Friday, April 15, 2011

Simple Lentil Salad & links to more lentil recipes!

I love lentils! They are so incredibly versatile. I cook up a pound at a time and make MUFFINS, soups, dips, Indian food, burgers, and this morning, this simple salad.

Simple Lentil Salad

  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil 
  • pinch lemon zest
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced red onion
  • 6 olives, chopped
  • pinch marjoram 
  • pinch toasted cumin seeds
Toss everything together. You can add olive oil if desired.

Enjoy!

What are your favorite ways to eat lentils?


Thursday, April 14, 2011

New 3 Ingredient Veggie Burger


I made some quick changes to my 3 Ingredient Veggie Burger recipe based on a bunch of emails asking me to substitute the Onion Soup Mix.

Here's an alternative seasoning mix:
  • 2 T onion powder
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 t poultry seasoning
  • 3 T Soy Sauce 
Follow the directions for the burgers. CLICK HERE for the recipe. 

Top your burgers with:Sugar Free Homemade Ketchup
  • Low Fat Vegenaise Alternative (You can make this without the lecithin, just reduce the water. The white bean alternative is really yummy too, again, leave out the lecithin and reduce the water.)
  • Special Sauce (plus bonus All American Burger Recipe)
Big Salad
Mung Beans (for sprouting)
More Cayenne Lemonade (Stevia sweetened)


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring is in the air


Oh how happy I am that it's spring! Finally! It got up to 75 degrees yesterday. Funny that there's still snow on the ground. 

Simple salad.. I used my Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette to dress this simple salad. 


My favorite lemonade. Stevia sweetened with cayenne. I drank 2 quarts of this yesterday. I drink this hot in the winter! 

I made have a bunch of yummy  Coconut Barley Pudding in the fridge.. I just love his recipe! 


Tonight for dinner, I'm making a big batch of Southwestern Barley Black Bean Stew! 


Finally, my bestie, Rebecca had her baby! Ben is doing GREAT.. breathing on his own. I'm so happy he's doing so well. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. 

Saturday, April 09, 2011

SPLURGE!!


I just spent my entire daily food budget on cherries and enjoyed every last one of them. 

Good thing I have other great staples on hand!
like oats, chia seeds and coconut yogurt! 

What do you splurge on?







Friday, April 08, 2011

Wow.. thank you... and Wheat-berry Salad with Tarragon Herb Vinaigrette

Wow, I am really touched by all the kind words of encouragement and emails I received due to YESTERDAY'S POST! The love always over rules the hate, I just forgot! For some reason the last three or four weeks have been especially brutal with the hate mail..  so bizarre.

Onto food, which is why we're here!
It was very spring-like today and I've been craving salad. I'm so glad I've been able to purchase organic baby spinach for so cheap!

I made this simple wheatberry/chickpea salad, tossed with scallions, red pepper (which I did not buy, it was in my X's fridge) and raw broccoli. I dressed it with one of my favorite dressings.. a simple Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette. I only wish that I had fresh tarragon for the dressing because it really adds a special something.

Speaking of fresh herbs, you can buy a package of them (usually around $2.99) and hang them to dry. The taste is not as good as the fresh herb, but definitely better than any dried herb. This works with oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary and sage.

I have been eating so much Hummus lately. I literally use an entire pound of dried chickpeas for a batch and it's gone in a week. I put it in soup, enchiladas,  make burgers with it, add it to pasta in place of cheese, use it to top salads and eat it in collard wraps. In the last 7 days, I have gone through almost two batches since I've been cooking for my kids. We just can't get enough of it! That's almost 12 cups of hummus in a week for 3 people! haha...  good thing I make my own Tahini from bulk sesame seeds! (for the record, I also use peanut butter in place of tahini for cost purposes and because I love peanut butter. Peanut butter, chipotle, garlic lime juice hummus? Oh yeah!)
Homemade Tahini.. it's yummy!

How much hummus do you eat? Do you use it in other ways than a dip/sandwich spread?

Portrait of the Day
Can you believe she is 55 years old?

My friend Rebecca is still hanging in there. She has not had her baby yet... every day he's still inside is a blessing! Her water has been broken now for 9 days I think. She has been on strict bed rest in the hospital this whole time. Today is her 40th Birthday! Happy Birthday sweet Rebecca!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

A day of food.. and blogging negativity/hate mail

I don't post everything I eat on this blog, but I do post a lot more on my Facebook Page. I get a lot of emails about this subject. Some are very polite and friendly, while others are pretty damn rude! I think that's one thing that has shocked me the most is the amount of hate/rude emails I get. I know that when you blog, you put yourself out there, but it gets tiring to have so much negativity thrown my way on a daily basis.

I know I'm overweight and struggling, but it is not necessary to write and berate me for my food choices. What you see on this blog is just a glimpse of what I eat daily. I also make food for my children who are active young men. I posted a Gluten Free Banana Coconut Mini Cake the other day on facebook and got 10 nasty emails from different people trying "shame me".


Does it matter that I only took one bite of them?


Should I even have to justify that to anyone?


Give me a break! I know I'm overweight and I know WHY. It's not because I made a damn baked good. It's because I have an emotional response to things that have happened to me and being overweight is my protection. I'm working on it.

 OK?


 It's a painfully slow process, but I'm doing the mental work to make changes and it's not easy.

I don't talk about my childhood here, but trust me, I have a lot to process and plow through and I'm doing it. My way of coping is just visible from the outside while many people hide their pain through cutting/alcohol drug abuse, starving. I overeat.

Which brings me to my next "issue". I stick to my budget MOST of the time. I have a huge stash of nutritional yeast, but no other bulk items. I don't include coffee in my budget anymore though. I consider FOOD as my budget. When I don't stick to my budget, I mention it or if I am given food, I mention it (Like my Birthday Almost Raw Key Lime Pie and my Holiday Meals/Desserts!)

Because I stick to my budget, I am not always able to re-test certain recipes in a timely fashion. I have to plan very carefully to include expensive ingredients in my weekly budget of around $25. What you see is what you get here.. and sometimes, I'd rather splurge my entire $3.33 a day on Cherries and eat frozen soup for the rest of my meals! I hope that YOU can understand that.

I challenge any of you to eat for $3.33 a day!


 Seriously!


 Do it!


 I'd love to see your strategies and what you come up with!

Finally, the Anti-Soy people, please just SHUT UP. Stop emailing me. You guys are nuts. There was a soy discussion my facebook a couple weeks ago and holy moly, some people have gone off the deep end.

Organic soy is part of my diet and always will be. It is not responsible for my weight gain. It is not going to hurt me. I don't give a BLEEP what Weston Price has to say about it.. OK?

Now that all of that is off my chest, I will give you a glimpse of what I ate yesterday. haha..

Breakfast: Hummus and Veggie Nori Rolls
Collards stuffed with Chipotle Hummus and 3 Ingredient Veggie Burgers
Split Pea Dahl
Oatmeal with Raisins, Homemade Soymilk and Grapefruit

This morning I had a smoothie (soybeans, frozen strawberry,banana, stevia, lime juice)

I feel a little big better venting and getting some of this off my chest. The last couple of weeks, I have been feeling really negative about blogging and like I just wanted to stop all together. Sometimes, if feels like what's the point of doing this when it draws so much negativity? When blogging is not fun anymore, why bother?

I'm hoping I can let this stuff go and focus on the positive aspects of the blogging community. 

I want to thank everyone who is positive, who sends me lovely, supportive emails, leaves me nice comments and shares their lives through their own blogs. You guys are much more powerful than the haters!


For those of you who are bloggers, do you get hate mail? If so, how do you deal with it?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Utilizing Leftovers: Enchilada Bake & Big Thank You!

First, thank you guys so much for the wonderful support, kind words, thoughts, prayers and good energy for my friend Rebecca and her baby, Ben! I could feel the love! She's still hanging in there, but he will most likely be born by Sunday at the latest since her water has been broken for 8 days now. Every single day he's inside of her, the more he can grow and mature. Fortunately, she was given the full steroid protocol for developing his lungs and we are hoping he won't have to be on a respirator when he's born.

Also, thank you guys for the GREAT SUPPORT about me going back to school! I am excited, scared and actually not quite sure how I'll pull this off financially.. but I'm determined to do it. For those of you reading me for a long time, you will probably remember that I have had some struggles with finding the right job and figuring out what I love to do.  I have pretty much hit the glass ceiling in my area for vegetarian cooking and frankly, I don't really want to work for someone else in a restaurant setting. I have toyed with the idea of trying to open my own place, but I lack the funding to do so and am not sure I want to be committed to such a physical job for the next 25 - 30 years of my working life!
I am a little intimidated by the competitive nature of the Dietetic Internships and the costs associated with them, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it. At least I know going in that I will need to really up the ante when it comes to my studies and community connections! I can't let fear hold me back and I have spent too much time in my life letting fear stop me from taking real chances!

... Now... onto the food! Enchilada Bake!


It's no secret that I basically live off of leftovers. I cook up a pound of beans at a time in my pressure cooker and use them throughout the week. I make large batches of soups, then turn the soup into burgers or in this case, part of the filling for an Enchilada Bake. I don't think I blogged about this soup, but it was a pinto bean and brown rice chili, similar to THIS RECIPE
I used around 4 cups of the chili, but wanted to add more bulk to the bake. My younger son is in track again and NEEDS lots of good carbs. I had collards and potatoes, so I nuked the potatoes for 8 minutes while I prepared the collards. Notice, I chopped the stems. I like the texture they add, plus you aren't throwing away food! 
I braised the collards in some water along with garlic salt, cumin seeds and chili pepper
Then I chopped the potatoes that had been almost cooked through
I have restaurant hands. If you don't run them under cold water to cool before chopping
Quick fry in my cast iron with garlic salt/pepper and chili powder. 
Tossing the greens and potatoes with hummus!
Pour a layer of salsa on the bottom of a 9 by 13 glass pan
add corn tortillas (I get a huge package for .99!)
add your leftover chili
and your potato/collard, hummus mixture
another layer of tortillas
more salsa!
more chili/potato mixture!
I baked at 375 for 45 minutes and then took it out and added some Nacho Cheese I made using my queso recipe, agar and irish moss. Many thanks to Bryanna for introducing me to that combo for vegan cheese! 
then diced up red onion to sprinkle on top
It's yummy!
The whole assembly including braising the greens/cooking potatoes took 20 minutes tops including clean up. Super easy and delicious! .. and it gets better after sitting overnight. 

PORTRAIT OF THE DAY

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Big News and Prayers Needed Please!

Chipotle Hummus Collard Wrap

So, I actually have quite a bit of food porn and recipes to post and I will either later today or tomorrow, but I wanted to take a small break from food and talk about some things that are going on in my life!

First of all, my very best friend in the world, Rebecca is in the hospital on bedrest. She is 33 weeks pregnant and her water broke 5 days ago. She will be having her baby, Ben within the next couple of days and he will be in the NICU. Any good thoughts/prayers for her are greatly appreciated. I wish I could be out there with her NOW. She is truly my sister. I have known her my entire life. She is my heart and I love her so much. I will probably be going to to Ashland to help in May when Ben comes home from the NICU, you see, Rebecca is the mother of 4 already AND a full time nursing student who is graduating in June! She needs to finish up her clinicals and I am going to be there to take care of Ben while she does. 

Rebecca has been though so much in her life. Several years ago, she was very sick with a rare auto-immune  disorder called Bullus Pemphigoid. She was very sick and had to be on high doses of steroids. She was covered in HUGE blisters for MONTHS... and during this time she still managed to take care of her 4 children, run her house AND EXCEL IN NURSING SCHOOL!.. She is my hero and such an inspiration.. 

So, any good thought/prayers for Rebecca and Ben are greatly appreciated. I had planned on staying in Ashland on my Cross Country Road Trip for 3 weeks or so in August and then make it up to Portland to speak at Vida Vegan..  At this point, I'm up in the air about my trip..... I am still planning on doing it, but I may have to cut it way short and not go cross country....... because I have to be back in New Hampshire by Sept. 1st.... 

...... because I have decided TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL! 

After much thought and soul searching, I realize that what I really want to do in life is to work with the community, schools, hospitals and public bringing healthy food to the masses! While I can do a bit of this as a Chef, the reality is that in order to get into institutions, you have to be a Registered Dietician. So... that's what I'm going to do!

It's crazy for me, at age 39, to embark on this, but I have been inspired by both my besties Rebecca AND my other bestie, Paulie who at age 35 decided she is going to be a DOCTOR! She is now in her first year of medical school! .. and of course Gena, who is also on the doctor path! 

I will be starting as a Freshman at the local community college to get all of the core courses out of the way, then will transfer to UNH where not only do they have a great Nutrition program, but also a dual major in Eco-Gastronomy!  

I am sooo excited and also scared. I'm not quite sure how I'll pull this off financially, but I hope after my first year I will be able to get some scholarships. 

So.. that's that! 

I will work part - time doing Photography and Chef Servies..  
I may need to rent a room somewhere for the next 4 years.. but I'm OK with that.

I am just so excited to have a very clear goal in mind and a vision for my future!