4.23.2012

Colorful Quinoa with Black Beans and Veggies

The weather is finally starting to get nice in Pullman with our first 80 degree day since I can't remember when!  I spent most of yesterday (Sunday) reading on my sunny porch and relaxing.  It was just what I needed!  Later that night, there was a huge thunderstorm that rolled through town, so Kevin and I went up to the observatory on campus to watch from a great vantage point.  Below is a picture from a friend on Facebook who has quick-fire reflexes to get this picture!


This next week promises even more great weather, so I wanted to make a big batch of a recipe to eat for the rest of the week so I could be out more in the sun making up for those months of not enough vitamin D!  Also, because I'm moving out in less than two weeks, I'm trying to use up a bunch of the food I have laying around.  So here it is: (I apologize for the not so great pictures, I had to use my computer screen camera, which involved quite a bit of juggling and maneuvering.  I had forgotten my camera at Kevin's house.)

Colorful Quinoa with Black Beans and Veggies
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained in a fine mesh strainer
  • 1 3/4 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, or 1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 bell peppers, diced, any colors
  • 1/2 large bunch of green onion, sliced thinly
  • handful cilantro, roughly chopped
Directions:
  1. In a small mesh strainer, rinse and drain the uncooked quinoa.  In a small saucepan on the stovetop, toast the quinoa for 1-2 minutes, adding very small amounts of water as not to burn, until the quinoa has a nutty smell.  Add in the water, stir once, heat to a simmer, and cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the rest of the ingredients.  Take one of the avocados and mix it in a small bowl with the juice from one lemon.  Stir until creamy.  In a large bowl, combine the beans, bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, and the other avocado, chopped.  Pour the avocado lemon dressing on the veggies and beans, and mix well.
  3. When the quinoa is done cooking, remove it from the heat.  Add the turmeric, cayenne pepper, cumin, and soy sauce into the cooked quinoa and stir well to mix the flavors.  Taste and add more spices as desired.
  4. Allow the quinoa to cool for 5-10 minutes, then mix into the veggie salad.  Serve at room temperature or chilled by itself or on top of leafy greens.
Amy's Notes:

If you don't have turmeric, add other spices to get the taste that you desire.  The turmeric in this recipe is what made my quinoa such a beautiful color of yellow-orange.  Another interchangeable spice to get a similar color would be saffron.

I had a reader express interest in doing somewhat of a book club this summer with my reading list from my last post.  As I am finishing up school, I won't be able to start the first of my books for a few more weeks, which would give readers who would like to join plenty of time to get the book in the mail and start to read at your own pace.  I will be first reading Super Immunity, by Dr. Fuhrman and I will start reading on Monday, May 21st and will talk about the book as I progress through it.  I'm going to look into doing a few book giveaways this summer, so make sure to watch for that!

If you have already read one or more of these books, I encourage you to watch for when I write about them and put in your opinion and what you got out of each. :)

Here is my reading list for this summer:
Super Immunity, by Dr. Joel Fuhrman,
The Vegan Diet as Chronic Disease Prevention, by Karrie K. Saunders,
The Pleasure Trap, by Douglas Lisle, PhD,
Thrive, by Brenden Brazier,
The Beauty Detox Solution, by Kimberly Snyder,
How I Conquered Cancer Naturally, by Eydie Mae Hunsberger with Chris Loeffler, and
Eating and Fasting For Health, by Dr. Joel Fuhrman

Will you be joining me with any of the books I have on my list?  Do you have another suggestion to add to my book list?

4.17.2012

Great Weekend with my Mom, and my New Reading List

Thank you to all who suggested books for my reading list!  I can't wait to start reading through them.  Here is my reading list for this summer:

Super Immunity, by Dr. Joel Fuhrman,
The Vegan Diet as Chronic Disease Prevention, by Karrie K. Saunders,
The Pleasure Trap, by Douglas Lisle, PhD,
Thrive, by Brenden Brazier,
The Beauty Detox Solution, by Kimberly Snyder,
How I Conquered Cancer Naturally, by Eydie Mae Hunsberger with Chris Loeffler, and
Eating and Fasting For Health, by Dr. Joel Fuhrman

If you would like to read along with me, or are interested in a few of these books, you can find links to them at the bottom of this post to buy them from Amazon.  If you use these links when you buy, a small amount of the cost will go to supporting Amy's Nutritarian Kitchen.

This last weekend was Mom's weekend at WSU, so my mom traveled down to visit and we had a blast!  On Friday when she arrived, we drove over to Moscow for a light lunch at the Co-op deli.  I had a kale salad with probably one of the better tofu's I've ever had, and we split a package of Chickpea Flour Rolls that were delicious!  My mom says that she wants to try making more things like rolls with chickpea flower.  

After that we went to WSU's Student Rec Center for a mother/daughter spa and tea.  We got to spend 15 minutes having a spa-foot bath, 20 minutes with a professional neck and back massage, and the rest of the time having freshly brewed tea with fruit, veggies, and deli items.  It was so relaxing and wonderful that my mom was convinced that I needed to get a full body 50 minute massage before I dive into finals in a few weeks.  I am such a lucky girl!  



After being thoroughly relaxed, we walked next door to Beasley Coliseum to wander around the massive craft fair.  We found a pair of earrings for both of us that match the colors of her dress and my shoes for Kevin and my wedding in September.  It is such a fun girly thing to walk around and enjoy looking at pretty things.

Later, that night we watched the Mariner game at Kevin's place, then took a nice walk to a Mexican Restaurant nearby.  We went to bed very early that night because we had plans to wake up an hour before the crack of dawn and hike up Kamiak Butte to watch the sunrise.  As we planned, we woke up early and headed out in the dark and cold of the morning.  When we got to the top of the huge hill, we welcomed the warm sun and beautiful morning!
Here comes the sun!
This is a view of the Palouse in Washington State.  In the distance we could see some buildings of WSU, but you can't see it too well in this picture. 
We were cold, but it was a great hike.  (My mom has on a furry snow hat,  she does not have that fluffy of hair hehe)

Later on Saturday, my mom and I went to a wine tasting event at a local bar called Vahalla.  We were given 12 tickets for 12 wine samples from a choice of over 30 wines.  Along with that we got more fruit, veggie, and deli snacks, along with chocolate dipped strawberries, which were the best!  12 samples of wine were way stronger than we were expecting, so we had to have Kevin pick these tipsy girls up and take us home!  After that we went back to the same Mexican restaurant with my roommate and her mom, then crashed for bed thereafter.

It was a wonderful weekend that involved lots of laughs, good food, and a bit too many drinks.  Love you mom!

Which one of the books on my reading list looks most interesting to you?  Would you guys like to see some book reviews and giveaways over the summer?

4.12.2012

I need to take a Timeout... or at least slow down.

Remember to vote in the ANK blog poll to the right!  Poll ends in 3 days!

Hello all!  I'm sorry that I have not been posting very much lately.  I have been so busy with school and enjoying my last month of a college social life that I have not had much time to cook unique recipes, yet alone blog about them!  So, I'm announcing that I am going to cut my blogging down to as much as I can fit in, which will hopefully be about one post a week.  In the meantime, I would love to hear from readers about suggestions of books to read!  I just finished Unprocessed by Chef AJ, which was inspiring and has a ton of recipes I can't wait to try.  If you would also like to read Unprocessed, you can click on the link found in my Amazon sidebar in the right column of my blog (a very small amount goes to support ANK this way).  So now I am in search of another good book about plant-based nutrition.

Do you have any suggestions for me on what I should read next?
(I have already ready Eat to Live and Engine 2 Diet)

4.02.2012

How I Juice...

It's been almost a week since I stopped juicing, and I'm already missing the great energy it had given me.  I think I might go back to drinking a green juice in the morning.  Lord knows I need the energy now that I'm in nearly my last month of school.... ever!

On one of my posts about juicing (this one), I received a comment from The Kraals:

"Thanks for posting! I think I will love the juice, we are planning to start a 10 day juice fast. We are hoping to loose some more weight. We have been on the nutritarian diet and it has been great! What a ride. Just seeing to pounds melting away. I almost felt guilty for it. Guess I have been guilty about eating most of my life so I need something to be guilty about. Lol. I want to find how I can juice for 10 days. Do you have that somewhere on your blog? I will try to find it. THKNS"

I thought I would respond to the Kraals so that anyone wanting to know more about the details of juicing can find them here, and so that the Kraals can get a broader range of advice from my readers as well.  (Please note, I am not a doctor, nor an authority on juicing/detoxing/dieting.  I am just a nutritarian food blogger that is sharing my experiences and giving some basic advice based on those experiences.)

To The Kraals:

Thanks for reading, and I would love to answer any questions you have about juicing!  Congratulations on the progress you have been making with a nutritarian lifestyle, it really does feel great to see progress you can measure.  I used to have the same guilty feelings about food (not a healthy mind-set for myself), but have found that nutritarian eating has not only made my body feel great, but I also feel great mentally about what I eat.

As for juicing, the best direction I can give you is to go to jointhereboot.com.  This is where I got started.  This website is associated with the documentary called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  If you have a Netflix Instant Watch account, you can watch the movie at this link.  I found the movie to be extremely inspirational, and the little extra kick to keep me going mid-juice fast.  Today just so happens to be the one year anniversary of the movie.  Here is a video from some appreciative and inspiring rebooters:
On the Reboot website, there is information for a variety of different detoxing plans.  The most common is fifteen day juice fast, known as the Classic Reboot.  This is the plan that I usually follow, which includes "5 days of eating and juicing; followed by 5 days of just juicing; followed by 5 days of eating and juicing."  I adjust the amounts of days that I only juice from 5 to 10 on this plan depending on how much detoxing I feel that I need to do.  Join the Reboot suggests that you have at least a week or two of a plant-based diet before you start juicing, so good news for you nutritarians, you can start whenever you want!

You will, of course, want to buy a juicer.  The juicer that I use is a Juiceman that you can find easily at your local Walmart or Target.  My juicer collects the fruit and vegetable pulp within the machine, closer to the blade so I have to spend extra time cleaning for large batches of juice.  If you are making juice for more than a single person, it might be worth it to get a juicer that has an exterior pulp bin, like this one.  When it comes time to juice your fruits and vegetables, make sure to run your pulp through at least two extra times.  This gets a lot more juice out of the produce you use, and will save you money!

This is what my loot looks like when I juice, and a picture of my juicer.
Once you buy a juicer, your next step will be to go on a very big grocery shopping trip.  Here is a quick breakdown of some of the groceries I get when juicing:

Greens:  I usually like to have two choices of dark greens and two choices of lighter greens on hand at all times.  Some leafy greens juice better than others, for example, you will get more juice out of spinach than you will most kale leaves.
  • Dark greens: kale, swiss chard, collard greens, spinach, beet greens
  • Light greens: romaine lettuce, butter lettuce, cabbage (red or green), escarole, iceburg lettuce
Vegetables:  Some of my favorite vegetables to juice are the more fleshy types that yield a lot of juice and often a lot of flavor.  I try to have a bit of each of these on hand so I can make different combos, but there are certain vegetables that I go through faster than others.
  • Gone quickly: tomatoes, carrots, celery, bell peppers, cucumbers
  • Have a few: beets, broccoli,  fennel, pumpkin, zucchini, sweet potato/yams
Fruits:  I absolutely love the fruit juices!  I like to stalk up on all types of fruits when I'm juicing.  But, beware, fruits are what is going to cost you the most depending on what you want to buy and what is in season.  Some fruits are a must (for me at least), while others are just fun to have. (NOTE: BANANAS DO NOT JUICE!)
  • Must fruits:  granny smith apples, lemons, oranges, sweet apple, grapefruit, strawberries, pears
  • Fun fruits: pineapple, mango, watermelon, cantelope, honeydew melon, limes, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, grapes, papaya, peaches, nectarines, pluots, pomegranate
Flavor Filled:  It is always nice to have interesting flavors in your juices.  Some of my favorite flavors to juice come from herbs, onions, or citrus fruits (I add lemon to just about everything)
  • Herbs:  basil, parsley, cilantro, mint, ginger
  • Onions: red onion, green onion, sweet onion, leeks
My daily juice schedule:
Once your fridge, pantry, kitchen table, counters, and everything is stocked (literally, produce will overrun your kitchen!), you need to get a schedule down for how you want to juice.  Here is a basic schedule of how I liked to enjoy my juice throughout the day:
  • Breakfast: large fruit only juice (2 glassfuls)
  • Lunch: large greens and vegetable based juice with little fruit (2-3 glassfuls)
  • Snack: 1 juice packet of pure coconut water (I liked this brand found at Costco)
  • Dinner: large vegetable based juice, not necessarily with greens, and no fruit (2-3 glassfuls)
  • Dessert: small fruit only juice (1 glassful)
I like to drink juice continually throughout the day, so I have a few re-useable to-go jars and bottles to carry around as I go about my day.  This seems like a lot of liquid, and it is, but when I juice, I also try to drink a big glass of water in the morning and before bed.  (Prepare to use the bathroom a lot when you are juicing!)

When you first start juicing, you may not feel the best, at least for the first few days.  This feeling is your body detoxing, which is a good thing.  Try as hard as you can not to take any medicine (other than physician prescribed).  Other no-no's include drinking coffee, teas, or anything with caffeine; you also must avoid processed foods before and after your juicing.

Good luck to the Kraals!  I'd love to hear about your progress during your juicing.

What advice do you have for the Kraals?  Is there anything I forgot to mention that would be helpful to them?

4.01.2012

Creamy Broccoli Soup

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  I spent my weekend sleeping, cooking, watching movies with Kevin, hosting a small Fedora party, and going to a Kansas concert.  The extra sleep was glorious, but now I have to get back to my weekday sleep schedule, dang.  Some of the cooking I did was for the Fedora party, but I also made the soup that I'm featuring in today's post.  

My fiance Kevin is on nearly the opposite side of the spectrum compared to me when it comes to the amounts of veggies he eats.  One veggie that he actually really enjoys is broccoli.  I remember as a kid learning to like broccoli by my mom telling me that I was a dinosaur that had to eat the little "trees" to get big and strong.  Kevin recalls that his mom asked if he wanted to have cancer or not, and handed him broccoli.  Although Kevin's mom was a bit more realistic, I think I preferred pretending I was a dinosaur.  As I've learned more about nutrition, I have learned that broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are loaded with nutrients and come in the perfect fibrous packages that are great for ones digestive health.

As stated above, broccoli is part of the cruciferous family of vegetables.  Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collard greens, and brussels sprouts, are high in vitamin C and soluble fiber, that also contain nutrients and phytochemicals with cancer preventative properties.  Like other green vegetables, raw broccoli is only 100 calories per pound, which equals out to be about 30 calories per cup of chopped raw broccoli.  I know that I try to include at least a serving of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli in my daily diet, and soups are one of my favorite ways to get in my vegetables.

Creamy Broccoli Soup
Ingredients:
8 cups broccoli (~2 heads), stems and tops roughly chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1-2 handfuls collard greens, chopped
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 can light coconut milk
nutritional yeast (optional)
salt and pepper (optional)
Directions:  In a large saucepan or dutch oven on the stovetop, water saute the red onion until translucent.  Add the broccoli and celery with 7 cups of water.  Heat to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, turning and stirring the vegetables periodically.  Once the pot has simmered and the broccoli is well cooked, strain out 2-3 cups of the soup broth.  Save this broth for another recipe.  Add the collard greens, beans, and coconut milk to the cooked vegetables and remaining liquid.  Over low heat and stirring continually, heat the soup until the collard greens are softened but not soggy.  Using an immersion blender, or a blender in batches, puree the soup until creamy.  Add nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to get desired taste.  Serve hot and enjoy!
Amy's notes:  If you don't have coconut milk on hand, 1-2 cups of an alternative milk will work perfectly.  You may also omit the "milk" and leave in the two cups of original broth, but the soup may not be as "creamy" like a traditional broccoli soup.  If you decide to add nutritional yeast, it will also give it a nice cheesy taste.  Maybe include nutritional yeast as an optional soup topping to serve.
Kevin liked this soup (with some cheese sprinkled in), but could tell that I snuck in more vegetables than just broccoli.  All the same, he was appreciative that I brought him a 'picnic' to him at work with warm homemade food.

What do you do to sneak in vegetables for your family or friends who are not as big of vegetable enthusiasts as you may be?