Wednesday, September 4, 2013

S.O.S. I'm an Addict (and you might be too)

I have to confess, I am an addict, not to alcohol or drugs or even cigarettes.  Nope, I am addicted to food and I need S.O.S.  You know what, some of you are too.  Here is a short questionnaire to see if you are a food addict.

1. Are you  Obese? To find the answer go to this link:  BMI Calculator

That's it.  One question.  Yes, I could add more questions, but the one above provides you with enough information to determine whether or not you are likely a food addict.  How can I say that!  While that statement isn't 100% true, it is very close!

Before I go on, I must confess that I am obese based on the chart above and will be considered obese until I lose another 17 lbs.  By the way, I need to tell you that during the month of August I lost 15 lbs.  I will write a more complete post when I get my lab results back.  So anyway, I am both obese and a food addict and it is my contention that almost all people who are obese are as well.

So anyway, I am an addict.  I am not addicted to just food in general but rather to S.O.S.: the three substances found in food that cause addiction.  What are they?

SUGAR                OIL (or fat)                SALT

Now lets take another short quiz:

Which of these foods do you crave even when you are not particularly hungry?

Broccoli          Ice Cream          Potato Chips          Black Beans          French Fries          Soda

Cheese Nachos          Chocolate          Cheese Cake          White Rice          Mixed Greens

Spinach          Steak          Popeye's Fried Chicken          Carrot          Chocolate Chip Cookie

Did you pick the foods that were obviously healthy or did you pick the foods that are full of Sugar, Oil and Salt?  I'm pretty sure which foods you probably picked and there is a reason for it.  I will let you know why in my next blog.

Until then, there is a saying: 

Some people eat to live and some people live to eat.

I know what I am, but what are you?


Monday, August 26, 2013

Three Yummy Recipes

OK here is the long awaited recipe for the Black Bean Soup.  It is stupidly simple and lends itself to modifications.

Stupidly Simple Black Bean Soup

Ingredients for 4 Servings:

2 cans of black beans (drained) or 3 cups of scratch made black beans.
Vegetable stock (you decide how much, more for thinner soup.)
3 bay leaves
Cumin (how much depends on how much you like cumin)
Oregano (to taste)
Garlic (depends on how much you like garlic)
2 Avocados

Combine the black beans and broth and blend (in a blender of course).
Add soup and the spices to a large sauce pan and heat until boiling and turn off.
Meanwhile slice up the Avocados.  Pour soup into a bowl and place avocados on top.
Eat and enjoy.  I told you it was stupidly simple.

Enchilada Beans

Tonight we had Enchilada Beans.  We used Rattlesnake Beans but you can use pintos.
Below is a picture.  Yes, I did spike mine with Sriracha......and it was goooooood!

Ingredients for several people:

3 cups of dried Pinto Beans
Lots of water
36 oz of Vegetable Broth
Two 14 oz cans of Hatch (or any other) enchilada sauce.
One large onion diced.
1-2 tbsp of cumin
Oregano (if you like it)
Salt (as little as you can get away with as it is bad for you)

Soak the beans overnight in lots of water (say three inches over the top of the beans)
Drain and rinse beans.  Place beans, broth, onions, enchilada sauce and spices in large pot and simmer low for several hrs, (heck I don't know 3 or 4 I guess) until soft.
Serve over rice.  If you get an endorphin rush from hot sauce or salsa add some to your bowl.  This is a really yummy meal.

Arugula and Pepito Salad with Sun Dried Tomato and Italian Sweet Tomato Dressing

Arugula and Pepito Salad (as seen above) serves four:

One large package of baby arugula
1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds raw or toasted.
6 oz jar of sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
4 oz of sweet Italian red peppers (these usually come in a 12 oz jar).
Vegetable broth 
2 tsp of fresh garlic
Salt and pepper to taste.

Blend the Sun dried tomatoes (and the olive oil), peppers, garlic and broth (more broth for a thinner dressing) I used about 1/4 cup.
Toast the pumpkin seeds in a pan on the stove for about 3-4 minutes or until they start to pop.  Use a spatula to turn them.

Toss about 2-3 tbsp of the dressing with the Arugula (yes you will have most of the dressing left over)
Toss in the pumpkin seeds.

This is wonderful salad.  I absolutely love arugula, It has a super nutty taste and the pumpkin seeds just bring out that flavor.  If you are not a vegan you can add a few tbsp of blue cheese or Gorgonzola to this salad. You can also substitute toasted sunflower seeds, walnuts or even slivered almonds.

Please enjoy and do not sweat the details.  Vegetarian, vegan and healthy eating should be simple and fun!

One last thing.  These recipes are self created.  I have been super inspired to eat healthy and tasty food.  I have really enjoyed creating these dishes.  Most of them have been super yummy, but a few have been dismal failures, like the Veggie Pad Thai that we had yesterday for lunch.  We threw it out.....all of it.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kung Pao Tofu

Kung Pao Tofu 

Several people have asked me for some recipes so I'm going to share tonight's dinner.  I swear I will share the bean soup recipe soon.

Kung Pao Tofu

So, before you look at this recipe, it is important to know that I don't ever make a recipe from a cookbook exactly as specified.  Also, I rarely measure and therefore I never make something exactly the same way twice.

Five and a half years ago when Carrie and I went to China to get Grace I fell in love with real Chinese food. I say REAL because Chinese food in China compared to here in the states is like comparing Taco Bell to a real Mexican food restaurant.  The exception being the restaurants in a big city Chinatown, like San Francisco, N.Y. or even Houston.  We ate Chinese food three times a day for three weeks and I never got tired of it.  I also never saw General Tso Chicken or Kung Pao Chicken on any menu.  With that said I decided to make a vegetarian version of the classic American style Kung Pao Chicken without the meat and most of the oil.  The oil in tonight's version could easily be cut in half.  Here I am going to give you the low fat, vegan version, as I will make it next time.

Ingredients to feed four adults:

1 pkg of firm or extra firm tofu.
2 cups of each of the following:
     white onions
     thin sliced carrots
     bell pepper (I prefer red, and they were cheap this week)
1 cup of low salt or unsalted dry roasted peanuts
soy sauce
fresh garlic
fresh ginger (finely minced)
vegetable broth
cooking spray
Kung Pao sauce ( I used a store bought version this time but it had too much sugar, next time I will look up a low calorie version on line and make it myself)

Step 1:
Remove the tofu from it's package and press it.  Below is a video link to show you how to do it.  Please do a better job than she did in cutting it.  Also, a large pot full of water makes a better weight. 

Step 2: 
Dice the tofu into 3/4 inch cubes
Flavor the tofu by soaking it in a solution of :
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable broth
  • 1-2 Tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp of minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger

This solution should be mostly absorbed in less than an hour.

Cook on a shallow baking sheet at 350 for 15 minutes.

Steps one and two can be done days ahead.

Step 3:
Normally I use a wok and a cajun cooker when I make stir fry. It is the only way I know to get large amounts of watery vegetables to sear and caramelize, which is how you get an authentic Chinese flavor.  If you don't have a wok make sure you cook in a nonstick pan and cook in much smaller batches.  As it is, I make this recipe in two batches, one mild for the kids and one spicy for Carrie and me.

Dice the vegetables ahead of time and have them ready when you start to cook.

Coat the wok with cooking spray.  
Heat wok until it starts to smoke.
Add the onions, stir for 20 seconds.
Add the carrots, stir for 20 seconds.
Add the peppers, stir for 20 seconds.
Add the celery, stir for 20 seconds.
Add the Kung Pao Sauce and cook down until it becomes thick, usually two minutes.
Sprinkle and stir in the peanuts.
Turn off the heat.

Serve over rice.

As made, this recipe cuts out more than 95% of the oil.


Kitty Kat loved it, especially the Tofu!

PS: Is anyone in my neck of the woods interested in taking a vegan cooking class from me?  Please let me know. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

10 Observations on Day 19

After 18 days of eating a new diet I have a few observations:

1. I weigh 201 lbs. which means I have lost 11 pounds.This is not water weight.

2. I seem to be taking in on average 1800 calories per day.  This is not  a target or goal, just an observation. I am counting for now just to see what I average in caloric intake.

3. I am not hungry. If I am I eat. I don't feel deprived. I do still crave certain foods like ribs, bacon,    sausage and Mexican food.

4.  For the most part the food I am eating is good. It's good, but not great. It is good enough though and   the fact that I am feeling better makes up the difference.

5.  I am getting used to not eating meat and dairy. I think that I will like this diet even more after 30 days.

6.  My kids like most of the food and are eating much better. They are eating a better variety of foods.       They do not complain about the fact that they are not eating candy, ice cream, cookies etc. They are      enjoying the fruit and smoothies I serve them instead.

7. I am getting plenty of protein (more about that later).

8.  I don't spend as much time obsessing about what I'm going to eat. Food for me is an addiction for sure.

9.  Carrie is losing weight too. She looks great.

10.  The more I feel better the more I want other people to know about this.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tonight's Dinner: Tacos with Green Chili Quinoa

Vegetarian Tacos with Green Chili Quinoa and Kidney Beans



1 package of Morningstar Farms Crumbles
1 medium onion
Lettuce to top the tacos
jarred salsa--tonight it was Sadie's Hot
Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix:
       2 Tbs of Chili Powder
       2 tsp of Cumin
       1 tsp salt
       1/2 tsp of sugar
       1/2 cup of water

Sweat the onions, add the crumbles and saute until it begins to turn brown.  Meanwhile, add together the dry seasoning ingredients in a separate bowl and add the water.  Pour the seasoning mix over the crumbles and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.


For this recipe I used Rainbow Quinoa purchased at Whole Foods.  Any Quinoa would do.  I also used a rice cooker for this and it came out perfect, but you don't have to use one.

1 cup Quinoa
1/2 cup of chopped green chilies
1 1/2 cups of broth of your choice--I used organic vegetable broth found on the soup aisle
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 can of kidney beans

Cook as directed or until the rice cooker goes ding.  Drain and rinse the kidney beans and heat for one minute in the microwave.  Combine and toss.
Next time I make this I will increase the cumin and I will pour a can of green chili enchilada sauce over it. Carrie said she prefers it without the kidney beans.

Pears rounded out the meal.

It was totally yummy.

I will post the recipes for the Black Bean Soup and the Tomato Avocado Salad later.


Monday, August 12, 2013

A Saturday Dinner

Saturday night we had hamburgers, corn, salad and fruit for dinner.  The hamburgers were Morning Star Farms Grillers.  The Buns were Ezekiel Buns and the salad was Romaine, Avocado and Tomato.
Note to my family and friends who are concerned about protein:  The patty alone supplied 75% of my children's daily need.  The pistachios that they had for a snack earlier supplied another 25%.  When you add in breakfast and lunch, the kids went way over on their protein requirements for the day.  Oops, I had better be careful not to give them too much protein on this vegetarian diet!  I don't want them to stress their kidneys at such an early age (snicker)!    Between the burger and bun Carrie and I received over 50% of our daily need of protein. I think I will do a post later about the whole "vegetarians don't get enough protein" fallacy.

Here is a closeup of the salad

Here is our new Mayonnaise. 
It is fat free and about 10 calories when used on a sandwich or burger.

Here is a closer closeup of the salad with the dressing.
Anyone want the recipe for this?
It was yummy.

All in all the dinner was fantastic, filling, yummy and the kids loved it too.  Looking forward to hearing more feedback or questions from you guys.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Day 10 (Already?)

Well, Carrie and I are 10 days into the 28 Days to changing our health program so I thought I should post a before pic.

Ain't He A Beauty?  When I saw this picture taken just a few days before we started the 28 Days, I knew I just had to include it as my before picture.

Below, is a picture of the haul from our first trip to the grocery store.  Note, it is almost all fruits and vegetables and very little processed food.  60% of the food we purchase is located in the produce section. 30% is found in the beans, rice and grains section (preferably bulk and preferably from Whole Foods store). Finally about 10% of what we eat is found in the freezer section, frozen fruit for smoothies and Morning Star Burgers and ground meatless.

Below is a picture of a whip-together Black Bean Soup that we had for lunch the other day. It turned out really well.  Just so I can see who is reading this I will only give the recipe to you if you comment either here or on my Facebook page.

Carrie and I both weighed in on day eight.  I was down 8 lbs and Carrie was down 4 lbs.  Last week I came down with a cold and I braced myself for the usual week of misery, except that the cold was completely gone in 48 hrs.  That never happens.  Overall, I would say that I am beginning to feel better.  I have had heart burn only once.  I don't think I am snoring as much, but I should check with Carrie.  I will recheck my blood work and blood pressure in early September to see how that side of it is going.  

Looking forward to hearing from some of you.  Encouragement, snickers, recipe requests and questions are all welcome.