Posts Tagged Eat Drink & Be Vegan

And For My Next Post…Here’s a Bunch of Food.

There’s always a bad reason for not blogging, but here’s a good one:  My internet didn’t work for two weeks!  But I’m back now, and what better thing to do than post a whole bunch of random food and get caught up?  Some of this stuff dates from last October.  Eep!  I’ll jump right in.

Ginger Cashew Tofu from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan, with fried quinoa

Salad with chickpeas, sauerkraut, crackers and “special sauce” dressing

Whole wheat pasta with cooked beets and beet greens.  Turned the whole thing red!

Pizza burrito!  Leftover pizza toppings wrapped up and served with pizza sauce.

These potatoes were sold as “teeny tiny potatoes” at Trader Joe’s.  How cute!  Roasted whole, with broccoli & tofu scramble.

Roasted Fennel Salad from Veganomicon – test run before Thanksgiving.

Amaranth porridge with apples and pecans

Tempeh Tetrazzini, adapted from a magazine recipe.  Was tasty but dry.

Teriyaki tofu and veggies with red quinoa

This was a total clean-out-the-fridge dinner before I left to visit family for Christmas:  sauteed cabbage and carrots with shredded bleu Sheese and brown rice.  It sounds weird, but it worked well enough.

Shells n’ cheese n’ Tofurkey.  Mom was making mac n’ cheese with leftover ham for the rest of the family, and she made the white sauce with Earth Balance and soy milk so that I could partake too.  I added shredded Follow Your Heart cheese, cooked shells, diced Tofurkey slices that needed to be used up, and some spinach so I could pretend that it was slightly healthy.

“Special Tofu” with peanut sauce and jasmine rice, from Royal Orchid restaurant in Ocala, Florida.  Beautiful and delicious.

Fried rice with red cabbage and baked tofu

Braised red cabbage and carrots

Roasted root veggies with greens and tahini sauce

Tofu scramble and an English muffin to scoop it up

Butternut squash stuffed with rice, kale and vegan sausage, served with mushrooms.  This was super tasty.

When the weather started warming up, we decided to grill twice in one weekend.  For this plate, I bought every vegetable worthy of grilling – baby squashes, radicchio, mushrooms, asparagus and garlic scapes.  We also had some grilled toast and drizzled everything with balsamic reduction.

The next day it was a little more simple – store bought baked tofu, a marinated portobello, brown rice with carrots and hijiki, and steamed veggies with gomasio.

Hot and sour cabbage stir fry with noodles and cilantro

For this tofu scramble, I crisped some diced potatoes first then added the tofu and other ingredients, and finished it with fresh dill.

Savory amaranth with broccoli and pecans

Pasta with parsley pesto, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic-roasted veggies

Crunchy salad with black eyed peas, hemp seeds and spicy apple cider vinegar dressing

Teriyaki tofu bowl with short grain brown rice, raw red cabbage, steamed broccoli, green onion and extra teriyaki sauce

Gardein Crispy Tenders!  I bought these to try when I had a coupon, and I LOVE them.  They’d be good with any sauce, but they were especially good straight out of the oven with warm marinara.  The only problem with these guys is that I could easily eat the whole package at once.

Seasoned mashed fava beans with red bell pepper on Ezekiel toast for breakfast.

Springtime brown rice risotto with fresh peas, aspragus and dill

For a light side to go with the risotto, I dry-roasted some cauliflower that was liberally seasoned with a dry rub mix.

Ahhhhhhh, I feel better having purged my unposted photos a little!  Hope you enjoyed it too.

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Cooking with Lavender

When I received lavender in my CSA a while back, I had absolutely no idea what to do with it.  I had heard that if you use too much culinary lavender food can taste soapy, so I set about finding a few ways to use it well.

First, I adapted the White Bean Hummus with Fresh Thyme and Basil from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan.  All I really changed were the herbs – I used fresh thyme, rosemary and lavender.  It was a bit on the soapy side, so I probably used just a bit too much.

Next, I adapted this recipe for Peppered Lavender Beef.  Really, I just stole the seasoning mix idea.  I ground up black and white peppercorns, fennel seeds, thyme and lavender, rubbed it on some extra firm tofu, and baked it.  I really like the method of dry rubbing and baking tofu, it gives the tofu a great texture.  I served the tofu with dijon sauce, scalloped zucchini and slow roasted tomatoes.  You can tell this is from over a month ago, when zucchini and tomatoes were still in season!

Lastly, and possibly most successfully, I adapted this recipe for Apple Lavender Muffins, making it vegan, whole grain and lower-fat.  These muffins are moist with a large crumb, and lightly sweet and flavorful.  The original recipe yielded 12 muffins, but somehow my batter was only enough for 9.

Apple Lavender Muffins

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup almond milk
1 Tbs lavender flowers
2 Tbs unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbs walnut oil or other mild-flavored oil
1 medium apple, peeled and diced (about 1 cup), divided

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Spray nine muffin tins with oil or line with muffin cups.

3. In large bowl, sift together flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in center.

4. In separate bowl, whisk together almond milk, lavender, applesauce and oil. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and stir gently just until batter is evenly moistened. Fold in 1/2 cup of the apples.

5. Fill prepared muffin tins about three-quarters full. Gently tap filled tins to release any air bubbles.

6. Sprinkle remaining diced apple over muffins. Bake until toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes our clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool muffins in pan about 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.

Yield: 9 muffins

Amount Per Serving
Calories 147.8
Calories From Fat (24%) 34.82
% Daily Value
Total Fat 3.95g 6%
Saturated Fat 0.39g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 246.44mg 10%
Potassium 55.61mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 26.99g 9%
Fiber 2.41g 10%
Sugar 12.72g
Protein 2.3g 5%

Get thee some lavender and make these muffins!

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CSA’s & Laptop Lunches

Geez, it’s been a long time since I posted my foods!  I’ll try to keep my rambling and descriptions short, since I’ve got a lot of pictures!

8-27 CSA:  corn, rosemary, pears, zucchini, cucumber & lavender

onions, figs, tomatoes, beets, squash & honeydew melon

When I got this CSA box, I was actually growing tired of snacking on fresh figs.  Gasp!  I’m spoiled, I know.  I decided to make a poached fig salad, based on a recipe I found online that I can’t find again now!  Which is a shame, cause it was really good.  The fresh figs were poached in a whole bottle of port, then the wine was reduced down to a syrup.  There was also a simple vinaigrette, pisatchios, shallots and faux feta cheese.  The poached figs were STRONG, but good.  I also had some herbed pumpkin seed crackers.

I had taken note of the Teriyaki Quinoa recipe in Eat, Drink & Be Vegan during my August cleanse but didn’t get a chance to try it then.  I’m glad I tried it afterwards, because I love it!  It’s so simple – just cook the quinoa and mix it with the sauce.  I served the quinoa with stir-fried veggies (seasoned only with tamari and ume plum vinegar), and instead of sprinkling with sesame seeds as the recipe called for, I used some sesame gomasio that I had bought for no specific reason.

Quinoa close-up!  Looks like…quinoa…

I had a huge heirloom tomato sitting around doing absolutely no good, and I decided I wanted to slice it up for a grilled cheese sandwich.  There’s a big hole in the middle cause the tomato had a big, tough core that had to be cut out.

I wanted to make bread machine bread for my sandwich and…FAIL.  I modified a multigrain bread machine recipe that I found online and it really didn’t rise at all.  It was edible but incredibly dense.  I don’t know if the recipe was bad or if it was the fact that I used the time delay feature and the ingredients sat there for hours before the machine started mixing.

The cheese in the sandwich is the Gooey Grilled Cheese from The Uncheese Cookbook, which I love.  I also love pickles on grilled cheese.  On the side was broccoli and cucumber with goddess dressing, and oven-baked beet chips.

I had corn and squashes left over from the CSA box, and thought they would make nice side dishes for black-eyed-pea gravy and biscuits.  I have no idea where I got the gravy idea from, but it worked out.

For the biscuits, I used Happy Herbivore’s Whole Wheat Low Fat Biscuit recipe, and they turned out quite well!  I rolled mine out and cut them into circles with a glass though, rather than just dropping them like the recipe calls for.  That way you get the flaky sides, and they’re easy to cut in half.

Gravy close-up!  The gravy turned out okay, but it was a little too acidic and the onions weren’t cooked enough, so I need to work on it a bit before I have an official recipe.  For the creamed corn, I just cooked some corn kernels till tender, blended up some of them in the food processor, added it back to the pan with some soy milk and cooked a bit just to thicken.  The squash and zucchini were sauteed with probably a pinch too much red pepper flakes.

9-10 CSA:  lettuce, thyme, zucchini, swiss chard & grapes

tomatoes, plums, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, garlic & oranges

There’s nothing particularly special about this salad, except that it was topped with Annie’s French Dressing, which I had never seen before and like a lot.

With the abundance of tomatoes in this CSA box, I thought I ought to try my hand at making gazpacho.  I’d had gazpacho before a number of times but never made it.  Turns out it’s ridiculously easy to make!  The blender does most of the work.  I followed the recipe from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons and it was perfect.

On the side is a slice of Bianca’s awesome Whole Wheat Beer Bread.  I grew up eating beer bread, and this totally hit the spot.  I added FYH cheddar and some rosemary just cause I could.  I also totally screwed up and mis-read the recipe.  I thought the bread only baked for 30 minutes, so I pulled it out then, let it cool, and was totally surprised that my first slice was completely raw in the middle!  Then I re-read the recipe – doh!  It bakes for 55 minutes.  The slice on my plate up there went in the toaster oven just to finish, which is why it looks funny, and the rest of the loaf went back in the oven.  Read your recipes all the way through, people!

9-24 CSA:  swiss chard, lettuce, cucumber & more lettuce

beets, tomatoes, red onions, grapes & peppers.  I also got a galia melon but it didn’t find its way into the picture.

Another sandwich, this time on store-bought sprouted bread.  I had an avocado ready to use, and thought it would go perfectly with the CSA tomato and lettuce in a great sandwich.  I was thinking along the lines of a BLT, so I sauteed tempeh then glazed it with soy sauce, maple syrup and liquid smoke.  Delicious!  The sandwich also had red onion jam, spicy mustard and a slice of vegan cheese.  Those nuclear chips in the front there are Buffalo Chips from Food Should Taste Good.  They didn’t really taste buffalo-y, but they were tangy and spicy and good.  If you haven’t tried Food Should Taste Good chips yet, do so!  They feel so much lighter than other chips, and their flavors are fun and imaginative.

10-8 CSA:  arugula, lettuce, acorn squash, more lettuce & baby bok choy

plums, potatoes, apples, oranges, tomatoes, onions, peppers & beets

I haven’t done anything with last week’s CSA box yet, but…there it is.

Laptop lunches!  I don’t have the time these days to neatly pack everything every night, but I do when I can.

9-8 pasta salad, steamed carrots, beanie weenies, cauliflower

9-10 biscuit & black-eyed pea gravy, creamed corn, spicy sauteed squash

9-15 cheddar-rosemary beer bread, gazpacho, baked beans, grapes

9-17 sesame noodles, sauteed cabbage, grapes

9-28 peppers lavender tofu, scalloped zucchini,
slow roasted tomatoes, grapes

10-1 multigrain sesame-beet pilaf, spicy daikon slaw, gf corn muffin, grapes

Bonus Jake.

And armless Jake.

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August Cleanse: Days 15-18

Onward and upward!

Day 15

I was all out of greens on Saturday morning, so my smoothie had banana, strawberries, chocolate hempshake, almond butter, chia seeds, almond milk.  I also took a multi and b complex and had some coffee with almond milk.  For lunch I had a repeat of the Polynesian salad, but without banana and cucumber.  It was a fairly unsubstantial salad, but it was the weekend so I wasn’t too worried about getting hungry again quickly…until I went grocery shopping for an hour and a half and found myself starving at Whole Foods!  I was hoping they would have a selection of juices at the coffee/smoothie/juice counter, but they only had two – wheatgrass, and a ginger refresher with honey.  So I ended up getting a smoothie of banana, blueberries and pineapple coconut juice.  It didn’t occur to me until after I ordered that the juice probably had sugar in it – I got a little buzz from the smoothie.  Oops!  When I got home I had another snack of zucchini slices and red bell pepper with black bean and orange hummus.

I had bbq sauce leftover in the fridge from my grilled Thursday dinner and had been trying to think of a way to use it other than just brushing it on something grilled.  I also had a bunch of tomatoes that needed to be used before they went bad, and my mind went to bbq chili, which I served over brown rice.  It’s really simple, and really tasty.  Along with my chili I had a few beers.  Ahhhh, the weekend.

BBQ Chili

1 Tbs canola oil
medium yellow or white onion, diced
green bell pepper, diced
jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 cup bbq sauce
2 cups veggie broth or water
3 cups diced fresh tomatoes or 2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups or 1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups or 1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
optional toppings:  shredded vegan cheese
chopped green onion
diced avocado

Heat oil in a large sauce pot over medium heat.  Add onion and saute 5 minutes.  Add green pepper and jalapeno and continue to cook for 5 minutes.  Add garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn.  Add all other ingredients except toppings, raise heat to high and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to medium low and simmer at least 30 minutes.  Ladle into bowls and top with toppings.

Serves 4.

Day 16

I didn’t have much time Sunday morning between waking up and rushing out the door to run some errands, so I just ate a peach and a banana, and took a barrage of supplements – multi, coQ10 and spirulina.  I also had some coffee with almond milk.

Upon returning, I prepared this pretty salad.

It’s leaf lettuce, baby arugula and mustard greens, shredded carrot and squash, sliced radish and persian cucumber, Cheesy Roasted Chickpeas from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan and goddess dressing.  I was going to make a homemade tahini dressing, but was again pressed for time.  This salad came together really well!  Of course, goddess dressing makes everything taste better.  The shredded squash kind of looked like shredded cheese, which was fun, and it didn’t taste squash-y at all.  I didn’t taste a chickpea on its own so I can’t attest to the cheesiness, but I can say that I really like their texture.  They get kind of chewy, in a good way.

The reason I was in a rush was because we were heading off to Golden Gate Fields to watch the horse races.  Not vegan, I know, but Dave has taken an interest in gambling on horse racing as a hobby, and none of his buddies could go so I said I would go to check it out and see how I felt about the whole thing.  I actually ended up having a really good time and gambling a little, and we placed a large bet on the last race and made quite a bit of money!  However, after doing some reasearch on how the horses are treated, especially the ones that don’t perform, I don’t think I’ll be going back.  I’m a little torn on the issue because I really enjoyed going and it’s a nice time for me and Dave, and I’m sure that some of the horses are treated very well while they’re in racing condition, but I don’t think I can overlook some of the business practices that go on in the horse racing industry.

Oh, while we were at the track I snacked on some peanuts and had a few of their teeny dollar beers.  When we got back I had more bbq chili and brown rice for dinner, and two glasses of red wine before bed.

Day 17

All stocked up on smoothie supplies for the week, this one included baby spinach and red chard, banana, blackberries, amazon acai hempshake, udo’s oil, almond milk, agave nectar.  It was impossible to get a good picture of it.  I also took my multi and b complex.

My morning snack was some grapes and English breakfast tea, and lunch was an exact repeat of the salad from the day before, along with a probiotic supplement.  The afternoon snack of the day was carrot sticks, bell pepper strips and cucumber slices with black bean and orange hummus.

Immediately after work we went to the Coliseum to meet our friend Tom and his sister who was visiting for an A’s game.  Well, she wasn’t visiting FOR the game, she was visting and we happened to go to a game.  A game where the A’s shut out the Yankees!  There were some Obnoxious with a Capital O Yankees fans there, although I probably shouldn’t talk because the game last night went a different way and there’s still one more in the series.  Anywho, I had some peanuts and pistachios at the game, as well as some bbq chili and brown rice that I packed, topped with avocado.  I also had a Diet Dr. Pepper, which is against my cleanse rules.  I was determined not to have any beer, and considering I almost always have at least one beer at every game we go to, I wanted to have a different beverage in my hand so the temptation was lessened.  I also wanted the souvenier cup.

Day 18

It was also impossible to get a good shot of this smoothie, which had baby spinach and red chard, banana, blueberries, a peach, vanilla rice protein, udo’s and almond milk.  My smoothie-picture-taking-skills seem to be going downhill.  I also took my multi and coQ10.  For a morning snack I ate a pear, some figs and had darjeeling tea.  I think I may have some issues with figs – I got some mad stomach pains after eating this snack, and have noticed headaches after eating a meal with figs before.  I could be coincidence, but I’m kind of scared of figs now.  It seems to be okay if I only have two or three at a time, so perhaps I’ll stick with that and see how it goes.

For lunch I had another exact repeat salad.  Why mess with something so good?  My afternoon snack was more carrot, bell pepper and cucumber with the last of the black bean and orange hummus.

My dinner was the last serving of bbq chili and brown rice, topped with avocado and green onions, which is how I had intended to eat it each time but didn’t.  Avocado is always good, and the green onions really perked the chili up.  Afterward while doing the dishes, I enjoyed some wild sweet orange tea.

I’m starting to have cravings for wheat, especially for a burrito or sandwich.  Every time we pass a taqueria I want a burrito BADLY, but it’s nothing I can’t hold off on for another few weeks.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to get a big burrito on September 1st though, maybe I just won’t eat the whole thing in one sitting!

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August Cleanse: Days 11-14

Day 11

I started the day off with some repeats from Day 10 – the smoothie of the day was spinach, banana, mango, strawberries, udo’s oil, almond milk and amazing meal, along with a b complex and multi.  My morning snack was cherries and constant comment tea.  Lunch was a repeat of the Greekish salad.

For an afternoon snack, I ate some zucchini slices, carrot sticks and red bell pepper slices with the Black Bean & Orange Hummus from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan.  It’s an odd combination, but just like the author says, it goes together really well.  You can taste the black beans, orange, garlic and almond butter without anything overpowering the rest.  It’s very good!

Dinner was leftover tofu vindaloo with buckwheat and sugar plum spice tea.

Day 12

This delicious smoothie had spinach, banana, cherries, chia seeds, chocolate hempshake, almond milk, and I took my multi and coQ10.  I really like using the chocolate hempshake, especially with cherries, strawberries or raspberries.  My morning snack was figs, an apple, and darjeeling tea, and lunch was another Greekish salad except this time with avocado, dried oregano and fresh parsley, and a squeeze of lemon juice for dressing.  The salad was so big and filling that I couldn’t even finish it and wasn’t very hungry for an afternoon snack, so I just had a small piece of canteloupe and a few strawberries at a work event.  Dinner was the last of the tofu vindaloo and buckwheat, and afterward I had camomile tea.

Day 13


This green smoothie was made from spinach, half a banana, peach, kiwi, amazon acai hempshake, udo’s and almond milk, and I had my multi and b complex.  I had a snack of fruit at work, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was.  I also had some coffee with almond milk.  I must say, soy creamer is one thing I’m definitely missing on this cleanse.

I had gotten an e-mail from VegWeb the day before, and while I don’t normally pay too much attention to their e-mails, this Polynesian Salad with Curry Dressing caught my attention because I needed a salad for the next day, I happened to have all the ingredients called for, and it just sounded good.  I wasn’t too sure about bananas in a salad, but this is one fine salad.  I didn’t have walnuts so I subbed pecans, and the contrast of textures and flavors in this salad definitely makes it a winner.  The only small issue was that it didn’t keep me full for very long.  I ate my afternoon snack of zucchini slices and carrot sticks with black bean and orange hummus earlier than I normally snack.

I had a plan for when I got home to exercise, shower, make dinner and take care of a few things on my to do list.  When I got home I was in a bad mood though, and these were all the last things I wanted to do.  I didn’t even have the energy to take pictures of my CSA delivery, for the first time ever.  I grabbed a handful of dill pickle cashews to appease my growling tummy, went to the store with Dave, and grilled up some dinner.

This is bbq tempeh and eggplant with portobello and steamed broccoli, all over a baked potato.  The bbq sauce was an on-the-fly concoction of tomato sauce, agave nectar, molasses, maple syrup, vinegar, onion and garlic powder, allspice and ground red pepper.  For throwing a bunch of stuff in a bowl, it turned out pretty well – it even got all sticky on the tempeh while it grilled.  I also “cheated” a little bit and had two glasses of wine on a Thursday night (I’m supposed to only have alcohol on the weekends), but at the end of the day I felt much better than I would’ve forcing myself to do things I didn’t have the energy for.  Sometimes it feels good to have a plan, then completely ignore that plan and do whatever you want.

Day 14

My smoothie on Friday had half a banana, blueberries, plum, orange, vanilla rice protein, udo’s and almond milk, and I took a coQ10, multi and probiotic.  It sounds like an odd flavor combination, perhaps, but it actually worked quite nicely.  Orange and vanilla are a natural match, and the blueberries and plum just kind of joined the party.

We had a large event at work that I knew was going to keep me busy all day, so I didn’t bother to take any snacks because I knew I wouldn’t have time to eat them.  I should’ve known that this was a silly move, because by lunchtime I was starving and the salad I brought alone wasn’t going to cut it.  I ended up eating a veggie dog on a bun from Top Dog, who was catering our event, and it was pretty much entirely made of wheat.  So, I cheated (again), but I had to make a decision and having food in my belly was a better choice than being out in the sun all afternoon running on just a salad.  It was another Polynesian salad, by the way, and again it was very tasty.

After work Dave and I went straight to the Coliseum for the A’s game.  I had brought leftovers from the night before (bbq tempeh, eggplant, portobello, baked potato and broccoli) to eat as dinner in the parking lot before we went in.  I also had a few beers – the beers inside the game are EXPENSIVE so we like to have some cheap ones before we go in.  Watching the game, I ate some peanuts and pistachios as a snack.

So I had a few missteps this week, but all in all I feel I did pretty well.  The food prep is getting easier; I’m getting used to putting a salad together every night before work.  I actually gained 0.7 pounds this week which I don’t understand since I’ve been eating well and exercising, but maybe I can make up for it next week.  Until then!

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August Cleanse: Days 5-7

My cleanse is still going strong!  I’m still almost always hungry, but it’s nothing I can’t handle.

Day 5

My breakfast smoothie on day 5 consisted of banana, raspberries, kale, udo’s, almond milk and chocolate hempshake.  Very tasty.  I also took my multi and b complex supplement.  For a snack I had a peach, a pear and blueberry green tea.

For lunch, I topped the quinoa salad with black beans and mango with some perfectly ripe avocado, all served over spinach.  The avocado greatly improved the quinoa salad in my opinion, but really, what doesn’t avocado improve?

Afternoon snack was carrot sticks, cucumber and green pepper strips with more roasted eggplant and garlic hummus.

For dinner I made Brown Rice ‘n’ Beans Jumble-aya from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan with steamed green beans.  I bought the suggested file powder, but was worried that I wouldn’t like it when I smelled it cooking.  Luckily it balances well with the rest of the ingredients and I liked it just fine.  I don’t think I’ll be going crazy with the file powder quite yet though.  Also, the brown rice didn’t cook all the way in the 45 minutes cooking time called for.  I let it cook for 10 extra minutes and the rice was still quite al dente.  Overall, this is a very good dish that I would definitely make again.  After dinner I had peppermint tea and called it a night.

Day 6

This smoothie had basil, kale, blueberries, peach, chia seed and amazon acai hempshake.  Basil – weird, I know, but I had some basil wasting away in the fridge and nothing else to do with it so I decided to experiment.  I wouldn’t call basil in a smoothie good necessarily, but it wasn’t bad either.  The basil flavor was definitely big but not overpowering.  I want to continue experimenting, maybe with fresh ginger and some spices.  Along with the smoothie I took coQ10 and a multi.

The rest of Thursday was less interesting.  My morning snack was a plum, two apricots, almonds and coffee with unsweetened almond milk.  Lunch was more quinoa salad with black beans and mango, topped with avocado and served over spinach.  Afternoon snack was carrot sticks and cucumber with the last of the roasted eggplant and garlic hummus.  Dinner was leftover brown rice ‘n’ beans jumble-aya and steamed green beans, followed by wild sweet orange tea.

Day 7

Friday morning’s smoothie was kale, banana, blueberries, kiwi, orange juice, almond butter and flax.  Another odd combination, perhaps, but I was out of almond milk and this worked okay.  Also had the b complex and multi.  I poured up some coffee soon as I got to work, with unsweetened almond milk.

I took a morning snack to work and didn’t get a chance to eat it because we were having new student orientation.  It’s a pretty intense day for me, I basically answer questions non-stop and have to be “on” and smile all day.  It only happens twice a year though, and it’s fun getting to meet all the new students.  I finally got a little break at lunchtime, so I ate my snack of a pear and a nectarine, then had lunch, the last of the quinoa/black bean/mango salad over spinach.  Afternoon snack was carrot sticks, cucumber and celery with non-honey honey mustard dressing.  For dinner I had more of the jumble-aya with green beans.  I had intentions of exercising when I got home, but I was so beat after work that I quickly settled onto the couch with a beer, and had a few more as the night went on.  While watching a movie a few hours after dinner I realized I was absolutely starving, not the kind of hunger I could ignore.  I wanted some plain popcorn but didn’t have any, so I settled for a handful of dill pickle cashews.

One week of the cleanse done!  Other than time spent on food preparation it’s been easy so far, and I haven’t really experienced any cravings.  One noted benefit is that my skin seems to be clearing up.  Also, I lost just under three pounds!  In one week!  That’s really good for me, normally I have to be happy to lose ONE pound every TWO weeks.

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Announcements!

1.  I have been accepted to, and am officially enrolled in the Natural Chef Program at Bauman College in Berkeley.  Yay!  Starting in late September and going through February I will be attending classes nights and weekends while holding down my 40-hour-a-week job and hopefully still cooking at home a bit (other than homework assignments).  Sadly, I probably will not be able to pay much attention to my blog during this time.  But at the end I will be a trained natural chef!  I am hoping to turn this into a career change sooner than later.

2.  With my crazy schedule impending, I’ve decided to take the month of August to clean up my diet through a “cleanse”.  It’s not a diet, per say, but my feelings won’t be hurt if I lose a few pounds in the process.  I lost 8 pounds between the beginning of this year and April, then went and gained it all back on my vacations in May and June.  Doh!  Mostly I want to focus on nutritious whole foods, and NOT CHEAT!  Details on the rules and first four days below.

3.  This one is inconsequential, but I feel like listing it anyway.  I’ve always referred to my boyfriend as bf on the blog because I thought he would prefer it that way.  It turns out he doesn’t care one way or another, so from now on he shall be called Dave, which is his name.

Now, here is the outline of my cleanse:

– first thing upon waking is a warm glass of water with the juice from a quarter of a lemon
– breakfast is a smoothie including fruit, greens, Udo’s DHA oil blend or flax or chia seeds, protein powder or nut butter and unsweetened almond milk, a multivitamin and either a CoQ10 or B complex supplement
– green or black tea or coffee with stevia at work
– morning snack is fruit or nuts or both
– lunch is a salad including some form of protein (open for interpretation – veggies salad/grain salad/bean salad, etc.) and a probiotic supplement a few times a week
– afternoon snack is raw veggies and hummus or nuts
– dinner is whatever I want, as long as it all fits in a normal dinner-sized bowl and is not high in fat
– decaf tea with stevia before bed
– minimal, if any, processed food
– no wheat (grains that may contain gluten are okay)
– no sugar or artificial sweeteners (stevia, agave and maple syrup are okay)

This is my own design, but I was inspired by a number of things including Jessy’s Adventure Cleanse Tune-up and re-reading Gillian McKeith’s You Are What You Eat.  Jessy did so amazingly well sticking with her cleanse, but I’m not making mine quite as intense.  She cut out everything I am, PLUS coffee, alcohol and gluten.  I generally only have coffee two or three times a week and tea the rest of the time, so I think it’s not that bad.  And I do like my beers on the weekend, so I’m keeping them but watching my intake.  (Geez, that makes me sounds like an alky!  I’m not, I promise, but I have to be honest about it if I’m going to detail my intake day by day.)  I will not be drinking any wheat beers though.  Speaking of wheat – I say “no wheat” because I’m not worried about gluten so much, so I may eat oats or other stuff that may contain gluten.  I just want to take a break from wheat and kind of force myself to eat other grains.

All that being said, I had a plan in place to start the cleanse off right on the morning of August 1st.  I was going to go grocery shopping and buy everything I needed for the first week on Friday night so that I could get going on Saturday.  I had planned my first few meals and written out a huge grocery list, and as I headed out the door I realized I didn’t have my keys!  Through a series of unfortunate events, Dave had gone to band practice in San Francisco with my keys in his pocket, so I couldn’t leave the house.  So much for being prepared!  I ended up going Saturday morning, but it left me a little stressed and wasn’t the way I wanted to start.

Day 1

Since I didn’t have my special smoothie making supplies yet or any greens in the fridge, I had a pear and some cantaloupe for breakfast along with my multivitamin.  Not exactly a power meal, but it’s all I had.  I also drank some blueberry green tea on the way to the store.  By the time I got back I was ravenous, so I ate some apple slices with peanut butter.

The first day presented me with a challenge because we were tailgating for the A’s game.  Normally I would have a veggie burger or dog and do some grilled veggies on the side, so I had to figure out how to fit grilling into salad form.

My solution was to take a salad of iceberg, tomatoes, shredded carrot and sunflower seeds and top it with grilled mushroom and squash and a squeeze of lemon.  (I only used iceberg because I had it leftover from a work bbq.)  This salad didn’t have as much protein as it probably should’ve and didn’t really fill me up, so I had some pistachios as a snack soon after.  I also had a few beers.  Told you I was going to be honest!

We didn’t end up actually going into the game (long story), and instead went to Dave’s uncle’s house for some chatting and board games.  On the way there I ate some carrot sticks, celery & cucumber slices with Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Hummus from Yellow Rose Recipes as “dinner”, and then had two glasses of wine at their house.  So my dinner didn’t exactly fit into the dinner rules, but I felt it was the best I could do since we were very rushed that morning.

Day 2

Sunday went much more smoothly.  Dave took off to go fishing with his buddies (blech) and I slept in a bit.

My breakfast smoothie had a banana, strawberries, mango, kale, udo’s and almond milk and despite being a bit thick and me forgetting to add the protein powder, it was very tasty.  I also took my multivitamin and CoQ10.  The smoothie kept me full all morning, so no snack.  I also had some coffee with unsweetened almond milk.

Lunch was a second take on the salad from day 1 with iceberg lettuce, carrots, squash, mushrooms and chickpeas and a dressing of balsamic vinegar, mustard and agave (there was already oil on the grilled veggies).  It was more filling this time with the chickpeas – I couldn’t even finish it!

My afternoon snack was more of the roasted eggplant and garlic hummus with carrot sticks, bell pepper and cucumbers.  I have to say that this hummus is kind of weird.  It tastes really good and blended up smooth, but after sitting overnight in the fridge it had kind of gelled together, as if it had agar agar or something.  I had to stir and mush it up with a fork, and it was never again as smooth as when I first made it.

For dinner I made the Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango from Veganomicon and served it over spinach.  My first impression of this dish is that it was just a bit oily.  I get what the recipe is going for, and it tastes good and is easy to make, but it didn’t blow me away or anything.  After dinner I had camomile tea, which I’ve never had before, and was pleasantly surprised.

Day 3

My Monday breakfast was this tasty banana, cherry, kale, udo’s, almond milk and amazon acai hempshake smoothie along with my multivitamin and b complex.  It was actually more brown than red, this picture makes it look much nicer than it really was.  My morning snack was a pear, almonds and darjeeling tea.

Lunch:  leaf lettuce, green pepper, carrot, red onion, snap pea sprouts, cherry tomatoes, sauteed cajun tofu and Honey Mustard Dressing from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan, and a probiotic supplement.  This dressing is wonderful!  I never would have though to use lemon juice in honey mustard and it gives the dressing the perfect tang.  No actual honey is involved – it calls for agave nectar instead.  The tofu was just sauteed in a little bit of oil and sprinkled with a cajun spice blend.

My afternoon snack was more of the eggplant and garlic hummus with carrot sticks, green pepper & cucumber.  Beginning to notice a trend?  A whole batch of hummus lasts me forever if it’s just for snacks.

Dinner was precisely the same as Sunday (quinoa salad with black beans and mango over spinach) with sweet wild orange tea to follow.  I thought the quinoa salad might be the kind of dish that improves overnight, but it was still just kind of “eh”. The orange tea, however, is awesome.  It’s by Tazo.

Day 4

I’m into this green smoothie thing.  This one had banana, mango, kiwi, kale, udo’s and almond milk, and I forgot to add the dang protein powder again.  This used up all my mangos – I got five small ones for 99 cents at Berkeley Bowl that were all ready to go mushy, so I didn’t want to let them go to waste.  I took my multivitamin and CoQ10 and had a pear, a plum, cashews and earl grey tea as my morning snack.

The lunch salad was much like the day 3 lunch salad, minus the onion, sprouts (they went bad) and cherry tomatoes (I don’t like ’em!), and plus sunflower seeds.  Also had a probiotic supplement.  Afternoon snack was celery, green pepper & cucumber slices with more roasted eggplant & garlic hummus.

Dinner was a challenge.  I was going to the recently re-opened Souley Vegan in Oakland to meet up with some PPKers and was hoping they’d have enough decently healthy options for me.  I meant to take my camera and forgot it like a dufus.  I ordered a three-item combo plate with collard greens, black eyed peas and yams.  The collard greens were very good, and different from any greens I’ve had – they were quite spicy and had a combination of spices that I could not put my finger on.  It drove me a little crazy that I couldn’t figure out the spices.  The black eyed peas were also good.  The yams…were incredibly sweet.  I’m fairly sure there was about a ton of sugar in them.  But I tried to stick to the cleanse, and I think I did pretty well for being at a place that has delicious chicken fried tofu and mac n’ cheese, and life goes on.  When I got home I had camomile tea.

(Souley Vegan’s Yelp page says they’re closed, but they’re not.  They are very much open at 301 Broadway, near Jack London Square.)

I hope that this style of posting doesn’t bore you all to death!  I want to post everything I eat, day by day, to hold myself accountable and to show anyone who may think I’m crazy that it’s completely do-able.  I’m hoping to post every two or three days, as opposed to four or more, so that there’s not so much redundant content.

So far I haven’t noticed much of any change in my energy or anything like that.  I do feel more hungry in general than before I started, but it’s not the kind of hungry where I HAVE to eat something, it’s just a little lingering hunger that tells me I didn’t totally fill up my tummy.  I’ve been cooking less in general but spending more time preparing food, which I guess is what happens when you eat more raw foods.  The only way I can make it in the mornings is to prep everything the night before, including putting the greens and fruit in the blender jar in the fridge, which kills a good amount of time at night.

Here is my latest CSA delivery.

cherry tomatoes, cherries, pears, an eggplant, tomatoes

pattypan squash, onions, peppers, basil, a cucumber,
a crookneck squash, grapes

And just because I can, some pictures of Jake from this weekend.  He’s taken to squishing his face on the arm rest when he’s trying to nap on the couch.

Kitty paws.

I love how his body looks humongous from this angle.

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