Saturday, May 28, 2011

Peach Mango Smoothie

Sometimes when my family gets gift cards for air line or credit card points, they send them to their poor, broke, civil servant daughter, aka Me. This time it was for JCpenny. Now, when most girls get a gift card its about the cloths. Now not this little vegan. I go straight to the kitchen wear section, where, this time I happened upon a Magic Bullet like machine by Cooks.

Perfect for a hot summer in south Texas (May and we have already passed 100 degrees once or twice.)

Smoothie ingredients:
-4 small peaches (Skinned and chopped)
-1 mango (Skinned and chopped)
-1/2 cup of ice

Blend well. See? Who needs a fancy when you have a blender and a stock of fresh fruit.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Starting a Veggie Lifestyle

I got one of the worlds greatest pleasures today. A childhood friend contacted me today and asked me for help in going veg! I love this and jumped at the chance to help another person move towards a plant based diet. Like so many of us though she has no idea where to start. She asked me to help compile a list for here and a few tips that would help her start. I have decided to share it on here for everyone! Please feel free to add any additional tips for her to start out with!

I have made a list of books with the things I like about them. Also there are tips to start out at the bottom.

- "Crazy Sexy Diet" By Kris Carr.
This book is the one I am reading right now and I am loving it! She really gets to you and gets you thinking about your body. I love her approach to making "healthy vegans." However I would not be as include to recommend it for a starter. Going Veg is hard enough. Going from a Mc Donald's chomping westerner to a Raw Foodist? Harder. However, I would recommend the 21 day cleanse in the back as a detox plan. Note: Has a web community

- "Vegetarian Beginners Guide"- Vegetarian Times
This is one of the first books I bought when going veg all those years ago. It teaches you how to stock a pantry which is one of the hardest things to do in my opinion. It also has list of ways to get all of the nutrients and proteins you need, including veggies with high sources of protein and iron. It addresses common myths. The things I am not so fond of? I don't really like the recipes that they used in this book. Their Magazines are full of yummy recipes but the book...not so much.

- "The Kind Diet"- Alicia Silverstone
You will recognize this women from you childhood which makes the book more convincing. And this happens to be one of my Fav books of all time. Alicia is understanding, compassionate and sweet in the way that she writes. This has some of the best recipes I have ever made, veg or omnivore. She gives you the reasons why you should be a veg for your body, for animals an for the planet without making you feel like you have lives the past how-many-years of your life in sin. One of the things I love the most is that she teaches you how to "Build a Meal" without meat. This is something most of us forget how to do without meat. Note: Has a web community.

-"The Kitchen Shrink" Natalie Savona
This is not a veg book, thats what I dislike. But I recommend it for everyone. It teaches you how to deal with mental issues like depression or any other physical sickness using your kitchen as a pharmacy. It teaches you which foods promote which feelings and what problems can be solved with what.

-"Eat, Drink & Be Vegan" Dreena Burton
This is a pure cookbook. 100%. If you are going to be a veg then you need to learn how to enjoy your food. That is why I looooooove pure vegan cookbooks. This one in particular has a great deal of breakfast and sweet recipes.

-"Vegan Lunch Box Around the World" Jennifer McCann
Variety is the spice of life and I love international food. This teaches you to make many kinds of international food. It also all happens to be able to be packed up in a lunch box and taken to work, school, or just out with you. I dont know about you but I have to work! Note: Author has a web community.

Other Books On My Shelf:
-The Urban Vegan
-The Compassionate Carnivore by Catherine Friend
-Beans and Rice by Williams Sonoma
-Raw Food by Ani Phyo
-Vegetarian Kids Cookbook by Roz Denny
-Vegetarian Cooking by Nicola Graimes
-Eating Animals by Johnathan Saffron-Foyer
-In Defense of Food by Michael Pollen
-Food Rules by Michael Pollen

- Beware of soy: Most of all if you are becoming a veg for health reasons or to loose weight. Soy is highly processed and as fatty as some meats. While it digests a bit easier I would not use it as its labeled "As a meat substitute".

-Immerse: Veg is just like any other subculture. The more you immerse yourself with the community the stronger your commitment to your new healthy life style becomes. Twitter has a huge veg community and there are many boards that go along with books to go to for advise (Along with my blog of coarse.) Seek out like minded people.

-Support: Having a supporting roommate or spouse is essential. Its hard to stay out of trouble when someone across from you is eating a burger in front of you. Cook together, try new things together. Its nice bonding, cheap dates and fun!

-Shopping: There are so many tips that you can use for shopping and many of the books above have them. I have this one piece of advice that I believe more then anything. Stick to the outer portions of the super market. That and the bulk. Stay away from the sugary crap on the inner parts of the market. Most supermarkets are mostly designed the same way; fruit and veggies on the outside. Thats where you should be shopping.

-Farmers Markets: They are tons of fun and full of good people and good food!

-Eating Out: My first instinct is to say dont. But it is a social obligation and a corner stone of our culture. Look up the menu first online and find out if they have any veg dishes or think about how to turn them into veg.

-Dairy: You will read a lot about this in every single book that I recommended but I feel the need to state it now because my friend is very into weight loss. When I dropped Dairy I also dropped 15 pounds. Enough said. Each persons body is different but dairy is nasty. We are the only creature that drinks milk from another animal. Over 70% of the population is born lactose intolerant but we are weened onto it and fast. Give it up and you'll taste things better and digest like no ones business!

-Google is your friend: Or bing or any other search engine. There are many new things to be learned along the road to a plant based diet. New words will stump you. Alien ingredients will taunt you. Luckily we live in the information age and googling can be done in the blink of an eye. Dont be afraid of the information highway.

-Detoxing: Its not just for coke addicts. Do it and you will find the bad things easier to resist. I recommend the 21 day cleanse from the Crazy, Sexy Diet.

There we are! Please comment with the things that have helped you along the way. Sometimes I think that we forget how hard it is to start out a new life.

I love you Lauren!!!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Stuffed Tomatoes/ Peppers

2 large ripe tomatoes
4 tbsp extra version olive oil
2 large green or red peppers
2 onions (Chopped)
2 garlic cloves (Crushed)
2 oz of chopped raw almonds
1/2 cup of brown rice
1/2 an onion of mint (Chopped)
1/2 an oz of Parsley (Chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Cut tomatoes in half and scoop out the pulp. Roughly chop the pulp and set the outer parts on a paper towel. Half the peppers and leave the cores intact. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Brush the cores with oil. Bake the peppers for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper after removal. Put the peppers and tomatoes in an oven proof backing dish and set to the side.

Sautee onions in remaining olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and almonds and sautee for an additional minute.

Remove from the pan and stir in with rice and all the other ingredients. Season well with salt and pepper then spoon the mixture into the tomatoes and the peppers.

Pour 2/3 of water into the baking pan to keep moist as they cook. Put into the oven for 20 minutes. Remove a sprinkle with any additional almonds and olive oil. Return for another 20 minutes until they are golden.

I served this with an onion soup and bread. Yum!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cold Summer Quinoa Salad

There is a recipe that is very similar to this at Central Market that I absolutely love! Its close to an addiction that's how much I love it. But at nearly 6 dollars a pound I would be better off having a drug addiction.

So I looked at the ingredients on the label and decided to give it a try myself! This is a great food to have at dinner. Even better then that it keeps for about 4 days and is easy to stick in a Tupperware container and take anywhere with you!


-1 cup of dried tri-color Quinoa
-2 Cups of water
-1 red pepper (Chopped)
-1 can of organic corn (Drained)
-1 large avocado (Chopped)
-handful or cilantro (Chopped)

Please keep in mind that this will cook quite a bit.

Cook Quinoa as you normally would. For those of you who have never cooked quinoa its almost just like cooking couscous. Bring water to a boil before placing drained quinoa into the pot. Cover and simmer until it is clear.

Move and chill until cold. In a large bowl mix the rest of your ingredients. Mix in Quinoa and stir everything together well.

Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Roasted Tomatos

I love tomatoes. I will eat them any way that I can. One of my earliest memories is of my Great Grand Father salting a raw tomato and taking a huge bit out of it. How Italian!

This recipe is particularly good because the tomatoes are literally exploding with juices when you cut into them. Its perfect for dipping bread into or just eating on its own.

-2 heirloom Tomatoes (Cut in half)
-1/3 cup of olive oil
-Basil, bay leaf, oregano-any beloved Italian herb
-4 cloves of garlic (Minced)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Take halved tomatoes and place them in a baking pan. Mix olive oil and herbs. Brush over the tops of the tomatoes with a pastry brush.

Place in heated oven for 45 minutes. About half way through the 45 minutes, toss garlic onto the top as well. In my experience if you put it onto the tomatoes with the oil and spices it will char.

Take out of oven. Garnish with bay leafs, salt and pepper if desired. The tomatoes should be golden or black around the top rims.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Super Fruity

Okay has anyone seen Baby Mama? If you have you will notice the title and I hope that you are laughing with me right now. Its May here in central Texas which means its already almost 100 degrees. This is the time of year that my nutrition takes a turn for the worst. I hate eating when its hot (Not to mention that all of those grains make unnatural bumps come out of my swim suit. So this is the time of year I normally survive on frozen grapes and rivers of water.

Not this year I tell you! This year I will be exploring the world of raw and green smoothies! This is my first one.

Creamy Fruit Smoothie
Ingredients: (Makes 4)
-3 cups of fruit (In this one banana and strawberry because it sounded good)
-1/4 cup agave syrup
-1/2 cup of ground (You should use a food processor unless you have a Ninja Blender) nuts or seeds (Cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds or pecans)
-2 cups of water
-Ice (optional)

Place all of the ingredients (Except ice) in a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice if you are using it and blend well. Serve right away.

Will keep for one day in the fridge.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Roasted Sweet Potato and Onion Medley

Ah, the first of another month...a new beginning. I like to view the first of a month like most people view the new year, a new start and a time to renew my ideals. In this busy life it is easy to forget our basic life style. We need more then once a year to remember what we believe in. I like to start it off with a new recipe!

-2 sweet potato's (Cubed and Peeled)
-1 red onion (coarsely chopped)
-1 tbs olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss potato and onion in oil, salt and pepper. Arrange on baking sheets covered with parchment paper and pop into the oven for 30 minutes or until it is soft to a fork.

-4 tablespoons olive oil
-1 teaspoon Dijon mustard.
-2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Whisk together.

Once the medley is roasted toss in the dressing mixture. Serve hot or keep refrigerated until ready to eat.