Smoothies Galore

That’s what I’ve been eating. Especially for the first three days of “Ani’s 15 Day Fat Blast”. She calls that Phase 1, and it’s meant to be a detox. So, a few words about that, in case anyone is interested or thinking about trying it out.

Like I said, it’s all smoothies. Sweet and savory. A lot of them are really good. Surprisingly (to me) even some of the savory smoothies, AKA soups.

The only thing I had a really hard time with was Day 3. I’ve read about others’ experiences on this diet and heard problems with Day 3 attributed to being tired of just smoothies, etc. But, I don’t think that’s it. Remember I came to this from a week of fasting, and light food, mostly smoothies already. I think I just don’t like those recipes. So, I marked the ones I really like, the ones that are O.k., and then left those that I didn’t like at all blank. So that if I do this again, it will be an even better experience.

Apparently, detox symptoms could be experienced during these first three days. I didn’t really notice anything, but my diet is generally pretty clean anyway. Other thoughts on detoxing though – are that years ago when I attempted a juice fast it was really rough and I just didn’t make it. At that time I ate dairy regularly and even meat occasionally (especially bacon, the healthiest meat 😉 – yes, I am kidding about the healthy part, and yes I have actually been asked if it really is. Yikes). I did not eat refined flours or sugars that I recall, but I’m sure the animal products I consumed contributed to the rough experience. Just a thought, in case it applies to anyone reading this. I suspect a more gradual transition involving a few days to a week of whole foods vegan eating before starting a cleanse would help.

So, about cravings. Or other types of temptation to eat less than healthy foods. What I’ve noticed is a need to treat myself in ways that don’t involve food. It’s too easy and tempting to feel the need for a cookie or something and eat it without realizing why. In thinking about what it is I want to eat and why, along with taking Ani’s suggestion of a long bath during Phase 1, I realized that for me, why can sometimes be a need to be kind to myself, and maybe a little pampering can replace that snack in a healthier way.

I mentioned marking the recipes I really liked. I’ve also put some thought into recipes I would substitute that aren’t in the book.

One of them is my Blueberry Ginger Juice, which I thought I had posted before, but apparently I was waiting for a picture. (I think if I were to use this on the fat blast I would sub out the juice for water, possibly using some apple too.) Here it is, still without the photo.

Blueberry Ginger Juice

1 medium ripe banana
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon fresh/frozen ginger root
Apple juice to fill the blender to just under the 3 cup line.

Blend well, on the Juice setting if you’re using a Blendtec.

I’m also working on perfecting a Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie, and I’ll post that when it’s ready. 🙂

C

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Pressure Cooking 101, the final

Having successfully cooked something, in your pressure cooker, you are now ready to move on and branch out in your pressure cooking experience.

If you purchased The New Fast Food, finish reading it.

Recipes start on page 29, but the there are two sections following this which talk about cooking grains and beans in more depth. Definitely worth a read.

Try cooking other things.

What not to do:

Do not decide to impulsively convert your lentil soup recipe. Actually, this would have probably been fine except too watery (turns out you reduce the liquid when converting recipes). However, if you also at the same time decide to double the recipe, and then after adding nearly everything (except some of the water) think about how you are supposed to only fill the pressure cooker 1/2 to 2/3rds full, and then decide to try it anyway minus some of the water (which was a good thing).  Then when it’s cooking freak out and do a quick release resulting in undercooked soup. And then because you’re still worried about it being too full, ladle out half of the soup and cook the other half, eat dinner, and then cook the rest. Don’t do that. Just in case you were thinking about it. 😉

Instead:

Cook more than one recipe already converted for pressure cooker use. Try some beans, after all that’s what pressure cookers are for, right?

C

31 Days of Menus: Soup to the Rescue

So, in her book Passionate Vegetarian, Crescent Dragonwagon has this soup called Eternal Soup, also known as The Soup in her Soup & Bread book. And you cook it, and just add in different veggies, etc. daily to change it up a bit.
I was hoping it, or something similar was on her blog (which is under construction at the moment). Instead, I found this helpful and interesting link (which incidentally does list three different soups), on a blog linked to her writing blog (I got a little distracted), enjoy.

C

31 Days of Menus: More menu plans

This is along the same lines as the start with what you already have post. Currently what we have is garden produce; tomatoes, corn, potatoes, etc. That combined with a desire for fairly quick meals that don’t require a babysitter in the kitchen while they cook resulted in our menus for this week.

Actually, the week started off with a bang, as I realized Monday afternoon that I had no idea what we would be eating that day. So, I put together Creamy Comfort Casserole because it was fast and easy.

We’ve also enjoyed Haystacks with Sweet & Sour Sauce followed by Tomato-Rice Soup (adapted from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen).

What I like about Haystacks is you can serve whatever you want/have around the house on top of the rice. In fact, usually they are served with some type of gravy (I like the Chicken Style Gravy from Passionate Vegetarian), so our use of sweet and sour sauce is a variation on the standard theme.

I slipped one of our favorite pizzas, potato-sage, in between the Minestrone and Ribolitta. It utilized the potatoes and the sage that we currently have an abundance of. And, other than olive oil, salt, and pepper, that’s about all that tops this pizza.

We had Minestrone on Friday, since I discovered Ribolitta I am even fonder of Minestrone than ever. For Ribolitta you layer day old bread, toasted if you prefer, in a casserole dish, pour the reheated soup (Minestrone of course) over the top and serve. What’s not to love? If the ease of preparation is not enough, it’s also remarkably filling and perfect for a Sunday dinner.

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.

O.K., It took twenty-seven minutes…

but, that did include taking some snazzy photos

Creamy potato soup, coming up

and letting the raw potatoes fall where they may.

Though you’d find the action on the floor interesting, ;-).

Creamy Potato Soup

5 medium/largish Russet potatoes (just regular large, not Idaho large)
1 small sweet potato or 1 large carrot (if using the sweet potato cook it with the Russets)
1/2 onion
1 large clove garlic
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon brown rice vinegar
2 3/4 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon Mountain Rose Herbs Seasoning Salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (black could work in a pinch)

Start the water boiling, whether you’re steaming or boiling the potatoes (not the 2 3/4 cups, unless you’re planning on using the potato water in the soup- which I often do). Then scrub and chop the potatoes into chunks and add them to your cooking apparatus. Here they are in mine, steaming away:

After starting to cook the potatoes, wash and dice the sweet potato and throw it in too. Or… just chop up the carrot and throw it in the blender along with all of the other ingredients. I use the large capacity container on the blender (this makes about 7 cups of soup).

By this time the potatoes should be soft enough to add them in too. If not, just let them cook for a few more minutes (they don’t need to be well done).

Blend together well. If using a Blendtec the soup button is sufficient and since the potatoes are already hot, no need to worry about additional blend time to heat the soup.

The finished product is quite thick,

so if you’d prefer a thinner soup just add more water.

C