5.08.2012

Graduation, Chef AJ's Disappearing Lasagna, and ANK's first ever GIVEAWAY!

What a whirlwind week it has been for me!  I made it through my final finals relatively unscathed, spent some time celebrating with friends and family, and finally, I graduated!  I officially graduated from Washington State University with a BS in Environmental Science and Regional Planning on May 5th, 2012.  And does it feel great to be done!  My parents came into town on Saturday to pack me up, to take me out to an awesome lunch at my favorite restaurant called Sangria, and to go to the Spring Commencement.  Here are a few pictures of our day:
Packing up and getting ready for graduation!
Out to lunch at Sangria.  Dad and I toast to finally being done! 
Me and my Envi Sci friend Danielle.  We will forever say "we DID  Environmental Science together." 
My parents and I after the commencement ceremony.
Now that I'm done I will finally have time for more blogging, and most importantly, more time for my health!  Since being back home I've gotten exercise everyday, have been drinking a bunch more water, drinking less alcohol, and eating and feeling much better.  During these last few weeks of school, I admittedly enjoyed myself a bit too much in the food and drinking category, and it feels so much better getting back into a healthy routine again!

To kick-start the summer I am going to do Amy's Nutritarian Kitchen's first ever GIVEAWAY!  I am going to be giving away a copy of Chef AJ's awesome book, Unprocessed: How to achieve vibrant health and your ideal weight.  I finished reading my copy a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed hearing her story and her philosophy on food and health.  Chef AJ tells about her many years of nutritional abuse to her body and how a critical health condition and retreat to a health clinic that served only raw vegan food was her awakening to a wonderful healthful life of enjoying the best foods on earth!  Her story truly hits home and makes most of us feel ridiculous for thinking of excuses for not eating a plant-based diet.  Half of her book is this story and why we should not eat processed junk, and the other half is full of recipes.
I finally have found some time (and more people than myself to cook for) to try out a few of her recipes.  I made her famous Disappearing Lasagna and her wonderful Hale to the Kale Salad yesterday and thought, "This is wonderful!  One of my readers NEEDS to have this book to try too!"  (Aren't you guys lucky ;))  Here is my experience at trying the lasagna:

Chef AJ's Disappearing Lasagna
Ingredients:
Faux Parmesan pp.142:

  • 1 cup raw almonds (or cashews)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 TBSP salt-free seasoning

Kale or Spinach Dip Filling pp.83:

  • 2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (OR 1 box extra firm water packed tofu)
  • 2 oz fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup raw cashews (or pine nuts, or hemp seeds)
  • 2 cloves garlic (more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium miso
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (~1 lemon)
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (I omitted)
  • 2 lbs of frozen, chopped spinach or kale (defrosted, drained with all of the liquid squeezed out)

Saucy Glazed Mushrooms pp.152: (sorry I forgot to take a picture of this part)

  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 lbs sliced mushrooms (I used 1 lb and found it to be plenty!)
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed (more to taste)
  • low-sodium tamari or soy sauce (I used less than 1/4 cup)

Finishing the Lasagna pp.100:
  • 2 boxes of no boil rice lasagna noodles (I used 1 box of whole wheat noodles and boiled before following box instructions, Bionaturae Organic 100% Whole Wheat Lasagna)
  • 6 cups of your favorite no-oil marinara sauce

Directions:  For the sake of spending less time typing out directions, and because I thought the videos were super helpful, I'm going to direct you to The Chef and The Dietitian videos for each part of the recipe.

Note, in the video she says to bake at 350 F for one hour but the book, the directions that I followed, were for 375 for one hour.

Amy's Notes:  This recipe is a long process and makes a lot!  I spent most of the afternoon yesterday getting everything ready, but each thing can be done on your own time the day before you put together the lasagna.  I'm guessing it would serve up to eight people with one serving a piece.  It served the three of us without going through even half of the dish.  I made it for my dad to have for lunch the rest of the week and the weekend because my mom and I are leaving tomorrow morning for a mother daughter trip to DISNEYLAND!!!  What a proper way to end my college career right?  I'm so excited to go for the weather and all of the nostalgic moments.  

Anyways, I'm sure you're all wondering "How can I get in on the Unprocessed book giveaway!?"
To enter the free giveaway of Chef AJ's book Unprocessed, comment below this post answering one of the the questions at the bottom.  You will get entered twice if you follow my nutritarian boards on Pinterest, and just tell me you did so in your comment.  Find me on Pinterest at this link.  My boards relating to nutritarian eating are: Nutritarian Food I Love, Nutritarian Foods I Want to Try, and Juice for Health.  Feel free to follow one or all of these boards.  I will be revealing the randomly selected winner on Wednesday, May 16th.  Until then, I will try to keep up with answering your comments while I'm on vacation.  Good luck to everyone!

What are some common questions you get asked about your nutritarian/plant-strong lifestyle?  OR
What are some questions you have about a nutritarian/plant-strong lifestyle?

26 comments:

  1. Of course, I follow your Pinterest boards! This recipe looks great, and I'm getting ready to make it soon, with a whole grain noodle. What's more wonderful than Lasagna!!!? People often ask me about how I do without dairy, and I tell them Wonderfully! My tummy has never felt better, an it gets smaller and smaller. My Pinterest board is www.pinterest.com/ipat/nutritarian-real-food-rules

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    1. Oh yes, and I follow your Pinterest boards as well :). I love all the stuff you pin!

      I hoped the lasagna recipe turned out just a great for you as it did for us. I was sad I didn't get any of the leftovers, but this will definitely be a recipe I make fairly often. My fiance Kevin, who is a notorious meat lover, even said it looked amazing and wanted to try it. Maybe cooking as a married woman won't be so hard after all!

      I'm so glad that you're doing well without that disease causing dairy! I have had a mild (sometimes severe) intolerance to dairy for years, and eating this way has finally gotten me to nearly stop dairy completely. It doesn't make sense to eat food that doesn't make you feel good and, at least for me, irritates your stomach to cause a mass exodus or completely blocks me up.

      Thanks for reading, Amy

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  2. I'm excited to follow your Pinterest boards. Our family is just starting out in this nutritarian lifestyle, so I'm on the lookout for new ideas! The most common question I get asked from adults are, "What made you decide to do this?" And the most common question I get from the friends of my 11 year twin daughters is, "Why are you doing this to them?!" Hopefully as we make yummy dishes to bring to events people will begin to see that food can be healthy AND yummy!

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    1. Congratulations on beginning your nutritarian journey to superior health! At first it can seem a bit overwhelming, but after no time it will be like second nature... a delicious, healthy second nature :)

      I'm just curious, what did make you decide to make this wonderful change? I love to hear people's journeys of how they came to nutritarian living. As for your daughters, there are so many recipes out there that you are bound to find many things that they will love. Also remember that it takes time for everyone's taste buds to adjust from an over-fat, -salt, and -sugar diet to a natural foods diet. Might I suggest making banana ice cream for them? It only has frozen bananas and a small amount of dairy-free milk to get it to consistency in a food processor. I'd prefer it to ice cream any time!

      Thanks for reading, Amy

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  3. I'm brand spanking new, been eating this way for 3 days. I want to get off of insulin and to live a healthy life, plus, I wanna look cute in jeans! I'm glad I found your blog, and your Pinterest pins. I'm following all three of your boards, and now your blog. I'd love to win the cook book, especially because I'm not a natural chef and I need directions! Regardless, thanks for your posts and the great ideas. Oh you asked a question, didn't you... (What are some questions you have about a nutritarian/plant-strong lifestyle?) I have so many, but I'm wondering if this is sustainable for life, and if eating this way can be enjoyable.

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    1. Welcome to the nutritarian world! I love your goals (the jeans one is always one of mine) and I know you can reach them with this lifestyle change! Since you are newer to this, if you ever have any questions or need some motivation, please feel free to contact me by my email at amysnutritariankitchen@gmail.com.

      I'm rooting for you to get randomly selected for the cookbook, I know it is a bit difficult to know what to make for yourself at first. Just remember, simplicity is just fine and still tastes great! One of my favorite simple meals is to have black beans with mixed veggies and salsa while using whole romaine lettuce leaves as the "taco" shells.

      As for your question, "is a nutritarian lifestyle sustainable for life?", yes it is! I know that this is the way I want to eat for life. Does this mean that I'm going to be plant-perfect? No, I will strive to be plant-strong. Once you realize how wonderful this way of eating makes you feel, mentally and physically, you won't want to go back to the way you used to eat.

      Thanks for reading, Amy

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  4. Follow you on Pinterest :)

    In general, I get 2 responses - first people think I'm just really strange to like green leafy stuff! and second, of course, is the protein question, lol. So glad I found your blog! And congrats on graduating! Have a great vacation!

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    1. Thanks for your response Kelly, I look forward to exploring your blog as well.

      I wish more people were educated that the "green leafy stuff" is the best food in the world for us mironutrient-wise. The protein question is also one that I get asked constantly. I like to nicely reply to those who ask me: "Cows, gorillas, and elephants are very large animals, so how do you think they get their protein to get so large?" I find that it is a simple response that can really get people thinking.

      Thanks for reading, Amy

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  5. I wonder if it's expensive eating this way. Also,are the high omega 6's in nuts a concern? Karen

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    1. Sorry,my email is morganguiney@aol.com if I win!

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    2. Karen,

      Eating this way can actually be very inexpensive if you know how to shop. Per pound dried beans are much cheaper than animal protein, and fresh produce is cheaper than processed foods. There are certain things that can be a bit more expensive such as organic or unseasonal produce, or harder to find produce like kale or exotic fruits.

      I find that it is best to shop seasonally and buy in bulk and freeze produce when it is in abundance and on sale. I do this most often with corn on the cob, broccoli, and berries, especially during the summer. Then all through the fall (and winter if you stock up enough), you'll have inexpensive vegetables just waiting to be used in the freezer.

      As for omega 6's in nuts, I don't know very much about this issue, and don't have an outright answer for you. I love nuts and often include them in my daily diet, but only in small amounts (1-2 oz, or 1 small handfull). I only do small amounts because nuts are very concentrated in calories and fat. Here are two articles that I would personally take advice from on this subject:

      http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/digestive-health-diet-high-in-omega6-fats-increases-risk-for-ulcerative-colitis.html

      http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/healthy-food-essential-fatty-acids.html

      From these I would conclude that in eating a nutritarian diet (with very little to no animal protein), you will not have an excess of omega-6's even if you do eat some nuts, and you will find the right balance of the 3's and 6's.

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  6. I have been wanting Chef AJs book for so long. I am wondering why I have yet to break down and buy it myself! I certainly get tons of questions about the way I eat. There's always the question about where I get protein from, as well as how I get enough calcium since I don't eat dairy. And, of course, there's always the comments that I don't eat "real" food, except I always have to correct people and tell them I'm the one who eats REAL food, unlike the processed Un-Real food they eat! It's so strange to me the misconceptions people have about this lifestyle! I am also following 2 of your nutritarian boards!

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    1. I'm rooting for you to get the book :) I've already used a few recipes from it and have loved all of them!

      Oh the protein and dairy questions. I just wish that everyone had the right knowledge about these subjects rather than assuming that protein only comes from animal flesh (and not from plant sources as well), and that you must drink dairy for calcium (which is quite the opposite).

      That is funny about people thinking we're not eating "real" foods. If only they knew how great this all tastes and how wonderful it makes you feel.

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  7. I really like the picture of the lasagna. The one under the words "Chef AJ's Disappearing Lasagna." Awesome blog. Congrats on 10,000 page views!

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    1. Thanks Batman, I'll for sure be making this for my extremely LUCKY future husband. I'm sure you very much envy him ;) I love you, Amy

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    2. Stay cool baby, or Robin will get jealous.

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  8. Thanks for the chance for the giveaway and I can't wait to explore your Pinterest page further. Love the blog!

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    1. You're welcome. I'm glad that the giveaway is giving me a chance to hear from people I don't normally do.

      Thanks for reading, Amy

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  9. Laura S. rukiddingme at hotmail.comMonday, May 14, 2012 at 2:12:00 PM PDT

    Hi Amy! Congratulations on graduating!!!

    Questions I get...the usual protein question, how do you live without cheese, do you think you'll stay this "way" forever? The last one I answer with an emphatic YES and tell them how great I feel! I don't think people realize how wonderful we're meant to feel!

    Thanks for the giveaway and so exciting it's your first one!!!! (A great one at that!)

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    1. Thank you Laura for the congratulations, it feels so great to finally be done!

      I also get the protein question all of the time. I think life is just dandy without cheese (especially because I have a mild lactose intolerance). I think you'll enjoy this picture about cheese: http://pinterest.com/pin/218143175671124322/

      I'm so happy that you are so determined to stick with eating this way. I wish others knew how wonderful you feel when you give your body the great nutritious food it deserves.

      Thanks for reading, Amy

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  10. People always ask me about the protein. Also, calcium, iron, etc... Everyone is most curious if I will "put my 15 m/o daughter on this diet?!?" YES! Of course!

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    1. Always people with the protein and calcium! Not too many people bug me about iron, but that is not something we're often taught wrongly about as children like protein and calcium are.

      Way to be an awesome mom and do this wonderful thing for your daughter that will give her a long, healthy life! I wonder how she will compare to other children growing up along with her. I'm guessing she will never have weight problems, probably rarely get sick, and never develop cancer or a chronic disease. Who doesn't want that for their children?

      Thanks for reading, Amy

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  11. I've been eyeing this recipe for some time, I think I might have to actually bite the bullet and make it!

    People usually ask me why I initially went vegan and then tell me they could never give up cheese.

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    1. I'm sure you'll love the recipe, but it does take some extra time than I would normally spend on making dinner, so maybe save it for the weekend when you have some extra time, and maybe some extra mouths to feed :). Also, I found that the leftovers froze very well and heated up to be just as delicious as the original.

      I'm just curious, why did you decide to make the change to a vegan lifestyle? I always love to hear people's journeys on how they came about choosing to eat this way.

      Thanks for reading, Amy

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  12. It starts with the pasta. If you’re not making your own, your lasagna can be drastically improved. In addition to a much more flavorful product, you can control the thickness when you make it yourself; I prefer 5-6 sheets of pasta made thinner than most commercial products, I use this recipe although I use 50% whole grain flour like red fife and 50% white flour.

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