Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy Passover and info about giveaway!

This post will be kind of a whole bunch of things mixed up into one blob of a post.

First, Happy Passover to those that celebrate.  We are not very religious in this family, although we used to go to or have our own Seders.  Last night was a very informal dinner, most of which was not kosher for Passover, but still vegan.

We started and ended with the kosher items: matzo ball soup and charoset.

In between, we had a cabbage/carrot/broccoli salad with tahini dressing, from the VeganYumYum book. It was the Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles....without the noodles!
And then we had the Tomato Barley Risotto from the same book.

(I added kale....of course)

Tanya's Quick Charoset:
2 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into wedges
2/3 cup raw almonds
6-7 pitted dates
Put it all into a food processor.  Don't leave it in too long...you don't want a big ball of sticky apple/almond flour!  You still want little bits of dates and apple.

Do you have some good vegan Passover recipes??  Post a link!

A few days ago, I made a Red Wine Lentil Soup that I had ripped out of a Parade magazine a long time ago. Still good!  If you want the recipe, email me.

(I added Vitamin D mushrooms....and kale!)

And then of course we went to the market on Saturday morning: collard greens, sweet potatoes, brown rice, strawberries, hydroponic tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, eggs(for my husband), lacinato kale, lettuce, and shiitake mushrooms.

We were near a good local grocery and so I picked up a few items I can't find in the stores closer to where I live: kombucha (since I read about it on all your blogs!!), Purely Decadent ice cream, and Rice Vegan Cheddar flavor "cheese". (oddly, their shredded cheddar in the store had casein in it, but not the slices)

Thursday, I'll be doing my first giveaway!  You still have time to vote for your favorite giveaway item, before I decide. Vote here.

Other giveaways:

Lindsay over at CookVeganLover is having a Spring Into Veganism giveaway!! A box of amazing stuff!

Elena of Eat Healthy! Be Happy! Vegan Recipes and Living Blog is giving away Organic Artisana Cacao Bliss RAW Coconut Chocolate Butter. Enter to win HERE.

Averie of LoveVeggiesAndYoga is giving away some Tazo goodies!

Blogger of the Week: ChocolateCoveredKatie because she puts so much humor into her posts and she's so clever and comes up with so many different, whacky, and creative recipe ideas!

Here's another question:
The only SOY yogurt I found in our local stores is O'Soy. I was reading the label and guess what's in it? "Our live active cultures are milk-based"!! Hmmmm.....that kind of defeats the purpose.  Grrrr......I want my yogurt! Now I can't have any. If you're going to make soy yogurt.......don't put milk products in it please!

Eat smart,

Friday, March 26, 2010

The test results are in.

First of all, I'm sorry for not blogging much this week....I've been really busy with work and my husband was sick with a really high fever. I'll try to do better next week.

So most of you know I've been talking about Vitamin D a lot lately. (Check out my original post about it)  Well I finally got my blood test results from the doctor and yup, I'm low too.  BUT....I was slightly higher than my husband (maybe because my skin is a little lighter??).  The number the doctor gave me was 15.  I guess it should be above 20 or 30? So I picked up my prescription of 50,000 Units.  I tried to find out what kind of D it was....and it said the company that made it was Pliva.  You can see it here.  It says that it's similar to Drisdol, which is a brand name for D2, so I'm going to assume that my prescription is indeed D2.  Although I haven't taken it yet....

My B12 was normal!!!

On to the others.  I don't know if any of you know, but I've been trying to lose more weight these past several months.  That's why I started this way of eating in the first place.....sort of a Vegan/McDougall/Low fat way of eating.  I've been able to lose about 24 pounds in the last 6-7 months, so I'm happy about that.  I'm now in a healthy weight range AND.......my cholesterol number was under 180!  I have to tell you I didn't think that would've ever been possible.  This was my last effort to try to lower it.  I had lost about 60 pounds a few years ago and my cholesterol only came down 10 points!  My doctor was surprised as well.  It definitely runs in my family, so that makes it even harder.  But with this new way of eating, it's brought it into the healthy range, FINALLY :)  And without the help of medication.

I guess that's it for now.  I'll probably start taking the Vitamin D soon.

Here are a few pictures from this past week of eating:

A chocolate mousse pie (I bought the vegan crust a while ago and thought I'd use it), made with silken tofu, cocoa powder, agave, vanilla, and amaretto (which is probably not vegan).

Bruschetta made from local hydroponic tomatoes, my fresh basil, a pinch of sea salt, and just a hint of olive oil on sprouted grain bread:

Those Monterey Mushrooms and collard greens with black pepper:

And finally, don't forget to vote for the item you want me to giveaway!! I'll probably decide on the item this weekend and do the giveaway next week....be on the lookout.

And since I forgot this week's blogger of the week....here it is:
Blogger of the Week: Bronwyn Schweigerdt's BeanDiet Blog. She's a nutrionist with lots of great info on vitamins, and your diet in general.

Eat smart,

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy World Water Day and Giveaway Choices!

First of all.....Happy World Water Day!  What can you do to help save water?  Maybe turn the water off while brushing your teeth? Taking a shorter shower?  Stop running water when/if you clean dishes by hand...fill a container (or sink) with water instead. Just a few ideas.....what are your water saver tips?

My very first giveaway has arrived....almost!  CSN Stores has contacted me about doing a giveaway and I found a few items that might interest you.  Please leave a comment here letting me know which of the following four items most interest you.  I will try to base my choice of giveaway on your comments. So if you don't comment, I'll pick one myself!  This is not the official giveaway....yet....but I'll be doing it probably this week, so stay tuned.

Here are your choices for the giveaway:

Paderno Spiralizer


Le Creuset Stoneware 1-QT Oval Au Gratin in Kiwi


Le Creuset 7" x 5" Rectangular Dish in Cobalt


EarthPan II Eco-Friendly 10" Skillet in Espresso

Again, please leave me a comment telling me which of the above four you'd prefer to win.
(I haven't asked yet, but I'm assuming this is for U.S. and Canada only...I'll let you know)

Eat smart,

This week's produce and MY vitamin D!

So if you read my post about Vitamin D, you'll know I'm waiting on my levels.  I got a call today saying my prescription was ready to pick up (automated), so I went to the drugstore and lo and behold....there was a prescription for Vitamin D waiting for me!  My doctor hasn't even called me yet to let me know ANY of my blood test results.....but I guess I must be low on Vitamin D, since he apparently called in a prescription without my knowing.  Mine must be higher than my husband's though, since mine only had one pill for 50,000 units and his had 4!  Hmmmmm.......and the pharmacists didn't seem to know the difference between D2 and D3 because when we picked up my husband's prescription, they looked confused when I asked them.

I haven't taken mine yet.  I'm pretty sure it's D3....I'm going to assume.  I wonder how you'd find out....do they even offer D2 by prescription?  Or is that something you have to purchase online (because EVERY Vitamin D container I've looked at in Walgreens, CVS, and Target are ALL D3)? Thoughts?

On to the food segment of this post....

Saturday's produce: strawberries, brown rice, baby turnips, mustard greens, green onions, cabbage, lettuce mixes, kale, shiitake mushrooms, and hydroponic tomatoes.

Last night, I made a broccoli mushroom bake again, since I had plenty of shiitakes and lots of broccoli.  I also added some of the kale and I used about 1 cup of cooked brown rice instead of pasta.  It was really good!

I also made some more raw spring rolls, but left out the collard green leaf inside the rice paper.  Was still good, and rolled well, but didn't hold as well in your fingers without the leaf for support.  Still good though :)

And speaking of Vitamin D.....guess what I found at Target this morning??  Monterey Mushrooms!  They're grown with 100% Vitamin D, so I thought I'd try them, even though they're all the way from California.

And there's another giveaway on Averie's blog LoveVeggiesAndYoga: Lunchbox and Cooler Set! Looks awesome :)
Guess what? Someone else also has a giveaway for lunchboxes: Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom.

Eat smart,

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tomato Bisque and Raw Cauliflower Mash

First, if you haven't done so already, I'd really appreciate it if you'd read my previous post about Sweeteners and Vitamin D and give me any thoughts you might have about them (don't forget the polls on the right side of the page). Thanks!

I had a bunch of hydroponic tomatoes from the local farmer's market, so I decided to make a sort of tomato based soup.  I don't usually puree my soups, but I thought I'd try it (even though I only have a tiny food processor).  It worked really well, mixed with a sweet brown rice/barley mixture and topped with nutritional yeast.

Tomato Vegetable Bisque:

2 cups water
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other nondairy milk)
5 tomatoes
2 parsnips, steamed
4 stalks celery
1/2 yellow/white onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1 head broccoli, cut up (incl. as much of the stem as you want)
1 roasted red bell pepper (I used a jarred pepper)
10 fresh basil leaves (torn into small pieces) 
10 leaves of flat kale, torn into bite-sized pieces (lacinato), or use spinach, collards, other kale
2 tbsp arrowroot mixed with 2 tbsp water
2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
red pepper flakes
salt/pepper to taste

Puree all the vegetables except the onion, garlic,basil, kale, and 1 tomato until smooth.  Set aside. Now puree the last tomato just a tiny bit, so it's still chunky.  Add to other vegetables.  Heat 1/4 cup water (not part of the 2 cups) in a stockpot.  Add the onions and garlic and saute until soft. Now add the pureed vegetables and stir.  Add in the water and heat on medium for 5 minutes or so.  Add in the basil, kale, spices, worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Mix and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add in the almond milk and stir.  Then add the arrowroot/water mix and stir well.  Let it boil for a minute and then turn down and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add more salt/pepper to taste if needed.  Serve over cooked sweet brown rice (the stickiness adds to the creamy texture of the soup).

The other day, I tried another recipe from Ani's  Raw Food Kitchen: Cauliflower Miso Mash.  Very interesting.  Never made raw cauliflower like that before.  I left out the psyllium powder because I didn't have any. And of course, I left out the oil.  But the miso and lemon gave it a really nice flavor!  And it took forever in my tiny food processor. Apparently it doesn't like raw cauliflower :)

And this is just a random fried rice I made the other day:

That's it for today....another beautiful day out and the sun is shining.  Good day to get my Vitamin D!!

Eat smart,

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sweeteners and Vitamin D

Today, I decided I needed to create a post about nutritional matters that I've been thinking a lot about.

Which sweeteners are considered "healthy"? 

You read so many different things from so many different articles and then you hear so many other things from other people.  I don't know who I'm supposed to believe.  I do know, however, that plain white sugar is BAD.  Ok, good, we've gotten that far.  I've heard from different sources that agave nectar, "raw" sugar (turbinado), brown rice syrup, maple syrup, and stevia are the healthier sweetener choices to make.

Recently, however, I've read that agave nectar is not so good, due to its high fructose content.  But that's good for diabetics, right?  I'm not diabetic, but I've read that it has a very low glycemic index.  So what's better: low glycemic and high fructose? Or low/no fructose?  Is fructose bad, just because HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) is bad?

And how can I tell what and how a sweetener has been processed?  It doesn't tell me on the package.  I've read that some makers of agave nectar have actually replaced the content with HFCS!! And that some agave is actually raw....or is it??

I did switch over to agave nectar and now I'm not sure that's such a great idea.  I do also have some turbinado sugar in my kitchen, which I don't use very often, as well as some maple syrup, which is used only occasionally.  I do try to use dates when I make desserts in my food processor.  Are dates the healthiest choice because they're in their most natural state??

I'm so confused! And stevia is so new....is it really the best and healthiest option? I don't think it has any calories either, which makes it an even better looking choice for a lot of us.  So what if it's from an herb....all the other sugars are from plants as well....agave plant, sugar cane, beets, dates.....all plants.  So I guess it's all about HOW it's processed before it gets to my kitchen, right?  I don't think I can grow sugar cane on my patio (although they do grow a ton of sugar cane down here) and there are no maple trees to tap.  Should I just grow my own stevia plants?  Then do I crumble up the leaves?  Can I buy unprocessed stevia sweetener?  Or are ALL sweeteners processed in some way or another?

I'd really love to hear your comments and suggestions because I'm kind of at a  loss right now.  I don't consume a ton of sweetener, but I'd really like to know what the healthiest options are.  Or is there no correct answer? Please share this post with your friends, because I want to hear from as many people as possible.

I'm also putting a poll about sweeteners on the righthand side of this page....please fill it out if you have the time (it's very quick).

Vitamin D: How do you get yours?

We've recently been tested for Vitamin D and my husband was very low.  I haven't gotten my results yet, but I'm assuming mine will be as well.  Of course, our doctor recommended a Vitamin D supplement via prescription.  It's 50,000 Units per week for a month, then 50,000 units per month.  That sounds awfully high to me.  What are your thoughts on amounts?  I think there will be a new RDA coming this year, so I'll be interested to see what that is.

We walk several times a day.....we thought we were getting enough sun that way (especially living in the south).  That doesn't seem to be the case.  I've also read that most people (not taking supplements) are deficient in Vitamin D, although vegans and vegetarians are even more deficient than non-vegetarians.  I guess that's why doctors are now screening for it.

There aren't really any food sources of Vitamin D for vegans, are there?  I recently found a company online: Monterey Mushrooms.  They've grown mushrooms with extra light, to add Vitamin D!  That's pretty clever, no?  However, I've never seen those mushrooms and I don't know if they're available anywhere around here. I'd rather not take supplements if I don't have to.

So where do YOU get your Vitamin D?  Again, I'd love to read your comments about this and there will be a quick poll for you to answer on the right side of this page.

UPDATE: Here's another interesting article on Vitamin D2 vs D3.

Thanks for listening! And pass this along to your friends!

Eat smart,

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Rolls, Tempeh with Arame, and Zucchini Spirals

Lots of recipes to share today, although only a half of one is my own....sigh....but all very good.

Let's start with my own: Veggie Spring Rolls

2 spring roll wrappers (rice paper)
1 stalk celery, sliced in half, then each half in 3 long thin strips
1 carrot, sliced in half, then each half sliced in 4 long thin strips
kale, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces (I used green curly)
2 large collard leaves, washed and left whole
sprouts, any kind
dipping sauce (I used Averie's Peanut Sauce)

Follow the directions to prepare the wrappers.  Lay a collard leaf on top of the wrapper, dark side down, then top with half the vegetables on top. Roll it up and fold the sides under. Don't worry, it sticks together by itself.  Do the second one exactly the same.  Serve with dipping sauce.

I made Averie's Peanut Sauce. Here's my version:

"Peanut" Sauce, adapted from Averie's recipe

1/2 cup Sunbutter (Sunflower Seed butter)
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 drop sesame oil
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp ginger
couple of drops of soy sauce
(some extra water, if too acidic)

Stir it all together.  At first, mine was a bit too acidic, between the vinegar and oj, so I added a few tablespoons extra water. But it's a delicious sauce for anything!

I made the zucchini "noodles" again, but this time with my version of Averie's Peanut Sauce. And I added whatever other vegetables I had, like carrots, celery, and green onions, chopped.  It was really tasty.

Last night for dinner, I decided to make a recipe with Arame (Sea Vegetable), since I had recently bought some and had no idea what to do with it!  I came across this recipe on VeganChickie's blog. The recipe itself is from TheBlissfulChef, Christy Morgan: Mustard Arame Saute. I had tempeh, I had arame, couldn't have asked for a more perfect recipe :)

I left out the oil and I left out the asparagus (I didn't have any). Just add more of the other vegetables. I served it atop boiled collard greens.  And I have enough tempeh left to make another batch in the next day or two, yay!  Anyway, a top notch recipe, in my opinion.

There's a giveaway going on at the EmbracingBalance blog for Crofter's Organic items. Check it out!
AND another giveaway on Averie's LoveVeggiesandYoga blog: Win a raw "cookbook"!
A blender giveaway: Raw on $10 a day. Yay!

Blogger of the Week: An Opera Singer in the Kitchen She's a fellow musician and has some really great recipes on her site. Go have a look.

Eat smart,

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Farmer's Market Stuff and Strawberry Pi(e)!

Happy Pi Day!

I only realized after I made the pie today, that it was Pi day :)

First, here's what I got at the market yesterday: collard greens, oranges, grapefruit, kale, strawberries, hydroponic tomatoes, beets (that's a new one!), turnips, shiitake mushrooms, lettuce, and green onions.

And now for the recipe of the day: Raw Strawberry Pie.  

Such a great day for it....72 degrees, the sun is shining, and what do I have in my fridge? Yup, Louisiana Strawberries from yesterday's market.  So what a perfect day to make this pie.  And it was pretty easy too.
I had about 2 pints of strawberries, which maybe wasn't quite enough, but I made it anyway.  My crust was pretty thick, so maybe next time I'll use fewer almonds.  It only uses FOUR ingredients! Can't go wrong with that: almonds, dates, strawberries, and lemon juice. Only thing I had to do was add a couple of tablespoons of water to the crust in the food processor to help it stick together. Check out the recipe here.

And I just ate a piece......wow! Delicious :)  It's strawberry season (at least here)! MAKE IT!

Will make another post later or tomorrow about my latest raw zucchini noodle meal.

Eat smart,

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Whole Foods: to shop or not to shop? and some giveaways...

Today's post is short.  I haven't shopped at a Whole Foods since August.  Thought it would be hard to do, especially where I live, because there aren't any other health food stores nearby and my local grocery chains don't carry most of what I need.  So I ended up ordering a lot of stuff online from Barry Farm and Pangea.  They've got a ton of great stuff.  But....I was almost considering shopping at WF again, at least for bulk grains,etc...and some frozen items.  I'm not sure I can get myself to do it.  I stopped going there after the whole John Mackey thing....and I also see WF as catering to the wealthy as opposed to the healthy.

So I'd like some opinions please.  I wonder if it's cheaper or more expensive to buy the bulk grains there, rather than online.  I wouldn't have to pay shipping, so maybe it would even out?  And I'd like a bit more access to some specialty items and not have to wait for a once every 3 months online order....like some vegan cheese, etc.  I know a lot of you still shop there and I just wonder if it would be awful for me to start again....it would be only once a month or less. Or am I caving in and giving up on my boycott?  Or was I not making a difference anyway, since I'm only one.

And onto a different subject: Giveaways!

VeganChickie is giving away a copy of The Blissful Chef's e-cookbook!

HungryVegan is giving away 5 coupons for FREE Turtle Island (So Delicious/Purely Decadent) items!
       -go there and leave a comment and tell them I sent you, so we can BOTH win!

LoveVeggiesAndYoga is giving away a Celestial Seasonings Natural Wellness kit!

VegIsSexy is giving away a Spiralizer! See here for my recent use of a spiralizer.

So please leave your opinions about Whole Foods and if you shop there and if I should start going there again or not. And why....thanks!

Eat smart,

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Market produce and more tacos

Wow, I'm getting behind, aren't I?  Sometimes I just don't feel like blogging....I mean I do, but I'm not in the mood to crop the pictures, etc....you know what I mean?

Anyway, here's a list of what we got at Saturday's market: purple kale, lacinato kale, mixed greens, purple top turnips, radishes, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries (let's keep those comin'), collard greens, mustard greens,  and hydroponic tomatoes.

It wasn't a ton this time, but that's ok.  Not every week can overtop my box!  And can I say I think I have a problem?  I'm addicted.  Yup, addicted to kale and broccoli.  And there was no green curly kale or broccoli in this week's box....I almost panicked.  But I was able to buy a few bags of their purple kale and I got broccoli and green curly kale at the grocery store.  Phew.

I made tacos again this week, using what I had in the fridge, so here's the recipe:

Millet Tacos:

4 corn tortillas
1/2-3/4 cup cooked millet
3/4 cup cooked kidney beans, mashed up
1/2 cup chopped broccoli
1/2 yellow/white onion, chopped
2 tsp dried cilantro (or use fresh if you have it!)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup pureed/crushed tomatoes
chili powder
onion powder
chipotle powder

Saute the onion in 1/4 cup water until soft.  Add the carrots and broccoli.  Saute another 5 minutes or so, adding water as needed so it doesn't stick to the pan.  Add the millet and mashed beans. Mix it up well and add 1 tsp of the cilantro, and the rest of the spices to taste.  It's done when it's heated through.  

For the sauce: Mix together 3/4 cup pureed/crushed tomatoes, 1 tsp cilantro, salt and chipotle powder to taste.  Heat the tortillas, fill them, and top with the sauce. Easy!

Blogger of the Week: Lindsay at CookingForAVeganLover blog.  She's got reviews, recipes, and giveaways galore!  Check her out.

Oh, and check out my little tomatoes growing! And my herbs:

Until next time....
Eat smart,
PS-I was thinking: Mexican kidney bean burgers.....thoughts?

Quick Tacos on FoodistaQuick Tacos

Friday, March 5, 2010

Raw "noodles" and almost raw tomato sauce

Ok, so I've seen so many amazing raw recipes online on various blogs and I've been really excited to try some.  Recently, I was introduced to the SPIRALIZER on some blogs.  I had no idea what that was!  What an awesome little kitchen gadget. (ok, maybe it's more medium sized) Well, mine arrived a few days ago and I had to try it out.  So I went right out to the store and bought some zucchini.  I found a great recipe for Raw Vegan "Pasta" Noodles and Raw Marinara. on Averie's blog.  And she has links to info about the spiralizer too (thank you, Amazon).  I believe I have the same spiralizer.

And here are the beautiful "noodles":

This is the leftover piece after it's done (don't worry, I used it in the sauce!)

And the final product:

I just think those curly "noodles" are so pretty.....don't laugh! Anyway, I used 1 zucchini per person and that worked out well.  For the sauce, mine was almost raw. I didn't have any fresh peppers, so I used a roasted red pepper from a jar.  Peppers are so expensive these days and not in season from the farmer's market, so....I have to deal with what I have.  I guess I could just leave it out next time and add extra tomato.  Here's what I put in my sauce (adapted from Averie's recipe): tomato, roasted red pepper, leftover zucchini pieces from spiralizer, 2 regular sized carrots, fresh basil from my herb garden, salt, pepper, a dash of agave nectar, and garlic.  Soooo good! These raw foodies sure know what they're doing.  And this is so easy.   The spiralizer was so easy to use, and so fast.  For the sauce, everything went into my 3-cup food processor and then it was done.  I did leave a few wedges of the tomato until the end, so it would be a little chunky. It was so good, I made it again for our lunch today at work :) So check out Averie's recipe...you won't regret it.

So there you have it, a deliciously almost raw meal :) I guess it should be completely raw next time....no cheating.

Tune in this weekend for my farmer's market goods!
Eat smart,

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Beer and other good food

Ok, so the NOLA Brewing draft packs finally showed up at my local grocery store...yay!  Got the blonde ale....you can see the bottles of the new Abita seasonal too: Strawberry Harvest.  I think we're set :) Pictures were taken before we opened up the sucker....it is now officially open.

I finally roasted some chickpeas, after reading several blogs about it.  I soaked the chickpeas overnight, then cooked them in the morning (yes, I'm trying to cook more of my own beans rather than buying cans).  So I needed to do something with them.  Made hummus and the roasted chickpeas. I froze the rest of the chickpeas. You can find the recipe I used for roasted chickpeas here.

I made that Broccoli Bake again, but left out pasta.  Used only vegetables. I used lots of broccoli, some shiitakes, carrots and kale.  It was a bit mushier than normal....I guess because there wasn't any pasta to hold it together, but it was still really good.

I also made my whole wheat spelt chocolate chip cookies, but left out the oil and used EnerG instead of real eggs. Well, it wasn't great.....still tasted good. They are more like biscuits rather than cookies. I think the oil adds crispiness which these didn't have.  Well it was worth a try.  I had to add a ton of water through the mixing process because it was so dry.  Still good though :)

And now for the Blogger of the Week: Choosing Raw.  Gena's got a great blog and talks a lot about raw food, which is my new thing (no I'm not going totally raw). It's the website where I got my delicious banana "ice cream" from!! Thanks, Gena!

Eat smart,


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