Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cheezy Cabbage Potato Soup

I made this delicious soup for lunch today and actually wrote down the recipe as I made it! It is a mild, but flavorful soup that packs a lot of nutrition for very few calories. I used russet potatoes, as that's all I had on hand, but yukon gold or red bliss would be even better. I kept the skins on as they were organic and cut them into fairly large chunks because I like that in a soup, but you could dice them if you want a more uniform spoonful of cheesy goodness.

Recipe:
Cooking spray
1 onion (around 1 cup, diced)
1 t dried thyme
1 t dried dill
1 t paprika
1/2 t caraway seeds
5 cloves garlic
pinch salt
6 c shredded green cabbage (around 1/2 a medium head)
2 c diced potatoes (around 2 medium)
1-2 canned chipotle pepper is adobo (use 1 if you don't like heat in your soup)
6 c water
1.5 bouillon cubes
black pepper to taste

Method:
In a large, heavy bottomed soup pan over medium heat spray with cooking spray add the onions, garlic and spices along with a pinch of salt. Cook for several minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Now, add the cabbage and potatoes and chipolte and coat with the spice/onion mixture for several more minutes. Add the water and bouillon and bring to a boil, uncovered. Simmer for several minutes, then turn the heat down to low and cover and allow the potatoes and cabbage to cook. Meanwhile, prepare the 'cheese/cream mixture'

Cheesy Cream:
1/2 block lite tofu
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1.5 T tahini
2 t dijon mustard
2 small cloves garlic (around 1.5 t, crushed)
1 t yellow mustard (prepared)
2 T umeboshi vinegar (or 1 T soy sauce and 1 T lemon juice)
1 T lemon juice

Process all of the above in a food processor until totally smooth. When the soup is done take it off the heat (this is VERY important or the mixture will curdle) and stir into the pot. Let it sit, covered for 5 minutes and taste for salt/pepper. If you'd like, add around 3 cups of the soup to the food processor and puree for a creamier soup (and to get all of the cheesy sauce out!). Add the pureed soup back into the pot. Enjoy!

This makes around 8 cups of soup (I think it may have made more, but I didn't measure it exactly)

A 2 cup serving provides: (1 cup would ALMOST be a 100 calorie snack!)

237 calories
5 g fat
40 carbs
8 g fiber
12 g protein

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rawkin Rawco 100 calorie snack!

I think this is my most favorite 100 calorie snack so far. Wow! I am soo going to turn this into a meal. These are raw mexican wraps, or RAWcos... as I've seen this sort of dish referred to in the raw community. I am feeling a calling towards raw foods. I think this summer (or as soon as I clean out my pantry) I will do a 30-60 day RAW challenge. It just feels like the right thing to do.
Now, to the snack. Here's the recipe:

1 c cauliflower
1 t nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic
1 t chili powder (or less if you wish)
1 small jalapeno
juice of 1 lime
1 T walnuts
handful cilantro
salt/pepper to taste
1/4 head boston bibb lettuce (5 large leaves)
4 large cherry tomatoes

Method:
Process the cauliflower, yeast, garlic, chili powder, jalapeno, lime juice, walnuts and most of the cilantro (in a food processor) until it is combined, but not quite a paste. Add the salt/pepper to taste and serve on a mound of lettuce leaves, topped with the tomatoes and the rest of the cilantro. Wrap up and enjoy! You could also serve this in endive and I'll bet it would be delicious and even easier to eat.

100 calories
6 g fat
10 g carbs
5 g protein
5 g fiber

How's that for a fabulous 100 calorie snack?
This was a simple dry fried tofu sammie. I toasted my homemade bread from last post and topped it with the jalapeno hummus, baby arugula and tomatoes. The tofu was sprinkled with smoked sea salt and pepper. It was a fairly bland sandwich, but hit the spot last night for dinner.

I also had a bowl of my favorite broccoli soup, but didn't take a pic. Basically, I just sauted an onion and garlic and added broccoli covered with stock. Brought it to a boil, then stirred in some hummus and blended it with my immersion blender. I finished it off with a tiny bit of umeboshi vinegar, truffle oil, paprika and black pepper.
We got yet another snowstorm yesterday.. the big fluffy flakes. This was at dusk.. the sky was an amazing color and the flakes were so big. I don't think the pic does it justice, but It was beautiful.
Yes, another 100 calorie snack. This was baby arugula, cherry tomatoes, nutritional yeast and a homemade very low fat balsamic vinaigrette. I used some leftover chickpea cooking liquid, dijon, garlic, thyme, balsamic vinegar, salt/pepper, stevia and 1 T evoo for 12 oz of dressing. It is very satifsying and I think this salad had less than 100 calories (per 3 c arugula) which is pretty amazing.

I want to thank everyone for their awesome support in my last post. Now that I've had a couple days to decompress and let the reality of the situation sink in I think that it may have been a blessing in disguise. It has pushed me way out of my comfort zone and into what I'm really doing in this weight loss venture. It is about SOOO much more than a number. It is about becoming healthy and really listening to my body.. and treating myself well. I can honestly say that at this moment I don't care that the number is more than I thought it was. I KNOW that I am doing a great service to myself by eating such healthy foods.. and I have been enjoying getting back in touch with myself... I am thinking I may stop weighing myself once a week and goto once a month. With my new scale being the number I go by. As I begin to exercise more, I know my body will hold onto water a bit and I don't want to get discouraged by a number. I KNOW if I'm doing the "right thing"... I KNOW if I am treating myself right and that is what this is all about, not a quick fix on the scale.
I'm thinking March 1st I will weigh in and again April 1st. I will still continue to track my calories in fitday because it keeps my portions in check. When I do the raw challenge, I will not be logging my calories in the first 3 weeks.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Horror tale from the scale.. fire and ice

I believe in starting things out positive... this meal was amazing. I used frozen lite firm tofu (thawed and squeezed to get the water out), onions, garlic, jalapenos, roasted red pepper, ginger, thai chile sauce, peas, ,cilantro, lime juice, salsa and 2 T natural peanut butter to bring it all together. It was so delicious. I also added a bit of water and a 1/4 bouillon cube. I had half of the dish for breakfast and half for lunch. For a total of 700 calories..... and so spicy you feel almost high when you are done with this dish!
Who needs ice cream? This awesome treat was made from cooked steel cut oats, frozen bananas, frozen blueberries, flax meal, cinnamon lemon juice and stevia. I used my food processor, which produced a chunkyish consistency with the steel cut oats. I actually liked it. I think if you used a Vita Mix it would be smooth... and if you used whole cooked oats, it would probably produce a super smooth result (I have done this in the past, with a vita mix, but I'm pretty sure it would work in a food processor as well.
Big ass bread! I am working a very low calorie recipe to rival the lite breads I buy in the store. This is a tall order, as the lite breads have between 35-40 calories per slice. This bread has 60 calories per slice (20 slices per loaf) .... tasted great of course, but I want to do better.
I love the fact I have a gas stove. I have been roasting my own peppers (along with having a much better temperature control over my food!)... the other day a fellow vegan blogger mentioned jalapeno hummus... ( I can't for the life of me remember whose blog it was!).. I decided right then I had to make my own version. I roasted 2 big ass jalapenos and added them to my favorite hummus recipe..
This made an awesome 100 calorie snack, coupled with broccoli.
I will say that this hummus was much more amazing after a 24 hour rest in the fridge.. the roasted jalapenos really "got to know" the chickpeas. It is pretty much my favorite thing ever to eat right now.
I also had some habaneros in the fridge that needed to be used. I LOVE all things spicy and came up with THIS RECIPE based on many published variations. I did not have the red wine vinegar, which really threw me for a loop after I had the ingredients in the pan...so I searched my pantry for what I had available. Fortunately, I had about a cup of kumquats and 4 large limes, so I used those instead of the vinegar. I think we like it more this time. My oldest son said it was delicious.... and his opinion means a lot to me as he is a spice loving foodie.

100 calorie snack. 1/4 of a low carb, whole grain tortilla (30 calories), 1/4 avocado and the habanero sauce. Super good and filling. (the actual snack portion was 4 of these triangles)

The 100 calorie snack is kind of an experiment for me... to see if they really make a difference in how I feel towards foods in the long terms. So far, so good. 2-4 a day.... depending on my activity level... (and sometimes I have a 200 calorie snack)..
Ok.. here is when the bad and ugly step in. I ordered a scale from amazon.com several weeks ago. I try to avoid shopping at WALMART... and other big buy stores...

Today my scale arrived in the above packaging... how obscene. If you can't tell by the pic, the box was almost 3 feet high and 3 feet wide... stuffed with inflated plastic. I don't think it's better to buy from amazon. I also ordered a cookbook with the super shipping savings, but they did not bother to ship my items together. Instead, the cookbook also came in another LARGE box...

This makes me feel that WalMart is the better option???? How messed up is that?

Also... to my ABSOLUTE HORROR, my new scale is measuring me a full 15 lbs HEAVIER than my much older spring scale..... uuuggg....
I will goto the rec center and weigh on their scale to see which one is accurate. They have an old fashioned medical scale.
This brings me to a point.... what the fuck is a number? Seriously? I was feeling GOOD that I lost the 5 lbs.... like GREAT... and today, I step on the scale and see a much higher NUMBER.... and all of a sudden I am a crumpled mess on the floor.. wanting to scream....

It's number.... I still have lost the 5 lbs....

How can I let a number ruin my day?
I won't.

If I am actually heavier than I though, then SO BE IT. It doesn't change the loss I've had so far... it just means I'm not quite as low as I thought I was...

grrr..... NUMBERS...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Raw love and weigh in...

Call me inspired to make raw foods. Mattye has released an amazing Ebook. Go buy it now! Seriously, do it. It is Frugal Raw. You can't get much better than that. I can't wait to dive into her recipes. I don't think I've been this excited about a cookbook for a while.

I got up super early this morning and weighed in. 3 lbs lost! Of course, that is over two weeks because I chose not to weigh in last week due to sickness. I knew that I had lost weight, but also knew I'd regain that weight as soon as I started to eat again. I am so glad I chose to do it this way, because the 3 lbs for the last 2 weeks made me very happy. It's a total of 5 lbs in 3 weeks, which is more than my 1 lb per week goal. I am soo NOT deprived at all. I am eating an amazing amount of healthy and delicious food... more than most people would ever imagine possible for weight loss. Of course, I KNOW I could lose weight faster if I cut my calories more, but I am not willing to do that. This is about the long haul. I can do this easily for the rest of my life and feel very satisfied.
...soo.. onto the food.. The picture above was another delicious 100 calorie snack. Raw yellow squash, salted, rinsed and drained along with a puree of grape tomatoes, garlic, nutritional yeast and 1/2 t of evoo..... and of course, fresh basil.
the 'noodles', salted and draining. I rinse the final product before using.
Even in the winter, you can get amazing grape tomatoes. My local grocery store had them on sale for .99/pint last week. Coupled with fresh basil, they made an amazing sauce in my food processor. Simple ingredients can make such a huge difference when it comes to healthy foods. The flavors of ripe tomatoes and fresh basil can carry a dish. I do feel a bit guilty, because it's the middle of winter in NH... how is it that I can get such amazing produce? oy.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

sweet relief

It is such sweet relief to feel better! I've been on the mend for several days now and my appetite is back with a vengeance, unfortunately.

Pasta gets such a bad wrap. Underserved, because I think it's one of the best foods out there. Of course, I mean whole grain pasta, not the white stuff... and you have to measure it. Would you believe the plate above only contained 480 calories, along with 25 grams protein and 15 grams of fiber?

The key to a healthier whole grain pasta dish is to make your own sauce. It is really simple and also cheaper than the jarred stuff. Now, when I use the store bought stuff it seems very salty, sweet and just not very good. Here's a recipe for my simple marinara. If want to cut calories, then use cooking spray with a tiny bit of veggie broth or water or even wine instead of the 4 T olive oil, but whatever you do, don't skip the step of slowly bringing the garlic and spices up to temperature or the sauce won't be the same. I always add around 1 t of extra virgin olive oil to my plate just before eating because it tastes good and the fat in the oil allows your body to absorb the lycopene from the tomatoes. To make a chunky sauce, just add a bunch of sauted or roasted veggies. If you have a picky eater at home, try shredded zucchini, yellow squash and carrots in the sauce and puree. I have done this time and time again and my kid and their friends have never known the difference. It's a GREAT way to get veggies into your kids. If you want to hide some protein in your pasta, add a can of drained kidney or red beans and puree (make sure to add some water to thin it out. The sauce for the pasta above was tossed with a bunch of veggies cooked in my fabulous cast iron pan with olive oil cooking spray. I stirred 2 T of nutritional yeast into the dish. Nutritional yeast is more than a flavor enhancer. I use Red Star and buy it in bulk. 2 heaping T provide 8 grams of protein as well as the B vitamins it is famous for.
Veggies in my cast iron. Squash, mushrooms, onions and garlic along with spices and lots of red pepper flakes.
Here is a low fat version of my lemon rosemary potatoes. When I worked at Cafe Indigo we served them (not the low fat version, my original recipe) for brunch every Sunday. I'm not sure if they still do now that I'm not there, but I hope they do! The higher fat version is awesome, but these were great as well. I tossed these with a very low fat lemony vinaigrette, fresh rosemary and olive oil spray. They were baked until perfectly browned. 1 large serving came around 200 calories.
I'm in love with smoothies, even in the dead of winter. Frozen banana, frozen strawberries, soymilk, lemon juice and stevia tastes like a delicious ice cream shake. This 12 oz portion was around 200 calories. I usually add flax meal, but I'm out. For shame! Anyway, this breakfast is very good. Many of you add spinach or kale, but I eat so much in my daily salad, I don't find it necessary. In fact, sometimes when I'm counting calories I find myself eating an obscene amount of veggies. Many days, I get close to 75 grams fiber. Is that too much of a good thing?


Another 100 calorie snack. Actually, this was leftover, after my calculations it came out to 99 calories and was the perfect 10:00 am snack.
I used frozen lite firm tofu and sauted it in the cast iron with cooking spray, onion, garlic, ginger, chiles, snow peas and topped it with siracha and Newman's Own low fat sesame ginger dressing. (35 calories per 2 T). I am going to make my own low fat sesame ginger dressing this week as I'm almost out of the Newman's stuff and don't like buying processed foods if I can help it.

Weigh in tomorrow morning! I'll probably report in on Saturday or Sunday.
My youngest son is going to Florida for Feb. vacation with his friend's family. He'll be gone 9 days. I'm going to miss him and try to keep from worrying like crazy.

Monday, February 18, 2008

disgusted and weigh in

I can not believe how sick I've been. It's been over a week and I'm still not back to normal....

I decided to forgo my weigh in Friday since I haven't been eating and I KNOW I've lost weight. I'm sure it is coming back on now that I'm eating more and I don't want to get all hung up on numbers since I've probably lost at least 5 lbs in the last week.

Being home sick, I've had the misfortune of turning to TV as entertainment. Being such a foodie, Food Network was on in the background a lot. Oh My God. It was really disgusting to watch a lot of the programming. Now, I've always tuned into some of their programming, but rarely to Paula Deen or Drive Ins and Dives or whatever that sick program is called.

Paula Deen made a sandwich called The Fat Darrell. This disgusting mound of deep fried death contained not only a HUGE white roll, but deep fried chicken wings, deep fried french fries and deep fried mozzarella sticks. I literally sat there with my mouth hanging open in HORROR that anyone would eat something like that, let alone have the audacity to act like it was something amazing.

*Cue my best infomercial voice*

... but wait, there's MORE!

We all need a substantial breakfast.

Why have a healthy green shake when you can indulge in the Sausage Pancake Egg Sandwich?

Filled straight from the slaughterhouse you too can enjoy eggs, butter, cheese and sausage on top of a white flour pancake! Make sure you smother that baby up with more butter to top it off! Yee=Hawwww. Now I ain't seen a breakfast like that since I left Iowaaaa baby. That there local Maid Rite served the belly up and pig out. Sheeeeiiiittt.

Let's move onto the red faced Guy Fieri. This amazing show allows us to watch our host rove around America looking for oil! Not be to confused with petrol, the grease on this show all ends up in his stomach. He allows the viewers an intimate look inside his mouth as he is chewing the deep fried flesh of the much ignored factory farmed animals that pollute the plates and palates of many proud Americans. Guy devours that deep fried cheeseburger and still manages to speak. Talk about mutli-tasking!!

*end infomercial voice*

.. I could go on and on.. but I won't. I am just disgusted by what I've seen.

Too much time on my hands for sure.


I've barely taken any pics of food... but when I got my appetite back I was craving some heavy duty nutrition, so I made this soup. It had a lot of onion, garlic, kale along with 1 large sweet potato, fire roasted tomatoes and 1/4 cup lentils for the entire pot. I also used a lot of dried red pepper flakes and finished it off with umeboshi vinegar. I topped each bowl with a huge amount of nutritional yeast and a tiny bit of olive oil. I don't usually want this much nooch, but my body must need the B vitamins and protein right now. I've been eating this pot of soup for the last 3 days.


Just broccoli and some mustard/garlic/flax vinaigrette dressing..

I've also been eating bananas and pears and oranges.
I will be cooking soon as I'm finally getting some energy back..

It is so strange for me not to have an appetite. It's kind of cool that I've been able to listen to my body so well..

also, I've been drinking lots of hot water with lemon juice, stevia, cayenne, apple cider vingear and honey. (I know many vegans don't use honey.. I personally don't have a problem with it).. and lots of tension tamer tea along with miso soup with ginger, garlic and hot peppers.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

100 Calorie Snacks?

We've all seen the advertising for the 100 calorie snack packs. It is shocking to me that they use the health aspect of the "foods" to entice us to buy their products. Seriously, they are loaded with so much crap. If you ate one of these packs at 3:30 pm, do you think it would actually nourish you or would it set you up for a huge blood sugar crash and the urge to overeat later in the day? I know for me, it would be the latter. I believe in utilizing every calorie. You will not see me wasting them in drinks or foods with no nutrition. The pack I linked to has no fiber, one gram of protein and 3.5 grams of fat.

I like the idea of 100 calorie snacks and a snack of mine (actually a meal because I am freaken SICK again) comes in under 100 calories. I used the dry fried lite tofu from my previous post and marinated it in 1 T of Newman's Own Sesame Ginger Dressing along with the mushrooms and 2 c of spinach. I topped the snack with 1/2 t black sesame seeds and siracha. For a total of 96 calories, 4 g fat, 9 g protein and 3 g fiber it is a nutritional powerhouse and will keep your blood sugar nice and stable so you can work out after work if you so desire.
Take that Nabisco!


I have a horrible sore throat, so fruit is what I've been craving... pear and mango have been what I've been eating... Hopefully, the vitamins and minerals in the fruits and veggies I've been eating will make me better...

Of course, both a pear and mango are also a delicious way to get a good snack in for 100 calories.
Don't be seduced by the marketing of corrupt companies.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

SAVE GIOVANNI'S FRIENDS

UPDATED:
I'm very sad to update this blog post with the news of little Giovanni's death... he died at age 5.. but his legacy lives on...  please keep his family in your thoughts/prayers.... he is the second child they have lost to this very unfair disease...
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/giovanni-guglielmo-inspired-italy-bone-marrow-drive-dies-article-1.1063438
This is Giovanni.. he was born with an immune deficiency disease called NEMO. His only hope for survival was a bone marrow transplant or a cord blood transplant. He waited for months and months, but never found a bone marrow match, finally he was saved by donated cord blood. He is now 18 months old and slowly recovering. His parents started a foundation with the goal to register at least 100,000 people in New England as bone marrow donors.

Yesterday, I had the honor of meeting his parents and cousin and will be working with them to met their goal. There are so many misconceptions about bone marrow donation. Technology has come a long way and it is much easier to give this life saving nectar than it ever was in the past. Long gone are the days of "painful drilling into the bone". Today, the majority of donation can be done through a procedure very similar to giving blood. I strongly encourage all of you to check out the simple procedure and get yourself on the registry.

I know that there are quite a few people from New England who read me and it would be amazing if we could get together and set up some Bone Marrow Drives through your jobs, churches, community organizations and any other medium you can think of.

It is a simple cheek swab and 10 minutes of your time to fill out some medical history. That's it. 1 in 20,000 will be a life saving match, so the more people who sign up, the better. It doesn't cost a cent, but if you can donate anything, it would be VERY helpful to cover the costs of the testing.
Basically, we need space to set up drives. The foundation is insured, so there would be no liability to those who donate that space.

Please, if you can now or in the future help let me know. My email is melody@melomeals.com.

Giovanni sleeping soundly yesterday. Thanks to donated cord blood, he is alive and regaining his health. We can all make a difference.


It seems ridiculous to follow this up with a food post, but I will. First of all, I lost 2 lbs last week! I'm very pleased with that. I've pretty much been eating leftovers for the last day and half.
I really like oatmeal with soymilk, blueberries and flax meal. I am going to buy some steel cut oats and give those a try. I've had them before, but it's been a while.

I have mentioned dry frying tofu a lot and have people have asked how I do it.It's really easy, but a well seasoned cast iron pan is imperative. I have not done this in a non-stick skillet, so I don't know it if would work as well.
First, heat the pan to around medium-hi and spray with a thin coating of olive oil or cooking spray. Use a firm or extra firm tofu. This was a firm lite tofu. 7 oz of the tofu only has 100 calories. I slice it very thin, but don't bother draining or pressing it. You can if you'd like.
It's important that your pan is very hot. Lay the tofu in a single layer and sprinkle with some sea salt. Do not touch it. Cook for around 4 minutes, then turn over.
Cook the other side for 3 -4 minutes. That's it. Simple eh?
Here is the finished product. Now, it is fairly bland as is, so I usually marinate it at this point. The tofu will keep in a marinade for several days. It retains it's crispy mouth feel and soaks up the flavors.
It's almost embarrassing to post this sandiwch, but I really enjoyed it. It's lightlife "ham", nayonaise, light italian bread (this is a store-bought bread, 40 calories per slice), mustard, pickles and lettuce. Under 200 calories for the entire sandiwch.
This was some leftover cauliflower soup I blogged about last week. I froze it and wow.. I swear it tasted better than it did when it was first made. Unfortunately, this was a total clean out the fridge soup and I'm not sure if I can re-create the flavors, but I'm going to try because it was so good. 3 cups of the soup had 250 calories. A cooking goal of mine this week is to re-create this soup and write down the recipe.

So.... to end this... here is a schedule of the bone marrow drives in the next week or so. If any of my readers live near PLEASE go and get yourself on the registry. It is just a simple cheek swab and 10 minutes of your time and YOU CAN SAVE A LIFE.

If you don't live in New England and are interested in helping, please contact me. Drives can be set up all over the WORLD. They helped to create the first drive in Italy! How amazing is that?








Thursday, February 07, 2008

More of what I've been eating

I'll probably get bored posting what I've been eating, but for now I'm having fun with it, plus it keeps me on my toes. This was a adzuki bean and collard enchildada bake. I used 8 small corn tortillas and 1 cup of cooked beans and bulked the rest of the filling up with lots of veggies. Fire roasted tomatoes really brought out the best of the collards along with the freshly ground ancho chili powder. I topped it with 5 oz (yes, I weighed it) of shredded FYH mozzarella. I love the stuff. I know many don't, but fortunately for me, it hits the spot. Now, FYH is really empty calories. There is little protein or anything else good in the stuff, but I don't use it very often and kept everything else low enough in calories that I justified it's use. 1/4 of the bake is a large serving and it came it at 450 calories. Not too shabby. I also added 1/4 of an avocado to my portion. I will eat one more portion this week and the other two are in my freezer, with the calories written on the bag for a quick meal.
One tip with enchilada bakes and other cheezy pies is to top the cheez with veggies, fresh herbs and garlic powder. I used cilantro, red peppers and scallions and a bit of garlic powder. The filling had a lot of fresh garlic in it, but I love the way garlic powder melts with the cheez.
I love soup and eat so much of it in the fall/winter/spring months. This was a total clean out the fridge creation made with leftover garlic tofu 'ricotta', fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, chili flakes, ww rotini and broccoli. I topped it with lots of black pepper, fresh basil and a tiny bit of truffle oil. I don't remember calorie count off the top of my head, but it was a delicious and satisfying big bowl of soup.

Yes, more soup! Last night I was really craving something sweet. I was hungry and kind of cranky. The weather had been rainy for two days and I had the blahs. I really wanted some ice cream (vegan of course) for dinner, but I'm smart enough not to keep stuff like that around the house. I was thinking about what to make for dinner and for some very STRANGE reason, I started craving a sweet and spicy creamy carrot soup. Now, this is odd for me because I don't like carrot soup and I really don't like pureed soup very much, but I couldn't get it out of my mind. Enter my handy dandy pressure cooker and in less than 10 minutes I had this delicious and very sweet and spicy red pepper and carrot soup. I used 1.5 t of coconut oil and sauted onions, garlic, lots of fresh ginger, carrots, red bell pepper, curry powder, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, cinnamon and an entire seeded habanero pepper. I finished it off with a pinch of stevia, umeboshi vinegar, lime juice and soymilk. The pot made 4 cups for a total of 350 for the entire thing. I had 3 cups for dinner along with this somewhat boring, chickpea burger from the other day. It's amazing that a big bowl of sweet soup can be so satisfying. I must have needed some of the nutrients in the carrots.
On light bread, I topped it with nayonaise, sauerkraut, relish, catsup and onions. The entire sandwich came it at 250 calories.

Inspired by Webly, I made these quick roasted brussels sprouts and garlic and tossed them with my low fat flax lemon vinaigrette. Delicious..

... yes, more hummus. This the roasted red pepper hummus I made earlier in the week and low calorie pita chips.

I had a lot of fun exercising this morning. I had to do a DVD because of the sleet/snow.. and was sooo bored until I put on some loud rocking music. Gossip kicks ass and is a great motivator to get get your heart rate up.

Weigh in tomorrow morning. I am not feeling like I've lost a thing. I haven't exercised every single day this week, so if I don't I know why.
I had my X take pics of me last weekend and am too embarrassed to post them. I should just suck it up. Oy.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Food for thought


There are so many delicious vegetables that people miss out on because they just don't know what to do with them. I feel very fortunate that I was raised eating a lot of veggies and healthy, vegetarian food. One of my favorite foods as a child was artichokes. My mom would just steam them and we'd eat them with melted butter. As an calorie counting person and vegan, butter is not an option, so I made a yummy dip low calorie dip to enjoy with mine.

Artichokes are very good for you. 1 medium choke contains 60 calories, 0 g fat, 7 g fiber and 4 g protein as well as 9% iron, 25% vitamin C and 6% calcium.
Many people go through a lot of fuss in order to enjoy an artichoke, but I find that unnecessary. I soak mine in a bowl of water to clean it and then just steam it for 20-30 minutes. That's it. No trimming with scissors, no peeling the leaves.
They are done when the stem feels tender and their color has darkened.
To eat, just pull off a leaf and dip it in your sauce of choice. Let your teeth scrape the end of the leaf and get some of the "meat" off. The closer you get to the heart, the more "meat" is on the artichoke. You will encounter the choke which is not edible, so just remove it with a spoon and the heart and stem will be there for the taking. I made a salad dressing/dip out of 1 T Vegenaise, juice of 1 lemon, dijon mustard, garlic, salt/pepper, 1 t extra virgin olive oil and a tiny bit of stevia. I used around 2 T per artichoke. They are a perfect snack because they take a while to eat.... so the next time you want a snack, reach for an artichoke with some healthy sauce instead of chips and dip!
This was such a disappointing meal. I'm sad to say that I am probably one of the only people alive who can't stand the Chickpea Cutlets from VCON. The first time I made them, I didn't follow the recipe exactly and ended up throwing away the whole batch. This time, I forced myself to measure everything and follow it exactly. The ONLY thing I did differently after making the test cutlet with 1/4 of the dough/batter was to make much smaller ones for portion control. I ended up with 9 smaller cutlets and 1 normal sized one. I thought they were bland, dry and the texture was just not to my liking. I ended up throwing away the entire batch again.
Oh well, no recipe can please everyone.... and I have to face the fact that I really don't enjoy seitan in almost any form.

After the failed recipe,I still wanted to do something along those lines, plus I had chickpeas leftover from making hummus the other day. I am working on developing a chicken like, wheat free burger/patty for some people that uses everyday ingredients. No nutritional yeast or other things that the "average meat eater" would not have on hand. I looked around my kitchen and threw these together. I loosely measured everything and will tweak it a bit and measure everything so I can give this recipe to those who requested it.
Cooking in the pan. This was also a fat free recipe and cooked with just spray of cooking spray. Each patty is very thin and only contains 90 calories.

All dressed up with BBQ sauce and leftover artichoke sauce.

I wanted to talk a little bit about the bread you see here. I know that white bread is not good for you, but this is not your average white bread. It is a light italian loaf, vegan and only has 40 calories per slice. It also contains 3 g fiber per slice and 3 g protein.
Yummy salad. I have to have a BIG salad everyday or I feel like crap. This is 4 cups of veggies along with 3 T of the dressing I mentioned above. I ate this for a snack yesterday.
Here's some delicious soup I named Happy Chicken Soup. Made with calories in mind, I modified my normal tofu noodle soup into this. It is definitely better the next day, but is still delicious straight out of the pan. I used a pressure cooker.


Happy Chicken Soup
yield: 6 cups

cooking spray
1 onion (1 cup)
2/3 c carrots
2/3 c celery
1 c mushrooms
5 cloves garlic
1 t rosemary
1 t thyme
1 bay leaf
1 t coriander
pinch salt
7 oz Firm LITE tofu
6 c water
1 veg bouillon cube
2 oz whole wheat angel hair broken into pieces
1 t toasted sesame oil
3 T nutritional yeast
1 t umeboshi vinegar
lots of black pepper/salt to taste
1 T fresh parsley (or 1 t dried)
1 T fresh dill (or 1 t dried)
Soy sauce to taste

Pressure cooker method:
Mist the pressure cooker with cooking spray and add the veggies, dried spices, pinch salt and several ground of black pepper. Sauté for several minutes over medium heat. Add the water and bouillon cube and seal the pressure cooker. Bring to high pressure for 2 minutes then allow the pressure to release naturally. Now, add the noodles and bring the soup back to a boil UNCOVERED. Simmer the noodles for 3 minutes, stir in the toasted sesame oil, nutritional yeast, vinegar, pepper and fresh herbs.
Season with salt and pepper

Stovetop method:
Spray a heavy bottomed soup pan with cooking spray and add the veggies dried spices, pinch salt and some pepper. Sauté over medium heat for several minutes, then add the water, tofu and bouillon cube. Bring soup to a boil, the turn heat down to simmer and cover. Cook until veggies are tender, around 20 minutes. Now, add the angel hard and bring back to a boil, uncovered. Cook for 3 minutes, turn off heat and stir in the sesame oil, nutritional yeast, vinegar and fresh herbs. Add salt/pepper to taste.

This soup tastes MUCH better when made in the pressure cooker. It will still be good off the stove, but better the next day.

Nutritional Information Per 2 Cup Serving:
170 calories
3 g fat
28 g carbs
4 g fiber
10 g protein