1.30.2013

Orange Ginger Dipping Sauce

Happy Hump Day to everyone!  This week seems to be going by fairly quickly for me.  Most of our free time this week has been spent relaxing at home watching Netflix or reading on the couch.  Yesterday evening we met up with some friends at our regular bar that sells pints of Alaskan beer for $1, a poor recent-graduate's dream hehe!

Afterwards, we brought the party over to one of Kevin's favorite restaurants in town, Flamin' Joes, a place that specializes in spicy wings.  We've been there over a dozen times in the last couple of months, but this time Kevin finally decided to take their "Code Red Challenge", also known as the "Widow-Maker" (comforting, I know...).  He successfully ate a dozen of their hottest wings in 4 minutes, with a 4 minute waiting period afterwards of not eating or drinking anything.  While this awesome culinary feat won him a t-shirt and his picture on the wall, I couldn't help thinking how terrible this is for him.

Late last night Kevin woke up with horrible stomach pains: "Like someone punched me in the stomach."  I felt so terrible for him and tried suggesting anything I could think of to help elevate the pain.  I finally settled on getting him a glass of water with a bunch of lemon juice in it.  My thoughts were to hopefully reduce the acidity in his stomach with lemon juice, which is acidic outside of the body, but becomes alkaline within.  It made him feel slightly better, but he still tossed and turned all night.

This whole event got me thinking this morning about what foods really do to us inside of our bodies.  When you think about the whole concept of eating, it is actually quite strange.  We are making the conscious decision to take a foreign object, which was once a functioning organism, and put it into our bodies to utilize the caloric energy and nutrients for ourselves.  When someone gets a tattoo, or their hair cut or dyed, usually a lot of thought goes into the permanence of it, and how it is going to affect you in the long-run.  But with food, most of the time we don't think twice about what we put into our bodies or how it is going to affect us long-term.  Nothing can be more permanent than what physically builds us.  Well, just some food for thought!  Now on to the food....

Ingredients:

  • 1 c garbanzo beans
  • 1 orange peeled
  • 1/2 c peanut butter
  • 1 to 4 Tbsp rice vinegar (to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp minced ginger (more to taste)
  • red pepper flakes, as desired
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
  • non-dairy milk to thin
  • sesame seeds
Directions:
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender, except for the red pepper flakes and almond milk.
  2. Blend on high until smooth, adding almond milk to thin if needed to obtain desired consistency. 
  3. Lastly, add the red pepper flakes as desired, and give it a quick stir in the blender.
  4. Serve chilled and topped with sesame seeds as a dip, or thin with a bit more almond milk and use as a salad dressing.
Amy's Notes:
  • Depending on how tangy you like your dips or dressings to be, add as much rice vinegar as you would like.
  • 2 tsp minced ginger gave me the small hint of flavor that I was looking for, but others that are more crazy about it can make it more of a stand-out flavor by adding one or two more teaspoons.
  • I added about 1/3 cup of almond milk to reach the consistency that is pictured.  I'll be adding a bit more to some of the leftover sauce to create more of a dressing to have on a salad this afternoon.
  • This recipe makes a significant amount, so I would suggest maybe trying out a half of the recipe.
  • I enjoyed my dipping sauce with some spring rolls I made for lunch yesterday.

1.28.2013

Mixed Potatoes with Kale

Hello!  I'm pleased to announce that I have come back to blogging after my nearly 4 month hiatus!  Over the last couple of months Kevin and I have been getting settled into married life and the new habits and schedules that ensue.  While I was gone I've seem to have a constant inner-battle about what foods I should be eating.  One week I would be spot-on Nutritarian with no added meats, dairy, sugars, or oils... then the next it was Thanksgiving dinner with temptations, or after Christmas with tons of goodies brought home.

All I can say is making the daily decision of what to put in your body is HARD!  It's hard for me to listen to my voice of reason (my Nutritarian voice), and silence my food-addict's taunts.  I think a good first step is to admit it... right?  Well, new readers and old, I hope you continue to follow me on my journey of trying to figure out what works for me, struggling with what doesn't... oh, and all of the awesome recipes that are produced in between!

Since Kevin and I got married last September, we have finally worked out a food and shopping budget to fit our recently-graduated-newly-wed-still-want-to-have-fun lives.  As a Nutritarian, my staples have become the bulk food section with dried grains and beans, as well as frozen and fresh vegetables when I find them on sale.  Some of Kevin and my favorite foods are potatoes (oh my gosh, we can actually agree on something food-wise!).  This weekend I decided to make a potato-based lunch for the both of us.  Kevin requested mashed potatoes, and while those were cooking, I came up with something a bit more nutritious for me.  Hope you enjoy :)


Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. mixed potatoes, washed and cubed (peeled if desired)
  • 4 cups of chopped kale
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed


Directions:
  1. Prepare all ingredients.
  2. In a large skillet, bring a couple of tablespoons to a boil and add the onion and garlic.  Water saute these until fragerent, but not until the onion is translusent.
  3. Add all of the cubed potatoes and about 1/2 cup of water.  Cover and let it simmer/steam on medium heat, adding more water as necessary.
  4. Once the potatoes have softened so that you can fork them, stir in the dried basil, dried parsley, and celery seed.
  5. Next, place all of the kale on top of the potatoes and cover to steam.  Make sure that there is still a small amount of liquid at the bottom of the pan so that the potatoes don't stick and the kale has steaming water.
  6. After about 3 minutes, check to see if the kale has wilted to your liking, and remove the skillet from the stovetop.  Allow to cool with the cover off.
  7. Serve as a side dish for the family, or a main dish for up to 4 people.

Amy's Notes
  • Feel free to use whatever potatoes you like.  I used two russets, a few red potatoes, and one yam/sweet potato.
  • While cooking make sure that all varieties of potatoes are soft enough to fork before you move on to the next step.  I know my yam took a bit longer to cook than the rest of the potatoes.
  • Please customize the spices to your liking.  This weekend I felt like basil, parsley and celery seed, but I bet this would be great with cumin, chili, cajun, or curry seasonings!
  • I served mine topped off with a homemade "Cheeze" sauce.  I'm still perfecting this recipe, so I won't share it at this time, but there are many recipes you can find online that are anywhere from nut or tofu based, to bean or non-dairy milk based.
  • Other great toppings for this dish could be salsa, tabasco sauce, vegan sour cream, or vegan shredded cheese.

What voices do you hear in your head when you are making food decisions?  Who often wins, and why?