Sunday, July 28, 2013

More creamy "pasta"

Creature of habit that I am, I had to make another go of that creamy vegan Alfredo stuff with zucchini pasta again.
 Freshly spiralized zucchini.
Here I sautéed some roasted red peppers, dandelion greens, garlic, butter beans, red wine, salt, pepper and a tad of honey for a side dish.
My mixture before adding the zucchini and cream sauce this time was mushrooms, onions, tofu, frozen Japanese veg mix, salt and pepper.  I then tossed in the zucchini to warm and the avocado cream sauce.
Let's just say, it was really hard not to get seconds.  I'll have to try this with pasta someday.  Like I mentioned before, each time I make something, I tweak it.  I was a good girl and referenced my post from last time on the sauce.  But really, each dish I make has it's own personality.

Speaking of personalities....I have plenty.  We have:
 The Weeman, our resident goofy and playful personality.
And Bellabean, our resident shy and sensitive personality.



Summertime Fun!

Thought to share some moments from this summer.
More to come!  Gotta save these moments for forever.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What a gem

I can't tell you how much I adore my Bellabean.  She has to be the most sensitive person I know.  Good because she has the most compassion.  Bad because it hits her very hard when she sees suffering or pain.

She's growing too fast, but I am proud to say she's getting better and better.  Better at dealing with her fears of getting hurt, bleeding, pain and trying new things.  She has also been helping me out so much with the housework and with Kristjan.
Recently she told me that she couldn't skate at the roller rink because they purchased new roller skates for the arena and they hurt her feet.  After a few weeks of complaints I decided to get her some blades.  She was so excited!  We will be moving closer to the rink and once we do I'm sure we will visit all the time.  At $2 per three hour session, I think I can swing it.

She's been practicing every day ever since she got them to prepare for her next visit to the rink with her pals.  Today was her first day on the blades alone.  When I got home she gave me a card that she made.
I just love it!  Not only is she the sweetest little thing, but she showed me her bruises with pride and also was so happy to have done it.  She's facing her fears and learning she is strong. 

Mind over matter!  I'll cherish this little note along with many more she has given me.  I love you Bella.

Want some pasta, can't have the carbs?

There are plenty of options out there if you are like me and trying to get gluten free and also lower on carb intake.  There is brown rice, wild rice, sweet potatoes and quinoa for example.  There's also that option to get that pasta feeling without even coming close to eating pasta.  It's spiralized zucchini.

You can eat it raw and in this case, I cooked it just enough to warm it.  Don't over cook it or you will have mush on your hands and what's the point in that?  Less nutrients and you won't get that pasta feel.
I started by baking some sweet potatoes.  Once baked I just cut them in half lengthwise.  For me, I only gave myself a half of a tater.

My pasta idea started by sautéing a chopped onion, chopped yellow bell pepper, sliced mushrooms and some cubed firm tofu with some salt, a little oil and a bit of red Thai curry spice. You can spice it up anyway you like or not at all, but I do recommend salt and pepper at least. 

While those were sautéing, in a food processor I made a vegan "Alfredo sauce" concoction.  I'm trying to remember what I did as I didn't measure when I made it.  Here goes:
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 tablespoon Braggs liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • salt and pepper
  • about a half a cup of almond milk (added as needed for creaminess)
  • 3 or so tablespoons nutritional yeast.
First remember to break down the garlic before adding the other ingredients.  Taste as you go.  You may need more salt or almond milk depending on the texture and taste you are looking for.

Once processed put in a bowl and just heat a bit before topping your pasta.

Just before you are ready to chow down, get your spiralizer out and spiral two large zucchini squash. Add that to your pot of simmering onions, tofu and mushrooms for about 3 minutes or until warmed through.  DON'T OVERCOOK!

Serve the pasta over the sweet potato and top with that sauce.
Let me just say; Chris was moaning as he ate this stuff.  He loved the sauce and "pasta" so very much.  I had to blog this just so I could remember what I did!  I also wanted to share.  This dish is plant strong, heart healthy and carb friendly.  You don't have to use tofu and you don't have to include the sweet potatoes.  Play with it! I never make anything the same twice it seems...I always mix it up a bit and it always depends on what I have to work with.

The best part is, when you are eating it, you think you are eating something sinful and rich - but you're not.  Yeah baby!

Finally, word is getting out to the masses - a must read!



Click here to read article!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Keep this list handy

Keep this list handy if you can't afford or don't have access to a full organic pantry (both would apply for me). 
Just do your best to get organic for those listed on the dirty dozen list.  Especially those apples!  They are number one on the contaminated list. 
 
So far I have noticed that organic foods have richer colors, the fruit is sweeter and the veg more flavorful.  Even not fully ripe (somewhat white) organic strawberries are ten times sweeter than conventional, which usually is bitter.
 
Also, if you can get local produce that's organic (not certified), it's still organic. These small farmers may not have the funds to be certified, but they still produce a clean and superior product.  Also, your dollars will go to a local business verses a mega-agri-business.
 
So far I have been successful in finding grapes, oranges, apples, strawberries, blueberries, grape tomatoes, peaches, apricots, and celery at my local grocery store.  Sometimes they have potatoes or cucumbers on hand.  Honestly, they are getting better slowly at providing more.  Depending on the week, some of the items are the same or even cheaper than conventional.  Some are more.  On those weeks I weigh my options to decide if I want to spend more or just select other items.
 
There are some vegetables I get from the health food store that I visit weekly.  They have organic greens much cheaper than Whole Foods.  I can get organic dandelion greens, kale, Swiss chard and other select greens there at a good price.  Since I live out in the stix I have to travel for certain foods that I can't get from my local grocery store.  I have a local produce market, but I'll only get items on the clean 15 from them since I don't believe they are selling organics, just local.
 
I visit Whole Foods when I am out of certain lentils or other dry goods that my closer health food store doesn't carry.  There's also an organic market in the city, but it's a long drive so I only stop by there when I am heading that way for another errand.  Usually I bounce from my local grocery store, health food store and local produce market.  I wish there were more organic markets in my area, but not yet.
 
I soon hope (hopefully in the late fall or winter) to be able to grow a large garden of my own.  Then I can grow my own organic foods and hopefully save tons on my grocery bill.  We'll be moving soon and I'll give you more info on that when I have some!
 
In the meantime.  Keep this list in your purse or pocket when getting your produce!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Back to food.

Yes, we must.
 Pre roast.  Garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms, rosemary, tofu, onion, little olive oil and chipotle pepper.
 Closer look of the pre roast goodness
 Roasted beets.  Topped with a little salt and good balsamic dressing.
 Garlicky fresh kale and dandelion greens.  Garlicky sauce made from 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast, two tablespoons, lime juice, 2 tablespoons, Braggs liquid aminos, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, tablespoons tahini paste and 3 large gloves of garlic (processed in a food processor.)
 Creamy polenta made with corn meal, water, salt, pepper, Smart Balance and nutritional yeast (instead of parmesan).
 My little helper
 Done!  Topped the polenta with the roasted tomato goodness.
Side of the greens and beets.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Creamy dreamy

I admit, this was far from a gluten free food.  I purchased the fettuccini pasta because I was wanting to experiment with vegan versions of Alfredo sauce.  I have been craving it badly. I ended up making a roasted veg puree sauce instead.  I'll have to Alfredo practice some other time.
This version (they are never the same) I roasted 1 onion, 1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper, 7 gloves garlic and 2 tubs grape tomatoes.  Threw them in the Vitamix and added crushed red pepper, salt, black pepper and ground chipotle and pureed until smooth.  I sautéed some mushrooms, tofu and petite peas to add in when I tossed it all together.

It's that cream again

I was just talking about my obsession with avocado and the importance of healthier fats.  Well....here is a great cream to top just about anything, use as a dip or even toss with pasta if you dare.  You've seen me make this luscious stuff before.
Avocado Cream!!

Get your food processor out and make some of this stuff immediately!  It's so easy and fresh.

3 hass avocados
3 cloves garlic
juice of 1 1/2 limes (or to taste)
salt (to taste)
veg broth

Process the garlic first.  Add the rest of the ingredients, puree until smooth.  Add lime and salt to taste.  Awesome!

This is the same as making a simple guacamole.  Just adding the broth and processing more for a smoother texture.  Spice it up with peppers, cilantro...whatever you like!

Raw and Gluten Free Version of Tabbouleh

Here's a great recipe for those that love Tabbouleh but can't have gluten or would like to try a raw and ultra healthy version!
Kristina is a hoot!  She has way too much energy.  I suppose being completely raw and also running at least 8 miles a day will do that. 

Ever heard of Lipemia?

Lipemia is the measure of fat in the blood.  As you can see from the above photo, you can literally see the fat in your blood after eating.  The fat from this example originated from oils, meat (fish is considered meat) and dairy. The fat doesn't just settle on your belly or butt, it affects your blood and your heart and has an immediate impact. 

Please take note!  Olive oil is not a health food.  It's full of fat.  If you are going to use it, please do so sparingly.

Don't fret! There are healthier sources of fat which your body does need in small increments.  Avocado, nuts & seeds do contain fat but they also contain healthy omega 3 fatty acids and other essential vitamins and minerals.  However, eat these in moderation as well.  Fat is fat! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Spiralize it!


I received my spiralizer machine the other day and I love it!  It slices, dices, curls and makes awesome veg pasta!
We are trying to incorporate more raw foods and dishes in our diet.  Raw zucchini pasta is a great start!  Has that great pasta texture and gluten free!
Somewhat blurred but here is the final product.  I used my Vitamix and made a raw kale pesto marinara sauce.  I blended cherry tomatoes, fresh rosemary, oregano, cayenne, salt, pepper and kale leaves. Tossed with the zucchini pasta and topped with chopped avocado and yellow tomato.

I did incorporate something warm and made some vegan polenta on the side.  Polenta made the conventional way, just substituted the butter with Smart Balance and the Parmesan with nutritional yeast.  You wouldn't know the difference. 

Now, remember the video I posted on the no bake brownies?  Here's my version!
I roll mine into balls.  It's just walnuts, dates, cocoa powder and a tad agave nectar.  Chocolate loveliness!