Friday, May 30, 2008

Lightlife Review and Results of the Raw Experiment

First of all, I have not been posting any 100 calorie snacks in a while. I am embarrassed to say that I have been WAY off my paying attention to my calories. Working in a restaurant makes it very hard... having to taste food ... when I do my RAW challenge, it is going to be difficult. I do not follow recipes.. I cook by feel and taste... oy.. hopefully, I can make many raw delights for our deli case! ... but getting back to the 100 calorie snacks... and my weight. I weigh in June 1st and will post my results... (it may be a week later as I am actually moving June 1st and won't have any internet til the 4th..)..

So, this delicious 100 calorie snack utilized Lightlife's Ham Slices. I really love these and do buy them in the store. 4 slices contain 70 calories, 1 g fat and 12 g protein. For this snack I smeared the slices with dijon and baby spinach and used the ham slice as a shell for a small roll up. 4 of them weighed in under 100 calories. I have also enjoyed them on toast with vegenaise, pickles, mustard, lettuce and tomatoes.... and with rice vegan slices. I have never had real ham slices, so I can't compare... and I don't like many faux meats, but I love these. If I recall, I also liked their bologna slices and I like their smart dogs.

Now onto the results of the little raw steel cut oat experiment. First of all, I used way too much water, second I did not have the flax meal, so I can't say for sure if it would have worked. The oats DID soften up and I think if I had used less water and the flax they would have made a decent pudding like thing. Maybe putting a tiny bit of pro-biotic powder or soaking the groats in rejuvelac would give the yogurt tang? I will say that since I had so much water, I made mine into a smoothie with a frozen banana. It was a disappointment in the way I felt. I had it before work one morning and was literally SOO HUNGRY almost right afterwards. I was seriously tempted to stop and Dunkin Donuts and get a freaken BAGEL and CREAM CHEESE... I felt an addictive quality to it... maybe it was because I hadn't had hardly any sleep the night before? Who knows... but I know I was VERY hungry that day. At work, I just wanted to stuff my face full of food... I controlled myself well and didn't get that bagel (which is a very good thing because that amount of white bread and the dairy surely would have made me sick)..
Also, the smoothie had over 400 calories.. VERY HIGH! I was much better off eating a ProBar for that amount of calories... at least those satisfied me for hours...
For now, my green smoothie in the morning is a MUCH better choice.

I use:
2 c water
1 frozen banana
2 c organic baby spinach
2 T golden flax meal
1 c strawberries
stevia to taste
lemon juice to taste

It makes around 3 cups... and holds me very well.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Lightlife review and a Raw experiment..

Another Lightlife review... These are the Smart Strips, chicken flavored. I stir fried them with veggies and asian spices and served them with a side of basmati rice. Mixed reviews on these... which comes as no surprise to me! I have used them before.. with the same results. My oldest son and I can't even swallow one while my youngest son and X LOVED them... which makes sense because I was never a meat loving vegan or vegetarian nor is my oldest son. We both have always been grossed out by meaty thing and we don't even like seitan... but my X husband and youngest son really LOVE meat.. and crave it and these strips satisfy their cravings... which is awesome! So.... if you have someone who is missing meat, these strips are for you!
Pretty gross, huh? This is a Raw experiment... I am soaking steel cut oats, blueberries, cashews, cinnamon and stevia for 18 hours.... then tomorrow morning I will blend in my food processor (if I can stomach it early before work)... Unfortunately I have NO golden flax meal in the house.. I intended on putting that in there to create a raw mock rice pudding type thing... I am aware that many people don't consider steel cut oats or "raw" oats, "RAW", but I am not going that far... I've decided that my RAW challenge will be a HIGH RAW... I will still eat nutritional yeast, miso, raw nuts that I purchase from the health food store, vinegars, olives and pickles.... otherwise I don't think I could do it... so, this is my first experiment... I officially start July 1st... but want to spend the next month or so moving in the direction of raw foods.

Sunday is my last day here at the beach.... Wow... time flies! I am thrilled that my kids will be with me again.... and I'll only be 5 miles away from the beach....

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tofu and Raw Slaw..

At work, we make a Raw Slaw for our deli case. I think the recipe is from Ani Pho's book... well, I wanted to make a good slaw for myself to eat and for my kids, so I came up with this delicious salad based on the ingredients I love and what I had in the house. The "mayo" consisted of cashews, water, ginger, nutritional yeast, garlic, cumin and lime juice. The slaw was red cabbage, carrots, cilantro, red pepper and serrano chiles. I topped it off with freshly ground black pepper and it is/was SOOO good! I had a more than generous portion for my lunch...

I also baked a bunch of tofu to take to my kids.. and caramelized some onions.. I kept enough here to make a good sandiwch for dinner... Open faced sandwiches are a great way to reduce the calories in a meal. I find them more satisfying because I can pile them high with veggies.. and I can justify using vegenaise! oy.. how I wish the stuff wasn't so high in calories!
On a non-food related note, I totally indulged myself in Tori Amos: The Piano Collection...
I received it today and I'm sooo happy! I love Tori.. she is a genius.
On another note.. I am moving June 1st and am cutting the cable.. TV...! I love me some TV, so this will be a change... I will miss Food Network the most I think... but all of your food blogs will totally take the place of them!.. plus, I am going to be doing my Raw Challenge.... so I imagine I will bury my nose in so many raw cookbooks for inspiration..

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More work cooking, Pro Bar review

I'm sorry I haven't been posting low calorie recipes... I've been cooking so much for work that I have not been doing much at home at all. At least not nothing new! When I start my RAW challenge July 1st you can bet there will be tons of recipes!

With that disclaimer, the above was my chocolate mint pie... tofu is amazing!
This is the italian marinated tofu with kale and sun dried tomatoes. The tofu is marinated and baked and it's so delicious! I admit, I love when people buy this because I know they are getting somethign so good for them.
Lentil/Brown Rice Loaf.. I try to do as much wheat/gluten free/soy free and of course vegan when I cook... this loaf does not look delicious, but it was. It was served with a roasted red pepper/balsamic sauce...
Spicy chickpea and veggie curry... I may have made it just a tad too spicy... my bad! Next time, I will go a little lighter on the hot stuff!
Fortunately, a side of lemon curry basmati rice helps to cool the burn...
Last but not least, I received samples from Pro-Bar which is a vegan, whole food meal replacement bar... I'm happy to say that I really have enjoyed them. They are a bit more calorie dense than many bars, but then again, many other bars are snack bars, not meal bars. They have 400 calories are are full of organic nuts and seeds and whole grains I have had one for breakfast everyday this week and it's kept me full for hours. I also really love the taste of them... So far I've tried the Maple Pecan, Sesame Gogi Berry and the Cherry Pretzel. The Sesame Gogi was my favorite hands down. I feel great after eating them and will definitely seek them out in the future.. (I really want to develop a raw bar type thing based on these... )

So... definitely give Pro-Bars a chance!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Raw Food Class filmed by New Hampshire Chronicle

Where to start? Last night the owner of Blue Moon had a raw cooking class that was taped by NH Chronicle. It went so well! It was a pleasure to see my boss totally in her element. She and a man named Todd Livingstone Conant (more on him later) totally rocked the house with a 2 hour lecture/food demonstration. I was in the kitchen most of the time plating food, but could hear most of it.. and I am SO excited and inspired to do my 30 day RAW starting July 1st. In fact, I am seriously thinking of doing it for 60 days because I think the first 30 may be a detox/getting used to it phase and to see the real benefits a longer trial may be needed? We'll see!
This is not a good picture at all, but you can kind of see the set up they had. I'm SURE You can feel the good vibes of the place though!
Pie Ingredients! A few, simple raw ingredients can sure turn into something special.
Who needs pasta? I mean seriously?

Simple and easy raw food! Ingredients for the marinara.
Ingredients for the marinated shrooms!
The guests were treated to a lovely sip of a Green Bliss Smoothie. Go Kale!
Our Sunflower Pate and Raw Ceasar bite (My recipe! we serve this in our Best Ever Raw Wrap in the restaurant.)

Awesome salad with our Superfood, great sprouted lentil/avocado and spiralized beets. Drizzled with olive oil.
Raw 'Marinara', Marinated Mushrooms over Summer Squash Angel Hair.

Last but not least, a fabulous little chocolate pie in a cashew crust.
Here's the plate I fixed for the camera lady...

And last but not least.. This is Todd holding a picture of himself before he started his Raw adventure. Amazing! He has lost over 100 lbs!

He is teaching a class this Tuesday at Blue Moon in Exeter, NH on superfood elixers. I am excited to attend.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lower Fat Arugula Walnut Pesto

Every week I make a batch of pesto. Eating a lower fat, vegan diet sometimes it's hard to feel satisfied and a T of pesto stirred into soup just before eating or as a spread on a sandwich can make the difference between an OK meal and something that is very satisfying. I like to vary the greens. Sometimes I use baby spinach, sometimes kale, sometimes basil. This week it was baby arugula. I usually just throw things together, but since I've been slacking on writing down recipes, I decided to measure and post the recipe. The lime adds a great flavor that is not really limey if that makes sense.
Arugula Walnut Pesto

3 cloves garlic
1/2 t sea salt
1/2 c walnuts
(you can toast them if you wish. I didn't because I'm trying to do as much raw as possible)
7 oz baby arugula
1 T golden flax meal
4 T water
3 T nutritional yeast
2 T light miso
2 t dried basil
1/8 t cayenne
several grates fresh nutmeg

Place garlic and salt in a food processor and process until the garlic is almost pastelike. Add the walnuts and process some more. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until it becomes the consistency you like. If you don't care about fat or calories, you can use extra virgin olive oil in place of the water.

Yield 1 cup

1 Tablespoon Pesto contains:
35 calories
3 g fat

in comparison to 60 calories and 6 grams of fat in traditional pesto.

Lightlife Smart Dogs are something both my kids like.. I made these sandwiches for my 16 year old... Teen boys sure eat a lot. Each sandwich contained 2 Smart Dogs cut in half, vegenaise, dijon, spinach, tomatoes, ketchup and relish. He was very satisfied and all in all, even though it's a lot of food the calories were much less than traditional hot dogs. 1 Smart Dog contains 45 calories, 0 g fat, 9 g protein and 1 gram of fiber.. much better than the 120 calories per the animal product.
I just love seagulls. I think they're beautiful. It is a beautiful day today.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Superfood! Raw TV!

The restaurant I work at sells a raw "Superfood" salad that is kale based... it is very popular in a kind of shocking way. I never would have imagined raw foods taking off in New Hampshire. How cool! This salad was definitely inspired by our version! I made a raw carrot/ginger/flax dressing and it complimented the kale beautifully.. especially after a day of sitting.

Speaking of raw foods and New Hampshire, Wednesday, May 14th the owner of the restaurant I work in is teaching a Raw Food cooking class that will be filmed by New Hampshire Chronicle! I am so excited! I will definitely let you all know when it airs so if you are in the general area you can watch! I can't wait to start playing around with a dehydrator... I have decided to purchase one... I am doing a 30 day raw food challenge this summer....

My raw food challenge will be difficult because I really love cooked foods. Soup is my number one favorite meal ever. I'm sure that the majority of foods I've posted to this blog are soups of one kind or another. This was a delicious veggie/barley... I stirred in some vegan pesto just before eating. That is my favorite way to finish a vegan soup.. a TSP is more than enough and it is so satisfying.
Ok, here is a big time cheat. My local grocery store sells awesome packaged guacamole. To be fair, I only buy it if the avocados aren't ripe.. but this only contains, avocado, lime juice, onion, chiles and salt. How perfect is that? It turns brown almost immediately so you know it is free of perservatives. I like to use the guac as a dressing on a simple salad... along with the chili-garlic-lime sauce. A baked corn tortilla rounds out this salad and I also had green smoothie with protein powder. A filling, quick and delicious dinner.

I move into my new apt June 1st. Unfortunately it does not get good light. I will probably just start taking my food pics outside... I can't stand this crappy light any longer!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Weight Loss Update and Yummy Food...

First of all, this is a vegan lasagna I made for work. It is really delicious. It featured my veggie infused marinara, vegan (nut free) pesto and tofu ricotta. I topped it with FHY mozzarella. This is the second time I've made it as a special and it sells well. Even though we're not a vegan place, we have a lot of vegan food that is enjoyed by our customers. I don't think there are a huge number of vegans, but many people with allergies and even some omni's that just want a change.
Pretty messy salad, but this is what I've been eating as my big meal lately... complete with Superfood Salad! (a raw kale based salad with a citrus flax vinaigrette)...

I have not cooked here for a while. I have cooked for my kids.. but lately I have been eating either cereal for dinner or out of my freezer where I have a ton of individually packaged soups.

This is a pic from last summer, but I brought the recipe for these delicious chocolate cupcakes into work this morning and our baker made them! Woohoo! Everyone loved them and no one believed they were vegan! Let them eat cake! hehe.. Terry (the baker) frosted our batch with an earth balance buttercream that was colored with beet powder. I'm sure these will become a staple because they are so freaken delicious! I was very proud of myself as I only had 1 bite of one.

Speaking of cupcakes.... my month weight loss report was pretty shocking.. I lost 12 lbs last month! Woohoo! I weight in once a month now and this was a fabulous surprise!
I am going to start swimming when I move back to Portsmouth next month... I won't expect this much every month, but am very thrilled when I lose more than I was aiming for. (for those of you who don't know, I am aiming for 1 lb a week)..