Oops, the Day is Over and I Didn’t Talk about Food

Haha!  Just sitting here relaxing and scoping out the blogs, and realized I said I would talk about food again today.

Today was my ‘sabbath rest’ day.  I am really enjoying the routine of this day every week.  I really like routine, and it isn’t always available on a nurse’s schedule (working different days every week.)  I made an unofficial rule that I can’t cook on my rest day.  So I had made a double batch of green smoothie and a double batch of steel cut oatmeal yesterday,  and those were all ready for this morning.  Yumm.  I actually tried making some strong coffee and mixing it half and half with some almond milk.  But no go.  Threw it out and had a cup of that herbal tea.  I think I will hit ‘the ‘Bucks’ tomorrow after my workout, though!  

I broke the no cooking rule, because I had decided that when the cleanse was over I wanted to try Lori’s recipe for bean brownies (thanks to Pubsgal’s recommendation.)  This recipe really is full of healthy stuff.  Well, I took a tiny taste when they came out of the oven, and thought, ‘oh no.  Too beany for me.’  But when they cooled, I took another bite, and I thought, ‘well, they are actually probably better tasting than those stupid protein bars that you buy once in a while because the wrapper makes them look like a candy bar, and their ingredients are MUCH better.’  So I ate it.  No, not the whole pan, silly.  I ate one brownie, and put the rest in the freezer.  Check out Lori’s recipe.  I did use black beans, because that is what I had, and I also added 2 Tbsps cocoa powder because I thought it was strange that they were called brownies and they had no chocolate in the batter.  BTW, you all know that cocoa powder is a really good deal, right?  Only 15 calories per Tbsp!

Since I ate that brownie at 11am, I wasn’t hungry for lunch until 1:30, when I had a fabulous salad.  I love making salad when I give myself permission to put a few goodies in, like pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, raisins, and avocado.  That lasted me until about 4, when I had a great bowl of honeydew melon and fresh pineapple.  I topped it with a Kozyshack sugarfree tapioca–I guess you can see I strayed a bit from the cleanse diet today…

So here’s the interesting thing.  I think it is partly because I am eating high fiber, but mostly I think it is because I eat fairly heavy in the morning–I am not that hungry at dinner time.  I held off and didn’t eat until 7:30, and I had a really really wonderful tomato that my neighbor had given me, with the classic topping of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil, and a bit of fresh mozarella.  That’s it!  Well, except for ‘dessert,’ which was a great peach topped with some homemade yogurt.  And last snack of the night was a couple of my beloved lo-bars.  

I can see that this entry would be greatly enhanced by some good food photos.  Sorry bout that.  Some of my food today was really pretty, too.

I did more reading than usual today (not just blog reading!,) and finished another quilt top!  If I ever get myself organized and start listing my quilts for sale on Etsy, you guys will be the first to know.  

Have a great day.  I am looking forward to my weigh in and my workout with Vicky tomorrow.  Oh yeah–I get my new glasses tomorrow!  I’ll try to remember to post a picture for you.

P.S.   Juice!  Talk about spacing problems–what’s up with that?  I am too tired to try and solve the problem tonight.

Day Seven

Okay…let’s see…today I want to talk about…hmmm, what do I want to talk about today? Oh yeah, FOOD!  Yes, people, I want to talk about food again.  I think I might need to change the name of this blog soon.  To something like ‘debby  talks ad nauseum about food.’  That’s an inside joke for my sister, just in case she still reads my blog.

Anyway, today is day 7 of this ‘cleanse diet,’ and I am enjoying it.  I will probably go at least one extra day, and even then, I am going to try to keep up some of the good habits I have picked up.  I am over my caffeine headaches, and very much enjoying my smoothies every morning.  I also like the herbal tea that Vicky gave us to try–very refreshing.  Its a blend of peppermint, alfalfa, sage, nettles, licorice root, juniper berry, uvu ursi, and oat straw.  Its probably good I didn’t read this list before I tried it LOL!

Here are some of the ‘highlights’ of my food adventures over the past few days.

Salads:  I REALLY like mixing up just enough dressing for one salad in the bowl before I put the salad in there.  The dressings I have made so far are not very complex, but they taste so fresh that they are very satisfying on the salad.  One of the things that keeps me from making salad for myself is all the chopping and shredding that goes into a good salad–you know, lots of different ingredients.  When I had that salad lunch at my friend’s house, she showed me how she is shredding cabbage, and other stuff, and keeping it ‘at the ready’ in the refrigerator.  I love this idea, and am going to implement it into my routine starting tomorrow.

Beans:  I’m sorry bean-lovers of the world.  I just don’t like beans that much.  I could never be a true vegan, because I could not get enough protein in my diet.  I only like beans when they are disguised or overpowered by other stuff, like meat and cheese.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me, because today I had the idea of putting my ‘vegetarian chili’ over a baked potato.  But I didn’t want to wait for a potato to bake, so I cut one into chunks and boiled it, then added the chunks to the chili.  I noticed as I ate that there was very little difference in the texture of the potato and the beans.  But somehow, in my world, potatoes win out.

Roasted veggies:  This is the way to go, people!  They are so delicious, and when they are well-roasted, they have a wonderfully chewy texture.  The flavor of the vegetable themselves is so much better and different.  Kinda like the difference between regular oatmeal and steel-cut oatmeal.  Steel cut is just better all the way around.  And Lynn, I love you!  Lynn wrote about her adventures in roasting cauliflower, and today is the first time I have had roasted cauliflower that I liked.   I mean, I loved it, even more than my beloved roasted brussel sprouts.

Food on the go:  Lori asked what we do about food on the go.  I have gotten quite creative with taking almost any kind of food with me.  Like today.  I had my green smoothie at 6:30.  I leave for church at 8:30, and go to the gym directly after church, so I knew I would need something to eat before I got home this afternoon.    I wanted to have some oatmeal for my mid-morning snack, so I cooked some steel-cut oatmeal, added in some splenda and cinnamon, and poured a little almond milk on top.  I figured it wouldn’t go bad in a couple of hours, and would just be a nice lukewarm temperature in the warm car.  It was perfect!  I went out to the car between Sunday School and church, and ate half of it.  Then ate the other half before I went to the gym.

Can you fantasize about an apple?  Really, fantasize is not what I did.  But halfway through the 60 laps (yay!) I was swimming, I started thinking about the apple I had bought for my after-workout snack.  I thought about how I would think about a big brownie, and it wasn’t the same feeling, but I was really looking forward to that apple.  And it was a really great apple, and a wonderful snack on the way home from the gym.  In fact, it was so good that I ate a second apple before I got home!  Anyway, there is really no end to the food you can bring with you with just a little planning and thinking ahead.

Sugar, or the lack thereof:  The longer I go without sugar, the less I seem to crave it.  This week has been pretty sugar-free, and I have not really wanted anything with sugar.  I definitely still have a sweet tooth (the occasional splenda, agave syrup, and more than my fair share of fruit,) but when those are used instead of processed sugar, the ‘wants‘ seem to disappear.

I think what I have learned this week more than anything is that the pure taste of foods is really very satisfying.  For example, the roasted veggies are really great with a topping of parmesan cheese.  And there is nothing wrong with a bit of parmesan.  But really, those veggies were every bit as good all by themselves.  And while I absolutely love the combination of good tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese, really, a bowl of tomatoes cut up all by themselves are excellent!  And the hardest lesson:  while fruit is wonderful with yogurt or cottage cheese, it really can be enjoyed all by itself.

I read a couple of really excellent blog articles today, and wanted to link to them:

Barbara wrote a fascinating article about how muscles and protein work in your body.  This is why I can’t be a vegan!  

And Laura linked to an inspirational article about an aging Boston Marathon winner.  This one will keep me from complaining about aging for a while!

If you dare, come back tomorrow, where, no doubt, the topic will be… food!!

Day Four

All the food I ate today was great, again.  But I’ll get to that in a minute.  First, I have to ask:  were any of you laughing at me behind my back, as I faithfully logged each day sans coffee, and then told you I had to take some excedrin for the headache???  If you weren’t laughing, you must not know what is in excedrin–CAFFEINE!!!  Aaargh.  I can’t believe I did that.  But it for sure does not have the same affect on me as coffee does.  Nor does it bring with it any of the pleasure that coffee does.

Second thing.  I don’t exactly know why, but today I felt fat and old and tired.  Which makes you start thinking, why bother, what’s the point of all this working out and eating different stuff if you are still tired and achy and FAT?  And then you start thinking about what’s missing in your diet.  Maybe its all due to food, or the lack of it.  Maybe I could solve this by eating something that I’m not ‘allowed’ to eat this week.  But the funny thing was, I went over all the things that have been eliminated.  And reviewed some of my favorite snacks.  And I didn’t really want any of those things.  All this was going on while I was driving around, and at the gym.  (At the gym not wanting to work out and sitting and contemplating how fat and tired I was.)  I did work out pretty hard anyways, but I cut short my swim to 12 laps.  So by the time I got home, I decided I would allow myself a ‘treat’ of TWO dates with walnuts inside.  Had a really simple dinner, which was delish.

Okay, back to the food listage.  This morning had yet another version of the oats, yogurt, walnuts, etc mix.  Again, quite tasty, but not worthy of sharing a recipe yet.  Had that along with a big piece of ambrosia melon.  These are really great–taste like super sweet canteloupe.  Mid morning had the best green smoothie yet–one frozen banana, one cup frozen strawberries, at least 2 cups of spinach, and 1/2 cup of homemade yogurt.  As long as I did not look at it while I drank it, it tasted fantastic.

Was at a friend’s house for lunch, and she very obligingly made me a great big gorgeous salad.  So fun to talk over salad because they take forever to eat.  More fruit for dessert.

So for dinner, I baked a little red potato, and topped it with that mushroom-onion-herb stuff that I made the other day.  It was delicious!  Much better on the regular potato than on the yam.  And had a couple of super delicious farmer’s market tomatoes along with it.  I am again really full, and I will again finish off the night with some pear sauce with the flax meal, chia seeds, and psyllium mixed in, and probably a glass of almond breeze.

Here’s the deal on that Golden Goddess dip/topping that I mentioned the other day.  I think it tastes pretty good with the last ingredient added in, but I am a little put off by the texture–it reminds me of baby food.  Very simple to make, and seems to hold up well in the frig.  Here’s the recipe:  One butternut squash cut into chunks, take the seeds out, one carrot cut into chunks, and one clove of garlic.  Put in a pan to boil–til tender, about 20 minutes.  Let cool, and peel the skin off the squash, and put all in the blender.  If you need to, add a little of the cooking water.  Add the last ingredient, 1/2 Tbsp brown rice miso (I found it in the grocery store in the refrigerator case next to the tofu) and blend all together.  It is a pretty golden orange color, and sticks nicely to any veggies that you might dip into it.

Isn’t it funny how when we have a problem, or are feeling bad, we automatically think it is due to a lack of food, or it can be cured by food.  When really , if I thought about it, that is just the way things are.  I AM fat, and old, and have more than my share of arthritis.  Ha!  I bet you guys didn’t think I was going there.  I didn’t when I started that sentence.  What I didn’t think about was the fact that I stacked a cord of firewood yesterday, and ran around like a mad woman doing housework and chores to make up for what I didn’t get done earlier in the week…I guess I’m doing something right–the old me would have taken at least a week to get all that work done.

And speaking of work, I’m back at it tomorrow!  I’ll check in with you on Sunday!  Have a great weekend, everyone.

Experimental Food – Day Three

Yes, I still had to take my excedrin to make it through the morning without my coffee.  Why am I doing this, you might be asking, when I am just going to go back to drinking coffee every morning?  Well, the truth is, I would like it if I just had coffee for a treat, maybe once or twice a week.  So it is a good discipline to try to make it a week without coffee.

First thing I did when I got up was to turn the blender on to make my almond milk.  I followed the recipe here in case you want to try this yourself..  The old osterizer did a great job of pulverizing the almonds.  Then I strained it through 4 layers of cheesecloth.  I was actually very interested in using the almond pulp.  Roni has made some cookies out of it.  And I used it in a breakfast concoction that was pretty tasty.  But the almond milk itself…not that great.  I really love the unsweetened vanilla almond breeze.  It tastes very rich and decadent to me, and at 40 calories a cup it can’t be beat.  

I started my morning with another type of smoothie called a Brazilian Breakfast.  It used unsweetened acai berry puree (something I got from Vicky,) yogurt, flax meal, raspberries, and a few walnuts.  Quite yummy.  A bit tart.  I added a little agave syrup, and don’t tell anyone, but I think I added a little splenda too.  Then it was perfect.

My mid-morning snack was another experiment–a take off on the breakfast cookie idea.  I mixed 1/3cup of oatmeal, 1/4 cup of almond pulp, 1/2 Tbsp flax meal, 1 tsp agave, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp oil, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 spoonful of yogurt, and 3or 4 walnut halves, and then put it in the frig to firm up.  I really liked it.  I am trying to figure out how to keep the oats from getting mushy.  I ate it with a whole bunch of strawberries.

For lunch I had 1/2 of a baked sweet potato (because I wasn’t hungry for the whole thing.)  I made a topping for it out of some chopped onion, sliced mushrooms, rosemary, garlic, parsley, all sauteed in a little olive oil.  Very tasty, but again, needs a little something, not sure what.  And I had a big bunch of cooked brocolli.  All very filling.  Again.

Wasn’t hungry for a mid afternoon snack, but I did snack on some grapes while I was fixing dinner.  I had gone to the farmers market in the afternoon specifically to get some fresh tomatoes.  So I just made a really good salad of mixed greens, baby carrots, tomatoes, and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.  I did the dressing in the bottom of the bowl again, with just the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and a bit of plum sauce.  I really like the way this works.  I had  a little bowl of chili, but I only ate 3 bites because I was full.  I did make a delicious bowl of ‘frozen peach yogurt.’  All it was was some frozen peach slices and my homemade yogurt.  I swear that’s all.  No splenda or any other sweetener.  And the natural taste was really delicious.

And last meal of the night is a little bowl of pear sauce with a blend of flax meal, chia seeds, and psyllium added in.  This is really good, too, and I like the chia seeds crunch.

I think I might be eating a little too much food, because I have not been hungry that much.  But this kind of food (high fiber, whole foods) is very filling.  I’ll be back tomorrow with more Adventures in Food.

Day Two

Yesterday started the day with another great green smoothie.  I have to admit these hold you for quite a while.  I made a funny mix of 1/3 cup of raw oats, 2 spoonfuls of yogurt, and a little agave nectar, and topped it with a really great nectarine cut up–this was to take with me as I had a whole day of activities and chores planned.

Mid-morning I ate my little snack that I had prepared, and I have to say, this was very satisfying.  It reminded me of the breakfast cookie idea, and today I made another version of that, and will review that tomorrow.

I was supposed to work out with Vicky, but when I got to the gym early, she was busy at work in the kitchen.  She had ordered a bunch of food for the people taking the Monday night class (me included) and I asked if she wanted me to help her portion it out.  So we ended up working on that together, and I got my share of food talk in, and that was okay.  I really was pretty sore from those negative resistance exercises the night before.  The food she ordered?  All kinds of interesting organic stuff, and she sold it to us at her wholesale prices!  I got some acai berry puree that I used in a smoothie this morning, all kinds of grains and some beans, and some other stuff that I am sure I will review sooner or later.  When we were done, I went out to the pool and did 40 laps, and felt really good about that.  I ate lunch out with a friend, and got my favorite salad which fit in pretty well with the cleanse diet.

Didn’t get home til about 5:30, and that’s when I made my chili that I already posted about.  Every night ends with a snack that I really like:  1/2 cup of homemade apple or pear sauce with 1/2 Tbsp flax meal, and a cup of almond breeze.  Yumm!  

I put one cup of almonds and 4 cups of water in the blender to soak overnight (to try making almond milk,) and went off to bed.

No caffeine for 2 days.  Perhaps this is why my posts are so boring….

Beans

I’m like a proud mama!  I did it.  I cooked my first beans from scratch.  I think I overcooked them, but I’m still proud.  I’m proud of myself for eating them too.  Here’s what happened (I’ve been watching a lot of Monk lately!)

Last night I looked around a bit and decided to use Roni’s Vegetarian Chili recipe as the base for what I would do.  I always like to start with a recipe because it gives me an idea of amounts, especially where spices are concerned.  This morning before I left, I put 1/2 pound of the beans in some water to soak.  (I had an interesting day, but I’ll tell you about that later. ) When I got home, I checked the bean package again, and it said to cook the beans for one hour.  I think these beans were little and didn’t take as much time as some.  I took out all the veggies I wanted to add:  carrots, onions, squash, tomatoes, and some  cilantro.  I decided to use a can of tomato paste because that’s what Roni did.  And to be honest, I did not have chili powder, so I had to use some taco seasoning, and added some cumin, and of course salt and pepper.  Anyway, after the beans cooked an hour, I added the tomato paste, the spices, and the onions.  Then the carrots.  (I always do this when cooking a bunch of veggies.  I try to add  the ones that need to cook the most first, and so on down the line until I get to the ones that don’t really need to be cooked at all, like tomatoes.)  Anyways, then I added the squash, and finally the tomatoes.  Since I was snacking on some great fresh fruit I had gotten while I was out, I only ate a small bowl of my chili.  But I really enjoyed it.  I was so proud, I put some in a bowl and tried to take an artful picture to share with you all!

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I still have my issues with the bean texture and taste, but I can definitely add some bean recipes to my repertoire.  One thing that I really liked about this was the carrot chunks in with the chili taste.

Day One

Yesterday I started the ‘cleanse diet’ with a fantastic green smoothie. Basically took the recipe for my fruit smoothie and added at least 2 cups of spinach.  I know why the Fitnessista calls these a ‘sludge.’  Instead of being a beautiful apricot pink color, it was…well, it looked like sludge.  I don’t know if any studies have been done, but for me, the color of something definitely affects the taste of it, or at least my perception of the taste of it.

BTW, you might notice I didn’t say ‘I started the day with a great cup of coffee.’  That’s right.  No coffee again for a week.  Even if I was to fudge and have the caffeine, there is no dairy allowed except for yogurt.  And its not worth it to me to have coffee without half and half.

Anyway, after a few excedrin, the day progressed well.  It was my rest day, and I definitely rested.  I even took a nap in the afternoon!  Mid-morning I had a great nectarine with a bit of granola.  And for lunch I had a great salad.  I mixed the dressing in the bowl like I had seen Martha Stewart do years ago.  Used balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and some herbs from my garden–thyme and rosemary–and some salt and pepper.  Added in carrots, tomato, the roasted brussel sprouts, and a ton on greens, and some pine nuts.  Very substantial.  Mid afternoon snack of carrots and cauliflower with that Golden Goddess dip–the jury’s still out on this stuff.  Then I noticed last night that I left an important ingredient out of it.  Oops.  I’ll try to report on it tomorrow.  For dinner I roasted some green beans, cut up my last farmer’s market tomato, and had a delicious yam.  Now this is worth reporting on.  I cut the yam into chunks, skin still on, covered with water and put on to boil.  Simmered 10 minutes, then dumped the hot water and cover with cool water.  This is just to cool the yams enough to be able to handle them.  You could also do this pre-cooking the day before or whatever.  Then peel the skins off (SO much easier than when they are raw,) and cut into bite sized chunks.  While they were boiling, I cut a slice of a good onion and chopped into bite size pieces, and cooked in pan sprayed with pam.  Then I added 1-2 teaspoons olive oil, and the yams, and ‘fried’ them, probably about 5 minutes per side.  They were really tasty.

Then it was off to class with Vicky, where she lectures for an hour about all the benefits of eating clean, whole foods.  She brought some food samples.  Has anyone tried buckwheat groats?  I was really disappointed, but again, I think it was my pre-conceived notion of what they were supposed to be.  I thought they would be like oats, and I would have them with fruit for breakfast.  But the way they had been prepared, with veggie broth and some herbs, um no.  not breakfast food.  I tried to switch my thinking.  I tried to think of them as mashed potatoes.  But it was too late.  I didn’t like them.  I’m still gonna try them fixed another way.  I hate being picky about healthy food choices.  But there are plenty of foods out there that I do like.

After the lecture, there is almost an hour of negative resistance exercise.  Man, this is good exercise.  It always surprises me when I am sore the next morning.  Basically, it is taking any exercise, and slowing down the ‘return’ portion of the exercise to 6-10 counts, if that makes sense.

I am off for a very full day of activities–car repair, getting new glasses, meeting with Vicky, swimming, and then lunch and the afternoon with a friend.  There is a restaurant we go to and I think my favorite salad will fit just fine into this diet!