3.21.2013

Vegan Caesar Dressing

I hope everyone has been having a splendid week.  Kevin and I got the keys to our new apartment yesterday and are moving things over at a bit of a leisurely pace, which is very nice.

The day before that, Tuesday, I ended up going to a doctor's clinic for what I thought was an ear infection coming on.  On my drive to the clinic, the pain in my ear had spread to behind my right upper cheek bone and eye socket.  I tried to breath deeply to lessen the pain, but when I breathed in too much, sharp pains shot up into the right side of my face.  By the time I got to the clinic and was taken to a patient room, the pain had worsened to the point that my right cheek was numb.  This really scared me to the point that I came close to fainting several times because I thought something worse was happening to me.  It turns out that I have TMJ (mandible joint problems) that flared up some sore muscles and tendons (think knee joint pain but in your face!).  The pain and anxiety caused my face to go numb, which snowballed into me panicking to the point of nearly fainting.

In the end, my doctor just recommended relaxing, breathing steadily, and taking Advil when I feel the pain start to come on in the future.  Essentially, I was having a massive migraine that was brought on my TMJ pain and stress.  The TMJ pain probably flared up in the first place because of stress, from clenching my jaw and not knowing it.  I went home and spent the rest of the day in bed with no lights and no sounds for the most part.  Kevin was so sweet and made me dinner (Mac and cheese, don't judge, it is my sick food sometimes), and he laid in bed helping me relax and watching some Netflix comedies to cheer me up.

In conclusion, migraines suck.  I have never had one before, but have seen my mom deal with them for years.  I just hope that they are few and far between, especially now that I am paying attention to how my jaw in working when it's at rest and when I am eating.  Overall the thing that scared me the most was my face going numb from the pain and anxiety.  My mind started racing uncontrollably thinking "what if something is neurologically wrong?" or "what if I have a stroke and my face will droop?"  I know, crazy questions, but in that moment, your brain thinks of anything and everything.  Thinking this way just made me panic and become more numb and faint.

After the whole ordeal was over, I just had to remind myself exactly why I eat the way I do and try so hard to be healthy: to have a long and healthy life free of disease.  This desire seems more and more real to me now.  At first when I began eating a nutritarian diet, I did it all for weight loss.  Over the last two years it has developed into doing it to feel good, have energy, sleep better, and to boost my immune system.  Now I'm seeing it in a whole new light to protect me from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and dementia later in life.  I couldn't imagine living with the fear of those diseases looming over me for life, and with a Nutritarian diet, I don't have to.

How has your reasons for living a healthy lifestyle changed over time?

Now onto something I have been excited to post since this weekend... I finally made a vegan caesar salad dressing!  I have been wanting to give this a try since this summer when I successfully made Vegan Ranch Dressing and Vegan 1000 Island Dressing.  For Caesar, I had no idea where to start.  I knew I wanted it to be nut based, have no oil, and very little to no sugar or salt.  I started this weekend by looking at the ingredients in my husband's Caesar dressing bottle, then started looking up how Caesar dressings are traditionally made online.  It turns out that a common ingredient in Caesar dressings is anchovy paste.  If that doesn't want to make you gag, I don't know what will!  If this slight fishy taste went into the dressing, I decided I could use a bit of dried kelp.  That would add a little bit of sodium to the taste as well.  Parmesan was also a main ingredient, so an easy fix was to use nutritional yeast.  Overall, I think I achieved the taste I was going for, and especially the consistency.  Hope you enjoy!


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup water, more to consistency
  • 3-5 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp roasted garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp dejon mustard
  • 1 & 1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 dried date
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt or dried kelp
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder

Directions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 F.  Line a cookie sheet with foil and place several cloves of garlic, detached from the bulb, but not unwrapped fully.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the cloves are able to be pierced with a fork.
  2. While the garlic is roasting, prepare the other ingredients.  Boil enough water to cover the cashews in a small bowl, pour, and let sit for ten minutes before draining and adding it to the blender.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to a high power blender.  Once the garlic had roasted, peel off the outer layer and add approximately 2 tablespoons of roasted cloves to the blender.  Start with 3/4 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and add more by the tablespoon to achieve the consistency and taste you desire.
  4. Blend on high until smooth and creamy.
  5. Store in a refrigerator for a bit before serving (remember the cashews and garlic that went in were hot or warm, which will make the dressing not quite the temperature you want).
  6. Serve on top of any salad, or for a Caesar Salad, have it on lettuce, sprinkled with nutritional yeast and croutons on top.  Enjoy!
Amy's Notes:
  • If you have a nut allergy to cashews, try making the recipe with sunflower seeds, pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, etc.  Or a combination of any nut/seed you would like.  Overall, it will give you a similar taste.
  • If you don't have dried kelp, it is not a major ingredient and can be easily left out.  I would suggest blending all of the ingredients together before adding salt, for you might not need it.
  • Be careful to add your water tablespoon by tablespoon.  I found the exact right consistency for me somewhere between 3/4 and 1 cup of water added.

3.18.2013

St. Patrick's Day Foods and Radio Show

Happy late St. Patrick's Day to everyone!  Kevin and I spent our weekend running errands around town and celebrating just the two of us.  It was a nice change of pace from usually hanging out with friends.  We are currently preparing for our move on Wednesday, but our apartment leases overlap by a little over a week, so (thankfully) we can take our time for the most part.  First things first, we are moving in our couch (which was the reason we were moving in the first place), and I am so excited to get to relax on it!
In other fun news: I was on a local radio station in Spokane last Friday, and was inducted as listener #1914.  I have been listening to this same talk show on and off since I was in junior high, so to be able to be on it was so much fun!   I tried to download my audio clip onto this post for you guys to hear, but Blogger was not havin' it.  For the segment I discussed with them a little about me, which included what I do for a living, what I do for fun (watch movies), and my claim to fame, this blog.  For the claim to fame I explained that I blog about the Nutritarian lifestyle, which is recommended by Dr. Fuhrman, who was on the Dr. Oz show last week.  Here is the new listener poem that Molly made me (think Irish accent):

"Top of the Mornin' and good day to ye,
We welcome a young Amy.
Married to Kevin you be,
And makin' your way through movies you must see.
You're a Project Assistant diddly-di,
And a graduate of U-High.
Your fame claim includes Dr. Oz and a blog too,
It wouldn't be right if I didn't mention poo.
There you go, of the poem there's no more,
But I have a number for you, it's 1-9-1-4."

This was definitely the highlight of my week, and I even won some tickets to go see the new Oz movie that is out.  Hopefully Kevin and I will get to use it sometime this week.  Thanks again to Dave, Ken, and Molly for having me on!  It was such a blast!

Now onto my recipe for the week.... I attempted to make Corned Lentils and Cabbage on Saturday in honor of the holiday, and ended up with a pretty tasty cabbage stew.  My pictures were a bit rushed since Kevin and I were busy this weekend, but just know that this recipe is yummier than it looks.... and it uses beer, and if that isn't sticking to the Irish holiday, I don't know what is!
Ingredients:
  • 3-5 medium red potatoes, washed and cut into large chunks
  • 2 celery stalks, halved and sliced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 +1/2 cups lentils, rinsed
  • 1 small head of green cabbage, chopped into smaller wedges
  • 1 packet of corned beef spices (a combo of pickling spices including coriander, cloves, cinnamon, red pepper, black pepper, bay leaves, mustard seeds, etc.)
  • 1- 12oz. bottle of dark beer (brown or porter)
  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1+ cup water
Directions:
  1. To a crockpot, add the prepped potatoes, celery, onion, and carrots.
  2. On top of the various veggies, layer the lentils.
  3. Sprinkle the corned beef spices over the lentils.
  4. Pour the beer evenly over the pot.
  5. Add in the mustard and gently mix.
  6. Add the 1/4 cup brown sugar to 1 cup water and mix until mostly dissolved.  Pour over the crockpot contents and mix until combined.
  7. Cover and let cook on low for 5 hours, stirring occasionally if possible, and add more water if the pot is getting too dry.
  8. After 5 hours, add the chopped cabbage up to the brim of the crockpot.  Cover and let cook on high for 1-2 hours (or low for 3-4), or until the cabbage is well wilted, but not mushy.  Make sure to stir occasionally (this will get easier nearing the end of cooking).
  9. Serve hot with bread, over barley, or plain.  Some like traditional corned beef and cabbage served with with mustard.
Amy's Notes:
  • If you don't have a packet of corned beef spices handy, feel free to improvise with what sounds good in the example above.
  • This makes quite a lot, so be prepared for leftovers!  I made much of my leftovers into corned lentil and cabbage bundle bread rolls, but it could also be great in a casserole.
  • I enjoyed my corned lentils and cabbage with dejon mustard, and thought it tasted great!
What Irish foods did you try over the weekend?

3.13.2013

Lentil and Cashew Hummus

Hello all!  I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend so far.  I have been super busy with work and evening activities, I'm sorry it has taken so long for me to post!  I made this recipe that I am featuring today earlier last week and have been enjoying it thoroughly with veggies for my weekday lunches, but more on that in a bit.

First of all, did anyone else catch Dr. Fuhrman on the Dr. Oz show today?  I don't normally watch this show, but when they feature Dr. Fuhrman, that is a different story!  I believe this is the third or fourth time he has been on in the last year or so, and mostly due to the increased interest from viewers, which is awesome!  The topic Dr. Fuhrman discussed on this episode was Super Immunity!  And for anyone finding my blog as a result of googling "nutritarian" or something similar, WELCOME, and please feel free to join a discussion in the comment section on any of my posts, or email me at amysnutritariankitchen@gmail.com.

I'll go over briefly some of the highlights of the show.  Dr. Fuhrman did a wonderful job emphasizing that being sick, whether it is an occasional cold, continual migraines or acne, or even hearth disease or diabeties, the food and nutrients you put into your body from now and into the future, can boost your immune system, make you better, and keep you feeling healthy and vivacious into your later years.  Not only will eating how Dr. Fuhrman recommends (aka the Nutritarian Diet) keep you free from disease and sickness, it will do wonders for your energy and your waistline!  Win-win, right?  I love the sayings Dr. Fuhrman used on the show:

"The whiter the bread, the quicker you're dead."
and
"The more you eat green, the more you get lean!"

On the Dr. Oz show, Dr. Fuhrman summarized how to begin to earn Super Immunity with 4 simple guidelines, and what my notes are on them:

  • Base your diet on phytonutrient-rich foods.
    • Phytonutrients are nutrients found only in whole plant foods
    • To do this, base your diet off of vegetables, fruits, beans/legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds
    • Center your meals on the most phytonutrient-rich foods that add to your immunity (GBOMBS)- Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berrys, and Seeds.  Here is a great summary from Dr. Fuhrman's website on that.
  • Eat slow absorbing foods
    • Steer clear of processed white flours and sugars, for they increase your need for insulin, which can lead to compromised immune function.
    • Beans, as well as nuts and seeds are slow to be absorbed and help the bad fats exit your body, making you leaner as well as ridding yourself of toxins
    • Intact grains are also slow digesting and keep you fuller longer
  • Use meat as a condiment
    • ... with the majority of your diet being plant-based
    • While on my blog, I don't have any recipes with meat in them, if it helps someone enjoy more plant foods and be able to stick with it, I don't see the problem.
    • For myself, I know that I feel much better when I don't eat meat, but everyone can judge this for themselves
  • Chew, Chew, CHEW!
    • This is often one trick that we hear all the time, but never think to put to use
    • There has been many people advocating that chewing your food for longer will help make you fuller faster, keeping you from consuming excess calories and helping with your weight loss, but what Dr. Fuhrman emphasized was that by chewing your plant based foods more, you are allowing your digestive fluids in your mouth to begin breaking down and creating new enzymes that increase the overall nutrients your body can utilize
    • On the show, they encouraged viewers to begin chewing their food at least 10 extra times than usual to start
Overall, I thought this was a great episode with Dr. Fuhrman on it.  I especially loved that he had some nutritarian women on there telling about how they felt so much better, and enjoyed their food at the same time!  I feel like it is often misconstrued that if you are on a diet, you picture yourself forced to eat plain and unappetizing cardboard food.  And I am here to say, as a 2+ year nutritarian and food blogger, that that is just not true!  I prefer this way of eating much more than SAD foods (Standard American Diet), and find that when I do have something SAD every now and then, it makes me physically feel bad and the tastes are way too overpowering.  I eat what I enjoy, and that is whole plant-based food!  

Did you watch the episode?  What were your thoughts?

Now on to the recipe....

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup cooked brown or french lentils
  • 1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 3-4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce (or 1 tsp regular)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2-1 tsp hot sauce
Directions:
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Process, scraping the sides occasionally, until the hummus is smooth.
  3. If the hummus is too thick, add a tablespoon of water at a time and process until you have reached your desired consistency.
Amy's notes:
  • This is a wonderful hummus, and a nice change up from the traditional chickpea and tahini kind.
  • I topped mine off with some chili powder and green onions.
  • This hummus is great with crackers, pita bread, or any and all veggies!

3.04.2013

Indian Chickpeas and Greens

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  We have been experiencing the first real spring-like weather here in Eastern Washington, and I am very much enjoying the sunshine and lighter-jacket-weather.  Kevin and I had quite a few adventures this weekend, including attempting to move our new couch into our apartment.  This attempt ultimately failed, not because the couch was too big, but because our door is at such and angle to the stair railing.  Oh darn!

After Kevin and I talked about some of our complaints and needs, we decided we needed to look for a new place.  I have been desperately wanting a new couch for months and months, pretty much since we got married.  Since then we have been using Kevin's college futon, which is anything but comfortable.  So, a few weeks ago, Kevin caved-into my request under the condition that we get one at a discounted store.  OK!  Fine by me, as long as I get a couch I can knit and relax on!  We found the perfect one and a matching recliner from Big Lots, but had to wait a few weeks to pick it up.  Well, as the story goes, it was not a success and we ended up having to store the couch at my parent's place for now.

Luckily our lease was up at the end of this month (it would have gone month to month after that), so on Sunday we went around town all afternoon looking at places, and finally decided on some apartments that were a bit older than ours, in about the same location, is almost the same in rent, and has way more things we need/want.  (1) A door and angle big enough to fit our new couch and recliner, (2) an in-unit washer and dryer, (3) an on site fitness facility, (4) plenty of parking, (5) everything else our old place has.  I'm pretty happy with our new place, and we are both very excited to move (AND HAVE MY DAMN COUCH)!

Well that is what is new with my life, other than this amazing Indian dish... that I have made three times already.  Seriously!  It is that good!  I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:


  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can fire roasted chiles (mild)
  • 1 tsp minced or paste ginger
  • 3-5 cups dark greens, washed and well chopped (kale, spinach, green collards, etc.)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp corriander
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • salt to taste
  • whole wheat naan or brown rice for serving
Directions:

  1. In a blender, blend together the canned diced tomatoes, canned chiles, and ginger paste, until smooth.
  2. In a skillet on High, bring 1/2 cup of water to a very very rapid boil.  Toss in the cumin seeds, and while continually stirring, let the water boil off.
  3. Once the water has nearly boiled off, pour in the pureed tomato mixture and the rest of the spices.  Cook on Medium High at a simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the dark greens, stir them in, and cover for 5-8 minutes, until the greens have wilted down.  
  5. Add the chickpeas and simmer on low for 8 minutes, adding more water if need be to maintain a gravy consistency.
  6. Serve hot over brown rice or with whole wheat naan bread for dipping.
Amy's Notes:
  • I have made this dish with a few different types of greens and found that I like baby kale or spinach the best.  Regular kale and collards take a bit longer to steam, and gives the dish a bit more of a greens-bitter taste.  So, if that's what you like, keep that in mind.
  • If you happen to have garam marsala in your spice repetoir, I would suggest using 1 tsp of that and leaving out the tumeric, cayenne, and cloves.
  • If you would like to make your own homemade whole wheat naan, this is the recipe that I use, but minus 1 Tbsp of oil.
  • If you are not a fan of spicy foods, eliminate the cayenne pepper, or replace it with chili powder.  Also, make sure to get a can of MILD roasted chiles.

This was my very first try at making Indian food and all I can say is... I'M HOOKED!  I have been doing some research about Indian food and found that a large portion of the population in India are vegetarian.  I'm thinking I can hopefully nutritarian-ize a few tradtitional recipes that are already vegetarian. 

Do you have any favorite vegetarian or nutritarian Indian recipes?

3.01.2013

New Job and Recipes to Come

Hello my lovely readers!  I'm so sorry that I have been a bit absent this week. This is week three at my new job and I am just starting to settle in from all of the excitement and newness of it. As a result, I've been fairly mentally tried when I get home, so I have shied away from anything too complicated or innovative in the kitchen.

On Wednesday, Kevin and I had a fun evening with my parents when I made them a new dish I have been loving, but is not quite blog ready (at least picture-wise). All I will tell you is that it is an Indian dish with lots of greens and a spicy punch Mmm!  I also tried my hand at making homemade tahini. After lightly roasting the sesame seeds and blending them to heck in my food processor (unfortunately with a little bit of oil to help it along), I ended up with the perfect consistency of store bought tahini. The taste was not quite what I was hoping for though. I think I toasted the seeds for a little too long because the final tahini had a bit too much of a browned taste to it. I decided I could do better next time I tried by not roasting it for nearly as long and be able to make it without any oil. I will let you know how my next batch goes.

I am so determined to make homemade tahini, (1) because store bought is way too expensive, (2) I want to see exactly what goes into it (no salt or preservatives), and (3) a reader of mine requested that I recreate and nutritarian-ize Trader Joe's Goddess Dressing that she enjoys. I got a bottle of this dressing last week to have a comparable and to be able to look at the ingredients list.  Tahini is the main ingredient for this dressing, but it also has quite a zing to it. I'm planning on giving it's recreation a shot this weekend and hope to have the recipe ready for a post next week.

Again, sorry I don't have any new recipes for you this week!  Hope everyone has a wonderful and healthy weekend!