A week of menus for August, or – what we ate last week

Monday:

B – green smoothie
L – Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches on Whole wheat bread
D – Monk bowls from The 30-minute Vegan

Tuesday:

B – green smoothie
L – Hummus with veggies (zucchini sticks, cherry tomatoes, carrots, butter lettuce, cucumber) and pita triangles
D – Navajo Tacos (I think these are a Western thing, try it, you’ll like it πŸ˜‰ )
This is essentially Navajo Fry Bread with taco/tostada toppings on it. Eat it like a tostada.

Wednesday:

B – green smoothie
L – Kale Medicine Salad – from The Complete Book of Raw Food
D – Back on Track Wheat Berry and Bean Salad (made with Spelt berries)

Thursday:

B – green smoothie
L – hummus with veggies and pita bread
D – Potato Salad with leftover Spelt Berry and Bean salad and garlic rolls

Friday:

B – green smoothie
L – Leftover salads
D – Pizza Primavera from Vegan Italino and Caesar Salad from The Complete Book of Raw Food

Saturday:

B – Cinnamon Rolls

Brunch – Healthy Vanilla Milkshake πŸ˜‰ (with Frozen cherries pulsed in at the end) and Cinnamon Rolls – I’ll post this recipe on Friday.

L – green smoothie

D – Pasta allaVerde from Vegan Italiano on zucchini noodles served with sliced tomatoes

D – Pizza from Whole Foods

Sunday:

B – green smoothie

Snack – chips, salsa, and guacamole

D – Ligurian Minestrone from Vegan Italiano (Basically minestrone with pesto on top, delicious!)
served with garlic rolls

Snacks: Fresh cherries, blueberries, and grapes, Cocoa snowballs from Raw Energy and Chocolate Chip cookies (made with whole wheat flour).

Obviously all did not go according to plan ;-).

C

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Green Smoothies

I’m thinking of posting menus soon. I’ve been reluctant to do so, since many of the items on our menus are not my recipes or available free as links. However, I’ve decided that maybe they would be beneficial anyway, and I’ll link up as many items as possible.
With that in mind, breakfast lately is almost always a green smoothie.
So, for your enlightenment, here is a visual guide to our typical green smoothie.

Step 1:

Fill your blender with just over 2 cups of water and then cram in a bunch of spinach and kale, also at this stage I either add a chunk of lemon (peel and all) or 1/2 a vanilla bean pod (I use the seeds for something else). And most days I put in some chia seeds, as you can see in this photo, or flax works too. This is a good time to add stevia to the mix also. If I’m using the fresh leaves, I just throw in several clippings, otherwise about 1/16 of a teaspoon of the refined powder works well.

Step 2:

Blend it all together well.

Step 3:

Add the fruit. In this case, 2 frozen bananas (halved) and a bunch of strawberries and cherries. And if you need it sweeter, go ahead and add in a Tablespoon or two of agave nectar.

Step 4:

Drink up!

It’s worth mentioning that if you’re just starting out with green smoothies you may want to make what is essentially a fruit smoothie and add a handful or two of spinach. Also, unless you have a high-powered blender, you’ll want to stick to spinach rather than other greens, while you save up for one. Lumps of partially blended greens are not a pleasant smoothie addition.

If you make more than you can drink in one sitting, this will keep well in the fridge for a day, just shake it up when you’re ready for more. Other options are freezing the leftovers as popsicles, or freezing them in a jar (just avoid filling the jar up all the way to prevent breakage) to defrost and drink later. When we travel I make up a bunch ahead of time and freeze it for use on our trip.

If you haven’t heard of green smoothies, check out greensmoothiegirl.com for more information.

Also, her book The Green Smoothies Diet, goes into much more detail.

C

How to Change Your Diet, Part 5 – Education

Decide what you need to learn more about.
Probably more recipes, cooking ideas, techniques, etc.
Possibly you want more background information/motivation to make the switch or continue along the same path.

Here are some resources I would recommend:

The why of it all:

Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live
The China Study by Colin Campbell
The Green Smoothies Diet by Robin Openshaw

More recipe ideas:

This blog πŸ™‚
Tammie’s blog, Simple, Healthy, Tasty
The Oh She Glow’s blog
How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman – excellent mini cooking school in a book, lots of good techniques and information, use the recipes selectively of course – but, it’s such a large book that even cutting out all of those including dairy you are left with quite a selection.

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

The magic of Chia

I have been searching for a good creamy salad dressing for a while now. Ranch having been my dressing of choice. And although some of my sainted friends have learned to love the taste of greens without dressing, I have yet to join their ranks.
Part of the difficulty has been my reluctance to rely on Mayo substitutes, or silken tofu to provide the creaminess desired. The closest thing I had found to date was a dressing utilizing white beans, but it just wasn’t quite right.
Enter, the humble Chia seed. Among other things it is neutral in taste, and jells up quite nicely just by sitting in water for a few minutes therefore making it an effective thickener.
And to be quite frank with you, that’s enough for me. Even without Chia’s impressive nutritional profile. However, it does have the bonus of containing a lovely balance of Essential Fatty Acids, in addition to high levels of protein, calcium, and magnesium. The most interesting aspect of these tiny seeds however, is that they look kind of like miniature pinto beans. O.k., maybe it’s not the most interesting thing, but I did find myself wondering why a Chia website had a close up photo of pinto beans on it. And then I looked closely at my own Chia seeds, ;-).
And so tonight I have a least partially solved the creamy dressing dilemma.

Creamy House Dressing

Place in blender:
2 teaspoons Chia seeds
1/2 cup water
Just let them sit for 15 minutes.

Add:
1/4 cup cashews
an additional 1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon dijon-style mustard
Some fresh chives (optional)

Blend until well combined and pulverized.
That’s it.

The chives could also be added at the end after all the blending is finished.

C

A Good Basic Pantry List

I’m thinking about what I would want to have around at a bare minimum that would still enable me to cook a variety of tasty, healthy meals for our family.
Here’s what I have so far:

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 hand (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 (salsa extra 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