1.28.2016

Example Day #2

January is always a weird month.  All of the holidays are over and it is still just the start of winter.  Generally December comes with more expenses from gifts, traveling, and taking time off of work, meaning January is always a frugal (what-can-I-scrape-off-the-bottom-of-the-freezer) month.  This month is even more so because we just paid off another big chunk of student loans (yay us!).

Because of this, I've been using up the last of my fresh produce and digging into my freezer storage.  Fresh berries are just too expensive right now, so we have been having frozen berries.  I've make some soups and stews out of the dried beans and grains I have on hand.  The goal was to not spend money on groceries for the rest of the month (my last real shopping trip was 1/11).  We have only three things we can buy throughout the month: bananas, broccoli,  and spinach.

This week, my meals have been not very glamorous, but thankfully pretty nutritious.  If we were eating the SAD (Standard American Diet), there is no way we could make it through a month of eating as cheaply as we do.

I started off my day with a big bottle of water, and then had my smoothie on the way in to work.  This smoothie had a banana, frozen mixed berries, romaine lettuce, ground flaxseed, and soy milk.
During the morning, I had three cups of tea (green, earl grey, and then chai with a bit of soy milk).
Lunch was a big bowl of freezer chili, a sliced orange bell pepper (second to last that we have in the fridge :(...), and a banana.

When I got home, I took the pup for a 2 mile walk/jog around the neighborhood.  Isn't she adorable!?  I'll be sad for my parents to pick her up and take her back home this weekend.
After showering and getting dinner ready, I had a nice glass of Shiraz. 
Dinner was Shane's Lentil Soup (from Vegan Under Pressure - for a chance to enter to win this new cookbook, you can enter here!), along with some chopped up celery.
Dessert was some leftover frozen berry nice cream. 
To summarize according to Dr. Fuhrman's 6-week Nutritarian Plan, I had:
  • 1 lb of raw vegetables with romaine in my smoothie, bell pepper with lunch, and celery with dinner
  • 1 lb cooked vegetables with the veggies in my chili and lentil soup (I was probably a little short on this today)
  • 4 fresh fruits with a banana and berries in my smoothie, a banana for lunch, and berry nice cream after dinner
  • 1+ cup beans/legumes with the beans in my chili and lentils in my soup (I had well over 1 cup of beans this day)
  • 1 cup or under of grains/starches - I didn't have any grains and had just a bit of potato in my lentil soup
  • 1 oz raw nuts/seeds - I had 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed in my smoothie, other than that I had no nuts or seeds

Health and Happiness,

Amy

1.26.2016

COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY! Vegan Under Pressure: Sassy Sesame Tofu

[Editor's note: Please note that the giveaway has ended and the winner is announced here.  Thank you to all who entered!]

When I first got my InstantPot, Jill Nussinow's cookbook, The New Fast Food quickly became a favorite of mine.  The time tables were spot on, and her recipes were flavorful and very approachable for someone new to pressure cooking.  Many of Jill's (aka The Veggie Queen's) recipes from her first pressure cooking cookbook have filled our kitchen for the last year, so I was ecstatic to get my hands on her second, Vegan Under Pressure.


Over the past few weeks, I've tried a dozen or so recipes from Vegan Under Pressure, and I can already tell it is a big winner!  Not only does it have tons of new recipes, but it is an EXCELLENT source for those new to pressure cooking.  The first two chapters introduce the reader to their pressure cooker, and then goes over pressure cooker basics.  It includes info for jiggle-top pressure cookers, stovetop pressure cookers, and electric pressure cookers.  Here is the index of how all of the chapters are organized:

One - Introduction to Pressure Cooking
Two - Pressure Cooking Basics
Three - Spice Blends and Other Seasoning
Four - Grains
Five - Beans
Six - Vegetables
Seven - Soups
Eight - Main Courses
Nine - Burgers, Patties, and Savory Cakes
Ten - Toppers: Sauces, Fillings, and More
Eleven - Appetizers
Twelve - Desserts

One of my favorite features of the new cookbook is the layout of the recipe pages.  On the right (or left for reverse side) edge of the page there is a summary of the cooking time and pressure releases required, followed by the ingredients.  The main page of each recipe then includes a description, how many servings it will produce, and then the instructions.


Another thing I love about this cookbook, and really all of Jill's recipes is that she allows room for improvising.  Like in this recipe, maybe you don't have 2 cups of sugar snap peas on hand, so use broccoli instead!  All of her recipes can be great starting points for creating dishes out of we have on hand and what each person's particular tastes are.

Moving on to the recipe I'm about to feature, which happens to be the one on the cover of the cookbook, I know some of you shy away from tofu for one reason or another.  In this recipe, just make sure to get extra firm tofu and drain and pat it dry.  If you are really against tofu, try switching it out for 2-3 cups of cooked beans such as chickpeas or even edamame.  I've already made this recipe twice and love it, so trust me, you don't want to miss out on these flavors.

Sassy Sesame Tofu 
with Sweet Potato, Carrots, and Sugar Snap Peas
Time: 10 minute prep, 3 minutes high pressure, quick release, 1 minute high pressure, quick release
Servings: 4



Ingredients:
    2 tsp toasted sesame oil (I left this out, but it would add flavor without too many calories)
    1 medium yellow, white, or sweet onion, sliced from top to bottom to equal about 2 cups
    1 carrot, peeled and cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch pieces
    1 cup diced peeled sweet potato
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    2 Tbsp sesame seeds (1 Tbsp reserved)
    1 pound extra firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
    1-2 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
    1 Tbsp rice vinegar
    1/3 cup vegetable stock
------------------------------
    2 cups sugar snap peas or snow peas, cut in half
    2 Tbsp Sweet and Spicy Red Pepper Sauce or sriracha
    2 Tbsp tahini, optional, for a richer dish
    2 Tbsp chopped green onions, for garnish

Instructions:
Prep all ingredients before beginning.

1.)  Heat a stovetop pressure cooker over medium heat or set an electric pressure cooker to sauté; add the sesame oil if using.  Add the onion, carrot, and sweet potato and sauté for 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and 1 tablespoon of the sesame seeds and sauté for mother minute.  Add the tofu, tamari, vinegar, and stock.

2.)  Lock the lid on the cooker.  Bring to high pressure and cook for 3 minutes (set your electric pressure cooker to cook for 3 minutes on high pressure).  Quick release the pressure.  Carefully remove the lid, tilting away from you.

3.)  Add the peas and lock the lid back on.  Bring to low pressure; cook for 1 minute.  (If you do not have a low pressure option, lock the lid on and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes.)  Quick release the pressure. Remove the lid, carefully tilting away from you.

4.)  Stir in the pepper sauce and tahini, if using.  Garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame seeds and the chopped green onions and serve.

Variations:  Use broccoli florets or 1-inch pieces of green or wax beans instead of the peas.  Cook at low pressure for 2 minutes with a quick release.




Amy's Notes:

I've made this recipe twice and loved it both times.  I've tried it with the added tahini and without it, and I actually prefer it without the tahini.  The first time I made it, my sweet potatoes cooked a bit too much and ended up mushing into the sauce (which I really liked).  The second time my sweet potatoes stayed together a bit better.  Jill makes note in her pressure cooker introduction that her recipes can have a bit of different results depending on the freshness of your ingredients.  My first sweet potato must have been fresher than the second!  The same can be true for dried beans.

In the end, all I can say is thank you, Jill, for another amazing cookbook to add to our arsenals.  Your healthful and fast recipes will grace my pressure cooker and our table for years and years to come!
Find Jill's website here and sign up for her monthly newsletters.  Within her newsletters she updates fans of where she is, what she is doing, AND features a few recipes, many of which are for the pressure cooker.

Now, for you lovely readers who would like to enter in for my GIVEAWAY of Vegan Under Pressure,  please see below.  The giveaway will run from today until midnight on February 1st and is limited to those in the US and Canada for shipping reasons.  Now, this is my first time using this widget for a giveaway, so cross your fingers that everything works!  I will contact the winner of the random drawing by next Friday, February 5th.  Good luck to all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Health and Happiness,

Amy

1.19.2016

Example Day #1

Whether you found your way to my blog from searching "Nutritarian", or if a recipe picture caught your eye on some social media (mostly Facebook and Pinterest... I'm trying to get better at Twitter and Instagram, I promise!), if you are new to this way of eating, you might we wondering what a Nutritarian eats day-to-day, so I thought I would give weekly examples of what I eat within a day.

You won't be surprised to hear that I eat a lot of leftovers.  From having a day job and an obsession with knitting in the evenings, I really don't have a ton of time to prep new and exciting meals every day.  I'm preaching to the choir right?

My general strategy is to do most of my food prep for the week on Sundays when it comes to soups, beans, grains, and other main dishes.  Often I make enough to freeze and I almost always have a few containers of soup or chili in the freezer in case I need to grab something and go.

So without further ado, here is a sample day of what I generally eat and drink:

Before I left for work, I poured myself a tumbler of green tea to go.
At work I got a second cup of green tea and had my breakfast.  
Breakfast was 1/2 cup raw rolled oats, cooked in the microwave, 
and topped with raspberries, blackberries, and organic soy milk.


One more cup of tea in the late morning.  
Today I opted for earl grey because it was gloomy and I needed a pick-me-up.


For lunch I had my Beet, Mushroom, and Onion Salad (recipe here
on top of raw spinach and topped with chopped pecans.  
I also had a sliced bell pepper and carrot sticks with hummus 
that was leftover from a work party last week.  Apple to finish off with for dessert.

After lunch I had a full water bottle and took my vitamins (Vitamin D, kelp, B-12).

I had another cup of green tea in the afternoon as I worked.

As I drove home I had one more water bottle.

Dinner was later in the evening around 7 PM and consisted of 
Sassy Sesame Tofu from the new cookbook, Vegan Under Pressure 
(a recipe I will feature next week with a GIVEAWAY!), on top of sauteed spinach.

I had a banana for dessert afterwards.

To summarize according to Dr. Fuhrman's 6-week Nutritarian Plan, I had:

  • 1 lb of raw vegetables in my lunch with spinach, bell peppers, and carrots
  • 1 lb cooked vegetables with my beets for lunch, as well as veggies in the tofu on top of sautéed spinach
  • 4 fresh fruits: 2 at breakfast with raspberries and blackberries, 1 at lunch with an apple, and 1 at dinner with a banana
  • 1+ cup beans/legumes with hummus at lunch and tofu for dinner
  • 1 cup or under of grains with oatmeal for breakfast
  • 1 oz raw nuts/seeds with my pecans on my lunch salad


Health and Happiness,

Amy

1.13.2016

Beet, Mushroom, and Onion Salad

It took me quite a while to warm up to beets, even after I became a Nutritarian.  The first beets I remember trying were in a can.  Several weeks into being a new Nutritarian, I was looking for ways to bring some interesting flavors to my daily salads.  I threw the can of crinkle cut beets into my cart and popped them open to try once I got home.

Terrible.  They tasted almost metallic (probably from the can now that I think about it).  I forced a few more slices down before I determined beets just weren't going to be part of my salad thing.  At least not at the time, anyway.

A few years later I saw some golden beets at a farmers' market and decided to give it a try again, this time with the fresh stuff.  I ended up liking those beets both roasted and steamed.  After that, I gave red beets a try again and decided my first experience was not telling enough of this roots' wonderful culinary (and health) virtues.

I've heard some people say that beets can "taste like dirt", and it is true that they have a more earthy taste, but then again so do a lot of different wines, some cheeses, as well as very common kitchen items like mushrooms and lentils.  Earthy is a fun flavor to play with, especially by adding ingredients with acidic, nutty, and sweet notes.

Beet, Mushroom, and Onion Salad
Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
        1 1/2 - 2 lbs mixed gold and red beets (about two bunches), tops and roots removed, peeled and cut in half or quarters
        1-2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
        1/2 red onion, sliced
        1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
        1 Tbsp soy sauce
        1 Tbsp syrup sweetener (such as date syrup, honey, maple syrup, etc.)
        1 Tbsp sesame seeds

To serve: fresh dark greens, nuts

Instructions:
1.)  Cut the tops and root tips off of the beets.  Wash and peel.  Cut in half or quarters if the beets are large.  Place in a steamer basket and steam on the stove top for about 15 minutes, until the beets are fork tender.  Remove from heat and dunk the steamer basket into an ice bath to stop the cooking and cool the beets down.
*** If you have a pressure cooker, you can steam your beets that much faster.  Check your pressure cooker manual charts for the correct directions and time needed.***

2.)  Slice the cooked beets into 1/4-1/2 inch slices.  In a large bowl combine the sliced beets, mushrooms, red onion, and sesame seeds.
3.)  In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and sweetener.  Pour the liquid over the beet mixture and stir to combine well.  Let marinade in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 4 days.
4.)  Serve chilled or at room temperature on top of fresh spinach or kale (bonus points if you use the beet top greens!).  Sprinkle with chopped almonds, pecans, or walnuts for an extra treat.

Amy's Notes:
For those who haven't tried beets before, or if it has been a while, red beets have quite a bit of pigment in them and their juices that can stain counter tops, cutting boards, sinks, hands, and ahem... personal waste removal.  Just take some precautions by wearing gloves and using an old cutting board, and cleaning up splashes on counters and sinks with a damp cloth as they happen.  Also don't be alarmed when your poo comes out red-ish.  You are not dying, nor are you in need of medical assistance.  Keep calm and know that you got lots of fiber, vitamins, and nutrients!


Health and Happiness,

Amy

1.07.2016

Loaded Black Bean Soup

How was everyone's New Years?  We spent ours going out to an early dinner at a nearby pizza place/bar, then headed home to watch Star Wars Return of the Jedi that Kevin had got for Christmas from my parents.  The days leading up to New Years Eve were spent around the house in sweatpants (me mostly knitting enjoying my new yarn, and Kevin writing the outline to the book he is starting to write).

Sweatpants time is soup time in our house, so I took this recipe written by Jill Nussinow that is in both the Instant Pot recipe book as well as her cookbook, The New Fast Food.  (Featured on this blog here as well.)  I've altered it a bit to include more beans, spices, veggies, and corn.  A soup can never have too many things in it in my opinion.  This recipe can EASILY be adapted for the stove top with a bit more cooking time and using only canned beans.  Please see my notes below the recipe.

Speaking of Jill... have you heard about Jill's new cookbook, Vegan Under Pressure that is being released on January 12th (pre-orders are available now)!?  I was lucky enough to be contacted by Jill's book agent to feature a recipe and a giveaway on the blog this coming month.  I have gotten a peek at the recipes and I can't wait to share one with you!  Stay tuned!

Loaded Black Bean Soup
(adapted from Jill Nossinow's original recipe, which you can find here)
Serves: 6
Time: 10 minute prep, 5 minute saute, 7 minute high pressure, natural pressure release, 1 minute high pressure, quick release


Ingredients:
1 large onion, chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 large celery ribs, diced
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1 bay leaf
2 tsp dried oregano (or 2 Tbsp fresh)
1 1/2 cups dried black beans, soaked for 8 hours
6 cups vegetable broth (homemade or low sodium preferred)
........................................................
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn, non thawed
........................................................
salt to taste
cilantro to garnish
soy yogurt to top (optional)


Instructions:

  1. Prepare all ingredients before beginning.
  2. Sauté the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes in a heated pressure cooker, adding water as needed to prevent burning.  Add in the carrot, celery, and spices.  Stir well to mix and sauté for 2 more minutes.
  3. Add in the soaked dried beans and vegetable broth.  Lock the lid and set to cook at high pressure for 7 minutes (those with an InstantPot can alternatively use the soup function for 7 minutes).  When the timer is done, allow the pressure to come down naturally.
  4. After the pressure has been released, carefully remove the lid.  Use an immersion blender, or scoop several cups of the soup into a blender.  Blend until about half of the soup is creamy, leaving quite a few small chunks behind.
  5. Add in the canned black beans and frozen corn.  Lock the lid and set to cook at high pressure for 1 minute.  Once the minute is up, carefully quick release the pressure.
  6. Serve hot with cilantro to garnish and soy yogurt/sour cream to top.  Leftovers will thicken up in the fridge and the flavors will marinade to make the soup even better the next day!



Notes for adapting for the stovetop:

  1. Prepare all ingredients before beginning.
  2. In a large soup pot, water sauté the onion and garlic.  Add in the carrot, celery, and spices.  Stir well to mix and sauté for 2 more minutes.
  3. Add in 2 cans of washed and drained black beans along with the vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.
  4. Use an immersion blender to blend about half of the soup.
  5. Add in the 3rd can of rinsed and drained black beans as well as the frozen corn and cook for an additional 10 minutes without the lid.
  6. Serve hot with cilantro garnish and soy yogurt to top.  Leftovers will thicken up in the fridge and the flavors will marinade to make the soup even better the next day!



Health and Happiness,

Amy