Losing Weight On a Plant Based Diet – Part 2

What really got me thinking about making changes was reading Chef AJ’s story (here). (For a story with more detail, try this) I started debating about whether or not I should be cutting out nuts, and then reality hit, ;-). Umm, shouldn’t I worry about the excessive sugar (see previous post), or the oils I cook with first?

I have since read a few things that have tweaked my ideas on the changes I need to make in my life. The first was some advice from a French doctor specializing in nutrition. (In “Forever Chic” by Tish Jett) He, Denis Lamboley points out to the author that there are only two reasons to eat, “hunger and pleasure”. Well, yeah, duh! But, wait. Is that always why I am eating? Or, more to the point, do I eat unhealthy, fatty foods when I am hungry rather than the nutritious foods my body needs. And so, when I am eating these things that should be treats, am I really enjoying them? No, often I am not.

Back to a basic premise I had when I very first started to cut sugar out. I was cutting it down, not out. And my rule was, if I ate sugar I should enjoy it. Desserts only, nothing hidden in the main course, etc.

I kind of modified his statement in my thoughts. It became, “there are only two reasons for eating, nutrition and pleasure”. And again, that made me think. If I am eating for hunger, it should also be for nutrition. If I am eating for pleasure, well then, I should be enjoying my food, right?

Perhaps this isn’t helpful if you feel you enjoy EVERYTHING you eat, but I think for most of us, focusing on why we make the food choices we do is extremely helpful. In the long and short run.

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So, as a second step, I need to make sure I have healthy options available so that when I get hungry I can eat those instead of looking for a quick snack. Right now I have a big bowl of my favorite salad in the fridge and the dressing to accompany it right there too.

C

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A World of Baked Potato Adventure Awaits!

Usually, when I prepare potatoes I either make oven-baked fries, mashed potatoes, hashbrowns, boil them for potato salad, or serve them baked and topped with steamed veggies & Spicy Vinaigrette Dressing. Oh, and I almost forgot, Thick & Creamy Potato Soup.
However, in catching up on cooking blogs I discovered a treasure trove of potato preparation ideas. A guest poster on HappyHerbivore.com listed a variety of options for your potato eating pleasure. I am especially intrigued by the “hot dog” style potato since I too love the toppings, but (obviously) can live with out the hotdog.
Trying that out is definitely in my future.

C

31 Days of Menus: Thanksgiving 1

Thanksgiving can seem to be one of the hardest holidays to cook for on a plant based diet. After all, the main feature of the meal is traditionally, a turkey. However, the rest of the meal is quite easy to adapt.

Here are some suggestions for a substantial plant based meal to celebrate your Thanksgiving Holiday.

Bryanna’s Breast of Tofu Slices, this recipe used to be available on her blog, and it may be again (I hope). She is currently revisiting the recipes to make them printable, etc. and I’m hoping that’s why it is not available. (Found the recipe online, complete with a video if you so desire.)
Alternatively, you could use Oven Roasted Tofurky Deli Slices.

Cranberry Sauce (of course)

3 cups cranberries
3/4 cup honey
1 cup water

Simmer honey and water until well combined. Add the cranberries and simmer as the skins pop and the berries soften, about 5 minutes.
Cool and refrigerate until ready to serve.
This is not a really thick sauce, it’s more on the runny side. However, it is delicious!

Stuffing – use any bread based stuffing recipe that doesn’t call for meat and substitute vegetable broth for the stock

Rolls – use this recipe, except up the oil and sweetener for the holidays. Try 1/2 cup oil and 1/4 to 1/3 cup honey or agave.

Tossed salad

Mashed Potatoes (this is a small recipe, you may need to double or triple it)

2 potatoes, in 1″ cubes, skins intact (I prefer Yukon Gold, use 2 large or three smaller potatoes if using this variety)
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
Sea Salt
Pepper

Boil or steam the potatoes until tender, drain and place in a bowl. Beat with a hand mixer adding milk (cooking water or vegetable broth could also be used) as needed. Or use a potato masher. if you go with the blender option, which is what I use, be sure to blend briefly so the potatoes don’t resemble glue when you’re done. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Some olive oil could also be added, or a salt free seasoning mix used.

Gravy – there are a lot of options here, I like the Chicken Style Gravy from Passionate Vegetarian. You could also try, Tammie’s Simple Basic Gravy recipe.

for dessert…

Try This Pumpkin Pie Brownie (scroll down for the link to her Thanksgiving dinner menu/recipes – including this pie).
You could serve it with Coconut Bliss Vanilla as Angela suggests, (and I do love this brand) but if you’re more into ice cream than I am, you might have other favorites.

C

Weekly Salad Prep.

I think I’ve mentioned my storage method for lettuce before, but I thought I’d clarify using my newly acquired salad greens as an example.
Rather than simply rinsing I prefer to soak the greens in cool water with some Grapefruit seed extract added to it. I use about 9 drops in a salad spinner full of water, it’s not critical. This crisps them up and cleans them quite effectively. Then I lift our the basket, dump the water, and spin the greens dry. After that I finish with the usual storage method, placing them in a bag with the air removed and a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture.

I try to store them paper towel side down, so that any excess moisture drains down onto it. If I get this done right away not only do the greens last longer, but when I’m ready to use them, the only preparation required is to tear or slice them into the desired pieces.

C

*I’ve since heard that storing the greens in a mason jar works well too. I’ve heard the same thing about the salad spinner, but in my experience it does not work as well. However, I think that if they are completely dry the mason jar would work well.

A yummy recipe review

When I saw Tammie’s Pan Fried Eggplant recipe, I thought it looked delicious. So, the next week when an eggplant found it’s way into my kitchen (via Bountiful Baskets) I had to try it. I think you can tell from the photo, but it was delicious!

I actually modified the batter recipe to a cross between my recipe and Tammie’s. This is what I used:

2/3 cup whole wheat flour + 2-3 Tablespoons
1/3 cup chickpea flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Mixed together well and combined with 1 cup of water.

And, as you can see in the photo, we enjoyed this with salad and breadsticks.

(This is also really good made with zucchini rather than eggplant)

C

How to Change Your Diet – Part 4

Review the things you’re used to cooking. Probably quite a few of them will still work for you, especially if you look at the side dishes. Start to use some of the more substantial sides as your main courses.

Salads and soups tend to be especially promising. It’s easy to replace the meat in a soup with beans. Remember you have several options, you may want to consider white beans, black beans or garbanzo beans to name a few. As for salads, think about all of the options at a really great salad bar, minus any meat or dairy. Dressing can be slightly trickier, we have several recipes on this blog – click on the link at the top of the page – and there are a lot more out there if you just look around. Often people find they don’t miss the dressing if the lettuce is chopped fairly finely and some type for fruit is included in the salad, mango, pineapple, berries, etc. Currently one of my favorite ways to dress a salad is with a combination of olive oil, lemon juice, and salt – courtesy of cousin Pam.

A ratio I’ve been happy with is:
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
and Salt to taste, start with about 1/2 teaspoon
This amount works well with about 5 cups of salad/greens

Most of us have a few favorite dishes or comfort foods that it seems we just can’t live without. I would suggest living without them for a short time before you try to find a substitute. This is because the substitute is bound to taste slightly different. In fact I think it’s worth spending some time thinking about what it is about the dish that you really enjoy, maybe it’s largely the texture, or the flavor of a sauce, in which case it might be better to focus on finding a new dish that is similar in that aspect rather than trying to duplicate the recipe exactly.

Hot Cocoa and a story for you.

I have been informed that this is not common knowledge, so for all of you searching for a way to make dairy free, refined sugar free hot chocolate…here it is.

Hot Chocolate

1 T. cocoa powder
1 – 1 1/2 T. honey (to taste)
1 cup rice milk, or rice and coconut milk combo (my favorite)

Place the cocoa powder and honey in a small saucepan along with half of the milk and heat while stirring to combine all ingredients. Add the rest of the milk and heat to the desired temperature before serving.
(Other milks can be used, but I think that rice or coconut results in the best tasting hot chocolate)

And now, here’s a story for you to enjoy as you sit by the fire sipping your hot cocoa:

My Asian Style Salad Dressing is the one and only dressing my son will eat, and the only way he’ll eat salad in any quantity. So, the other night I pulled some out and put it on just his salad, (we were having another dressing on ours) told him it was his favorite dressing, and proceeded to eat dinner. When he finally got around to the salad he claimed it was super hot and spicy. And I almost told him to eat it anyway, because how could that dressing be hot? But, just to be sure, I checked the small label I had placed on the top of the jar I had it stored in. Oops! I had given him salad covered in dipping sauce for pot stickers, complete with hot chili oil.

C