Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ahhhhh.... A nice bath, a quiet house, flickering candles, and no energy being used (well, except the fridge and the phones...) for an hour. I wish I would have known about Earth Hour earlier so I could have planned a party or something, but I still participated by turning off all the lights and unplugging all my stuff for one hour this evening from 8pm to 9pm. When I first heard about it a couple days ago I thought "Oh! A fun excuse for another candle lit board game night with David!", but then I realized that David would be working. So then I turned to a nice bath and some quiet me time. The ants swarming in the bathroom almost ruined it, but I was in there earlier today with stakes and spray and so far it seems to be working, so I was able to take a long bath ant-free.

You may also have noticed that I put a new picture up in the header. That was taken on Trinidad State Beach this last weekend as David and I were celebrating our 6th year anniversary. We had a really good time. We started our day with breakfast at the Daybreak Cafe. I ordered a tofu scramble with mushrooms, spinach, tomato, and bell pepper with home fries, and David had the Dharma Bum. I thought the food was really good, and it was really awesome to be able to pick ANYTHING on the menu. David, however, was not impressed at all. I guess "rabbit food" takes some getting used to. Then we went off to the beach and hung out for several hours, enjoying the sunshine while it lasted (and it never lasts long enough here!). Later we went to Abruzzi's for dinner. The atmosphere was great, and would have been perfect for an anniversary date. Except they didn't have a single vegan dish, or anything that could have been prepared vegan. We had called ahead, and were told that it shouldn't be a problem, but at the restaurant it turned out that apparently they assumed vegan=vegetarian and that milk and eggs were no problem. It was my fault for not double checking. The food would have been very good (I had steamed veggies on polenta), except I was surprised by how much my tastes have changed, and I couldn't eat much of the polenta (made with milk and butter). David had the spaghetti and said it was pretty good.

Other than that, this week has been a "might as well eat worms" kind of week. No particular reason exactly, just been in a funk. Hopefully this three day weekend working on the house, getting a garden bed set up and ready for planting, and lots of yummy baking should do the trick to pull me out of it. Since I've been clinically depressed in the past, when I get like this I always start to worry a little that it's coming back. But really, I think it has to do with the time of month and just being TIRED of school.

All of that to say, I haven't really kept track of what I've been eating this week. We made the seared veggie burritos from ED&BV, which were very good. I think next time I'll add some more spice to them. Other than that, I've pretty much been throwing stuff in a pan and eating it. And they haven't really been coming out all that great. I've also had absolutely no energy or desire to go to the gym or take a walk or do anything remotely like exercise at all (unless you count walking on the beach for several hours and climbing up and down the terraces at CCAT planting their kitchen garden). Hopefully next week will be a fresh start and I can start getting back on track. I also have my doctor's appointment on Thursday, so we will see what she says about my lab results.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Progress, Not Perfection

Exercise: Relaxed from another long weekend of work
Meals: Apple, toast with PB
Left over Alfredo sauce with pasta
Papa Murphy's pizza (spinach, olives, mushrooms, no cheese)

Exercise: Nothing besides lugging an ice chest full of frozen samples around
Meals: Left over pizza
Calzones made with crescent roll dough (from a can), Alfredo sauce, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and some "steak" strips. The dough wasn't quite done in all of them, but them were really good!

Exercise: Housecleaning (and there was lots to be cleaned!)
Meals: Lack of groceries forced me to turn to David's Corn Pops and almond milk...ick
Hand full of almonds and dried apricots
Hummus with roasted bell peppers (from Safeway), Kashi's TLC crackers (not vegan, but very yummy!), 1/2 Dr. Pepper
Enchilada Bake with vegan sour cream and Spanish rice
Popcorn with nutritional yeast flakes

Exercise: None again today
Meals: Leftover enchilada bake with Spanish rice
Sandwiches with chips. David had ham and cheese, I had mashed up white beans with garlic, sprouts, tomato, and lettuce on sourdough bread. Really good.

Exercise: It's spring break, I get to be lazy, right??
Meals: Acai Smoothie from Eat, Drink, & be Vegan (ED&BV)
Leftover enchilada bake
Orange Sesame Tofu with steamed swiss chard and coconut lime quinoa, all from ED&BV and roasted Brussels sprouts. Wasn't as good as I had hoped, but it was still alright. Next time I think I'll add more orange juice and less soy sauce and sesame oil.

Exercise: Go ahead, guess.
Meals: Acai smoothie, english muffin with Earth Balance, green tea
No-Tuna Melt with guacamole, apples, chips. This was really really good! I left out the onion, and just sprinkled on some nutritional yeast instead of cheese. A keeper for sure.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Oooh, yummy

I just saw this post on VeganYumYum, and I think I need to run out to the store right now and get the stuff to make these for tomorrow. I think I'm drooling....

Enchilada Bake

For dinner last night we had the layered enchilada bake I found on Fat Free Vegan. It was pretty good but needs a few adjustments.

Enchilada Bake:

  • 1 large bell pepper (red or green)

  • 1 large onion

  • 1 can refried beans (see note on black beans)

  • 1 can enchilada sauce

  • 1 cup salsa (homemade or otherwise, as spicy as you want)

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (Next time I am using two cans of refried beans instead)

  • tortillas (any kind, but corn tortillas work well)

  • optional: 1 medium tomato

  • sliced olives (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 (F). Dice the onion, pepper, and tomato (if using). Saute the onion and bell pepper in a pan, we did not like the crunchy onions. Spray the bottom of a casserole dish with cooking spray and lay down tortillas. Spread a layer of refried beans on the top of the tortillas. Pour half of the salsa and half of the onions over the beans. Put another layer of tortillas on top of this layer. Layer the black beans (refried beans), green pepper, tomato (if using), and the rest of the salsa and onion on top of the tortillas. Put another layer of tortillas on the top (your casserole should be pretty full by now). Pour the can of enchilada sauce over the whole thing and bake, covered, for about 35-45 minutes or until it's hot and bubbly all the way through.

Next time I may also try added a little vegan cheese to the top, but I thought it was pretty good without any. David added some shredded cheddar to his serving. Putting it together took no time at all, and it was easy to clean up (except enchilada sauce always stains all my plastic stuff for a few washes....)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Busy Busy

Last week was crazy, and I didn't keep track of what I ate at all. I didn't do much in the exercise department. I was sore from a weekend of boating, then double digging in my organic gardening class, and then this weekend I spent my time climbing over breakwaters to collect algae, clams, and marine sediment for (one of) my job(s). Between all that, I am sore, and haven't felt much like climbing on a bike or rowing machine.

Meals have pretty much been using up the stuff in the fridge or from short trips to the store. I know I had roasted cauliflower and pasta again one night, a veggie burger and acorn squash, and two nights ago I tried my hand at a vegan Alfredo sauce that I saw on Vegan Dad and Don't Get Mad, Get Vegan. The recipe originally came from Lachesis on the PPK forums It was amazingly good, much better than I had been anticipating, but there was something missing. I'm not sure what it was. More garlic, a tad more salt? Something else? It was still very good, and I served it up over some whole wheat noodles and steamed cauliflower, broccoli, and baby carrots.

Vegan Alfredo Sauce:

  • 1/2c Earth Balance

  • 2 cups unsweetened soy milk (I don't usually drink soy milk, preferring almond milk, but I think this is probably the best choice here)

  • 1 package Extra firm silken tofu (the kind in the little white box that doesn't need refrigeration)

  • 1-2 tbsp white cooking wine (I didn't use this)

  • 2 tbsp onion powder

  • 2-3 tsp garlic powder

  • 1-2 tsp sea salt

  • 1-2 tsp black pepper (to taste)

  • pinch of nutmeg

  • 3-4 tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch powder

Mix all ingredients in either in a food processor or blender. Heat over medium low heat until hot, stirring often. Pour a little bit into a bowl and whisk in arrowroot/cornstarch, dump mixture back into the pot and heat until just bubbling. Do not boil. Sauce should be thick.

This makes a lot, and I'll probably end up making calzones with the Alfredo sauce, some broccoli, and lots of garlic soon. Yum yum.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Late Weekly Update

Well, since I was so busy this weekend between playing on boats and transporting seals and was too tired to post last weeks meals, here they are. Last week was pretty busy and I can't seem to remember everything that I ate. You may notice a few non-vegan items on here this week, that's because I am using up what's in my pantry and fridge and will be restocking with vegan items.

Exercise: 30 minutes on the bike
Meals: I remember I had Kashi's Autumn Wheat cereal with raisins and sliced almonds (dry) as a breakfast on the go, but after that it gets fuzzy....
at least 1 liter of water

Weigh-in: 233 lbs. (Note: this is a different scale than the one in the dr.'s office that gave my starting weight)
Exercise: 35 minutes on the bike
Meals: Kashi Autumn Wheat with raisins (dry)
Peanut butter, raisins, shredded carrots in a whole wheat tortilla, an orange
Follow Your Heart (FYH) vegan cheese, "steak" strips, BBQ sauce melted on a whole wheat tortilla with avocado and edamame mashed on top
Fajita with onions, bell pepper, and more "steak" strips, baked beans.
1.5 liters water

Exercise: 2 hour walk on Trinidad State Beach with geology class
Meals: Tofu scramble, toast with Earth Balance
Whole wheat pasta salad with roasted cauliflower, seitan, and ground almond and sunflower seed "Parmesan cheese", apple, Autumn Wheat with raisins
Spaghetti, spaghetti squash, broccoli, toast

Exercise: None :(
Meals: Autumn wheat with dried apricots
Slug with cream cheese (picture above belongs to Los Bagels), chocolate soy milk
Whole wheat pasta salad with roasted cauliflower, seitan, "Parmesan cheese", squash, apple

Exercise: none :(
Meals: I only remember I had pasta salad with roasted cauliflower and baked tofu with some steamed kale for dinner.

Friday, March 7, 2008

I'm unique just like everyone else

I went in and had blood drawn last Monday for some tests. I got the results back in the mail today:

Complete Blood Count: normal (no anemia)
Chemistry profile: normal (normal kidney and liver function, normal BLOOD SUGAR, normal calcium, sodium, potassium
TSH: normal (normal thyroid)
Total Cholesterol: 201 (want it below 200)
LDL: 122 (want it below 99)
HDL: 43 (want it above 40)
Triglycerides: 181 (want it below 150)

It seems I'm pretty normal and healthy, which is good. I need to work on cholesterol, but even then, my numbers don't see to be that far from "normal", and with cutting out the dairy, I should be able to bring that under control fairly easily. I'll have to wait and see what the doctor says about the results, but from what I can tell, everything seems to be good news.

I will update more a little later, but I am still very sore from this weekend, spending 22 hours between boating safety exercises and doing a harbor seal pup rescue. The little girl just laid down and went right to sleep in the back of the car and slept all the way to Orick. Next time I promise to bring the camera out with me and post pictures of the cute little guys (the picture above belongs to the New England Aquarium). Also, just in case anyone is not aware; I volunteer with a marine mammal rescue center and am authorized to take marine mammals from the beach and to transport them to the facility. Unless you also fall under this category, DO NOT BOTHER, POKE, TOUCH, TAKE or otherwise disturb any marine mammal you may find on the beach. They are protected by law and can be dangerous, so if you see one that looks sick or is being bothered by people or pets, call your local sheriff or marine mammal rescue, but do not attempt to help it yourself.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Panko Stuffed Mushrooms

Dinner last night turned out great. I took the panko stuffed mushroom recipe from Veganomicon and modified it to stuff two portobello mushrooms. Then I served them up with seared green beans with chili and garlic and polenta. Very yummy.

Panko Stuffed Mushrooms

o 22 big mushrooms (they sometimes are called “stuffing mushrooms”), washed and patted dry (I used two good sized portobellos plus about 4 chopped button mushrooms)
o 1 tablespoon peanut oil
o 3 cloves garlic, minced
o 1 cup finely diced daikon (I used celery)
o 3 tablespoons mirin
o 1/2 teaspoon salt
o 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
o 1 1/2 cups panko
o 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, plus extra for greasing the pan and garnish
o 2–4 tablespoons water
o 1/2 cup finely chopped scallions, plus extra for garnish
o 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (left off)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.Remove the stems from the mushrooms. Do not discard the stems; chop them up small and set them aside.
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Pour in the peanut oil and sauté the chopped mushroom for about 3 minutes, until some moisture has released. Add the diced daikon and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for a minute longer.Add the mirin, salt, and white pepper, and cook for about 2 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add the panko in 1/2-cup batches and stir, alternately adding the sesame oil and splashes of water (up to 4 tablespoons) until all the bread crumbs are moist. The mixture should be crumbly but, when you press some between your fingers, it should hold together. Mix in the scallions and adjust the salt to taste.

Grease a baking sheet with a little sesame oil. Stuff each mushroom with the filling and place on the baking sheet. To stuff them, place a little of the filling into the mushroom crevice and then add another tablespoon on top of that, pressing firmly to form a mound. Bake for 20 minutes.

I would have made the filling a little more moist and baked them for a little longer, or possibly broiled them at the very end. But they were excellent. The green beans I just sauteed in some peanut oil and water, added a ton of garlic, a pinch of chili flakes and called it good.