i speak veganese

Hey, I haven’t burned the house down yet!

Archive for The Home Front

Juicing

So, I found that I actually don’t have to acquire a taste for juicing. It’s delicious! I’m using the Omega 8003 masticating juicer. It’s a hot little number!

Here’s a video of someone using it:

So far, I stick to simple things like carrots and celery and apples. But I have tried to slip in some stuff that I thought would make it nasty (like kale, collard and spinach) and, to my surprise, it hasn’t worked! Everything that comes out of this thing tastes great! Even my kids like it….and do you know how hard it is to get a kid to eat their veggies?

It really was a great investment. My daughter, who I’m finding may need to go on an even stricter diet than I have chosen for myself, needs to eliminate a lot of foods that for the average person would be nutritious. Adding veggies to her diet this way is pretty easy and pretty effective since the vitamins and minerals go straight to the bloodstream. It’s awesome!

Now, I haven’t been able to implement this everyday or in some sort of every morning routine because I stay up late studying and what not. Truth be told, I tend to sleep in as long as I can. We drink it at night. Maybe around two or three times a week. I plan to really get going with it over the break. Can’t wait!!

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No Cooking Zone

My home is seemingly a no cooking zone these days. I have been eating on the go from restaurants a lot (which has got to stop). Not only is that a major weight gainer, but it’s just not easy on the pockets.

School has got me ripping and running so much though (not in a healthy way), that I ‘m too tired to fix my lunches even. Now, I’ve got food going to waste in my fridge. Hopefully not for long though. Since I fad been looking up methods to increase my energy, I stumbled across juicing. I am by no means a V8 kind of girl but I’d like to look into some of the veggie juices that can boost immune strength and energy. Let you know how that goes next time.

Weekend Warrior

So, I had some time to get some food stuffs ready for lunch-packing this week.

sushi1

This was my first attempt at making some sushi rolls. I got the idea to make my own sushi from the Gorging the Apple blog. You can see how she made hers here. I’ve seen a lot of different versions of making sushi. There’s also one in a video by Isa Chandra Moskowitz of the PPK. On top of all that wealth of knowledge and inspiration, I’ve got a few books to show me how too. Needless to say, information overload! But I’m of the mind that more knowledge is always better.

One of the reasons I never remember a recipe by heart is because I don’t have that great a memory to begin with. So my sushi rolls were kind of a hodge-podge of all that I’ve read or seen on the subject. I made my sushi rolls by mixing two cups of cooked brown rice with a tablespoon and a half of tahini, enough hot water to make it pasty enough to work through the rice, and a half a teaspoon of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. As best I could, I used some tongs to heat the nori like I had seen on Isa’s show. But I can’t say I was the greatest at it. My first attempt put a hole in the first sheet of nori. But after that, it was all good. I used some chopped up zucchini and portobello mushrooms for the filling and rolled them up with wet fingers to seal them firmly. Not bad for a first try, if I do say so myself. They were delicious with a little more of the Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and some wasabi paste. Mmmm…yummy sushi. A little fact I came across somewhere in my readings (don’t ask me where because I haven’t the slightest), wasabi’s spiciness is thought to kill bacteria in foods. That’s a nice little bonus!

I had intended to fix some more banana muffins for my son to eat on the way to school for breakfast this week. But the bananas went bad before I got to them. Since I already had the pans oiled for them, and since I had always wanted to know what zucchini bread tasted like, I made some zucchini bread muffins instead.

zucchinibread1

The original recipe comes from Vegan Planet. But, of course, since I didn’t have ALL of the ingredients (another reason why it’s no good for me to memorize a recipe), I just substituted what I had and completely omitted what I had no way of subbing. So, there’s no ginger or sesame seeds in this recipe-yeah, the cupboards need to be restocked in a BIG way. I think the bread is probably a little sweeter than it should be because I used the rest of the almond milk rather than opening a brand new carton of soy (I’m married to an accountant, what do you expect?). And I subbed whole wheat pastry flour. I think it makes them a little heavier than what zucchini bread should be like, but, after a quick thirty second heat up in the microwave, I don’t mind it much. The cupcake-sized portions make it difficult for me to feel so guilty eating them. But, they’re pretty tasty. I like them even better with a little pat of Earth Balance Buttery Spread. I don’t think my son will eat them though. He took one look and said, “Oh, herbal muffins…” Well, there’s hope yet. He did try a sushi roll so, I won’t take him out of the will yet.

In the meantime, it has been a little difficult getting around the kitchen effortlessly without having to lock up the Doodlebug. She started at a new school for autistic children within the last couple months after having been assessed as autistic. She has already made a lot of progress. Still, trying to watch her and cook at the same time is a little challenging to say the least. Between her dumping spices and herbs down the drain (today it was the chives) and trying to put away the dishes she grabs from off the counter (which would actually be pretty sweet and very helpful, 1) if they were clean first, and 2) if I wasn’t using them), it’s all I can do to not get my hair in the food from pulling it out trying to keep an eye on her too. It’s really not much better letting her run around in the other rooms either since I have to run back and forth between the kitchen and trying to find her in the house. Nothing is more scarier than a very mischievous child who’s suddenly very quiet (or out of earshot for any length of time). And lately, I’ve been finding myself thinking more and more about what will happen to her should anything happen to me and her father (God forbid). It has been a really sobering couple of months. I’m still believing God for the very best with her though. So, there’s still hope on that front too. In fact, she just used the potty two days in a row! She isn’t asking for it. But she isn’t opposed anymore to going in it. She’s even calling her brother by name too. So, I believe my prayers are being heard, thankfully.

Well, tomorrow I have to get out of the kitchen and back to cleaning the house and getting some work done for school. Sigh…I’m sleepy already.

A Confession to Make

I must confess. I haven’t been late night snacking. No…I have been late night eating. I had put on four pounds in the past few weeks. It didn’t help that I was also eating out a lot-and not getting to the gym as much or for as long when I was able to go. I was eating so much, I was so heavy going the gym that when I did get there, I really wasn’t able to endure quite as long on the treadmill. So, this past week, I stopped the late night eating and if I couldn’t cook from home, I grabbed something quick to fix from the market (like a salad in a bag or a Smart Chili or something like that). I put a fruit basket in my studio and also a basket to hold some wheat bread. And because I was so exhausted after school these days, I got a panini maker. Best piece of cookware I’ve bought in a long time! Voila! Now I can cook something quick at home-and it tastes good too!

panini

I made this panini using a Calphalon Panini Maker. I lightly oiled the pan with some olive oil and heated it up with medium heat. While the pan was heating, I sautéed and seasoned a few slices of portobello mushrooms, some slices of green, red, and yellow pepper, and some slices of green and yellow zucchini squash. I could have used the Panini Maker for that too, but it’s so new and shiny right now, it’s like almost sacred. Yeah, I’m weird that way. Anyway, I mixed a tablespoon and a half of tahini with two teaspoons of basalmic vinegar and spread that on some hearty slices of wheat bread. I assembled the sandwich, added some salt, pepper, and some nutritional yeast to make it a little cheesy tasting. I lightly oiled both sides of the bread with olive oil. Then I browned and pressed both sides in the Panini Maker. It was super yummy!! These take no more than fifteen minutes to assemble (including a veggie sauté) and less than ten minutes to make into a panini. The one drawback is I can’t put it in the dishwasher. But it only takes a few minutes. Then I’m eating vegan and off to getting on with the rest of my night…which these days includes a lot of sleeping when I can get it.

Boscov’s has these Panini Maker’s on sale in my area. Originally, they are $110. I got it for $49.99. Sweet! It works perfectly and browns evenly. I liked it so much I bought an electric panini maker for my studio. The paninis from it aren’t the greatest, but they’re healthier than going to get take-out on campus everyday.

To make a long story short, I lost those four pounds in one week by reversing those bad habits. Not a bad return for some small adjustments. It’s hard trying to stay fit, stay in school, and be a vegan. These are the ways I cope. Hey, a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do.

Burrito Anyone?

We just installed our show in Philadelphia and this weekend I decided to spend some time at home to make myself a small congratulatory meal.

everythingburrito

I call this masterpiece of veganny goodness an Everything Burrito. Why? Because I’ve been really feelin’ this Mexican food lately. If it’s wrapped in some kind of tortilla, I’m eatin’ it. Guacamole? Spread it on. Salsa? Hand it over. Beans? More please. My favorite place for this stuff on campus is a Mexican Grill joint called Santa Fe. They have a veggie burrito that is amazingly good and super-duper HUGE. But I can never get a wheat tortilla there in the afternoons when I’m able to go and the white tortillas just ruin my diet altogether. So, for my own burrito, I used white kidney beans, some refried beans, some salsa, some basmati rice (I had some left over to get rid of), some Holy Guacamole, and just to make it interesting, I crumbled some Tostitos Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips in the mix right before folding a 100% wheat tortilla around the whole shabang. It was delicious!! And don’t let the picture fool you. I ate about three of those things! And for the best part…I made enough to last a few more days so I can eat vegan on the go!! I am simply awesome, lol!

The next thing I need to learn how to make is that amazing General Tso’s Tofu I get from Bamboo House. That stuff is finger-licking good. Forgive the reference to the colonel.

Toys!

Who said toys are just for kids? I played with every toy I got this Christmas. My rolling pin, my non-stick dough surface, my very cheap, but all I need juicer, and both blenders (my pre-Christmas gifts), plus nearly all of my recipe books (which as of today I have all the recipe books I could ever need). And I have made everything. Easy dishes, mind you. But I’m never one to belittle the day of small beginnings. I’ve made everything from cauliflower mash to homemade vegan pizza-dough and all-to sweet potato fries. How’s that for a former microwave queen? I am a mad woman! Pics soon to come.

Right now I’ve got to go nurse a cold. The Doodlebug is taking meds for an ear infection and I may be next. I’m a regular snot factory.

Taters and a little peanut

You’ll never hear me professing I’m some Chef Boyardee.  Far from it.  Now, my MIL is fierce in the kitchen! It just wasn’t my calling.  But, ever since I started trying to get my weight down and definitely since this new way of eating, I find myself cooking at home more often than not.  My latest concoction used white potatoes.

Simple Roasted Potatoes

I had stopped eating white potatoes when I started exercising and read up about how sugars and starches cause weight gain.  But, I figure, if I’m going to give up meats, I can afford to pick up potatoes again.  Mmmmmm……  

My family has some great cooks on both sides of the tree (I’m not one of them…you may have read that earlier). But not one recipe book! But then, most black traditions are handed down orally (not the rule always, but in my experience, this is the case most times). It’s no different in my family with recipes. Since they don’t use exact measurements, there was never a reason to write it down. They just put a pinch of this here or a pinch of that there-a fistfull of this or a dash of that. It was just intuitive genius. Still, I never had a clue how to get from A to B with any of these recipes. But, despite my lack of culinary greatness, I must have inherited that tendency from them. Here’s how I made the potatoes:

“I sliced and halved the potatoes. Then I coated them with somewhere around two tablespoons of olive oil, about a half teaspoon of garlic and black pepper seasoning, and about a tiny fistful each of chives and parsley, and a couple dashes of sea salt. In the oven it went at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, turning once.”

These tasted great! So they’re not gourmet anything. They had a nice flavor-and it’s potatoes! You can’t mess up potatoes. So the potatoes are back in rotation for me.

I have a little adorable peanut too. She’s got a great personality and she’s the prettiest little thing. But she has only said a few words since she was born. She’s my youngest. She’s three years old and was just recently assessed and deemed eligible for the local autism program. I was saddened by this until I realized that I believe in a God of miracles. I’ll be believing Him for a breakthrough for my daughter. In the meantime, with all the researching of new diets, the GFCF Diet didn’t escape my attention. I’ve never held to any restrictive diets before and this is my first attempt at that. But, I’m thinking if I can learn to do this for myself, at some point, I’ll be able to help her and we can see if it has any beneficial impact on her development. I’m still waiting for her to say, “Mom,” and know she’s calling me.

Diet is more important than I ever realized to our health.