt at home. All we needed for the at-home-Moe’s- experience were black beans, guacamole, and lettuce. Off to the nearest chain grocery store we went.
Unfortunately, the store did not have limes or cilantro, so our guacamole topping was reduced to a plain avocado topping. The store also didn’t have any fresh looking organic lettuce, so I opted for organic broccoli sprouts thinking that they would add the cold, crunchy texture that is essential to a good taco. (Did you know that I can’t say “taco” without laughing? I don’t know why; it just sounds funny to me. And I absolutely cannot say “fish taco.” It sounds repulsive. They should be renamed ”fish enchiladas.” I also can’t say “moist.” I don’t know what’s wrong with me.)
In any case, Cinco de Mayo is next Thursday…perhaps you can celebrate with these tacos (hee-hee).
Moe’s-at-home Vegetarian Tacos
1 cup cooked brown rice (you’ll probably have leftover rice. I cook my rice in vegetable broth instead of plain water for extra flavor.)
1 can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
6 oz. frozen organic corn
1/2 c. jarred salsa (or homemade if you’re ambitious)
1/2 c. goat’s milk cheddar cheese, shredded (or whatever shredded cheese you like)
1/2 c. chopped olives, black or kalamata
1 avocado, sliced (or make guacamole. I urge you to make guacamole because it’s awesome.)
1/2 c. organic plain yogurt
1/2 c. organic broccoli sprouts (or shredded organic lettuce)
6 5 1/2″ round corn (or flour) tortillas (preferably organic)
1. Cook rice according to package directions. When done, place in bowl and set aside.
2. In the same pot you used to cook the rice, add black beans, frozen corn and salsa. Cook over medium heat until very warm throughout.
3. When the bean mixture is warm, heat up a skillet to warm your corn tortillas. In case you didn’t know, tortillas tear if you try to fold them while cold. Warm the tortillas for about 15 seconds on each side until they feel pliable.
4. Take a tortilla and place about one tablespoon of rice down the middle. On top of the rice, pile on one or two tablespoons of the bean mixture, a big pinch or two of shredded cheese and olives, a slice or two of avocado, and a large pinch of broccoli sprouts. Add a dollop or two of plain yogurt on top, fold into a taco shape, and enjoy.
They’re messy to eat–I had to help Peter eat his. But, all in all, I think they’re a fairly quick, pretty healthy alternative to fast Mexican-type food. I have to say, the plain yogurt really tied it all together for me, but I’m sure if I had guacamole I would’ve skipped the yogurt since I’m still limiting cow dairy in my diet.
Do you have a favorite vegetarian taco recipe?
February 24, 2011 § Leave a Comment
How are you? We’re doing well here. We’ve been treated to gorgeous, clear mornings like this all week long:
It’s so bright and sunny, I thought that I could run outside wearing only my pjs and flip-flops to take a picture of the sky. But the second I opened the door, I received a frigid slap in the face and heard Mother Nature cackle and say “PSYCHE!! It’s still winter, dummy!”
In my mind, Mother Nature is Kathy Bates. In Misery. (If you’ve never seen that movie, you should totally put it on your Netflix list. It’s so sick, but I love it.)
Black-Eyed Pea Masala
Yield: approx 6 cups
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or oil of choice)
- 1 15 oz. can of black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained (this was the major adjustment. Angela used dried peas – pwa)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ginger-root, minced (or more to taste) (I used about a teaspoon of ginger powder – pwa)
- 3 small cloves garlic, minced
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 3 cups canned diced tomato (approx. one 28oz can)
- 1.5-2 teaspoons garam masala, to taste
- 1-2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste (I didn’t use any sugar – pwa)
- 1.5 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Chopped parsley or cilantro, to garnish (I added leftover baby spinach at the end – pwa)
- Rice or bread, for serving (I served the masala over leftover whole wheat couscous – pwa)
In a large skillet, add 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat and add the chopped onions. Cook, stirring, until onions soften, about 6-8 minutes. Add the cumin, ginger, and garlic and stir for about 1-2 minutes.
Add the drained peas and all remaining ingredients. Simmer until the black-eyed peas are tender, about 20 minutes. If desired, add chopped baby spinach and stir until wilted. Check seasonings and add more salt and garam masala if necessary.
Sprinkle with parsley/cilantro and serve with brown rice or fresh bread (or couscous). Makes approx. 6 cups.
As I mentioned, Angela used dried black-eyed peas in her recipe, while I took the easy way out and used the canned version. Please jump to Oh She Glows if you want the directions for cooking the dried peas.
I thought this masala was great (and quick). I only wished that I had a piece of warm naan to scoop it up with. The couscous was fine, but it wasn’t naan!
Enjoy your Thursday!
February 23, 2011 § 2 Comments
This week’s recipe is from Sarah. Thanks, Sarah!
Tomato-Bean Soup with Pasta
From the Chicago Tribune|Serves 6
1 cup any small soup pasta
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cans veggie broth (I assume 30 oz. – pwa)
2 cans cannellini or black beans
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine
2 tsp Italian herb blend
1 bay leaf, optional
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 kale or Swiss chard leaves, coarsely chopped
Prepare pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add broth, beans with their liquid, tomatoes with their liquid, wine, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Simmer 20 minutes.
Add chard leaves, cook until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls, add pasta. Pass Parmesan at table.
(The only thing I question about this recipe is not rinsing off the beans. I assume the bean liquid thickens the broth, but still, when I make this I may stick to my habit of rinsing and deal with having a thinner broth. That beany, slimy, salty liquid kind of turns my stomach! That’s only my opinion! – pwa)
January 29, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Hi! I hope your weekend is off to a great start! Our’s is Yesterday afternoon we had Peter’s first parent/teacher conference (he’s doing awesomely) and then we had the best pizza we’ve had yet in Central Massachusetts, at Flats in Worcester. Flats focuses on local, organic ingredients, which is music to my ears (eyes? Whatever. You know what I mean). And they serve up pizza with a thin, crispy crust, which is music to my mouth. (Central Mass is the land of thick crust “Greek-style pizza.” Being from New Haven county, I’m all about the thin crust). Flats also offers delicious-sounding salads, sandwiches, and appetizers/snacks.
We started with the white bean hummus appetizer. The creamy and garlicky hummus was served atop two big crispy romaine lettuce leaves. The hummus delivery vehicles (HDVs) were crostini and crispy wontons. The dish was fresh and delicious. We followed that up with the “Jules” pizza (classic Napoli , thin crust, red sauce, torn basil, fresh mozzarella, sea salt and evoo). It was a little heavy on the evoo, but besides that it was wonderful. It was my first time eating real cheese in nearly a month. It was good, but I can still say that I’ll be limiting my cow’s dairy intake. I might have pizza with cow’s milk cheese once a month. On the rest of our “pizza nights” I’ll stick to veggie/hummus subs or make homemade pizza with Daiya.
Oh, one little touch that I loved was when the waitress brought out the pizza (cut into large, haphazard rectangles) on a ginormous silver tray, she placed the tray on top of a big empty tomato can (you’ll have to use your imagination because I was too busy stuffing my face to take pictures. I know, food blogger extraordinaire over here.) So, the can was a space saver and a reuse/recycle effort! Love it!
If you find yourself in Worcester, go to Flats (and BYOB). The End.
Onto the real story of the day, here’s this week’s Mom’s Club recipe from Pam:
…Anyway, the recipe that I am going to share today is Peanut Butter Chicken over Quinoa. My son used to be allergic to lots of foods – milk, eggs, wheat, soy, apples, pineapple, spinach, but strangely enough, nuts have always been okay for him. So, for years, I had to cook allergen-free meals, and this one was everybody’s favorite.
Peanut Butter Chicken
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch cubes* (organic chicken, if possible – pwa)
1 medium onion, sliced
7 fresh mushrooms sliced (I slice them large, so we can pick them out of the children’s portions, as they don’t like mushrooms)
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice (I like petit cut diced tomatoes)
3/4 cup chicken stock (I use boullion & water if I don’t want to open a carton of chicken stock)
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook until chicken starts to turn white. Add the onion, mushrooms, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly (I just stir occasionally) until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
Pour the tomatoes and chicken stock into the skillet, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in peanut butter and cook, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. This should take only a minute or two. If the sauce is not thickening, you may stir in more peanut butter.
Serve over quinoa (or rice or noodles).
*I have also made this recipe using chick peas instead of chicken.
(Thanks, Pam! I’m definitely going to try this. I’ll probably make two pans – one with organic chicken and the other with chickpeas. Updated to add: while I was putting romaine lettuce leaves in my juicer, I thought that this dish may be a good filling for a lettuce wrap…I’m not sure how thick the sauce is, though…maybe the solid ingredients can be taken out of the pan with a slotted spoon and used as the lettuce wrap filling (along with quinoa) and then the sauce leftover in the pan could be used as a dip? - pwa)
January 14, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Hello! I hope you’re doing well~
Here’s a Salmon Burger recipe from Sarah:
1 14.75 oz can salmon (I get the wild Alaskan salmon at Trader Joe’s–(Sarah))
1/2 cup egg substitute (I use one egg–(Sarah))
1/2 cup crushed saltines (about 14–I have used whole grain crackers before too–(Sarah))
1/3 cup sliced green onions (I skip this if I don’t happen to have any– (Sarah))
1 tbs lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt and pepper
Let your kids crush the saltines (FUN!) and dump everything into a bowl and mix. If you don’t usually buy canned salmon you just need to open it up and pull out the bones–a little messy but still quick and easy to do. Mix it all up and form four patties. Cook in skillet, medium heat, for about 3-5 minutes a side until just browned.
I serve them plain with rice pilaf and green beans. You could make actual burgers with buns and fixings too.
(Thanks, Sarah! I haven’t tried these yet, mainly because I don’t care for fish, but I may make them for Pete and Peter. Here’s an article from “Prevention” magazine which discusses the dangers of farmed salmon and recommends using canned salmon, which is almost exclusively wild salmon. I do wonder about the BPA in the cans, though! Nothing is easy when it comes to choosing the “right” food…We can only make educated decisions and hope for the best! – pwa)
(One last thing, no matter what I’m eating, whether it’s a kale salad or a plate of fries, I always say a little blessing in my head like “Thank you for this food and allow it to nourish me as best it can. – pwa)
Have a great weekend!
January 11, 2011 § 2 Comments
So, this is the 9th day of my successful vegan life.
And this right here is my 100th blog post! (For some reason, Christina Aguilera’s ”Dirrty” is the celebratory song in my head. “Ring the alarm, ring the alarm…Oh, I’m overdue, give me some room…”)
Anyway, I’m not a hugely active blogger, but 100 posts in just under one year seems like a respectable amount. Right? I think I’ve stayed true to my initial vision (which can be read here), although I didn’t spend as much time on a few topics, such as gardening and travel, as I thought I would (no, we didn’t go to Tuscany. Boo.). (And, NO, Peter and I didn’t pick enough blueberries to get us through the winter. The kid eats a whole pint in a sitting. There’s not a freezer big enough to hold the amount he’d eat all winter.)
Failures aside, my main mission was–and still is– this: to encourage you to think about–and care about–what you’re eating.
If you’re eating meat, is it the best quality meat you can find? The best quality red meat will be organic and grass-finished. The best quality chicken will be organic and free-range. Why don’t you search your area for local farmers to buy meat from directly? It will take some legwork, but wouldn’t it be nice to know where exactly your meat is coming from?
The same goes for eggs and dairy. Try to find a local organic dairy farmer from who you can buy your dairy products.
If you’re eating fruit and vegetables (and you darned well better be), are you buying the organic version of those on the most recent EWG “dirty dozen” list?
To make life easier for you:
Here’s the 2010 Top 12 Dirtiest Produce (The 2011 list isn’t available yet):
5. Blueberries (domestic)
7. Sweet bell peppers
10. Kale/collard greens
12. Grapes (Imported)
You should most definitely buy the organic version of these 12 fruits and vegetables.
I simply want you to treat your body with the respect it deserves. If you treat it well, it will treat you well by staying healthy and happy.
Speaking of which, and as I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve had my share of health challenges over the past few months. It’s obvious to me that I wasn’t treating my body the way it needed to be treated. It was pissed and it was letting me know it was pissed by harboring an evil germ in my lungs for months. In an attempt to make amends with my body, I’ve started a 21-day vegan eating plan and I’m making the time to stop and really listen to what my body needs. One of the things that my body is screaming for is a massage, so I’m getting an hour-long massage on Saturday!
I also reviewed my food diary to search for a clue as to what I’d been doing wrong nutritionally and I saw that I hadn’t been eating nearly enough vegetables. Especially leafy greens, which are crucial for healthy living.
So, last week I bought a huge bunch of kale, an amazingly nutritious and health-supporting vegetable. I had planned to use it for some of the recipes supplied by PCRM, but since I’ve started eating vegan, I’ve done my own meal planning.
Yesterday I decided to use about 3/4 of the bunch of kale for Mama Pea’s BBQ kale chip recipe (yum!) and the other 1/4 for a raw kale salad recipe that I first ate shortly after I registered at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
(Unfortunately, I can’t recall who posted the recipe on the online education forum nearly 4 years ago! Give me a break! I can hardly remember what I did yesterday.)
Anyway, it was my first experience with kale, and as is the case with many first times, it was memorable. And in this case it’s a good memory… unlike some of my other “firsts.” You know, like the first time I tried eating a scallop. Blech. Bad memory. Bad.
Energizing and Citrusy Kale Salad with Avocado
A good-sized bunch of kale, thoroughly rinsed, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces, or cut chiffonade style
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 avocado, diced
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
2 clementines (or oranges), peeled and separated into segments
Juice from two oranges
1. Place the washed kale into a large bowl. Add the teaspoon of sea salt and with your hands “massage” the salt into the kale. Do this for 2 minutes until the leaves start turning a deeper shade of green and feel softer. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. I’ve found that I truly love using my hands as a food prep tool – kneading dough, rolling chocolate truffles, massaging kale. It’s awesome.
2. To the softened kale, add the diced avocado, sunflower seeds, orange segments and orange juice. Mix all together with your hands.
3. Eat and enjoy!
You can add whatever you want to the massaged kale. I think grapefruit and grapefruit juice would be a delicious substitute for the oranges. You could add apples, fennel, red onions, celery, blueberries, chickpeas, shredded carrots, nuts, olive oil…I mean, the possibilities are endless.
I honestly feel a tingly, energizing surge a few minutes after I eat this salad. A feeling very similar to another first time experience. You know, driving the car for the first time by myself. Wha-hoo!
Try this salad. Kale season is now through early spring.
Enjoy your Tuesday!
December 31, 2010 § 2 Comments
Aaaahh. So. Hello there! I guess my hiatus is over. I won’t bore you with all the details, but I will say that I took a break from writing because I felt like a big bag of crap for a very long time. I’m still not 100% healthy, but I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I think. I don’t want to jinx myself. And, yes, I eventually gave in and took a few puffs from the inhaler. Not as many as the doctor prescribed, but I think what I did take might have helped a little.
Anyway, in an effort to completely rid myself of this relentless respiratory illness (I picture this little germ on horseback in my lungs trying to lasso my alveoli. Seriously, this little eff-er is trying to bring me down), I have decided to embark on PCRM’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart beginning on Monday, 1/3.
I’ve kind of started already. For the past two days I’ve used almond milk in my coffee in place of my usual 1% organic milk. And I passed up an egg and cheese sandwich this morning for a bowl of oatmeal with almond butter, golden raisins and cinnamon.
(You may be asking why a certified Holistic Heath Counselor needs to join a group to start a vegan challenge. And the answer to that is: pure, unadulterated laziness. Sure, I could create my own vegan eating plan, but why should I when someone else has already created one? And even professionals need a helping hand sometimes.)
As you probably know, dairy products are mucus forming. And since I have mucus to spare (are you turned on yet?) I have made the logical (and belated) decision to remove dairy from my diet. Since I already don’t eat meat or fish, the only thing keeping me from being vegan is dairy. I actually once wrote a post here saying that I could never be vegan because I love cheese so much. Well, here I am being all contradictory. I will be vegan. For 21 days, at least.
I’m feeling kind of excited about it. I think I’ll feel cleaner, lighter, and healthier by mid-January. I’m praying that’s the outcome, anyhow.
I can’t say that I’ll become vegan after the 21 days since I can’t see myself using dairy substitutes like Earth Balance for butter and Daiya for cheese for an extended period of time. I bought some cheddar-style Daiya yesterday and I don’t know who they think they’re fooling, but it doesn’t taste like cheddar cheese.
Now, before I get yelled at, I’m not knocking these products (even though it sounds like I am) or saying that they are “bad.” They’re just not for me. I prefer to eat good quality, whole, organic food rather than processed food-stuff. But, for those people who are vegan for ethical reasons, those products are suitable substitutions for the real thing. And who knows? Maybe I’ll become a convert.
Anyway, I’ll be blogging about my vegan experience over the next few weeks and sharing recipes. If you care to join me on this adventure (I don’t think it’s too late to sign up), I’d love to hear how it’s going for you.
In the meantime, have a super fun and safe NYE!
November 24, 2010 § 2 Comments
My sister Erin is hosting Thanksgiving, but we’re all bringing a dish or two along. Here’s what I’m bringing:
- Niblet corn (per my husband’s request)
- Green beans (per my husband’s request – he is very, um, particular about the foods he expects to eat at Thanksgiving)
- Dirty Mashed Potatoes (per my…you know) (don’t tell anyone that they’re actually High Protein Mashed Potatoes – sshhhh! I’ll be using butter and milk instead of Earth Balance and almond milk)
- Cranberry Sauce - at the last minute, Mama Pea swayed me from using Ina Garten’s recipe. It was the blueberries that won me over. Speaking of Ina, how about those “doodles” of hers that have been in the Google logo this week? Impressive!
- Pumpkin Pie with homemade graham cracker crust and homemade whipped cream. I was going to make a Roasted Pumpkin Pie that my neighbor told me about, but I’ve never made it before and I don’t feel like taking a chance. Pumpkin Pie is my 10-year-old niece’s favorite pie, so I’m just going to stick to the basic, back-of-the can organic pumpkin pie recipe.
- Apple Crisp with vanilla ice cream
And I think that’s it! My mom is making my beloved Herb-Roasted Root Vegetables. We still have some kale in our garden, so I might bring that along to saute with the green beans…
Finally, the health coach in me would like to tell you to:
Eat a protein-filled breakfast such as scrambled eggs and whole grain toast in the morning so you’re not starving in the afternoon.
Enjoy every bite.
Have a glass or two of red wine.
Play a pre- or post-dinner game of soccer or touch football.
Take a brisk walk around the block.
Above all be THANKFUL for just being here, for being able to spend one day surrounded by family and friends, eating delicious food, and hopefully having more than a few laughs.
I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. Savor each moment.