6.25.2012

Amy's Favorite Green Smoothie

Hello all!  Boy has it been a crazy week for me!  Last week I was running all around town for job interviews and whatnot, only to find out on Friday that I had gotten the Administrative Assistant position that I had been hoping for.  So, I am officially the new Admin Assistant for Tradesman International in Spokane Valley.  Ok, so not an environmental job, but at least its a full-time M-F job with good pay and benefits.  Since Kevin has started his online school to get his Masters in Education, a full-time job was all I needed.  Now we are going to be officially living together in Spokane after we get married, which is a huge relief to me because I won't have to move things far.

The countdown is now 75 days till our wedding, and there are still many things that need to be done.  I don't officially start my new job until next Monday, so I will be working like crazy trying to get a lot of the little things done this week.  This includes planning the invite design, addressing all of the invite envelopes, meeting with our reception coordinator for decoration and food plans, practicing more with our cake, making the party favors, planning the wedding pictures, and coordinating the wedding weekend itinerary.  Wow, that's a lot of things when they're all listed out!

Here is our first attempt.  Not too bad considering my mom needs new Crisco for the frosting and the strawberry filling make the frosting a bit pink.  This is only the top layer done nicely, the bottom layer will be nearly three times as thick as pictured here.  Our homemade cake is more for decoration and picture purposes, on the actual day we are getting Costco cakes to feed most guests.
In the meantime, I have been following Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live 6-week plan and have been feeling great!  I haven't had too much weight loss to speak of yet, unfortunately.  I think this is due to the fact that I still tend to overeat, even though it is all good plant-based foods.  I have also been working out like crazy, so maybe my appetite is increasing accordingly?  All the same, my goals continue to be to follow the 6-week plan (my version explained here) till I find the weight loss results I'm looking for, to continue to work on my food addictions and mental issues with overeating, and to continue to exercise regularly.

I have been having more green smoothies in the mornings in an effort to vamp up my greens intake for each day.  Since my parents have a garden in the backyard with abundant kale, I have been mostly using kale for my smoothies along with some fruits we have on hand for sweetening.  Here is my favorite combination of greens and fruit in a green smoothie:
Ingredients: (1-2 servings)

  • 2-3 cup packed dark greens (kale, spinach, collard greens, etc.)
  • 1 cup berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, etc.)
  • 1 1/2 cup alternative milk (almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk, etc.)
  • 2 large frozen bananas
  • 1 T ground flaxseeds
Directions:
  1. Place all ingredients into the blender starting with the soft ingredients, and placing the frozen banana in last.
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Serve immediately or store in fridge to consume later that day.
Amy's Notes:
The ingredients I used today for pictures are bolded in parentheses, so I used kale, blueberries, and almond milk.  This recipe generally makes enough for me to have a full glass for breakfast and to give a smaller glass like the one pictured above to my mom as a snack.  If you feel that this has too strong of "green" taste for you, just add more fruit as you would like to increase the sweetness.  Believe me, if I first drank this before being a nutritarian for a while, it would be a bit of a shocking taste to me.  Now, however, I love the slight bitter flavor of the greens with the sweet of the fruit.  Yum!
I'd love to hear from my readers on a few topics, so feel free to answer one or all of my questions :)

Do you have any tips or reminders for me as we get closer to Kevin and my Wedding day?  Is there anything that you enjoyed at your wedding that most people might not think of?

How do you do with overeating and food cravings?  What do you do to stay on track?

For those of you who are going through the Eat to Live  6-week plan, how is it going for you?  Have you seen great results yet?  I'd love to hear some updates!

6.19.2012

Lemony Israeli Cous Cous

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!  I'm getting more interviews for several jobs, but I have my fingers crossed for the one with full time and benefits :).  I should know by Friday if I get the job, so lets hope!

The weather in Spokane has not been incredible lately, but the next few days should be in the mid-seventies and beautiful.  I've always loved pasta salads when summertime comes around, but most pasta salads you find at BBQs or picnics are loaded with mayo or oil, unfortunately.  So, I decided to try to make a yummy "pasta-like" salad to fit perfectly with the coming summer weather.

Ingredients:
  • Cous Cous Salad
    • 1 cup uncooked Israeli Cous Cous (whole wheat if you can find it)
    • 1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
    • 1 medium bunch cilantro, finely chopped
    • 1 cup sliced black olives
    • 1 cup sugar snap peas, ends removed and cut into 1 inch sections
  • Lemon Tahini Dressing
    • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • 2 Tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
    • 2 Tbsp water
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp fresh minced garlic
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
Directions:
  1. In a small pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Once boiling, add the uncooked Israeli Cous Cous and simmer covered for 8-10 minutes.  Place in a strainer and run cool water over the cooked cous cous to cool for the salad.
  2. Place all of the chopped vegetables and cooked and cooled cous cous into a medium sized bowl.
  3. In a small bowl or cup, mix together all ingredients for the lemon dressing with a fork or whisk until smooth and creamy. 
  4. Pour all, or as much as you desire of the dressing over the salad.  Mix well until all the salad is well coated.
  5. Serve chilled and store in the fridge.
Amy's Notes: I didn't realize that the cous cous I used was essentially "white" cous cous, so next time I make this I will try looking for a whole wheat cous cous, and I would recommend that you do the same.  For those of you that are not as big a fan of lemon, substitute one or two of the Tbsp of lemon juice for some more water.  Warning, this leaves you with a bit stinky breath, so bring some tictacs if you bring this to a picnic.


What foods do you love that just scream "summertime" to you?

6.17.2012

Father's Day and Hummus Hummus!

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there!  In growing up with two older brothers and being the only girl, I've always been my daddy's little girl with his same blue eyes.  As the countdown draws nearer to Kevin and my wedding I keep thinking of little aspects of the day that I still need to plan, this includes the Father Daughter dance.  I've always joked with my dad that we would just break out in dance to "Whip it" by Devo, but I don't think my mom would appreciate that lol.  Speaking of wedding stuff, I got to meet with my makeup gal this friday to go through a test run for the big day.  Here are some pictures:



We are getting so excited, but still feel like we have so much planning left to do!  AHHH!

Back to the topic of Father's day, my dad and I are very similar in our taste preferences and we have some of the same habits in eating, such as finding something we love and eating that and not much else for long periods of time.  Right now, that food for me is watermelon.  I just can't get enough of it, I eat at least a plate-full just about every day.  His obsession food right now has been Sabra Roasted Pine Nut Hummus with crackers.
This Sabra hummus is delicious, however, I feel like it is loaded with much more oil than is needed, (there are 7 g of fat per 2 tablespoon serving).  And each 10 oz package is a whopping $4 from the grocery store.  I'm guessing my dad goes through two or three of these a week, so I wanted to give him a homemade hummus that was lower in oil and salt, that was less expensive, and that tastes identical.  Challenging huh?  It took me a try or two but I finally found the right combination of ingredients to produce the best homemade hummus ever!

Mock Sabra...
Ingredients:

  • Pine Nut Topping
    • 2 Tbsp raw pine nuts
    • 2 tsp canola oil
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp dried basil
    • 1 tsp dried parsley
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Hummus:
    • 2 cans garbanzo beans, drained, liquid reserved
    • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
    • 6 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup reserved bean liquid
    • 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce (or 1 Tbsp regular soy sauce and 1 Tbsp water)
    • 2 Tbsp water (more to achieve desired consistency)
    • 1 Tbsp canola oil
    • 1 tsp minced garlic
Directions:
  1. In a small cup, mix together all of the pine nut topping ingredients and let sit while you prepare the hummus.
  2. In a large food processor, combine all hummus ingredients and process until very smooth.
  3. Add water one tablespoon at a time to get desired consistency.
  4. Scoop hummus into a shallow and wide tupperware bowl and flatten the top with a spatula.
  5. Smear the pine nut topping over the middle.
  6. If desired, sprinkle extra dried basil, parsley, and cayenne pepper around the edges of the hummus.
  7. Serve chilled with crackers, veggies, or in sandwiches.
Amy's Notes:  This hummus has a great tang to it, and the spices on top with the pine nuts give it wonderful extra flavor.  When you are going to serve the hummus, you can mix together the hummus and the toppings, but I know that we prefer to pick at the toppings without mixing.  The recipe that I have featured makes a very large batch of hummus (see reference picture), so if you do not go through hummus in such a timely fashion as we do at my house, I might suggest that you make a haft batch with only one can of garbanzo beans.
One of my favorite memories with my dad was when I was younger and had a dirty face, or had been crying for one reason or another.  My dad would take me into the bathroom, run the water till it was steaming hot, then dip a washcloth in and ring it out, then put the lightly steaming washcloth on my face.  It's funny how something so simple can make you feel so much better, and I still do that for myself to this day when I get upset.  Happy Father's Day, Dad, I love you!

6.15.2012

Vegan Ranch Dressing

I am on a salad dressing roll this month!  Ok, so this is my third one, but since we're only halfway through the month, I'd say that's a lot!  Find my other two dressings featured this month with Vegan 1000 Island at this link, and Miso Ginger Dressing at this link.  Since corresponding with a few new E2Lers, several have asked if ranch dressing is ok to have on their salads since that is their favorite.   My response to this was to extremely limit full fat dressings and shoot to make as many homemade dressings as you can.  Here is my ultimate solution to those of you who want your ranch and eat it too!

Ingredients: (please note that all spices are the dried versions, and not fresh herbs)

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dill weed
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
Directions:
  1. In a microwave, heat a bowl with two cups of water until the water is steaming.  Place the raw cashews into the steaming water and allow to soak for 5-10 minutes before draining the liquid.
  2. In a blender, blend the cashews, non-dairy milk, lemon juice, and rice vinegar until creamy and smooth.
  3. Next, add all of the dried spices and herbs to the blender, and blend for several seconds.
  4. Taste test with a carrot or celery stick and adjust spices to your liking.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy on salads or as a veggie dip!
Amy's notes:  I like to soak my raw cashews before blending them because I don't have a professional blender and it needs a bit of help processing everything, but if you feel that your blender can handle it, soaking is not necessarily needed.  As a substitute for cashews, raw sunflower seeds or raw pine nuts will work just as well.  For new E2Lers, please keep in mind that while this dressing is much much better for your than traditional Ranch, its base is raw cashews.  If you are limiting your consumption of nuts to 2 oz a day, I would say 3-4 tablespoons should be your limit.

Since I am on a salad dressing rampage this month, are there any salad dressings that you used to love pre-E2L that you would like for me to try to recreate?

6.14.2012

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I've been getting a bunch of emails from readers asking questions about the nutritarian lifestyle, and I am so happy to help them out as much as I can.  I find that I learn and remember information best when I teach others, so thank you to those who have been writing to me for giving me that opportunity.  One of my readers had a recipe request, and of course, I was thrilled and put it on my to-cook list.  She requested a recipe for basic roasted brussels sprouts that were not drowning in oil, like I have often seen.  This recipe has a small amount of oil in it, but it can easily be omitted for more sprayed-on water.  Hope you enjoy :)


  • brussels sprouts, stem chopped off, and cut in halves or fourths
  • spray bottle or misto with water and a small amount of oil mixed
  • spices of your choice


Directions:  
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut brussels sprouts and place them in a baking pan.
  3. Spray to coat them with water-oil mixture.
  4. Sprinkle on desired spices and stir.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring brussels sprouts halfway through.
  6. The brussels sprouts are done roasting when they begin to brown and are tender at their core.
Amy's Notes:  I used a misto with a part water part oil mixture, but you can easily omit all oil and just coat with water.  If you just use water, make sure to re-spray as it's baking and the moisture has evaporated.  These can also be roasted without any spices on them in case you are not sure how you are going to eat them afterwards.  They are excellent straight out of the oven, or out of the fridge cold with a tahini lemony dressing.  
I've been thinking of some other dishes to have brussels sprouts on and the thought of a pita pizza came to mind with mushrooms and red onion for the other toppings... Does that sound very good or am I just talkin' crazy?

6.12.2012

Vrueban and Birthday

I hope everyone is having a marvelous week so far!  Things have been going better for me.  I've been getting a couple interviews and a job offer or two, but I'm waiting to see what I think will be the best fit for me.  Also... today happens to be my 22nd Birthday!  Yes, this is the first of many uneventful birthdays I will have after my 21st last year.  So far my day has gone pretty well, but the real fun will start tonight when I'm meeting a group of friends at a local restaurant for sushi (the sushi comes to you on a conveyor belt, which is awesome!), then going out for some free birthday drinks.  It should be a great time!

A birthday present to myself that I have made recently is.... drumroll!..... a Vegan Rueban!  Previous rueban lovers, you can thank me now!  Ruebans are one of the pre-nutritarian foods that I always used to love, and I had settled that I would never have again, until now.  Hope you enjoy as much as I do:

Ingredients:
  • sliced rye bread
  • jar of sauerkraut
  • portobello mushrooms
  • fresh spinach
  • Vegan 1000 Island dressing (recipe)

Directions:
  1. Remove the large stems from the portobello mushrooms and prepare a skillet, grill, or panini press for them to grill in.  Let them grill for ten minutes on each side (or ten minutes if you have a George Forman press like we have).  Two portobellos will provide enough for two to three vruebans.
  2. To prepare the sandwiches lay the bread out on a cutting board for as many sandwiches as you would like to make.
  3. On each slice of bread spread on generous amounts of Vegan 1000 Island dressing.
  4. On half of the slices layer on as much spinach as desired.
  5. On the other half of the slices, pile on as much sauerkraut as you desire.
  6. By this time the portobello should be grilled and tender. Cut the mushrooms at an angle into long slices and place onto the sandwiches.
  7. Spray your skillet, grill, or panini maker with non-stick spray and place whole sandwiches to cook.
  8. Allow to fry until the outer bread is browned and toasted.
  9. Cut in half and serve with extra 1000 island for dipping.
  10. Enjoy!
Amy's Notes: Like I said above, two large portobello mushrooms are enough to stretch for three sandwiches depending on how they are sliced.  Make sure to pile on as much spinach as you would like.  The greens will compress a lot as the vrueban is pressed and grilled.  Feel free to use tofu or any other substitute for the mushrooms that you would prefer.
What replacements for meat do you enjoy using in your cooking?

6.06.2012

Vegan 1000 Island Dressing

I have finally found a way to do it!  I've made 1000 Island dressing that is completely vegan, oil-free, and nutritarian!  I am a very happy camper right now.  Here is one of my new favorite salad dressings, hope you enjoy!

Vegan 1000 Island Dressing
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened alternative milk (more to thin)
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 10-15 dill pickle chips (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp date sugar (or 1-2 pitted dates)
  • 1/4 cucumber, peeled
  • 1/4 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1-3 radishes, finely chopped

Directions:  
  1. In a medium sized bowl, heat two cups of water in a microwave until steaming.  Place the raw cashews into the steaming water and allow to sit for 10-20 minutes.  Drain.  
  2. In a blender combine the soaked and drained cashews, alternative milk, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, pickles, onion powder, garlic powder, tomato paste, date sugar, and the 1/4 peeled cucumber.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  
  3. Add more dill pickles for more zing, and add more alternative milk to acquire the consistency you desire.  
  4. Scoop the blended dressing into a medium sized bowl.  Add the finely chopped vegetables and stir well.  Store the dressing in an airtight container in the fridge.

Amy's Notes:  I adapted this recipe from the 1000 Island dressing found in Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live.  I've been loving this salad dressing all week, so I decided to make a large batch (what the recipe above will make).  I would suggest that you make half of the recipe before you make the larger one.  Soaking the cashews in hot water softens them up a bit to blend better in the blender.  You can also replace the cashews with 1/2 cup of cashew butter.
One of my old SAD (Standard American Diet) favorites used to be a big savory Rueban with sauerkraut, rye bread, and corned beef.  Oh, and of course, dripping with 1000 Island.  I think I feel a Vegan Rueban recipe coming soon... :)

What salad dressings are your favorite?  Are there any salad dressings you used to love that you'd like to try to "Nutritarian-ize"?

6.05.2012

Dr. Fuhrman's Appearance on the Dr. Oz show, and Hello New Eat to Live-ers!

I hope you got to catch Dr. Fuhrman's appearance on the Dr. Oz show yesterday.  I was not so happy to find out that the name of the segment was called "The Dr. Oz Approved 7-Day Crash Diet."  For me and many others who have found health and have lost weight with Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live program, we do not find it a "diet" or a quick-fix, but a wonderful and fulfilling lifestyle.

In watching the show, I felt like Dr. Oz dominated the conversation and made it seem like a commercial gimmick rather than coming from Dr. Fuhrman himself explaining the benefits and details of a nutritarian lifestyle.  All the same, if the fancy title got more people to watch and look into the details of Eating to Live, I guess the segment did it's job.

I know that I have been getting more traffic through this blog and my blog email since the show, and I'm happy to hear that so many people are as interested as they are!  I will assure any new readers that are hoping to change their health destiny that this is the way to do it!  It may seem overwhelming and daunting at first, but with time and some practice, I know that you can make this lifestyle work for you.  I would suggest, first of all, to buy Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live.  Check out the box below for a link to purchase the book on Amazon.

The reason I would suggest getting the book is because it gives you information about why this is the right eating plan for your body and your health and compares it to the Standard American Diet (SAD).  It also helps explain topics such as toxic hunger, food addictions, the calcium/dairy myth, and why plant proteins are better than animal proteins.  It also provides you a breakdown of a 6-week eating plan to start you off on your path to losing weight and gaining incredible health.  Along with two weeks worth of example meal plans, the book also contains over 30 pages of nutritarian recipes.

Another source I would suggest that new E2Lers should look into is Dr. Fuhrman's website.  It has loads of information and great tools to help you better understand how to get started and stick with the E2L plan.  Along with Dr. Fuhrman's website, there are also countless blogs like mine that regularly post new recipes and other information.  Here are some of my favorites:

Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for those that are new to the Eat To Live lifestyle, or to those that are still on the fence?

6.02.2012

Ginger Kale Slaw

We have been having beautiful weather this week in Spokane this week!  There are clouds here and there with a bit of wind, but other than that it's been warm and sunny.  What better to do on a sunny Saturday than to go to a block party.  Our neighbors behind our house are hosting the blog party, so it is just a hop over the fence away.

Since starting the 6-week Eat To Live Challenge this week, I have been trying to have a large salad with some beans, veggies, and a healthy dressing every day for lunch.  Two days ago I decided to try to recreate one of my favorite dressings from a local fast food teriaki restaurant called The Noodle Express.  It is a thicker creamy ginger dressing that is very fragrant and has a wonderful satisfying zing.  I've never asked what goes into this dressing, but I'm sure it's not very nutritarian approved.  My re-creation attempt actually wasn't too bad.  My mom even dug into the salad while walking through the kitchen and thought it was just great.  She suggested that I make the salad for the block party tonight and to make it perfect as I do, so I thought, "Time for another recipe blog post!"  Hope you enjoy...

Ingredients:

  • Miso Ginger Dressing: 
    • 1/4 cup white miso (low sodium if you can find it)
    • 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari
    • 1/4 cup filtered water
    • 1/4 c tahini (almond butter would work too)
    • 2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled (more or less to taste)
    • 2 Tbsp agave (honey works too)
    • 1/2 lemon, juiced (more to taste)
  • Kale Slaw:
    • 1 large bunch kale, stems removed, washed, and very well chopped
    • 1/4 red cabbage, sliced thinly and chopped well
    • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed (~2 cups homemade)
    • 1/2 cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and sliced thinly
    • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
    • sesame seeds (optional)
Directions:
  • Dressing:
    1. Place all ingredients into a high-powered blender or food processor.
    2. Blend until creamy and smooth.
    3. Adjust amounts of soy sauce, ginger, and lemon to taste.
    Salad spinner I got my mom for Mother's Day.  We use it all the time!
    My nifty way to chop kale small without as much mess!
  • Slaw:
    1. De-stem and wash kale.
    2. Place in a large bowl and use kitchen scissors to cut the kale into fairly small pieces.
    3. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir.
    4. Pour in the entire ginger dressing and stir well.
    5. Serve cold with sesame seeds sprinkled on top for presentation.

Amy's Notes:  Make sure to taste the dressing as you adjusting the lemon, soy sauce, and ginger to your taste.  Remember that a little ginger can go a long way if you are not a big fan of it.  I used a salad spinner to wash and dry my kale.  If you don't have one yet and plan to be eating many salads (as you should be!), I would highly recommend getting one.  They are great!  I used scissors to chop my kale into very small pieces, but you can easily do this with a large knife and cutting board instead.  The dressing made for this recipe can obviously go on any type of salad and not just the slaw I made here.  I know I'm going to want to put it on more salads than just this!
What non-nutritarian foods from restaurants do you miss eating?  Have you ever tried to recreate a Plant-Strong version?