Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Pineapple Cranberry Salad

Here's a great Pineapple Cranberry Sauce recipe someone shared at Dr. Fuhrman's Member Support Center: cook 1 package of cranberries with 1 can of crushed pineapple until the berries pop. Stir in 2 tablespoons agave, maple syrup, or date sugar (to taste, we liked it a bit tart), 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, and some chopped pecans.

We enjoyed this as a side dish at Thanksgiving, but I love it even more as a salad topping, mixed into a salad with chopped apple and pecans. I packed us whole apples to slice into the salad at lunchtime, so they don't turn brown.

The gel-cool bentos are filled with Fennel Cucumber Salad from my first book, garnished with a kalamata olive. (BTW, the side dishes fit perfectly in the top compartments of our To-Go Ware containers, even with the lids on, but I've ordered large stainless steel sidekicks for the future, because I prefer them to plastic.)

P.S. This picture sucks! You can't even see the cute little smiley faces on the apple picks holding the olives. Oh well, I was running out the door this morning and took it with my iphone. Bad shmoo!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mirror Image Acorn Squash Supreme

Hi! Long time no post! A lot of changes have been going on in my life, not the least of which is that I now aspire to the label "nutritarian" rather than vegan. That transition has been happening for a long time, as anyone who's followed me in the past or spoken to me personally probably knows.

For example, I would no longer pack Oreos or potato chips in a lunch box just because they contain no animal products. Vegan does not automatically equal healthy. I would also not turn down something that contained a modest amount of an animal product if it were the healthiest choice available. I don't believe that animal products are unhealthy in the amounts that would have been present in humankind's natural diet before SAD came along. Rather I think of modern processed foods as the enemy: white flour, white sugar, oil, etc.

I wanted to go on record with this because I've kept pretty quiet about it out of fear, and I'm tired of living in fear of being who I am openly and honestly, 100%. I fully support and admire Voracious, the once-vegan blogger who shared in this now-infamous post about the health problems she experienced on a strict vegan diet. That took a lot of courage. I can relate, and I think that when being vegan becomes more important than listening to your body, or when it becomes a "vegangelical" fundamentalism that leads to actual death threats against those who don't agree with you, it has become something unhelpful, unkind, and unworthy of us.

That doesn't mean that I will be changing the fact that all the lunches I post here contain no animal products. I mean, I did write two vegan cookbooks and stand behind the idea that most of our meals should be entirely plant-based for optimal health.

And speaking of "coming out", let me also add that my divorce has been final for almost a year and I'm now with a beautiful woman that I love very much! For the first time, I'm in a relationship with someone who not only supports and encourages me, but also likes the same foods that I do and has transitioned to a mostly-nutritarian diet alongside me. It's amazing to be with someone who doesn't make fun of my food or hightail it to McDonald's when she sees what's on the table. Instead, she's loved all the dishes I've made so far and is even surprised that some of her long-standing health problems have gone away with this new way of eating.

We have a deal that she makes breakfast for us, usually a green smoothie or maybe oatmeal with fresh fruit, and I pack lunch. Today I packed us each some Acorn Squash Supreme from Eat To Live and big fresh salads with salsa for dressing and half an avocado each. I added a pear for a snack or dessert.

I even used a pear cozy!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Homestyle Favorites Made Meatless

Those of you with my second book might notice my friend Renee Pottle's book Homestyle Favorites Made Meatless listed in the Recommended Resources. I'm happy to announce that the book is now available at her website, Wine Barrel Gourmet, where she also sells mixes for healthy soups, pasta dishes, wholegrain breads, and more.

Renee's latest book is all about cooking with meat substitutes. I've been paging through my copy; the recipes are mostly old-fashioned favorites that you may have grown up with. Think hearty, down-home meals like ChickN and Dumplings, Sweet and Spicy Chops, Burgundy Beef, Salisbury Steak, and Fish Tacos, all made healthier and meat-free.

The book also contains a helpful list of some of the different meat substitutes available, and lets you choose which one you would like to use in any given recipes. For example, options for pork chops include Cedar Lake Meatless Chops, Field Roast Deli Slices, Worthington Choplets, or baked tofu. Cooks can take their pick and follow the recipe from there, so you're always able to find a vegan choice. Vegan recipes are noted, and many more can easily be made vegan by using nondairy milk products.

Check out this picture of Renee's Paella, one of the "Meatless ChickN Favorites". Looks yummy!

Also, I just noticed if you order the book from her website you'll get a free bonus: "The Meatless Pantry Checklist" and "Meatless Pantry Creations - Design Your Own Soup, Stir-Fry and more!" A PDF version is even available.

Summer Refrigerator

Yes, I'm still alive! Not blogging, but working, single parenting, dating, selling my house, and now moving to a new house. If life gets any busier I'm going to have to clone myself.

Today I cleaned out my refrigerator and did a grocery store run (I was out of town this weekend and missed the farmer's market). It's looking so pretty, kid-friendly, and well-stocked I thought I would take a picture.

Apples, watermelon slices and veggie sticks (jicama, baby carrots, and celery) are ready to grab and snack on, along with coconut yogurts, applesauce cups, and dried apricots. My son is a big fan of the new So Delicious Coconut Milk; it's all he drinks at home nowadays. The chocolate soymilk boxes are for his morning snack at summer school.

A big bowl of salad is behind the veggie sticks, and right now I'm cooking brown rice and edamame to add to this easy-grab snack fridge.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

I leave for work a little after 6:00am, and by the time my break rolls around at 9:30 I'm ready for a breakfasty snack. Fruit is good, but having access to hot water made me think of instant oatmeal, the kind that comes in little packets flavored with yummy maple and brown sugar.

The problem is, most prepackaged instant oatmeal is full of junk, and I HATE oatmeal with salt in it. (My mom never put salt in our oatmeal; the first time I had salty oatmeal at a restaurant I gagged.)

So, I decided to try making my own instant oatmeal packets!

I started with this basic recipe (leaving out the salt), pulsing some of the instant oats into a coarse flour and mixing 2 tablespoons oat flour with 1/4 cup instant oats. I added different dried fruits and flavorings to taste:
  • 1 TB raisins, 1 TB brown sugar, 1/8 tsp. cinnamon, and 1 TB chopped walnuts

  • one package (1/2 cup) freeze dried strawberries & bananas

  • 1 TB date sugar, 2 TB freeze dried apples, 1/8 tsp. cinnamon, and 1 TB chopped pecans

  • 2 TB dried blueberries, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/8 tsp. orange zest, and 1/4 tsp. vanilla powder (found in the bulk spices section at my local health food store)

  • and (my favorite!) 1 TB finely shredded coconut and 2 TB chopped dried pineapple

I have many more ideas: dried cherries, coconut, and chocolate chips; dehydrated pears with sugar and a pinch of mace or cardamom; dried peaches with sugar and powdered soy milkor powdered rice milk. I could even buy maple sugarand make maple-brown sugar oatmeal.

At work I can put the instant oatmeal in my little mug, add about 2/3 cup hot water, and let it sit for 2 minutes. A perfect mid-morning snack!