Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I've joined Weight Watchers... I'm ready to take control of my life again!


Last Friday, I decided to go back to Weight Watchers.  I have had great success with it in the past, and I need all the help I can get right now.  As many of you know, I have struggled with my weight since I started this blog.  When I moved to Boston a little over two years ago, I lost 100 lbs in around 9 months because I was walking everywhere and working on my feet.  I think the fact that I was falling in love with The Boyfriend and had all those awesome happy hormones coursing through my veins didn't hurt either.

I am still very much in love with The Boyfriend, but the last year has been so incredibly stressful.  I got very ill last December with a severe ear infection which was resistant to antibiotics.  I am someone who NEVER takes antibiotics, so the fact that they did not work on me was really scary.  They gave me stronger ones, because they were concerned it might be MRSA. (I had both an inner and outer ear infection.)

While the antibiotics finally worked, they cause a severe intestinal infection called C-Diff, which literally made my life hell for months. I ended up having a surgery in March.  All of this was going on while I was starting a new job in Boston.  Finally, after recovering from surgery and feeling like my life was getting back on track, my long standing foot issues came to a head.  I ended up with two stress fractures that were caused by me walking to compensate for a long standing foot injury which was cause by child abuse and was never treated.  After being in a boot to treat the stress fractures (and having to give up my job where I walked between 3-6 miles per day just go get to and from and then stand on my feet for 8 hours a day), I ended up having foot surgery.

The recovery has been very difficult 

The stress of all of the illness, surgeries has been compounded with PTSD brought up by having to treat the foot situation.  I have also pretty much lost my career as a chef as I know it.   I have been in pain, depressed, stressed and feeling like my life is very much out of my control for a year now, and I turned to what I seem to do best.  Eating for comfort and stress relief.

Since I have been so inactive, this has all contributed to me gaining around 60 lbs back out of the 100 lbs I've lost since I moved to Boston.

I can't tell you HOW depressing this is on so many levels.

But I am READY TO TAKE CONTROL AGAIN!!

I felt like such a victim of circumstances; I even looked into Weight Loss Surgery.  That's how desperate I've become.  I went through all of the testing and everything, and they have postponed the surgery for 6 months, asking me to work on my eating issues with a therapist.

I agree with their decision.  I do not regret that I looked into it, but it is rather drastic for me at this point.  I am on the cusp weight-wise and since I have lost large amounts of weight before on my own and I KNOW how to eat healthy, I know I can do it again.

The difference now, is that I can not be as active as I was due to my foot, so the rather instant losses I am accustomed to aren't happening.  This is a slow process, and obviously, I need to learn patience and learn how to accept where I am today, at this moment.

My foot will recover much faster when I lose weight, but it's not going to happen overnight.

I am going to be using this blog to talk about my mind/body connection and weight issues.  I will post pictures of what I am creating, but I won't be posting many recipes here anymore.

I am going to start a new blog, which will feature many of my old recipes, updated and newly tested, along with my Healthy E-Book Recipes and will charge a one time donation fee of $20 to access the recipes.  The recipes will list Weight Watcher Points and they will be plant-based, but not all will be vegan.  I will include vegan options for the small amount of cheese/dairy I use.  I will write a lot more about this as I am creating it, but it is going to take me 30 days to test/revamp and calculate points for everything I am listing.  When you subscribe to the new blog, you will have access to 100 original and many new recipes, with 7 new recipes added per week.  There will be a complete recipe index and every recipe will have the Weight Watchers points listed.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I LOVE my savory, plant-based breakfast.

Rainbow Chard, Cajun Black Eyed Peas, Chia Goddess Dressing and Sriracha

Spicy, warming, savory, and filling, beans and veggies make me oh so happy when I eat them for breakfast!

I cooked up a pot of Cajun Black Eyed Peas this morning and used 1/2 cup for my breakfast.


I scored some amazing organic rainbow chard at whole foods, along with some sprouted grain tortillas.  I shredded the chard, chopped some carrots, made a cute tortilla bowl and topped everything off with my Low Fat Chia Goddess Dressing and Sriracha! Super delicious, hearty and quick to make.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Daikon, Cremini, Tofu, and Snap Pea Fried Rice (in other words, using leftovers!)


This awesome dish came together in around 5 minutes since I had a bunch of leftovers that needed to be used. 

The other day, I made some Cremini Mushrooms with Daikon (scallions, ginger, toasted sesame oil, chili garlic paste fried up in my cast iron and topped with my Low Fat Sesame Ginger Salad Dressing.


I also had some Dry Fried Tofu:

Brown rice from the freezer (I make a big batch and freeze it in 1 or 2 cup portions. To make this meal, I blanched some snap peas, then added the rest of the ingredients to my cast iron and seasoned with a tiny bit of 5 Spice Powder, Sriracha, Cilantro and Soy Sauce to taste.  Then I topped it with Bamboo Smoked Black Sesame Seeds.

It was super yummy!


I know this isn't a "recipe".  It is a method... a method I hope you will adopt and put to use in your home. You can sub any protein, veggie, or grain with great results.  I have made delicious fried rice with chickpeas when I didn't have any tofu!  Experiment with what you have on hand!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Simple blender green juice and leftover pulp uses.


I made a quick blender juice this morning (pic taken with my phone) and wanted to share how I did it.

I'm not a huge fan of juicing. I'm more of a smoothie girl, but this morning, I just wanted some simple juice.  I'm not going to get in a debate about which is better.  Different strokes for different folks!

I used my Vitamix, 2 cups of water, 4 cups kale, 1 apple, 3 inches of ginger and 1 carrot, then I  blended it super well and strained the pulp with a small strainer.



I will use the pulp in baking; it has a very similar consistency to applesauce, so you can sub oil with some of the pulp.  If I hadn't used apple, I would use some in veggie burgers.  For now, it's frozen for future use.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

4 Ingredient Vegan Dill Pickle Chickpea Burgers


Yesterday, I made Dill Pickle Roasted Chickpeas and asked that you save the reserved pickle brine for future use. 

This is the future!

I used my 3 Ingredient Veggie Burger method to create these awesome Dill Pickle Chickpea burgers.  They have 4 ingredients: Brine, Old Bay Seasoning, Chickpeas, and Old Fashioned Oats.

I'm pretty much in love with them. I have made what I call, Chickpea of the Sea burgers in the past, but these taste better.  Much better.  I did serve them with my homemade tartar sauce, which was made from my Low Fat Vegenaise Alternative.

Go make some awesome Dill Pickle Roasted Chickpeas and a batch of these burgers.  I got 6 small burgers from the recipe.
Method:
  1. Heat the chickpeas and bring until boiling, then stir in the oatmeal and old bay. Turin off heat and mash together with a fork.
  2. Let the mixture cool, then form into patties and bake at 400 for 25 minutes. 
Serve with Tartar Sauce and burger fixins.  I love using Kale in place of lettuce.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Dill Pickle Roasted Chickpeas


We buy #10 cans of chickpeas at Costco to have on hand, and this morning I opened one.  Now, I normally cook my own chickpeas from scratch, but sometimes, it's nice to open a can and just go to town cooking without having to dirty up my pressure cooker.

The #10 can can has around 16 cups of cooked chickpeas, so you can bet that I've been using them in various recipes.  I made hummus, created a new 4 Ingredient Burger which I will share later.


The Boyfriend came home with some of the best store bought pickles the other day, and I knew immediately I would be re-using the brine.  (Daikon Pickle anyone?) 

I decided to roast the chickpeas in pickle brine. Yum! 


Dill Pickle Roasted Chickpeas: 
Pre-heat oven to 400
  • 4 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 1/4 cups pickle brine
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill
  • Pepper to taste

Method:
  1. In a large skillet, add the chickpeas, brine and vinegar.  Bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Drain and reserve liquid for another use.  
  2. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and arrange chickpeas in a single layer (I used 2 sheets so they had a lot of room between them to crisp up)
  3. Bake for 45 minutes, shaking halfway through and rotating pans.
  4. Stir in fresh dill and pepper 

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Super Healthy Chipotle Citrus Black Bean Burritos


I made a batch of chipotle-citrus black beans today (dried beans cooked with a by leaf, then mixed with a mixture of 2 onions, 5 cloves garlic, 1 tbsp cumin, 2 tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp oregano, juice of 2 limes and 1 orange and 2 cups of cilantro).  I turned some of the beans into my 3 Ingredient Veggie burgers, and used 2 cups of as the filing for these awesome burritos.




I used Low Carb, High Fiber Sante Fe 100% Whole Grain Tortillas, placed 1 cup of baby spinach, 1/2 cup of the beans and 1 tbsp feta cheese. Rolled them up, then warmed them in a pan, turning them on all sides until they were golden brown,  I topped them with 1/4 an avocado each and some salsa. 


Super delicious!I had some leftover Kale Salad from yesterday morning. (I thought I could eat it all for breakfast, but I couldn't.) The salad and burrito was an awesome lunch and very filling, while fairly low in calories and high in nutrition.  Per burrito: 


Calories 386
Fat 14 grams
Carbs: 59 grams
Protein 23 grams
Fiber 27 grams
Calcium 25%
Iron 38%


Go make some! 

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Simple Kale Salad with Avocado


This is my breakfast on this cold, January day and it is delicious! I have a busy day ahead, and I need some lasting fuel that will energize me!

Since I will only have a small protein shake for lunch since I'll be on the road, I ate the whole thing for breakfast, but you can easily feed 2 people with this.

Kale Salad

  • 4 cups kale, washed and dried
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 small avocado, diced
  • 1 jalapeno chopped, optional
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Bragg's 
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coconut bacon (I will post my recipe soon, but you can easily google it)

-Place everything in a bowl and massage for a couple minutes.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

5 Spice Oatmeal Pear Ginger Mini-Muffins and Birthday Road Trip!


Tomorrow is my 42 birthday! I can't believe it!  I am picking up my oldest son in Portsmouth tomorrow morning, and we are driving to Keene to see my youngest son and hanging out for the day.  I can't wait! Then Andrew and I will spend the night in a hotel halfway back to Portsmouth and I will drive him back the next morning.  It will be awesome to spend time with my boys, since I rarely get to see them anymore now that they are adults and we are kind of spread out.

I made a batch of these muffins to bring along with some peanut butter so we will have something healthy to snack on. Recipe HERE (I only filled the muffin tins half way for portion control)

I also made a batch of Balsamic-Garlic Glazed Green Beans with Caramelized Onions, Cremini Mushrooms and Toasted Almonds to bring to my younger son:


.. and of course, no visit would be complete without me bringing their favorite food ever... THE GOOD STIR FRY!