Sunday, January 23, 2011
Now that the last day of the Kickstart is here, I am trying to decide how I want to proceed with my cooking challenges. If you went to camp as a kid, do you remember the last day when it was time to go home and you had to leave your new friends? That's sort of what today feels like to me. I have fully embraced this lifestyle for 21 days, and it has become part of me. The good news is that I don't have to leave it like I had to leave my camp friends behind as a youngster. Even better, I have all of my friends here on SparkPeople!
My meals for today were fairly easy. I had oatmeal with golden raisins, walnuts, and maple syrup for breakfast. Lunch was leftover Kale and Cannellini Beans with Whole Wheat Pasta. Dinner is going to be fun. I have some fresh spinach that I need to use soon, so I am going to make a salad and Sir Paul McCartney's Ob-La-Di Enchiladas www.veganpeace.com/recipe_pages/reci
pes/ObLaDiEnchiladas.htm I have room in the freezer for half of the recipe, so I won't be eating them all week. Now that I have discovered how versatile tofu is as a filling, I am anxious to use it much more often than I have in the past. Goodbye cheese; hello tofu!
I want to work my way through the recipes in the Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn engine2diet.com/ and try every recipe in his father's book - Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease www.heartattackproof.com/ I want to do the same for the recipes in Appetite for Reduction, Isa Chandra Moskowitz's latest book www.theppk.com/books/appetite-for-re
duction/ Plus there are Robin Robertson's books. Then there are all of the other vegan cookbooks I have plus the hundreds of recipes I've saved on my computer to work with. So many recipes; so little time!
I am going to continue my blogs, but I probably won't write one every day. After all, who wants to read about snow shoveling and eating leftovers? (In case you're interested, our temps got above zero today. I was able to finish shoveling without getting frostbite and take my car out of the garage.) I think my blog titles after today will be "Adventures in Vegan Cooking." There will be days when I eat fish, dairy, or eggs; but they will be rare occasions instead of the norm. I love eating a plant based diet.
I have found a place to put my inner chef joy to work volunteering. There is an organization here that provides free home-delivered meals to individuals who are living with AIDS, breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease, and other chronic and progressive illnesses regardless of income status. The program also provides meals for their caregivers and dependent children. Meals are tailored to each individual's nutritional needs, which may change frequently. They use organic ingredients as much as possible to make all of the meals for their 500 clients in a brand new facility equipped with state of the art equipment. They even have a farm! I will join a network of 1,500 volunteers who man the phones; prep, cook, and package the food; and deliver meals to clients every day of the year. I have been looking for the "right fit" to combine my passion for food/nutrition and my desire to give back to my community for quite a while, so I am thrilled to have this opportunity.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Today was another day of voluntary isolation. Though not as cold as yesterday, the temperature was not enticing me to go outside. I spent most of the morning finding more recipes for my vegan collection. I was hungry for potatoes for breakfast, so I cooked the last of the package of Simply Potatoes Sliced Potatoes. It wasn't the healthiest breakfast, but it satisfied my craving.
Around noon I realized I was really hungry. I heated some leftover Kale and Cannellini Beans with Whole Wheat Pasta. I never tire of that dish. Around midafternoon, I decided to go through the refrigerator to see what I needed to cook. First, I blanched the kale I bought earlier in the week when it was on sale. It will be nice to pull that out of the freezer in a few weeks to put in soup or the bean and pasta dish.
After that I rummaged in the refrigerator. I thought about making enchiladas, but I didn't want to make a large quantity of anything. I pulled out package of button mushrooms, a bunch of Swiss chard, a package of chicken style seitan, and a tub of WayFare vegan sour cream. I decided to create a dish that combines the flavors of two of my favorite rich meat based winter dishes: beef stroganoff and chicken paprikash. I will have to play around with the recipe to perfect it, but this first attempt was very tasty. I used WestSoy Chicken-Style Seitan. Next time I'll make my own or use a different brand, but it was still good. It could have been creamier, too. This is the first time I have used vegan sour cream. Next time I will be bolder and use more. I served it over millet that I cooked in vegan chicken bouillon powder (Massel brand). I water sauteed the Swiss chard with some finely minced onions and a clove of garlic and added the juice of a small lemon when it was cooked. Here's the first draft of the recipe recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
The kitchen is clean now. I put the food away and washed all of the dishes, colanders, pots, and pans. I used a lot of those today! Once I finish this blog, I am going to relax with a cup of herbal tea and one of those delicious pumpkin pecan muffins I pulled out of the freezer earlier in the day www.veganpeace.com/recipe_pages/reci
pes/TheBestPumpkinMuffins.htm All in all, it has been a lovely day.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
After my busy day yesterday, I enjoyed having today as a free day. I just came in from shoveling. A plow went through the alley earlier, and there is a big berm of ice and snow blocking the drive to my garage. It was so cold my fingers started getting numb inside my heavy winter gloves, so I only shoveled half and decided I didn't need to go anywhere today. When I came inside, I checked the weather - it's 6 degrees F, but the wind chill is 12 degrees BELOW zero F. No wonder I was so cold!
Breakfast was simple: toast and peanut butter with a banana. I had a couple of the leftover stuffed shells from last night for lunch (see yesterday's blog for the recipe and how I made them). That's a bonus of cooking for the Wednesday church dinner. If there are leftovers, we get to bring some home if we want. Believe me, I really wanted to have some of those shells to bring home! Dinner will be leftover kale and cannellini beans with whole wheat pasta.
Tomorrow I have to blanch and freeze some kale and Swiss chard. I have so many leftovers that I don't need to cook for a couple of days. I have some fresh spinach that I need to use, though. I might make a vegan lasagna using tofu as ricotta and freeze most of it in individual servings. The weather forecast shows 16 below zero for tonight's actual temperature, so it might be nice to have the oven on tomorrow when the high is only predicted to be 5 above. No wonder bears hibernate!
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