Sunday, June 9, 2013

Breakfast Rice Bowl

Get creative when it comes to breakfast. J and I have taken to preparing shakes every morning before work because they're portable and packed full of fruits and veggies. But on the weekends, I really enjoy sitting down with a good book, a cup of coffee, and a nice breakfast that I can eat with a utensil! 

Enter Breakfast Rice Bowl. You can really make this however you want - different veggies, different dressings, add fruit, etc. But here follows my version this Sunday morning:

Breakfast Rice Bowl
1/2 to 3/4 cup of brown rice luke warm or cold (I used leftovers and microwaved them for 30 seconds)
5 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage
1/4 cup julienned raw beet
2 Tbsp tahini 
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar 
1 tsp lime juice
1-2 Tbsp nutritional yeast 

Serves 1

Mix it all together in a bowl and enjoy! If I had a navel orange or clementine on hand I likely would have added some sliced, in addition to a splash of orange juice mixed in with the rice. You could also add blueberries or strawberries. If you wanted something sweeter but don't have fruit, you could add some agave, honey, or maple syrup as well. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Month Long Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Challenge

We're back at it again! My doctor (who is actually a nurse practitioner) recommended for the third time that I try going gluten-free and sugar-free for at least a month and asked that I document how I feel. I picked the month of June because, leading up to this point, I haven't been feeling so great. I've been sluggish, been getting more headaches, stomach pain in the evening, and my acne has been out of control. So I started on Tuesday with a well-crafted meal plan and a lot of conviction.

Week one has gone pretty smoothly, though not without some ups and downs. On Tuesday, I had a mild headache which I attributed to sugar withdrawal. On Wednesday, the headache morphed into a tension headache - sugar detoxing coupled with high stress from work, a pending storm, and not enough calories in my system? It was the set up for a bad scene. I ended up leaving work early and, after eating a handful of almonds and drinking two big glasses of water, I actually felt a lot better. I'm sure stepping away from work and my computer screen was a big help too. Thursday through today I have been feeling great! I'm not craving sweets and gluten was really easy for me to cut out.

Here's a sampling of our meal plan last week - I started by using other people's recipes so that I can get the hang of it and then begin writing my own!

Breakfast: Wild Blueberry Shake from
Lunch: Green Goddess Bowl from
Dinner: Vegan Macro Meal from

Breakfast: Wild Blueberry Shake from
Lunch: Green Goddess Bowl from
Dinner: Bake Stuffed Sweet Potatoes from - modified, we just topped them with diced tomato, broccoli, and tahini

Breakfast: Homemade Shake - 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries, 2 Tbsp peanut butter, 2 cups almond milk - Serves 2
Lunch: Green Goddess Bowl from
Dinner: Celebratory dinner at Green Elephant (it was J's last day of work at his old job!) - I had the spicy green leaves salad with gluten free dressing and brussels sprouts

Breakfast: Homemade Shake (see above)
Lunch: Lunched at Local Sprouts - I had the fiddlehead salad special with balsamic dressing
Dinner: Sesame Miso Zucchini Noodles & Tofu from Snixy Kitchen

Breakfast: Almonds, peanuts, and blueberries (we bused down to Boston and need something easily portable!)
Lunch: Tofu Pad Thai at My Thai Vegan Cafe in Boston's China Town
Dinner: Sesame Miso Zucchini Noodles & Tofu from Snixy Kitchen

Breakfast: Sweet Citrus Avocado Dreamboat from
Lunch: Green Power Tower Salad from
Dinner: Raw Macro Bowl with Knock-Off Dragon Sauce from Raw Food Recipes

Our snacks throughout the week consist of homemade oil-free hummus with veggies, frozen grapes, apples, and baby carrots.

So far, I've lost 6 pounds. I'm hoping to add at least 20 minutes of walking to my days to continue on this track and I'll keep monitoring the effects of GF/SF eating - maybe you'll want to test it out too? Check out other recipes we're considering on our Pinterest board!

Multi-Grain Pineapple Stir Fry

Multi-Grain Pineapple Stir Fry

1 1/2 cups medium grain brown rice
1/3 cup quinoa
3/4 cup millet
1 veg. bouillon cube
5 or so cups of water

1-2 Tbsp olive oil
4-5 small crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1/3 cup pablano, chopped (optional - we like it spicy!)
1 cup fresh pineapple, in one-inch cubes (you'll be sorry if you used canned - it's just not the same!)
8 oz of tofu, drained, pressed, and cubed
1 1/2 Tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos or Tamari
1-2 Tbsp Thai Spicy Sweet Chili Sauce (optional - any kind will work, just make sure it's vegan. You can find this in the Asian foods aisle at your food store or at a local Asian market.)

Prepare the grains by rinsing and then placing them in a rice cooker. Crumble the bouillon cube on top and pour in water. Start your rice cooker and let it work its magic. I will usually lift the lid every once in a while to stir just to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom. If you don't have a rice cooker, you can make this on the stove, too.

Next, dry fry the tofu in a cast iron or non-stick skillet. Heat the skillet up to med-med high heat. Once it's reached temperature, add the cubes of tofu. Let them sit! Don't play with them other than pressing down or you will end up breaking them. Once the tofu is easy to flip (it comes right off the pan and doesn't stick - if it still sticks it's not ready!), flip it on the other side and follow the same steps. You can dry fry all four sides if you wish - sometimes I'm lazy and just do two. When you're finished, remove from the pan and set aside.

Using the same hot pan, cook the carrots in some olive oil or canola oil, whichever you prefer. Add bell pepper, broccoli, and pablano and a splash of Braggs Liquid Aminos. Add mushrooms after a few minutes. Finally add pineapple and cook until everything is a little browned or charred. Add sweet chili sauce and stir to fully incorporate. Remove from heat.

Your grains should be finished by now - add grains to the bottom of a bowl, top with veggies and a few tofu squares.

Serves 4

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Butternut Squash Curry Soba Dinner

On Sunday, J and I went out for a drive and ended up in Scarborough. We'd always known Lois' Natural Marketplace was there, but for some reason we hardly ever go. It's in an area we don't frequent and so it's easy to forget - but boy, we won't forget it now!

Lois' has that distinct health food store smell - vitamins, herbs - I don't know what it is, but every health food store has that same smell. As we wondered the aisles we were dumbfounded but the number of vegan products - many of them products we have never seen at Whole Foods. We walked away with a large bag of Little Lad's Cashew & Date Granola, a small bag of Ener-G's gluten free sesame pretzels, King Soba Pumpkin, Ginger, & Rice Soba noodles, a vegan donut from Holy Donut (who knew they had vegan ones?!), local raw honey, and LizLovely Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies.

Today, winter decided to hang on and give us one last (maybe?) snow storm. So I decided to take the soba for a test drive and to utilize left over butternut squash from the soup we'd made the night before. The soba was good but not the best I've had. Certainly worth trying. It was a bit more sticky than the buckwheat soba I typically buy and the flavor (pumpkin & ginger) is very very faint and easily masked by spices and veggies. Nonetheless, dinner was tasty and you can try it out using King Soba or any brand of soba you'd like!

Butternut Squash Curry Soba Dinner
1.5 cups butternut squash, cubed
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 block of tofu, drained & pressed
1/2 yellow onion
1 package King Soba's Pumpkin, Ginger, & Rice Soba
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp curry
1/2 tsp coriander
1 cup chopped broccoli
salt & pepper
1/2 to 1 jalapeño, diced
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 scallion/spring onion, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Toss butternut squash and carrots in a little olive or canola oil and bake 35-45 minutes, until veggies are tender when poked with a fork.

Cook the soba as instructed. It is important to wash it with cold water afterwards so that the noodles don't all stick together so don't skip this step!

Dry fry the tofu. Set aside.

In a skillet, cook onion in olive or canola oil. Once onion is translucent, add ginger, curry, cardamom, and salt and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Next add broccoli and jalapeño pepper. Add the butternut squash and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer for several minutes. Finish by mixing in the soba and topping with scallion.

Serves 3-4

Invest in a tofu press - you will thank me.

I like to cut the tofu into 4ths (the long way) and then cut each quarter in half, and then in half again on the diagonal, forming little triangles. 

Dry frying is one of our favorite ways to prepare tofu. There's no added fat from olive oil and it makes the outside nice and crispy while the inside remains light and fluffy.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sushi Night

Although it's time consuming, J and I love making sushi together. It's a great meal to make with someone and there are so many combinations to try - it never gets old! We got hit with yet another snow storm today and decided not to risk driving to restock our fridge, so it was a let's-see-what-the-heck-is-in-the-fridge-and-wing-it kind of night. Wing it nights might be some of my favorite. Somehow we always end up with awesome results!

First, I started by making the rice (while J was kindly shoveling) because it needs to cool before you can handle it. I used Alton Brown's sushi rice recipe and it turned out nice and sticky. While the rice cooked, I chopped up a bunch of different veggies. It's fun to cut up all the options hanging out in your fridge and use whatever you end up using without worrying about not using it all. If you don't use it all, you can throw it into a salad for tomorrow's lunch, or save it in a container for a stir-fry later in the week. In other words, don't sweat it!

So tonight I sliced yellow bell pepper very thinly, some dinosaur kale, sautéed some thinly sliced mushrooms in a little oil and Braggs, julienned a few carrots, diced up a 1/4 cup of cilantro, thinly sliced a 1/4 of a cucumber, and 1/2 of an avocado. I also sliced some tofu in long, thin rows after it had been pressed.

Then J took over and started the assembly process! To accompany the sushi, we made a delicious tahini miso ginger sauce from This Rawsome Vegan Life which J used inside one of the rolls and we also served as a dipping sauce on the side.

While J assembled the sushi rolls, I made a Seaweed Salad similar to the recipe we posted about a year ago. This time, I added some of the sautéed mushrooms and didn't marinate the tofu, but just tossed it in. 

I used some of the leftover sticky rice to make two rice balls which had avocado in the middle. To make rice balls, you'll want to wet your hands with cold water to prevent the rice from sticking so much. Pick up a handful, create a little crater in the middle, and mash the avocado into the crater. Then cover it by patting and rolling the rice into a ball. Sprinkle some sesame seeds and kelp granules in a dish and roll the rice ball around to coat.

We made the table up all fancy and served dinner with sake shipped to us by my best friend straight from Japan.

All fancy sake comes in a juice box with a straw :-)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Weight Loss Reassessment

So if you aren't new here, you've followed J and me through three detoxes and 25 pounds of weight loss. But man - it is hard! As soon as we finish one detox we fall of the meal-planning wagon and wade back into the world of take-out. We get lazy. But honestly, it's understandable. We live in a complicated world full of work stress, family stress, over-stimulation from technology, snow storms, money shortages, illness, and more. I cut myself a break because, you know what? I'm only human. And all I can do is try, try, try again!

I keep hitting this fun point in my weight loss journey where I hover at ten pounds over the weight I was when I graduated from college. And I keep telling myself, "It's only ten friggin pounds!" Why is it so hard? It's not even my goal weight - I'd like to lose another 25 - but for now, it's the impending doom that awaits me every time I step onto the scale.

I have some new motivators in place. Number one - I wasn't sick at all during our detox. Since we've slowly but surely fallen off our bandwagon of healthy eating, I ended up getting sick and missing an entire week of work last week. I've been feeling sluggish again and moody and have been having frequent stomach aches. Ding! Ding! Ding! My body's telling me it's not working! Number two - My best friend is getting married in May and I'm one of his grooms"men." He and his fiancé requested that the women wear black dresses and I'm determined to get something sort of fabulous from ModCloth. Their wedding is going to be something of a college reunion for me and I want to look awesome, dammit! Number three - On top of this, my own spectacular-vegan-wedding extravaganza (more to come on planning a vegan wedding!) is going to be in October of 2014. As I start to look at dresses, I start to panic. I am not one of those women who wants to starve herself in an effort to look like someone I'm not, but I would like to look healthy, happy, and at my best.

So what's next? I have realized that for J and I to lose the weight, we need a plan. Just saying, "I'm going to eat healthy!" does not cut it for us. We need a menu that we have intentionally crafted and a plan. It takes time and planning, but I just have to keep on reminding myself that I am worth the time and planning. My health and happiness are worth that time.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Nemo Roasted Veggies with Pesto over Spinach Spaghetti

We live in Southern Maine so of course we've spent the majority of the last two days homebound, shoveling, taking snowy walks to the Speckled Ax for soy lattes and the Works Bakery for a bagel with Tofutti cream cheese, and baking. I named the following recipe in honor of our dear storm, which has yielded a whopping 31.9 inches of snow, "Nemo Roasted Veggies with Pesto over Spinach Spaghetti." It was a real pantry raid since our last trip to Whole Foods did not take into account the impending storm. Nonetheless, we ended up with a cozy, quite satisfying meal!

Nemo Roasted Veggies with Pesto over Spinach Spaghetti

1 rutabaga, cubed
1 turnip, cubed
1 portabello mushroom, sliced into 1 to 2 inch pieces
1 sweet potato, cubed (skin on or off, you choose!)
1 fingerling potato, sliced thinly (could use more, but that's all we had!)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
1-2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 package of spinach spaghetti (or a whole one...we tend to make portion sizes for 2 or 4 and you don't need a full package for that)
3 Tbsp Seggiano Raw Basil Pesto (this stuff ROCKS - you can find it at most Whole Foods)
1-2 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 410 degrees.

Toss all of the veggies in a baking pan and coat with olive oil. Roast in the oven for 45-65 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before handling.

Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain, and return to pot. Coat pasta with olive oil and  pesto.

Serve by placing pasta in a bowl and topping with roasted veggies. Voila! Take that Nemo!