Saturday, March 29, 2008

Huge amount of food porn!

Sorry for the absence. Life gets in the way of blogging sometimes. My new job is going well as are my cooking classes, so I've been really busy this last week. I am so in love with this sandwich. It is a super deluxe reuben.. I made some cashew cheese which added a great dimension to the sandwich and complimented the baby beet greens and tomato.
The cast iron pan does everything! I went very light on the corned beef seitan because I'm still not a huge fan of anything seitan.
Lower calorie thousand islandish dressing tied it all together.
I've been drinking a quart of green smoothie a day. My mom has been staying with me (she moved here from CA recently), so I made her one as well. My favorite smoothie is 3 c water, 1 frozen banana, 1 c frozen strawberries, 2 c spinach, lemon juice, stevia, ginger, cinnamon and 1 T flax meal. It is divine. I find my appetite has lessened a lot at dinner time when I drink it around an hour before the meal. I think my weight loss has come to a standstill because I have not been doing what I need to be, so I am back at it again. I will not give up! It's all about the journey and sometimes it's one step forward, two steps back. I weigh in April 1st and I don't think I've lost much the last two weeks.

Even though this looks rich, it's actually pretty good for you. I baked the tortilla chips and topped it with a black bean, mushroom and yellow squash mixture. Cashew cheese melted nicely over the top and I added 1/4 of an avocado to my portion.
Simple quesadilla on a whole wheat tortilla.. beet greens, cashew cheese and homemade salsa..
.. and of course, lots of soup. This was a delicious, low calorie/fat "creamy" broccoli "cheddar".. topped with some croutons and cayenne it was a spicy bowl of deliciousness for very few calories. My mom said it was too garlicky, but what does she know? hehe
Simple dahl with califlower..
Minestrone... I stirred some pesto in before I ate it, but it was an afterthought. I am going to check out all of your blogs... I have barely been online for days!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A rather large seitanic experience......

I have kept a very well stocked pantry for a while now, and it's still serving me well. Before I go grocery shopping each week, I just go to my old house (for those of you who don't know, I separated from my husband and have been living in a winter rental near the beach since November. Since it's a winter rental, it is completely furnished and I have a small kitchen. This summer, I will be moving to a more permanent apartment and will finally be able to bring all of my belongings "home") My X does not cook, so he will never make use of my vast ingredients.
This enchilada bake is all dressed up and ready to go into the oven. It is a clean out the fridge creation that turned out soooo delicious. Leftover jalapeno hummus and sauted spinach filled this dish, topped with homemade salsa, nooch and jalapenos it was incredibly tasty. In fact, I will definitely make this again. The kids LOVED it, even my chickpea hating son. To be fair, the hummus was made with roasted jalapenos, toasted cumin, lime juice and chili powder.. so the stretch to enchilada filling wasn't too far.
I am so excited about my new job! The energy in the cafe is amazing and I feel like I will be able to do what I love to do the most. Create delicious vegan food! The fact that my boss wants to go into the raw direction is such a HUGE and welcomed challenge for me... We talked today and I brought her samples of of my seitan and other foods... Also, within two weeks, I am going to start a blog for the cafe to let you all know more about it. We will be doing some exciting drawings for free meals for those of you who within driving distance of the Seacoast in NH.. Earth Day will be our big reveal of the newer RAW and Vegan items. The cafe already has a lot of vegan fare, including baked goods.. but we are going to take it up a notch! Woohoo! Fun stuff!

Here's my all american burger.. on lite whole grain bread (trying to get away from the white stuff, even if it is "healthy"..

Seitan Corned Beef adapted from the Everydaydish.... with the addition of certain ingredients and more spices and steaming it in the pressure cooker, this was a crowd please. My son and X loved it and I even kind of liked it.... well, I did like it on my mini pita below, reuben style with baby beet greens.

Here's my seitan "turkey breast", also steamed in the pressure cooker. This totally eliminated the "bready" aspect that some of my testers were not impressed with..
..another mini pita with the turkey breast and smoky garlic aioli

Spiced Ribz, adapted from Simply Heavenly... this is the most comprehensive seitan bookbook out there... with so many ideas. I think this may have been where the original seitan RIBZ recipe got it's start? The sauce was part jarred, part homemade with a spicy sweet glaze. I actually like my 100% homemade bbq sauce better as it's MUCH lower in sugar but still tastes very sweet. (stevia)

There is actually even more food that I did not photograph... seitan cutlets, marinades, dahl... salsa... my kitchen is WAY to small for all of that.. plus the lighting really sucks... as you can tell in certain photographs...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tri-chicks, comfort foods and news!

Warning: The Good Stir Fry above and the Spicy Noodles below are NOT low calorie foods, but that's OK because they are for my kids. I did eat the scrumptious plate above, but that's OK. For those of you not in the loop, the Good Stir Fry is one of my kids favorite recipes ever. It's a coconut based thai stew, but when my kids were little the first time I made it they said, "Mom, this is sure a good stir fry" because I served it over rice and started asking me to make that "good stir fry for dinner". I snuck a 10 oz package of frozen butternut squash into this latest batch because my poor boys are becoming veggie deprived without me cooking for them daily. Fortunately, the dishes I make for them keep well, so they can serve themselves up a dish when I'm not around.
Kick ass spicy peanut noodles. You can't really see the sauce here, but it was packed with cilantro, ginger, peanut butter, lime juice, siracha and maple syrup.

Now, onto a Chickpea Tale...... I pressure cooked a cup of chickpeas and used them 3 ways:
Chickpea "tuna" salad... we've seen many variations of this spread and as usual, this was a clean out the fridge deal... a little bit of this, a pinch of that.. and it was delicious in sandwiches and as a salad topping..
Here the humble pea pairs beautifully with some leftover pasta and homemade marinara.. at the last minute, baby arugula and fresh basil was thrown in and topped with a bit of umeboshi vinegar, nutritional yeast and a tsp of truffle oil.

Last but not least, another 100 calorie snack! I used the remaining peas and turned them into jalapeno hummus... cilantro, lime juice and toasted cumin, along with chili powder really punched up the flavor. Now, how in the world can hummus and pita be a 100 calorie snack?

Meet Joseph's mini pitas. As you can see, they contain 45 calories per mini pita and after toasting, I cut them apart and top each half with 1 T of hummus along with baby spinach a several cherry tomatoes.

This was a banana apple bread/cake like thing for the kids again... I used white whole wheat flour, sucanat and olive oil. They say it was delicious. I didn't have any, because I am not into wasting calories of foods like this.
OH NO!.. a VICIOUS PIT BULL! Seriously, how cute is this. They were asleep hugging each other... she woke up when the flash went off.

Pit Bulls are sooo awesome! The sweetest, goofiest dogs ever.

.... and now for some news!

I got a new job! I will be cooking in a natural foods cafe... it is not vegan, but has a lot of vegan options and the best part is that the owner wants to get into RAW FOODS! I love working with like minded people, and this place has amazing energy.. I am so happy to find a place that is a good fit. I will be starting within a week or so and doing photography and some personal cheffing on the weekends! Life is going to get super busy! I'm going to try very hard to keep up with the blog though...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

another 100 calorie snack, soups and leftovers!

The other day, my crystal was reflecting a very large rainbow on my kitchen table, so I snapped this pic.. I love cherry tomatoes and find myself photographing them. In New England, we wait a long time for the delicious spring/summer produce that a lot of the country has access to, so something as simple as a delicious cherry tomato can make my day!
Less than a 100 calorie snack! The serving size for this snack is two roll ups and comes in at 95 calories, 1 gram fat 16 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber and 5 grams protein. It is ridiculously simple, just 2 T fat free refried black beans (I used homemade) topped with cherry tomatoes and your favorite salsa. I used my habanero sauce. Roll up and enjoy! Next time, I would probably add 1/8 of an avocado to this snack for an extra 35 calories.
I think I would enjoy them even more with my rawco filling for a completely raw 100 calorie snack. The benefit of collard leaves is that you can make them ahead of time and they won't get soggy, so your snack will still be delicious hours later!

I am in love with collards still. I like to quick steam them and keep them whole for a variety of uses; wraps, stir fries or whatever. I even like them on sandwiches when they're lighting blanched. To do this, I just put several T of water in the bottom of a 12 inch skillet and place the whole leaves on top, turned once after 3 minutes cooked for 2 mins more. I'm sure you'll be seeing the fruits of this labor in the next post.

I made this fabulous tomato/quinoa soup very loosely based on the VCON Tomato/White Bean/Rice soup. I used soybeans and an eggplant and quinoa. For spices, I used dried marjoram, bay leaf, crushed red pepper and fresh rosemary, thyme and basil. I didn't roast the garlic, rather I very slowly brought it up to temperature in 1 T olive oil and water.

I have a bunch of recipes brewing in my head, so as soon as the leftovers are gone, I'll be cooking some more. Cooking for 1 (mostly) means tons of leftovers!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Kick ass vegan pizza and more...

I think this is my favorite vegan pizza I've ever made. The other day, my grocery store had a bunch of red peppers on sale that needed to be used immediately. I scored 6 of them for 1.25! I came home and roasted them in the oven as a base for sauce. At the same time, I also roasted eggplant, garlic and onions. I pulsed it in the food processor, along with fresh basil, crushed red pepper flakes, 1 cloves of fresh garlic, black pepper and dried oregano. I made a fairly quick (all white flour) crust by hand as the veggies were roasting and cooling. The topping was baby arugula and a quick tofu feta. I topped my piece with 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil just before eating. 1/4 of the pizza contained 350 calories and such amazing flavor. I will definitely be making this again. The crust was almost cracker thin, which is how I like it.
The delicious sauce.... I'm so glad I have some leftover!
One pot meals are my favorite. Paired with a salad ,(or I often just add several handfuls of baby spinach to the bowl) a pot can yield 4 or more meals for me, and soup like this gets better by the day. I pressure cooked a pound of black beans with spices and veggies, then mashed them. (I have around 3 cups of refried black beans leftover!) I used veggies, spices, leftover habanero sauce, bulgur, lime juice and of course, cilantro to create this fabulous soup. The kumquats in the habanero sauce added such a great flavor to this soup. I loved it, my kids and ex loved it. Bulgur is a great addition to chilis or other hearty stews.
Quick poppy seed slaw. I used a tofu based dressing and ate this as a 100 calorie snack. 1.5 cups worth.

Just some baked tofu...very delicious with my low fat balsamic vinaigrette as the marinade. I've been enjoying this on salads and this morning, I made a sandwich for breakfast.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Keeping it simple

I think this may be the simplest lasagna I have ever made. Considering how easy and low in fat/ calories it was, I will definitely do this again. Usually, for my lasagna, I use my homemade chunky veggie marinara sans tofu. Then, I make a rather elaborate tofu ricotta with roasted garlic, fresh basil and other herbs, miso, nooch and sometimes white beans and top it with either homemade cashew cheez or FYH. Also, my lasagnas are usually a clean out the fridge deal, so I'll throw any leftover veggies or what have you in them. The results? Tasty and amazing and something my kids and ex loved.

Since I am cooking for one, I have more leeway when it comes to pleasing other people and since I am getting as much nutrition for the calories as I can, I decided to play it super simple. (it is SOO much easier to count the calories this way) I had some leftover crushed canned tomatoes that I had pureed with fresh jalapeno and garlic the other day for something. I added dry oregano to that and called that my sauce, then took lite firm tofu and pureed it with more garlic, nooch, basil and umeboshi vinegar. Ricotta heaven. I layered 6 whole wheat noodles with that and topped it with more nooch, onion powder and garlic powder. Covered and baked for an hour.
I topped my serving (1/4 of the pan) with baby spinach and 1 tsp truffle oil over it. 300 calories for this lovely plate of food.

before baking

I love cucumbers and this was a quick pickle. I used rice wine vinegar and onions... Again, super simple.

I've been doing more cooking, but haven't taken pics. I made baked tofu and some soybean burgers. (I had my oven on, so I had to fill it!) along with roasted GREEN peppers. I know they can be a little bitter, but I really like them. I wouldn't serve them to company though. They are great is salads and pasta. I'm sure when I eat the above foods, I'll take pics of them.

Now, onto the weight loss front. The other day, I was at my old house and couldn't help but get on that scale. I think I just needed confirmation that I hadn't gained 15 lbs. I know I said, I'd only go by my new scale, but I needed to KNOW! I was thrilled to see that I had lost weight on that scale too and that it still weighed me 15 lbs lower, so I KNOW I'm on the right track. I don't regret checking to make sure, but from now on, I will only weigh on my new scale.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The best sag paneer and weigh in

This is my new favorite meal. I've been making it for a long time, but kind of forgot about it til my friend called and asked me for a recipe. I've been craving it ever since! You can make this as healthy or as fattening as you want, but I chose healthy. One large serving (including 1/2 cup of brown rice cooked with veggie stock and tossed with chili garlic sauce, cilantro and tomatoes) rice) came in under 400 calories, 12 grams of fat, 16 grams protein, 55 g whole food carbs and 8 grams of fiber.

I will be posting the recipe to my recipe testing group.

Many bloggers have been on the steel cut oat bandwagon, so I jumped on as well. I cook up a bunch of oats and have been eating them various ways. I don't have a microwave and sometimes, I don't feel like dirtying up a pan. I came up with this delicious pudding for breakfast yesterday. I think it's my new favorite way to eat them. It reminded me of rice pudding. I took around 1/2 c cold, cooked steel cut oats and tossed it with soy yogurt, flax meal, vanilla, frozen blueberries, stevia, nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom. I let it sit in the fridge for around 1/2 an hour while I took a walk and came back to a delicious breakfast!
Avocado, how I love thee. Definitely one of my favorites foods. I had a serious mexican craving, so I checked my calories for the day and had enough to totally indulge. I used a whole avocado to make this delicious guacamole. Two tortillas dry fried with FYH cheese, refried beans and lots of salsa made a perfect deliver system for the guac! Not pictures was a very large salad with the rest of the guac (thinned out with more lime juice) as dressing.
This is what I ate yesterday. (along with the not pictured very large salad and a couple pieces of fruit)

I can't believe how easy it is to count calories. For so long, I felt it was tedious.. I much preferred weight watchers and their online point tracker. Now I prefer this.

I used Fitday to keep track of my daily calories and log my exercise. It is free. You have the ability to customize foods.

Now, to the weigh in. I lost 1 lb according to my new scale. (the only one I will go by now)

I'm debating on weighing once a month instead of once a week.... time will tell.