Sunday, January 31, 2010

Meal Plan for Feb. 1- 7

I haven't posted a meal plan in quite some time, but now that I am done with my cleanse, I thought I would pass along my plans for this week... maybe it will spark and idea for you as well!

Monday- Black Bean Soup (doubled to freeze 1/2 for later)
Tuesday- Spicy Eggplant over brown rice & a green side salad
Wednesday- Pinto Bean Tacos & Artichokes (random match, but that's what I have on hand!)
Thursday- Roasted Veggies & Linguini with Optional Chicken (NEW recipe!)
Friday- left overs
Saturday- out
Sunday- Superbowl party!!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Basque Soup...

There are a number of different Basque Resturants in Bakersfield, in which the traditional Basque Soup is always served as the first dish, along with beans, salsa and fresh French Bread. When looking for a recipe on line, I didn't have much luck, so I gave my best stab at it and it turned out REALLY good, pretty authentic (to my experience) of Basque Soup! It's fairly simple, nothing frilly, but it's packed full of veggies and the added beans bring the protein to the dish. This one goes out to my girl Sampley who married into the Basque culture- cook it up for the hubby, he'll think you're an authentic Basque Chica!

After it simmers for an hour it will look like this...
I love Trader Joe's new Tomato Sauce in a carton, I am trying to limit the amount of canned goods I use, and this is a tasty alternative!

The finished product! Enjoy!

1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 small head of green cabbage, chopped
1 potato, chopped
8 cups broth, veggie, chicken or beef or a combination of any
1 16 oz tomato sauce
1 TBSP fresh Parsley, chopped
1 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cans pinto beans, drained
salsa, your favorite
** French Bread, optional but very traditional!

Saute your onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and then add your chopped cabbage. Stir it around for a few minutes, add your broth, tomato sauce, and ALL seasonings (including the fresh parsley). Stir it all together and bring it to a boil, then reduce and let it simmer for 1 hour. That's it! I add my beans to the soup in the last 15 minutes although traditionally, they would serve them separately in a bowl along with the salsa in a different bowl and you would add them to your individual bowl of soup when it's served on the table.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Delicious Raw Broccoli Salad

Finally A Broccoli Salad with NO MAYO!!!

I have to confess, broccoli isn't my favorite veggie even though I really wish it were because of its great health benefits. If I were really honest, I would 'fess up and tell you, it's in the bottom 3 of my favorites. BUT there is hope on the horizon, I concocted this new recipe that I love so much, I think I could make it once a week!

3 crowns of broccoli, chopped
1 Granny Smith Apple, chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 of a red onion, diced really small

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 TBSP honey or brown sugar
2 tsp Tarragon Vinegar
1 lemon, juiced

Prepare all your ingredients by washing and chopping them where needed. I used raw sunflower seeds, so I toasted them on the stove top by adding a 1/2 tsp Grape seed oil in a skillet with the sunflower seeds. I continually turned them until they were toasty brown and added a sprinkle of sea salt to them.... they were so YUMMY! Then I made the dressing, whisked it together and poured it over top, tossed it and served it immediately. This salad doesn't do well to serve it the next day because the apples get mushy, so eat it right away!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cleanse Update...

Here's a NOT-SO-QUICK update on the cleanse I am doing!!! I am still eating a vegan/vegetarian diet (I say that for clarity sake because I have incorporated eggs back into my diet more than once a week and I have continued to cook with chicken broth) AND I did have a "Cheat Day" for about 24 hours because we had a birthday party (and I made & brought dessert = majorly tempting!) and we went to a wedding in LA and didn't think I could ask the waiter man for a "Vegan Friendly Meal".... so I ate the vegetarian one that had cream sauce and cheese. But can I tell you this, I felt like CRUMB afterwards. I had the worse stomach ache, I felt heavy, bloated, and overly full- and it was enough to convince me that I wanted to hop back on my cleansing diet as soon as I returned home because I feel significantly better eating this way.

Now that I am coming up on the 6th week here, I had been mulling over in my head what I will do when my cleanse is through, and for the most part I think I will stick fairly close to what I am doing now. Here's my game plan, not perfected, but what I am thinking as of now:

I will continue with lots of raw fruits and veggies, I will continue to incorporate eggs, brown rice pastas, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, fish (twice a week) and chicken once a week (this is for convenience sake more than anything else so I don't feel trapped when eating out or away from home). To ME there is a need for balance and flexibility, I don't want my diet to rule my life but I know it plays a HUGE role in HOW I feel in this life and that is where, for me, the balance lies.

One of the important questions that has been on my mind as I have made this shift in my diet is making sure I am doing it in a healthy manner. I wanted to make sure I get enough protein because you can't just stop eating meat and start considering yourself a vegetarian, it's more than that. And actually, many people have asked me what I do for protein now, so here's a quick blurb on the issue of protein:
Dr. Joel Fuhrman, in his book Eat To Live gives an easy way to figure out how much protein you body needs daily, simply multiple your weight times 0.36 g. So, for a 120 pound woman, 44 grams of protein would be sufficient. For a 150 pound male 54 grams would do, and for a 25 pound child 9 grams would be the requirement. (If you are pregnant or nursing you should up your intake by 25 grams or multiply your weight by 1.1 grams instead). A diet too high in protein can be hard on your kidney and cause other complications such as kidney stones.

Here's a Quick List of Protein Amounts (I chose to include foods that I eat lots of, but there are charts all over the Internet if you are looking for a specific food that's not listed here)...
Grams of Good Protein: (everything is measured in 1 cup unless otherwise noted)
Lentils- 18 g
Adzuki Beans- 17 g
White Beans- 17 g
Split Peas- 16 g
Black Bean- 15 g
Kidney- 13 g
Pinto- 12 g
Kidney- 13 g
Quinoa- 9 g
Peanut Butter (2 TBSP) - 8 g
Almonds (1/4 cup)- 8 g
Sunflower Seeds (1/4 cup) 8 g
Pistachio (1/4 cup)- 6 g
Couscous- 6 g
Oatmeal-6 g
1 Egg- 6 g
Steel Cut Oats (1/4 cup)- 5 g
Cashews (1/4 cup)- 5 g
Brown Rice- 5 g
Spinach- 5 g
Brown Rice Noodles- 4 g
Broccoli- 4 g
Brussel Sprouts- 4 g
Potato- 4 g
Sweet Potato- 3 g
Ezekiel Bread (Cinnamon Raisin)- 3 g
Kale- 2.5
Rutabaga- 2 g
Squash- 2 g

** For reference, a grilled chicken breast has 42 g of protein and aFillet Steak has about 30 g and a Salmon Steak has about 25 g (per 100 grams).

As you can see, it is quite easy to fulfill your protein intake even without the consumption of any meats. Other questions I got asked was do I eat any carbs and do I get enough calories? I do eat carbs such as Quinoa, Brown Rice, Brown Rice Pasta, Couscous, Harvest Grains, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, other roots, spelt or corn tortillas, Ezekiel bread, nuts and seeds, and more that I am not thinking of right now. As far as calories go, I get plenty of them! I am snacking all day on baby carrots, hummus, fruits, veggies, a handful of nuts and I eat 3 good meals each day. I do feel like I have more energy than normal (plenty of energy to work out to answer Christy's question!) and feel lighter and "overall better" consuming these foods than the ones I was eating pre-cleanse. Hope that answers some of the questions I've been asked that maybe were floating around your head too, but keep them coming and share your wisdom with me, this is all a learning process!

*** One last note- regardless of the diet I choose, I always make it a priority to continue my intake of supplements. One of the most important supplements you can take, especially for women, is Vitamin D. See this post for more.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Quick Frittata....

I modified this weeks recipe from Abundant Harvest Organics Newsletter, and used this frittata as a dinner option this week- with leftovers for lunch or breakfast. It was really simple, fresh, and easy to prepare- and a great way to pack a lot of veggies into one meal!

1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 crown broccoli, chopped
6-8 mushrooms, diced
2 huge handfuls fresh spinach, chopped
10 eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup cheese, parmesan or cheddar
**The original recipe called for sausage (cooked & diced) and for cheddar cheese as well, I opted for no sausage and to use parmesan, but you could really use a lot of different variations with this recipe.

Preheat your oven to a low broil. In a large oven proof skillet, heat 1 TBSP grape seed oil and saute your garlic and onion for 2 minutes. Add all your veggies and let them cook for about 3-4 minutes. In a separate bowl, beat your eggs and add your s & p and your cheese. Mix well and pour into skillet, stirring everything around to get it all mixed up. Then let is sit until the bottom begins to cook (you will see the egg starting to solidify around the edges of the pan) lift up the sides and let the uncooked egg drain to the bottom of the pan like you would an omelette. Then, put the whole skillet into the oven (on LOW broil) and let it cook for 5-7 minutes making sure it doesn't burn on top, it will get a toasty brown. Remove, let it rest for a few minutes, cut and serve in wedges for any meal of the day!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Abundant Harvest Organics

A few of my friends in town and a handful from out of town have told me about different co-ops that they have joined to support local farmers and have access to fresh, seasonal, locally grown produce. So after way to long, I decided to give one a whirl and I was pretty impressed with the quality and price. I logged onto Abundant Harvest Organics and signed up to receive a large box of produce and picked it that week at their drop off location on Saturday. Here's a sneak peak at what I got:

In the box was a TON of fresh spinach (3 Large Ziplock Bags full), green cabbage, butter lettuce, 12 crowns of broccoli, 2 rutabagas, 3 parsnips, a dozen oranges & tangerines, and a dozen apples. Next week, I am going to change my order to a small box (because we had broccoli coming out our ears!) and I am going to do some add-ons like black beans, brown rice, some herbs, and possibly some eggs. They have a ton of different add-ons ranging from more citrus or fresh, seasonal fruit to dried beans and lentils, to chickens, grass fed beef and dairy products. It may be something you might be interested in looking into. They have many locations and seemed really reasonably priced (to me) for fresh, seasonal, local, organic produce, just thought I would pass on the info! We are going to try it out for a bit and see how it works for our family.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pesto Marinated Chicken Breasts

I made this meal prior to my vegan cleanse and it was delicious! It is a great thing to have on hand especially for a night when you know you will be crunched for time. There is no prep, it comes pre-marinated from Trader Joe's and it is really reasonably priced. I served it with a green salad and baked sweet potato.

a package of Genovese Pesto Chicken Breasts

Spray a pyrex dish with some cooking oil, preheat your oven to 400. Pop the chicken in and let if bake for 35- 40 minutes! That's it! It is super flavorful and really juicy! I give it 5 stars and look forward to coming up with my own pesto marinate in the future!

THE FUTURE IS HERE! Here'a a recipe for Homemade Pesto!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Spicy Eggplant

This was so yummy, I could have eaten the whole dish! This recipe tops the charts, I am sure you will love it... the pictures don't do it justice! It is fast and easy to make, it maybe took me 15 minutes!! Great flavor and some spicy kick to heat things up. Serve it over a bed of brown rice.

1 large eggplant, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion
3 cloves garlic
3 TBSP soy sauce
3 TBSP rice vinegar
1/4 - 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 TBSP grape seed oil

Heat your grape seed oil in a hot frying pan with your red pepper flakes (I used 1/2 tsp and it was pretty spicy, next time I would use 1/4 tsp- but if you are a lover of spice, heat it up to 1/2). After that has a minute to heat up, add your chopped eggplant and let it cook for about 3-4 minutes, turning it every minute or so. Next add your chopped bell pepper and onions and minced garlic cloves and cook that for another 3 minutes, turning it as well. Last add your seasonings. Let it simmer for 5 minutes and either leave on low or remove from heat until serving. I let mine sit for about 30 minutes before eating, and everything was really well marinated and juicy... umm umm!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year Cleanse....

So, it has been awhile since I have posted, the holidays kept us busy with lots of cooking and baking, delivering and traveling, and eating, too much eating- so I am just now getting a moment to post my newest New Year's Plan- I am doing a vegan cleanse to kick off the New Year. I have done a handful of cleanses in the past and love the way I feel physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally when I follow through with it. If you've never done one, it's a great challenge in discipline, it helps you see what you REALLY are eating, the "detox" part helps you see how many toxins you have built up in your system, and the clear mind, energy, restful nights, and overall good healthy feel makes you realize how much food really does impact your day to day life.

So, here's my 6 week plan for the cleanse, I am already finishing up week 1 and feel great- honest, really, REALLY great (although I felt really junky the first 4 days, not going to lie about that) but it was evidence to me that my body needed to detox and get rid of the junk in my system and get a fresh start. I am not claiming to be a "certified anything" on here so look into what would be right with you, especially if you have previous health conditions, but I think you would be amazed at the results- so if you feel up for it give it a whirl, join in the fun! For clarity sake, I have cut out all animal products (including meat, dairy, cheese, butter, limited eggs- I per week) as well as sugar, processed foods, and minimal wheat (like 2 pita's a week). Any snacks or munchies during the day are raw fruits and veggies. And when I am about to loose my marbles on any given night... I sneak a bite of 71% dark chocolate bar to help me with my sanity!

This is just what I have mapped out from my reading, research and studies- mostly from some favorite places and people :
  • Dr.Furhman
  • Eat to Live, Disease Proof Your Children (Furhman's books)
  • Dr. Mercola
  • Clean Food (cook book)
  • Gearsen Therapy
So, for this 6 weeks I have made it my task to remove any animal products from my diet- which seemed daunting at first, but with a few new recipes and my new Christmas Present Cook Book "Clean Food", I felt encouraged and like I had some direction. I would challenge you, even if you aren't up for the cleanse to see if you can eliminate some animal products from your meals, maybe just one meal a week- to not only save around your waist line, your internal health, but also in your pocket book!

My cleanse started out with a 24 hour water fast... that's right, nothing but water from 3 pm until the following days dinner. And like with any fasting, break your fast gently with something light like a baked sweet potato or light bowl of soup.

Here's what my breakfasts will look like for the week these 6 weeks:
Sunday: 1 piece of Ezekiel (cinnamon raisin) bread, almond butter, 1 piece of fresh fruit
Monday: Green Smoothie (kale, tomatoes, carrots, flaxseed, brewers yeast, + fruit) & 1 handful almonds
Tuesday: 1 cup steel cut oats, 1 oz raw cashews, 1 piece fresh fruit
Wednesday: 2 egg whites or 1 egg, 2 oz raw walnuts, 2 pieces fresh fruit
Thursday: Green Smoothie (kale, tomatoes, carrots, flaxseed, brewers yeast, + fruit) & 1 handful almonds
Friday: 1 cup steel cut oats, 1 oz raw cashews, 1 piece fresh fruit
Saturday: 2 pieces fresh fruit, 2 oz. mixed nuts, 1 TBSP flax seed
* I also start the day with a glass of water with a half of fresh squeezed lemon juice.

When I first looked at that line up I thought "yeah right I will starve" and the first few days I did feel super hungry, but as my body adjusted to the new "normal" I felt really content, light, and energized by these breakfasts.

You may also have noticed I did allow myself 1 egg per week (not very vegan of me) but it was allowed by Dr. Furhman in his book, "Eat to Live" in which he reminds you to give yourself some room for adjustment- I chose to allow myself 1 egg and the use of chicken broth in some of my soups. That was worth a cheat for me.

As for lunches and dinners, I got a few recipes from my sister and used a few recipes I already had on this blog- using some small modifications where necessary. I will list some recipes I used and then post some new ones as well. Even if you're not doing in the cleanse, you still might enjoy the change up, you would be surprised how tasty they are!

Vegan Recipes Already on this Blog:
***The only thing that would disqualify any of these recipes would be the use of chicken broth (so you can use veggie broth is you prefer) or a pinch of sugar in a salad dressing.... but I never was one to comb through things with a fine toothed comb anyhow ;)

Let me know if you try it out.... I will tell you that you won't feel the results of the cleanse without doing it with complete commitment (24 hour detox first, then the healthy eating to follow) how do I know this??? Reason # 1. because I used to think I would have an eternal headache if I didn't eat meat and I don't- I actually feel WAY better off of meat than I every would have imagined. AND Reason # 2. because my sweet husband is eating what I am eating for the most part (with the exception of some lunches and snacks) and he's not feeling it like I am! Thanks for being a good sport honey, I always seem to drag you into my crazy ideas!

So, if you don't have a New Year's goal OR if your New Year's goal was to eat better or loose weight, you really might want to consider this! ("Eat to Live" says you can loose up to a pound a day up to 20 pounds or more by switching to a vegan life style).