Losing Weight on a Plant Based Diet – Enjoy your food!

I think this is key. Key to resisting cravings and not feeling deprived. When we eat things that feel like a luxury or an indulgence, but are also healthy, it’s possible to lose weight without a constant internal struggle with food.

Additionally, this strategy makes lifelong change much more attractive and do-able.

So, what types of food fall into the healthy indulgence category? I’m sure that depends on who you are, what your childhood foods were like, how you feel about spending money on food, etc.

Personally, Pomegranate seeds fall into the indulgence category for me. I don’t happen to live anywhere they grow (although I did at one time), and so they tend to be on the expensive side. So, buying and enjoying a few (or more πŸ™‚ ) pomegranates in season definitely falls into the healthy indulgence category for me.

The same could be said for any fruit or vegetable that you enjoy, but for some reason tend to feel is too expensive, or whatever your personal road block is.

Kumquats are another fruit that I feel this same way about. I’d really like to grow some in a greenhouse or something because these are just plain hard to come by, but I love eating them!

Additional examples are: Artichokes, French sorrel, fresh off the vine tomatoes, and in general – picked at it’s prime produce.

Aside from eating our favorite fruits and veggies straight up, what else can make a healthy diet feel indulgent?

Main courses that we love! These of course will vary a bit depending on who you are. I love crunchy raw salads with great dressings. Like my favorite salad, and The Seasoned Chickpeas over Kale & Avocado Salad from the OhSheGlows blog (which, try as I might, I cannot find the link to).

And of course, fun desserts that are as healthy as can be. What works for you will depend on your particular dietary demons, but one recipe that I found enjoyable was Raw Chocolate-Swirl Cheesecake Bars. I used honey instead of agave in the filling, and found that blending really well was key, but these turned out to be delicious.

This is my new approach. In the past I’ve focused more on strict discipline, but at this time in my life I find the need for a better motivation to a healthy diet. I’ve realized that I, at least, need a positive approach that focuses on the good things still available rather than what I need to cut out.

Have you noticed this in your own life?

C

Snickerdoodles – the best whole grain recipe out there!

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Well, at least I think so.
I had tried to convert the recipe used in my past white sugar and white flour eating life, but it just did not translate well. I saw another recipe online whose ingredients were fine, they just looked a bit dry to me, but it inspired me to give this classic cookie another chance.
Just make sure you don’t leave out half the Sucanat, they aren’t quite the same that way. πŸ˜‰

1/2 cup Organic Palm Oil Shortening
1/2 cup Unrefined Coconut Oil
1 cup Sucanat
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
3 1/4 cups Whole Spelt Flour
2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
1-2 Tablespoons water, as needed

2 teaspoons Turbinado Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine the Shortening, Coconut Oil, and Sucanat in a large bowl and blend well. Add the Maple Syrup and blend to combine.
In a smaller bowl mix together the flour, Cream of Tartar, Baking Soda and Salt. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet, adding water as needed. You will probably only need 1 Tablespoon of the water. Essentially, you want a dough that stays together and is not crumbly and not too wet.
Combine the cinnamon & sugar mixture in a small bowl. Form balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (I use a cookie scoop) from the dough and roll them in the cinnamon/sugar mixture before placing them on the cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. If using an ice cream scoop for extra large cookies increases the baking time to 15 minutes.

*Regarding the baking time and temperature. I use a baking stone, so I things seem to bake a little hotter. If using a metal cookie sheet you may need to raise the temperature 25 degrees, or possibly extend the baking time by a few minutes.

C

Cinnamon Rolls

O.k. You’ll need 2/3 of the Basic Bread Dough Recipe, the variation involving more honey πŸ˜‰ (I bake the other third into a loaf).

Then, mix up the filling:

3/4 cup chopped walnuts
6 Tablespoons raisins
2 Tablespoons sucanat
3/4 cup liquid honey
up to 6 Tablespoons water, as needed
2 Tablespoons flour
2 to 3 teaspoons powdered cinnamon

Stir together in a small bowl, add water if needed to make the filling more spreadable.

Then, divide the dough in two and roll into rectangles, approximately 18 X 11 inches, the dough will be about 1/4 inch thick.
Spread 1/2 of the filling over each rectangle, leaving the border uncovered. Roll up, from the long side, and pinch closed to seal.
Slice into rolls with a sharp knife (or use dental floss if you want), I cut mine 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick. Place in a greased rectangular (13 X 9 inch) glass pan. Let raise 30 to 45 minutes and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes.

C

Restocking – How to Change Your Diet, Part 2

Well, when I started thinking about writing this next post I realized I’d already done it.
So, here it is, copied and pasted for your viewing enjoyment:

The most important items on this list are the fruits and vegetables. So, if you have to pick and choose, start there. Add some good herbs if you don’t already have them, and then delve into the beans and grains.
Enjoy the journey!

Grains & Beans

Brown Rice (stored in the fridge or freezer)
Black beans (canned and/or dry)
Lentils
Quinoa
Whole Wheat flour, stored in the freezer
Whole wheat pasta, spaghetti, macaroni, spirals, etc.
Additional grains and beans; such as barley, spelt, oats, pinto beans, etc.

Canned Goods

Shelf stable milk substitute; rice, soy, almond, etc.
Canned tomato products, diced, paste, sauce, etc.
Canned pineapple
Black/green olives

Fats & Oils

Extra Virgin Olive oil
Coconut oil, & or Palm oil shortening

Seasonings & Spices

Onions (I consider these along with garlic to be a pantry staple)
Garlic, fresh
Vegetable broth or bouillon (cubes or powder – homemade version works)
Basil
Oregano
Thyme
Arrowroot powder or organic corn starch
Sea salt
Black pepper (preferably in the form of pepper corns and a grinder)
Apple Cider Vinegar, raw
Soy Sauce, or Nama Shoyu

Sweeteners

Honey
Agave nectar, preferably raw (because I like it better, that’s why πŸ˜‰ )
Sucanat

Miscellaneous

Yeast

Nuts, such as: almonds, cashews, and walnuts
Seeds: sesame and sunflower seeds

Frozen

Frozen juice, such as orange, and apple
Frozen corn
Frozen peas
Frozen blueberries &/or other fruit for smoothies, muffins, pancakes, syrup, etc.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Assorted fresh fruits and vegetables, these will vary seasonally. Try to have at least 5 varieties of each on hand.

Spring: Greens (spinach, lettuce, etc.), New potatoes, peas, carrots, beets, strawberries, rhubarb, watercress

Summer: Tomatoes, summer squash/zucchini, eggplant, corn, raspberries, peaches, plums, apricots, Asian pears, cucumber

Fall: Beets, potatoes, kale, kohlrabi, sweet potatoes, apples, raspberries, peaches, broccoli

Winter: Potatoes, parsnips, carrots, winter squash, apples, cabbage, greens

Some things like potatoes, onions, garlic, winter squash, and apples will keep well for months when stored properly.

I think that’s about it.
I do keep a more extensive supply on hand, with extras like coconut milk (can you be addicted to coconut milk? I just might be), chocolate chips (grain sweetened), and numerous spices and herbs.
But, this list is more about what to stock if you’re just starting out, or have a limited budget but still need to eat ;-).

With these items on available (depending on the produce selection), I could make:

Stir-Fry with brown rice (lots of variations possible here, including sweet and sour sauce, if you have canned pineapple on hand)
Rice and bean salad with assorted vegetables and a vinaigrette (olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt & pepper)
Lentil soup (without the mustard, or add that to the pantry)
Lentil rice casserole (use dried basil, I did)
Fresh homemade bread
Pizza
Black bean and rice burritos with fresh veggies added (you’ll need salsa for this, unless you made it fresh from the produce available)
Tortillas
Tomato-Basil pasta (needs cashews)
Oatmeal
A Variation on out of the cupboard soup (depending on what’s in your cupboard)
Hummus (need a lemon for this)
Fruit Smoothies
Quinoa salads

And numerous other options depending on the produce available, such as:
Hashbrowns
Salad
Veggie sandwiches
Cabbage salad
Sauteed greens
Baked potatoes with steamed veggies and vinagrette dressing
Mashed potatoes

C

Up Next: Snacking

You’re the Apple of my eye

I couldn’t resist leading in with the cute valentine stickers for fruit. So, just in case you need a last minute gift idea ;-).

And for your dining pleasure, a recipe for apple crisp.

Ingredients:

4 Medium apples, sliced (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup Whole Spelt or Wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease an 8 x 8 inch pan lightly with coconut oil and fill with the sliced apples.

In a separate bowl mix the flour, oats, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Mash the coconut oil into this with a fork (or just stir it in if your house is warmer than mine πŸ™‚ ).

Drizzle 1 or 2 Tablespoons of the honey over the apple slices and work the remaining honey into the topping mixture with a fork.

Spread the topping over the apples – just kind of mush it down with your hands or a spoon, or combination thereof.

Bake for 30 minutes until the topping is golden and crisp.

Adapted from Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook. I have a few general (non-vegan/vegetarian) cookbooks that I like to keep around as a reference and resource for recipes to adapt and this is one of them.

Apple Crisp is really Melissa’s area of expertise, but this turned out so well I decided to post it anyway. Maybe I’ll get her to post her fat free version at a later date ;-).

C

A Christmas Candy Collection

Prior to this year, I had never attempted to make any candy for Christmas. In fact after making so many dietary changes, I just assumed that enjoying candies at Christmas time was best relegated to the past.
This year, it’s been exciting to not only develop my own caramel recipe, but also find three other excellent recipes for your holiday enjoyment.
Without further ado here they are:

Peanut Brittle and Honey Taffy from Tammie at Simple, Healthy, Tasty
and
Peanut Butter Chocolate Marble Fudge from Sketch-free Vegan Eating

Enjoy!

C