Posts Tagged mango

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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Vegan Fire & Spice

Firstly…

Yes, yes I am.  The world vegan bake sale is just that, vegan bakesales taking place all over the world during the same week, raising funds, having fun and spreading the joy of tasty vegan baked goods.  The concept was brought to us by Compassion Over Killing, who do great work in animal advocacy.

Our San Francisco vegan bake sales are organized by Melisser the Urban Housewife, Vegansaurus, and the people of The PPK.  We’re holding them next Saturday, June 27th and Sunday, June 28th.

Details (both days in San Francisco):

Saturday, June 27th, 11AM – 4PM
3506 16th Street at Sanchez, in front of Ike’s Place

Sunday, June 28th, 11AM – 4PM
800 block of Capp Street, near 24th St (about 1/2 mile from 24th Street Bart)

Proceeds go to Animal Place and East Bay Animal Advocates.  I will only be there with goodies on Saturday (we have baseball tickets preventing me from going Sunday), but there will be amazing stuff both days.  So if you’re in the area go to the website then come by the bake sales!

On to the food.

When I came back from my trip to Texas there was nary a lick of fresh food in the kitchen, nor any cooking inspiration on my part.  So I decided to open up a cookbook and just pick some recipes to make.  My mom got me Vegan Fire & Spice for Christmas last year and while I had read through it a few times, I had yet to make any recipes.  So I got down to business and picked out some meals.

Paella!  Despite the picture trying to burn red holes through your retinas, please take my word that this was good good good.  I think I ate it for five days straight and could’ve eaten more.  I was in major need of protein after eating whatever was available for five days, and this packs a triple protein threat.  And just enough veggies to make it a well rounded one pot meal.  My singular complaint would be that I didn’t like the tempeh in it.  I am a fan of tempeh, but this tasted like big chunks of plain tempeh that didn’t really jibe with the rest of the dish.  I think either cutting the tempeh smaller or putting it in the cooking liquid sooner, or both, would make it better.  Next time I’ll just do chicken-style seitan, seitan sausages and red beans and it’ll be perfect.

This isn’t from VF&S, but I had CSA rhubarb withering away, so I stewed it for dessert.

Cooked down with water, sugar and lemon juice and served over vanilla soy yogurt, this was a tasty and relatively healthy dessert.  I’m still not a huge fan of rhubarb so I don’t want to eat it all the time, but this is a nice way to do it.

Next I decided to try the Texas BBQ Sauce baked on some tofu.

This sauce was quite tasty.  I like that it started with a whole onion and green pepper, and the ingredient list was pretty short and pantry-friendly.  The only problem was that I don’t currently have a working blender and use my food processor for everything, and the sauce started splashing out the top so I had to stop blending too soon, leaving the sauce chunky.  It didn’t coat the tofu like I had hoped but still tasted great.

For my third VF&S meal I went to the Caribbean.

First the Island Rice Salad.  This salad was nice, but not anything I’d go crazy for.  The majority of the dressing was storebought mango chutney.  A container of locally-made chutney ran me $4 at Whole Foods, and I think the flavor of the salad would really differ depending on what kind of chutney you were able to buy or make.  The sweetness of the mango chunks and the crunch of the bell pepper offered a nice contrast.  I think something chewy and smoky would fit in nicely and round it out, perhaps small pieces of baked tofu.

To go with the salad, I made the Jamaican Baked Vegetables.  While the dish was fine, I wasn’t a huge fan.  It baked for a loooong time and rendered all the veggies kind of mushy, and I had a hard tine getting through all the leftovers.  The flavors were nice though, very citrusy and plenty spicy since I used a whole serrano, seeds included.

All in all I was pleased with the dishes I made and I will definitely go back to try more from Vegan Fire & Spice.  I think I’ll also try to do another cookbook-themed post here and there, it’s fun to force myself to go through and pick out multiple recipes.

Randoms:  I made my creamy corn casserole a third time, got it as close to perfect as I think it’ll get, and submitted it to the Vegetarian Times Reader Recipe Contest.

I got a CSA delivery, and can’t really remember what I did with most of it now.

lettuce, parsley, carrots, gypsy peppers

tomatoes, blueberries, canteloupe, peaches

And here’s a very random dinner I made one night when I was in a big hurry without much food on hand.

Whole wheat tortilla with TJ’s soy nugget pieces, diced soy cheese, and a mixture of finely diced broccoli stem, shredded carrot and vegenaise/apple cider vinegar dressing.  Odd perhaps, but good and quick.

Lastly, the blackberry vines in our backyard are bursting with berries!  I have done nothing more than trim back the dead growth on last year’s vines, and I have managed not to kill or harm the plant.  Here are the first few berries I picked when they were just starting to ripen.

The blackberry vines are actually kind of insane.  They’ve grown so thick that I can’t even reach most of the berries, which is sad, but I think I’ll still get plenty off the vines.  Also, blackberry vines are absolutely covered in thorns, which makes it quite painful to harvest.  It’s almost like they don’t want me to have their berries!

The majority of the vines are behind the high fence on the right, all clumped up in a bunch that I can’t get to.

I took these pictures about two weeks ago, and there are way more ripe berries now.  Here are all the very ripe berries I picked just last weekend.

I’ve also been eating the first cherries, apricots and peaches of the season.  Summer fruit is the best!

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Meal-in-a-Bowl

I’ve been thinking about a full meal in a bowl being a good way to eat a satisfying, healthy and balanced meal.  You’ve got your protein, starch and veggies all playing nicely together.  And, since I’m a guest here and we don’t really use the dishwasher, it’s a good way to cut down on the dishes I have to wash.

I was craving beans in a major way, and had celery and carrot in the fridge, so I made Cajun-style red beans and brown rice which turned out to be more veggie than bean, which is fine with me.  On the side is steamed spinach, and some baby romaine that was on its way out.

I still had most of the gargantuan mango from my last post, and was still in the mood for beans, so I wanted to make some sort of quinoa/black bean/mango dish.  Alas, the grocery stores here are very basic, and there is no quinoa to be found.  I went with potatoes as the starch instead, and relegated the mango to a condiment of sorts.  I consulted my friend Jackie in whether I should call it a relish, pico de gallo or chutney, and we decided it was most like a relish or pico, so Jackie suggested pico de relish.  In the end I decided on relish de gallo, because “relish of the rooster” sounds more fun than “beak of the relish”.  So this is Black Bean and Corn Hash with Mango Avocado Relish de Gallo, topped with hot sauce.

Here we have leftover broccoli in hunan sauce with brown rice with store bought teriyaki tofu.  I may have put it all in a bowl just to go with the bowl theme.  Shhhhh….

Lastly, Hannah’s Sesame Noodles.  I didn’t follow the recipe exactly – I couldn’t find soba noodles and used whole wheat spaghetti instead, didn’t have any ginger (thought I did and was very disappointed), used white sugar instead of brown and doubled the quantity, peeled my carrot and zucchini with a normal peeler since my julienne peeler is packed away, added sauteed cremini mushrooms and shelled edamame for some extra oomph, and garnished with cilantro just cause I had some.  This recipe is good!  Next time I will definitely make sure I have ginger, and cut back a tad on the soy sauce since it was just a bit too salty for me.

And now, since not everything can fit in a bowl, here are some randoms.

I made my first real shopping trip to Trader Joe’s.  I stopped by one a few years ago, and after actually shopping there I have the same opinion I did back then.  They have some really cool products and I’ll definitely go from time to time, but some of the items are a bit expensive, and they don’t have enough “normal” grocery items.  Like, the spices were extremely limited and I couldn’t find sesame seeds.  It seems impractical to not carry stuff like that, people don’t want to have to go to two stores.  TJ’s seems like a great place for people who don’t want to or don’t have time to cook, lots of good ready-made food.  My total purchase came to almost $50, although $8 of it was for soy yogurt, which I can’t find in town.

Some home fries made with potatoes I didn’t use in the hash above.  Part of a big breakfast for bf before his first job interview today.  So good with ketchup.

One of my (and probably your) favorite lunches, plain ol’ hummus with pita and veggies.

Up next:  Hopefully a couple uses for the world’s largest zucchini.

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