OK, this is the deal, I stay away from processed food and eat primarily a whole foods plant based diet. I say primarily because there are things that are minimally processed that we use regularly and I'm not perfect so there are some "bad" processed foods that slip in too, like the occasional tortilla chip or Daiya's non-dairy cheese. Silk soy creamer still makes its way into my single cup of morning Joe. I love to bake cookies and make frozen treats so even though these are low in fat, they still contain sugar and we eat them way more than we should. I use the word "we" here but most of this diet/lifestyle choice is all about me. Others around me will eat what I cook but they are by no means on the same track and often pine for chicken and cheese. (you know who you are, David) :-)
First, just keep in mind its all plant-based with no animal products in this kitchen. From time to time when we have guests coming to stay and we must have food for them, I really have to be vigilant about cross contamination. In an animal product-free kitchen, you never worry about this. Another thing, we rarely use added oil or fat of any kind when preparing a meal but when we do, its either canola oil or pan spray and from time to time, earth balance or nut butters.
Pretty much EVERY morning starts with Oatmeal. You can find a great poem by Kinnell titled Oatmeal here thanks to the blog Compass Rose (I love compass roses). If I know I have an early start for work (my schedule is all over the place) I will often prepare in advance. This has been boring at times so I do experiment with other grains, savory rather than sweet variations of oat preparation and the occasional tofu scramble or roasted potato brunch type dish. I have discovered a great resource for Oatmeal recipes from Healthy Slow Cooking including this one for Almond Joy Oatmeal which is Great!!
Since Santa was sooo awesome and on the mark this Christmas delivering a Vita-mix, smoothies now have a place on the Cafe menu. I try to put as many greens in the hopper as I can but the latest smoothies have had red cabbage, fennel, celery, a few dates, a few frozen berries, 1/2 banana & some Pomegranate juice (and H2O) which gives them this beautiful magenta color. This one was even percolating, I wonder what that's about??
Ezekiel and the Wheel, its one of my faves and I'm sure its about extra-terrestrials!
Often a salad, big on greens, usually has a big handful of that already prepared Broccoli Slaw mix which usually contains bits of broccoli, carrots & red cabbage. No dressing. No traditional dressing that is. I use salsa, fresh salsa, thats the easiest and quickest. Sometimes I will go to the trouble to make dressings from a Fat Free Vegan recipe or use one of Dr. McDougall's recommended store-bought dressings and I use it sparingly. I'm lucky that I'm not one of those people who needs their salads drenched in liquid, never have been.
Salad alternatives? Soups, stews, leftovers from the dinners past. I am making soup stock right now. I save all of the scraps from the veggies we eat, carrot peelings, celery tops and bottoms, potato & onion skins, etc. in a baggie in the freezer until I have enough to make stock. We use a lot of stock here, in place of any oil when we saute, in sauces, soups and stews, in cooking grains. Today I will make Lentil Barley Soup, one of my mom's tried and true recipes for a yummy soup. (she did not have too many, bless her heart). Here is a video of me making mom's lentil barley soup:
I have already confessed that I rarely use recipes for the food I prepare. I look in the fridge and just combine things that I have on hand to make a meal and often eat leaf-tovers (oops, I mean left-overs). Last night's dinner, (which was YUMBO btw), was a remake of dinner from 2 nights ago. A "lasagna" of sorts with polenta on the bottom, sauteed collards with shitake mushrooms in the center and three bean veggie chili on top. I don't cook with wine nearly as much as I used to when I was making rich sauces for meat laden meals but I usually drink wine with dinner. Its my signal that the work of the day is done, time to relax, let go and breathe.
Snacks and Desserts:
Not a big "snacker" lucky I guess, but if I'm feeling peckish, I'll nibble on a piece of fruit, some carrots with hummus or guacamole (not much, remember!!) I'm always reminding David that the package of hummus has 10 servings, not 1!! He likes his hummus with bread (not carrots :-() but this is better than his old snack of bread and cheese or bread dipped in copious amounts of olive oil!! Baby steps honey! Sometimes I'll make a bean dip or have some chips with salsa, Guiltless Gourmet are the preferred chip, if you can find them! Be sure you read the label as not all of the GG products are guilt-free!
Latley I have been making soft-serve "ice cream" from bananas, after reading this blog. As I mentioned earlier, I also make many cakes, cookies and muffins. Most recently I have also made some puddings like this one from The Cancer Project: Chocolate Tofu Pudding.
Well, that's about it folks. As I dive deeper into this wonderful exploration of life, love, food and happiness, I realize it is all much simpler than I ever imagined. I find that really, there is no reason not to have just a baked sweet potato for a meal, or a salad at breakfast! Or to quote someone else who's name I can't remember "No reason to sweat the small stuff, and its all small stuff"! Be on the look out for future posts about WHY MiMi eats this way and what we like to do up here on the Ridge to BURN our calories, so that we may eat MORE!!!