Tag Archives: VeganMoFo

VeganMoFo: Almonds

31 Oct

It’s the last day of VeganMoFo!  It’s been fun to try to be extremely informative all month, but tomorrow I’m going back to just my musings and experiences with food and exercise, and maybe even some recipes.

Let’s talk nuts.  All nuts are great in moderation, but I want to focus particularly on almonds both because I love them, and because they’re really good for you.

Almonds are the fruit seeds of sweet almond trees, and they’re closely related to peaches.  They contain more calcium than any other nut, and are also a good source of iron, riboflavin and vitamin E.  A quarter cup of almonds provides almost 12% of the daily value of calcium for women, and 9% for iron.  They also have the highest dietary fiber content of all the nuts and seeds.  Sadly, most almonds sold as raw aren’t really raw, as they have been pasteurized.  It can be hard to find truly raw almonds, but as compared to roasted or otherwise processed nuts, I prefer the “raw” almonds, as they’re more of a blank canvas.  You can always toast or roast them at home if you want.

The easiest way to eat almonds is just as they are!  If I want a piece of fruit for a snack but feel it’s not going to be filling enough, I’ll have six almonds too for just one points plus.  You can mix almonds with other nuts and dried fruit (or chocolate chips) for a healthy homemade trail mix.  And of course, there’s almond butter.  Because almond butter is more calorie dense, it should be used sparingly if you’re watching your intake.  I usually limit myself to one serving of nuts a day, but of course today I had two – a Tablespoon of almond butter in my morning smoothie, and a handful of trek mix for my afternoon snack.

Source:  The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition

Monday, 10/31/11

breakfast – smoothie (banana, 1 Tbs almond butter, 2 Tbs hemp protein powder, Amazing Grass Chocolate Superfood, unsweetened almond milk)
AM snack – apple, pear, coffee with vanilla soy creamer
lunch – salad (lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, wheat berries, edamame, chickpeas, corn, baked tofu, sesame dressing)
PM snack – 1/4 cup trek mix
dinner – green curry stew with sweet potatoes, swiss chard and white beans

exercise – ran 2 miles (24:30 min), walked 10 minutes

daily points used:  29
activity points earned:  6

VeganMoFo: Legumes

30 Oct

Legumes are edible seeds that grow in pods, and they are by far the best plant source of protein.  Legumes include such interesting foods such as peanuts, carob and mesquite, but I’m going to focus on those most-loved legumes, beans.

Beans are full of complex carbohydrates, B vitamins, zinc, potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron.  They are relatively low in calories, cholesterol-free, almost fat-free and high in dietary fiber.  A cup of cooked legumes supplies about 25 percent of the RDA of iron for women, although it is nonheme iron which does not absorb as well as heme iron.  You can improve the absorption of nonheme iron by eating its sources with foods rich in vitamin C, such as red bell peppers, broccoli, oranges or kale.

Beans are one of my favorite protein sources and I try to eat them multiple times each week.  On average, legumes contain about 22 percent protein by dry weight.  Soybeans are the only legume which are a complete protein; other beans need to be combined with grains or nuts to cover all of the essential amino acids.  Research has shown that this combining doesn’t need to be within the same meal, so as long as you’re eating a balanced diet including multiple types of foods, you’ll be covered.

You probably know that you can buy beans in dried form or cooked.  If you’re going to buy canned beans, choose organic and try to find cans without BPA, such as Eden Organic.  If you’ve never cooked beans from dried, give it a try – it’s not hard at all!  There are a million theories out there about how to cook dried beans and what will make them tender or reduce flatulence, but really, don’t let that put you off.  Just soak your dried beans overnight, drain them, then bring to a boil in plenty of water, reduce to a simmer, and cook until they feel done.  That’s it.  To test the beans, just take one out of the pot and take a bite.  You want them to be soft enough to bite through easily but not falling apart.  Then once you’ve got that down you can test adding salt at the beginning versus at the end, or adding a strip of kombu.  Keep in mind that beans will expand a lot during soaking and cooking, so start with less volume of dried beans than you want to end up with.  If you cook too much, they’ll keep in the fridge for a few days, or you can freeze them in a little of the cooking liquid.

Beans are super adaptable, so I’m just going to tell you about a few of my favorite ways to eat them.

Black beans pair wonderfully with Latin American flavors.  They’re an obvious choice for tacos or soups, and black bean-sweet potato enchiladas are a fantastic pairing.  Dried black beans do really well when cooked with flavorings in the liquid, as in this Smoky Chipotle Beans recipe by Rick Bayless.  They make a great burger patty as well – there’s a good recipe in Veganomicon (posted online here).

Black eyed peas are a southern favorite, which can also sometimes be found frozen.  I love black eyed peas with a big pile of greens, as in this Hoppin’ John from Vegetarian Times.  They are also great in salads like this Texas Caviar.

Chickpeas!  What can’t chickpeas do?  They’re the key ingredients in hummus (although you can make hummus from other beans), they are the base of falafels (make baked falafel if you’re worried about the fat), and so much more.  You can try the every-wonderful chickpea cutlets from Veganomicon, roast them to top salads, or try a chickpea “tuna” salad.

To me, kidney beans equal chili.  I love the larger size and flavor of kidney beans.  Use them alone or with pinto beans, or get crazy and make a three or four bean chili.  I’ve made lots of variations on this recipe with great success.

In the same way kidney beans equal chili, lima beans equal succotash.  If you think you don’t like lima beans, give them another try cooked with some corn, tomatoes and okra if you’re feeling adventurous.  Here’s a tasty looking recipe…add a dash of liquid smoke!

Pinto beans are my absolute favorite in Mexican food.  I won’t eat a burrito without them!  You can buy canned fat-free vegetarian refried beans, but it’s also easy to make your own – I described my method in this post.

White beans, including cannelini, navy and Great Northern, aren’t my favorite, so I don’t have too many tips on what to do with them!  White beans do make a very tasty dip with some olive oil and maybe fresh basil.  They’re good for a white chili, too.  To be perfectly honest, my favorite white beans are the gigante beans at the Whole Foods salad bar.

Lentils and split peas are also legumes, but they’re a whole ‘nother store for another day.  What is your favorite way to enjoy beans?

Sunday, 10/30/11

breakfast – 2 flax plus waffles with 2 tsp blueberry agave nectar, orange Emergen-C
AM snack – banana
lunch – 1 1/2 cups cooked whole wheat spaghetti with mushroom pasta sauce
PM snack – 1 cup warm vegetable broth with miso and dulse flakes
dinner – burrito (rice, beans, lettuce, guacamole, onions, salsa), 12 oz red wine

daily points used:  29
weekly points used:  3
activity points used:  3
non-existent points used:  6

VeganMoFo: Tempeh

29 Oct

I’m not sure if I was successful in warding off whatever sickness Dave had this week.  My throat feels scratchy today, like it does when you’re starting to get sick, so I’m still trying to rest and hydrate and will see how I feel tomorrow.  However, at least I’ve got some free time, so here’s a MoFo post!

Tempeh.  Most people love it or hate it.  I was ambivalent about it until I tried Don’t Eat Off The Sidewalk’s Tempeh Wingz.  The recipe isn’t really WW friendly, but if you want to fall in love with tempeh give it a shot.  After trying the wingz I would regularly crave tempeh, and now I eat it probably a few times a month.

Tempeh is a traditional soy food which originated in Indonesia.  It is made by fermenting whole soy beans into a chunky-textured solid cake, and because it is less processed than tofu it has a higher content of protein, fiber and vitamins.  Tempeh is a good source of manganese, phosphorous, B vitamins, magnesium, copper and iron.

Tempeh has a nutty, earthy flavor which can be a turn off to some.  Prepared correctly though, I think tempeh is a great addition to almost any meal.  In the past you had to go to an asian market or health food store to find it, but as it has grown in popularity it has become much more easy to find in mainstream groceries.  Much like tofu, tempeh can be eaten as is, but you probably don’t want to.  It will do a lot better in a tasty marinade or sauce.

The first step to preparing tempeh is usually steaming or simmering it for 15 to 20 minutes.  Cooking tempeh gently in or over water will open it up a bit, preparing it to accept whatever flavors you are going to add.  This step will also ensure that you’re tempeh doesn’t dry out during cooking.  I don’t always steam or simmer my tempeh if I’m in a rush, but it definitely improves the flavor and texture.

One of my favorite tempeh recipes of late is the Buffalo Tempeh from Appetite for Reduction.  It’s moist and spicy and low fat and all around wonderful.  I would highly recommend buying AFR if you don’t have it yet, but if you want to troll the internet for the recipe it’s posted here.

Shredded or crumbled tempeh makes a great meat substitute.  These Tempeh Meatballs with Maple BBQ Sauce are a little bit of work, but they’re really delicious, and make a beautiful presentation.  Tempeh also makes a great “sausage”, a la this Tempeh Sausage Crumbles from The PPK.  Shred tempeh with a cheese grater and you’ll have a stand in for ground beef, to be used in tacos or chili.

To make TLT’s (tempeh lettuce tomato), I like to use Smoky Tempeh Strips by Lightlife.  Of course, you can find a recipe to make your own tempeh bacon, but sometimes you can’t beat convenience.

In my kitchen, I usually pair tempeh with a sweet and smoky glaze or sauce.  This Smoky Maple-Glazed Tempeh was easy and delicious.  My Tempeh Pepper Steak is also a great choice for dinner.

Sources
The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods
Wikipedia – Tempeh

Thursday, 10/27/11

breakfast – Blueberry Muffin Larabar
AM snack – pear, apple, Orange Emergen-C, coffee with vanilla soy creamer
lunch – garam masala roasted delicata squash rings, salad (romaine, arugula, shredded carrot, spicy roasted chickpeas, roasted radishes, bacon flavored chips, Sanctuary dressing), one piece multigrain toast
PM snack – 6 oz chocolate cultured coconut yogurt
dinner – Fines Herbes & Dijon Crusted Tofu with Braised Leeks & Pea Puree, 1 cup mashed potatoes made with almond milk

exercise – 45 minutes elliptical

daily points used:  29
weekly points used:  1
activity points earned:  3

Friday, 10/28/11

breakfast – 1 cup optimum slim cereal with unsweetened almond milk and sliced banana
AM snack – apple, pear, Orange Emergen-C, coffee with vanilla soy creamer
lunch – garam masala roasted delicata squash rings, salad (romaine, arugula, spicy roasted chickpeas, roasted radishes, Sanctuary dressing), spelt English muffin
dinner – 2 slices bread, beet soup with green coriander seed, crostini with roasted red pepper spread, shell peas in olive oil sauce with cavolo nero and roasted eggplant, five dates, 28 oz beer
after dinner – 5 oz wine, 12 oz beer, 2 oz Tings

daily points used:  29
weekly points used:  31

Saturday, 10/29/11

breakfast – grits with nutritional yeast, Orange Emergen-C, coffee with soy milk
lunch – breaded vegan fish fillet with 1 1/2 Tbs ketchup, 3 carrots with Sanctuary Dressing
dinner – 2 cups fettuccine with mushroom pasta sauce, 4 oz red wine
snack – 2 oz Tings

daily points used:  29
weekly points used:  13

VeganMoFo: Millet & Tuesday Totals

25 Oct

Millet, much like quinoa and amaranth, is a small gluten free seed with a good protein content.  Unlike amaranth, however, it will cook up fluffy if you do it right.  Millet is a good source of fiber, phosphorous, magnesium and B vitamins.  It is a great alternative to wheat or rice if you’re looking to mix things up.

There are lots of opinions on the way to cook millet, using two or three parts water, soaking it, rinsing it, toasting it.  To be perfectly honest, it can be a little hard to get right, so experiment and see what works for you!  For the best millet I ever made, I toasted one cup then added 2 1/2 cups of water and simmered just until done.  It can take 20-25 minutes.  To end up with fluffy, soft millet, treat it like rice – simmer it covered and don’t disturb until it’s done cooking.  For creamier millet, stir the pot more often and add more liquid as needed.

I think millet tastes a little like corn, and it will take well to either savory or sweet applications.  Millet flour can be used in gluten free baked goods, and whole raw millet can also be added to items such as bread.  Now I want to make some millet cornbread!

Source:  The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods

Tuesday, 10/25/11

breakfast – toasted Daiya cheddar sandwich on multigrain oat bread
AM snack – grapes, pear, coffee with vanilla soy creamer
lunch – Fines Herbes & Dijon Crusted Tofu with Braised Leeks & Pea Puree, 1 cup mashed potatoes made with almond milk
dinner at Whole Foods – 2 small potato samosas, 1/2 cup spaghetti with ratatouille and 1/4 cup chickpeas, roasted vegetables, half-caff coffee with soy milk
before bed – 2 oz Tings

exercise – 30 minutes walking

daily points used:  29
non-existent points used:  9

Totals for 10/19/11 – 10/25/11

Daily points used:  202/203
Weekly points used:  91/49
Activity points earned:  13
Activity points used:  13
Points left on the table:  -42

Oi!  We were out of town all weekend which definitely led to going over my points allowance, and I also didn’t earn many activity points.  I feel like I made decent choices, but I can still do better.  We’re having band practice twice a week too which means I’m away from home from 7:30AM to 8:30PM and I eat dinner at the Whole Foods hot bar, and this reduces my opportunity for exercise to a walk during my lunch break.  Regardless, I feel pretty good so I’m hoping for a decent weigh in tomorrow morning.

VeganMoFo: Amaranth

24 Oct

I first learned about amaranth while I was in the Natural Chef Program at Bauman College.  Much like quinoa, amaranth has been touted as a supergrain.  This “grain” is technically a seed, and the leaves of the same plant are also edible.

Amaranth’s super status comes from its protein content and quality.  Unlike true grains, amaranth isn’t deficient in the essential amino acid lysine, and therefore forms a complete protein when combined with other grains.  It is also a good source of calcium, folacin, magnesium and iron.

Amaranth is tiny!  First time amaranth-triers may be surprised to find that it cooks up into a thick, gelatinous texture.  Prepared in this simple manner, it is great for breakfast mixed with some fruit or maple syrup.  You can also cook the amaranth in juice or broth, to give it more flavor.  To simmer amaranth, use a 1:3 ratio of amaranth to liquid.  Bring to a boil then simmer for 25-30 minutes.

This is Savory Amaranth Porridge, created to incorporate vegetables into breakfast.

If you want to avoid the porridge-ey texture, you can combine amaranth with other grains, using up to a quarter amaranth and cooking as per usual.  This Multigrain Sesame-Beet Pilaf also includes brown rice, millet and quinoa.

Amaranth is naturally gluten free, and the flour can be used in gf baked goods.  Amaranth can apparently also be sprouted or popped, although I haven’t tried either myself.  Here is a little article listing a few ways to use amaranth seeds.

I’ve never had the pleasure of trying amaranth greens, and would definitely snap some up if I ever see them!  They are a traditional food in Africa and Asia, and they have a similar nutritional profile to other greens.  The greens can be eaten raw or cooked, and can be treated much like spinach.

Sources:
The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition
Wikipedia – Amaranth

Saturday, 10/22/11

pre-run – 1/3 cinnamon Larabar
post-run – rest of the Larabar, banana
lunch – rainbow vegetable soup, one slice wheat toast with 1 tsp Earth Balance, soy latte, cherry almond biscotti
afternoon – 48 oz beer
dinner & evening – 14″ thin crust pizza with spinach, jalapenos, sun dried tomato, pine nuts & Daiya mozzarella (yes, I ate the whole thing…), 48 oz light beer

exercise – ran 2.5 miles (33 min), walked 10 min

daily points used:  29
weekly points used:  19
activity points earned:  7
activity points used:  13
non-existent points used:  19

Sunday, 10/23/11

brunch – sandwich (wheat bread, hummus, baby greens, shredded carrot, grilled zucchini, eggplant & tofu), 8 tortilla chips with salsa, coffee with almond milk & 1 tsp brown sugar
late lunch – tofu salad sandwich on sprouted wheat bread, 1.5 oz sunchips
dinner – 3 oz popcorn with nutritional yeast, an apple, pickled carrots, 24 oz beer

daily points used:  29
non-existent poinst used:  13

Monday, 10/24/11

breakfast – Clif Mofo peanut butter pretzel bar, banana
AM snack – apple, coffee with vanilla soy creamer
lunch – Amy’s tamale verde meal with black beans & rice, 2 mandarins, 6.5 oz chocolate coconut milk beverage
PM snack – 1/4 cup cashew, almond & cranberry trek mix
dinner – Fines Herbes & Dijon Crusted Tofu with Braised Leeks & Pea Puree, 1 cup mashed potatoes made with almond milk

daily points used:  29
non-existent points used:  1

Recipe posted here.

VeganMoFo: Winter Squash

22 Oct

One of my favorite parts of Fall is the return of winter squash!  Winter squashes include pumpkin, butternut, acorn, spaghetti squash, delicata, kabocha, and lots of other types.  They are an excellent source of vitamin A, and a good source of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, manganese, and other vitamins and minerals.

(I have a mini winter squash habit.  Every year I have to buy at least one of every mini winter squash I see to put around the living room.  I can’t help it, they’re so cute!  Although, these winged gourds kind of weird Dave out, so I’ve been abstaining from those this year.)

I don’t think I need to tell you how to enjoy pumpkin, probably the most popular winter squash.  There are literally millions of vegan pumpkin recipes online, both sweet and savory.  Angela at Oh She Glows has a bunch of great looking pumpkin recipes listed too.  One of my favorite ways I prepared pumpkin last year was to peel it, cut it into cubes them roast it with a bit of coconut oil and spices.  It made a fantastic side dish.  Canned pumpkin is fine if you don’t want to bother hacking away at a whole squash.  I would recommend organic if possible, and be sure to get plain pureed pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix.

Butternut squash is another squash which needs to be peeled before eating, and you can treat it almost exactly the same as pumpkin.  This Roasted Garlic, Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup with Caramelized Onions is really tasty.  I included baby carrots only because that’s what I had in the fridge at the time; regular carrots would be fine.  I’ve got my eye on this Butternut Mac ‘n Cheese too.

Speaking of pumpkins and butternuts, don’t throw out those seeds!  Pumpkin seeds are a good source of a bunch of minerals including phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and copper, as well as protein and vitamin K.  To roast pumpkin or butternut seeds, toss them with a little bit of oil or melted vegan butter and the spices of your choice (include some salt), and roast at 300 F for up to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I’m running short on time today, sadly, so I can’t delve too far into other squashes, but I’ll mention that some squashes don’t require peeling, such as acorn and delicata.  Bake them halved or cut into pieces, and you can eat the skin if you want.  Also, spaghetti squashes are a whole different animal.  Here’s a nice picture tutorial on how to cook spaghetti squash, if you’re curious.

Sources:
Wikipedia – Winter Squash
WH Foods – Pumpkin Seeds

Thursday, 10/20/11

breakfast – 1 1/2 buttermilk-date bran muffins, banana
AM snack – pear, coffee with soy creamer
lunch – celeriac & caramelized onion soup, toasted Daiya cheddar sandwich on multigrain oat bread
PM snack – 1/4 cashew, almond and cranberry trek mix
dinner (at Whole Foods) – three bean salad, quinoa with beets, baked tofu, red cabbage and red wine vinegar, sesame kale, collards with tempeh bacon
after dinner – 6 oz red wine

exercise – 30 minutes walking

daily points used:  29
weekly points used:  7
activity points earned:  2

Friday, 10/21/11

breakfast – toasted Daiya cheddar sandwich on multigrain oat bread, orange
AM snack – banana, coffee with soy creamer
lunch – hummus and pita with artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers, applesauce
dinner – footlong Subway veggie sandwich on white with mustard and avocado
second (late night) dinner – rice & bean “little burrito” (which turned out to be not so little), 10 tortilla chips with pico de gallo, 24 oz light beer

daily points used:  29
weekly points used:  23

VeganMoFo: Weigh In Wednesday and Potatoes

19 Oct

I weighed in this morning at 164.5, which is exactly the same as last week.  I’m okay with maintenance, considering I went over my points plus limit.  I’m hoping to exercise more this week and make good food choices, although it’s going to be difficult.  We have band practice tomorrow night right after work, and we’re going out of town for the weekend.  And, I’m still trying to keep up with VeganMoFo over on Vegan Homemade as well.

Onto today’s topic, potatoes!  Potatoes have been somewhat demonized in the low-carb craze, but potatoes are worth a second look.  The carbohydrates they supply are complex (the “good” kind), and they also provide protein, vitamins and minerals.  As long as you don’t load a potato down with added fat, it can be very healthy.  A potato’s skin is a concentrated source of dietary fiber, so it’s best to leave the peel on.

There are two types of potatoes – starchy and waxy.  Russet potatoes are starchy, and best for baking.  Smaller varieties like red and white potatoes and fingerlings are waxy, and better for sturdy preparations like roasting and potato salads.  If you want to enjoy lightened up mashed potatoes, mix them with other cooked veggies like cauliflower or turnip and accent with fresh flavors like herbs, cracked pepper or truffle salt.

Sources:
The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition
whfoods.com

Wednesday, 10/19/11

breakfast – one and a half buttermilk-date bran muffins, half a grapefruit
AM snack – apple, coffee with soy milk
lunch – celeriac and caramelized onion soup with shiitake bacon, grilled cheddar Daiya sandwich on multigrain oat bread
snack – 1/4 cup cashew, almond and cranberry trek mix
dinner – pickled carrots, cream cheese-stuffed apple and rosemary scone, banana

exercise – 30 minutes walking

daily points used:  28
activity points earned:  2