Friday, October 28, 2011

Days 43-47, recipes, and SALMON!!

Since my Dr. wants me to add some fish and eggs, I made some wild salmon which I picked up at Sprouts. It was AWESOME!! Best piece of fish I've had in a long time. Of course because I haven't had fish in a long time, haha. But oh how I love seafood. I sauteed it in vegetable broth and sprinkled lots of dried dill on top - love dill. Pepper, and a little salt. I covered it and let it steam a bit. You have to keep adding vegetable broth because it steams off pretty fast. Then in another pan I sauteed a whole onion and half and red and yellow pepper and garlic. Salt and pepper and there were my sauteed vegetables. Then I wanted something green on the plate so I made some frozen peas - I love peas!! Such a yummy meal!

This is Dr. Fuhrman's Anti-cancer Soup from his book Eat to Live. This was quite a project that my mom and I tackled last Friday. This picture shows that I added some canned black beans to the finished product. My mom and I loved it.... Jason not so much. It has a lot of onions in it, and he's not a huge onion fan. The broth is carrot juice, celery juice, and raw cashews that have been blended with the broth. YUMMMMM!!!! It makes a ton!! I would modify the recipe next time so I don't have to use 2 pots....ah! Here's the recipe right from the book:

1/2 cup dried split peas
1/2 cup dried beans (use any variety)
4 cups water
4 med onions chopped
6-8 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces (we used 8, next time less!)
3 leek stalks, coarsely chopped
2 bunches kale, collard greens, or other greens, tough stems and center ribs removed and leaves chopped
5 pounds carrots, juiced (5-6 cups juice)
2 bunches celery, juiced (2 cups juice)
2 TBSP Dr. Fuhrman's Vegizest or Mrs. Dash (We used Bragg's seasoning - get at Sprouts)
1 cup raw cashews
8 ounces fresh mushrooms (shiitake, cremini, and/or oyster), chopped

Place split peas, beans, and water in a very large pot over low heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the onions, zucchini, leeks, and kale to the pot. Add the carrot juice, celery juice, and Vegizest. Simmer until the onions, zucchini, and leeks are soft, about 40 minutes. Remove 2 cups of the soup liquid, being careful to leave the beans and at least half of the kale in the pot. Using a high-powered blander or food processor, blend the soup liquid with the cashews. Return the creamy mixture to the pot. Add the mushrooms and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the beans are soft.
**NOTE: Freshly juiced organic carrots and celery will maximize the flavor of this soup.

4 whole onions that go in the soup! My contacts saved me while chopping. If you don't wear contacts, you can wear goggles, or I heard you can bite on a piece of bread while chopping and the fumes won't be as bad. :)

Many thanks to my dear friend Tammy who let me borrow her juicer!! She is so gracious with ALL of her knowledge on all of this stuff and sharing things with me. She has let me borrow many books, and is the one that got me into green smoothies. Thanks Tammy! Juicing was SOO easy! I had never used one before. She got hers on and said it was about $70. It is the Breville brand. I want one now! My mom did a FABULOUS job of juicing the carrots and celery for me! Thanks mom :)

5 cups of freshly juiced carrots. Next time I would have done 6 - I love the broth that it makes. And so good for you!! Some other things I will do next time - I might just do canned beans - the ones we used were still a bit hard when everything was done. And there were so many vegetables in it, you could hardly tell there were split peas or beans in there. Definitely less zucchini next time, MORE mushrooms, and more broth. I did have to add some vegetable broth after we all ate because we were losing liquid. We ate from this ALL week and I now have to freeze the rest!

This is the homemade spaghetti sauce we made - thanks to Jason's friend Nicole from work.
Here's the recipe:

Vegetable broth
4 cloves garlic
Garlic powder - 3/4 tsp
black pepper - 3/4 tsp
oregano - 3/4 tsp
Basil - I sprinkle it on, I love basil!
crushed red pepper - 1-2 shakes, that's it!! Otherwise, too spicy :)
Any veggies you want - onions, peppers, squash, zucchini, olives...
One can of whole tomatoes
One can diced or crushed tomatoes ( we like tomatoes, so I did 2 cans diced)

Cut up vegetables into bite size pieces. Sautee garlic for a minute in veg. broth. Then add vegetables and sautee til soft. Add more broth as needed if things get dry. It will cook off. Once vegetables are done, add tomatoes. Squeeze whole tomatoes over pot with your hand - be careful, they squirt! Stir in dry seasoning to taste. Bring to a simmer and then lower heat and cook for 15-20 min.

Cook 1 package of whole wheat spaghetti to al dente. Drain water, and add sauce on top. Delish!!

You can also do spaghetti squash instead of noodles. We did this the first time, and I didn't cook the squash long enough so it was a bit crunchy. haha

We used onions, zucchini, red and yellow peppers, and mushrooms.

Finished product
This is Dr. Oz's recipe for Quinoa with Vegetables and Herbs. Very good! I made it as a meal, but it is more of a side dish, or a light lunch.

1 cup quinoa
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 TBSP olive oil ( I used about a tsp)
1 small red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 med zucchini, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme or oregano ( I used thyme, the kitchen smelled awesome!)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 TBSP chopped fresh chives

1. Rinse quinoa in a strainer. In a saucepan, bring quinoa, 2 cups water, and 1/4 tsp salt to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until quinoa absorbs the water, 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over med-low heat. Add onion; cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Raise heat to med-high and add garlic, zucchini, carrots, thyme or oregano and red pepper flakes. Saute, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender and golden around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, mix together quinoa, vegetables, and fresh chives, and serve.

My favorite fruit this week - Honeycrisp Apple! I bought 3 at Fry's - They are the size of a LARGE grapefruit. So crispy, sweet, and juicy! I eat half at a time, they are so big.

We went out for a friend's birthday dinner party and had a WONDERFUL time! We went to Spinato's, an Italian place. Kind of a Vegan's nightmare because you can't eat cheese! Well, we improvised :) This is what I got - Gluten free crust, marinara, no chesse, and spinach and tomatoes. It was a delicious treat. I ate almost the whole thing except for one tiny square :) Jason got spaghetti with marinara, no cheese, and he did get an order of garlic bread. I decided to not have any. Everytime I'm at the gym doing squats, I think, this is too hard to go eat a bunch of junk and ruin it, hahah.

Mom and I grabbed YC's after a movie last weekend. For the first time I did curry flavors. I loved it and will do this again next time. I also did the rice noodles instead of the wheat noodles. A nice switch up. Loved it. Also I learned if you say you want it to go when you order, they will box it up for you and not charge you for the to go box! Worth it!

Here's another one of Jason's yummy Thursday night meals (the night he cooks). Veggie/black bean burger (Gardenburger brand this time), his yummy red potatoes chopped, and broccoli. I decided to go with no bun since I had potatoes too.

And I just had to put a picture up of my sweet angel. He's such a sweet little baby!!! haha He was sleeping and I kept interrupting him by trying to get a picture. I love this cat!

So there you go, another week almost down. I am making the famous white chili for the church chili cook off tomorrow. And I have had many people ask - NO I AM NOT MAKING IT VEGAN! I will be making it just like I always do, don't worry! haha It will be hard not to eat it though. So I'm going to try a new recipe from Dr. Fuhrman - Creamy Austrian Cauliflower soup. I will let you know how it goes.

Oh, and here's the count now for pounds.

Jason - minus 16 pounds
Drea - minus 14 pounds

Life is GOOD!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Days 35-42 and down 12.5 pounds and happy to report....

This will be a very short post, but I wanted to atleast get something down for now, and then tomorrow I will plan on doing a more in depth post with more pictures and recipes!

I'm happy to report that after 6 weeks I am down 12.5 pounds, and Jason 14 pounds. Mom - I believe her last count was 7, but I'm not sure. :) Either way, I can't believe we made it 6 weeks. I did have some labs drawn on Friday and Saturday, and the Dr. wants me to go ahead and incorporate some eggs and fish throughout the week. I am especially interested to see if this will help with my lightheadedness that I have been getting. I am working out hard each week now, with Zumba and training with Sassi. Jason is not interested in incorporating any fish or eggs yet. He has had no signs of dizziness or lightheadedness so he is feeling wonderful. I can tell a difference in his energy levels too. He will have labs drawn in December to see where he is at.

The other thing I am happy to report about is my cholesterol: it went from 158 to 133. They tell you at the Dr. that anything below 200 is normal, but with everything I have been reading and studying, that is not entirely true. Evidence shows that you want your total cholesterol levels below 150 atleast, to protect yourself from heart disease. So go get your cholesterol checked and see where you are at! If anyone reading this wants to comment and report their cholesterol, that would be fun.... tee hee!

Gotta go get ready for work now. I will post more tomorrow. Pics and recipes....

PS. Happy Birthday to my dear friend Hailey!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Days 28-35 and -10.5 pounds!

I made the "Easy 3 bean chili" from the Eat to Live book. It has tofu, 3 kinds of beans (duh), zuchinni, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, onions, spices and garlic. It was really good. The key is chopping up the vegetables very fine and you really don't even know they are there. It's just a hearty chili that is healthy. Jason loved it. So did Will. haha I had to post this picture of Will sitting at the table. He will often do this when we sit down for dinner - it's like he has to be a part of it to. Annie put her bowl in front of him to make it look like he was eating too. haha!
This is the cornbread I made with the chili - because you can't have chili without cornbread! It was really tasty - made without eggs or dairy. It was very biscuit like - almost like bisquick biscuits. I put a little honey on mine. Everybody love it! It was a nice treat!

I found this egg replacer at Sprouts. I read about it in a magazine. My sister -in-law asked me weeks ago how I would make things that required eggs....what do you use for a binder in recipes? Well Jenn, here's the answer! I guess many people don't buy it at Sprouts because I had 4 people looking for it, and eventually the manager was called, and he found it. They are so great at that store to help you find whatever you are looking for! You mix 1 1/2 tsp of the powder with 2 tbsp of water and that equals 1 egg.

Here's the cornbread mix that I used. I LOVE this brand - Bob's Red Mill. This is the brand of quinoa I buy as well. Costco has it in big bags for the quinoa. I would definitely make the cornbread again.
This recipe is courtesy of Dr. Oz that I found in Oprah's magazine - Lentils with Chia Seeds. I LOVED THIS! Keep in mind, and this is a helpful hint - YOU DO NOT NEED TO BREAK THE BANK TO BUY DIFFERENT BOTTLES OF SPICES! Sprouts has a spice section that you can scoop into a baggie and just pay for the amount you need. It's so great! Here is the recipe:

2 Tbsp. olive oil (I used just a drizzle then added some vegetable broth)
1 large white onion
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp minced ginger
2 tsp turmeric ( I love the color of this spice! Bright yellow)
1/2 fresh jalapeno, peeled, seeded, and minced
31/2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups red lentils, rinsed
1 14 ounce can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp chia seeds
4 Tbsp chopped cilantro (I wanted more! You can put more in your bowl when you serve)
Cooked brown rice, for serving (I used quinoa, yum!!)

1. Heat oil (and veg. broth) over medium heat. Add onion and saute until lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add cumin seeds, cardamom, and garlic; saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
2. Stir in 4 cups water, ginger, turmeric, jalapeno, vegetable stock, lentils, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in salt, chia seeds, and cilantro; serve immediately with brown rice (or quinoa ) on the side of using.

If you don't know what chia seeds are, just think chia pet! haha Yes they are the same seeds, however - the benefits are AWESOME! They are full of protein, omega-3's, and they absorb 10 times their weight in water! Very cleansing to the intestines too because they absorb toxins. I use these amazing seeds in my green smoothies also. You don't even know they are there. You can find them at any health store, or online.

These are the kale chips I made. No they are not potato chips! But a good alternative for something crunchy and salty, with hardly any calories. Plus you get in your greens. If you don't know what kale is, or haven't tried it, it's very good in smoothies and cooked.

Here's the recipe for the Kale chips:

1 bunch of Kale
Pam spray or olive oil

Remove stems and large ribs from the center of the leaves. Tear off leaves into about 1 inch pieces. These will cook down a lot. Spread out on a baking sheet to cover. Give a light spray with Pam just so the salt will stick. LIGHTLY salt and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 min. I went more toward the 15 min. mark to make them really crispy. Thanks for the recipe Steph, Yum!

Here's what Kale looks like fresh. The leaves almost look like ruffles. Kale is full of protein and tons of vitamins and minerals that we need.

This is a picture of the "Fabulous Bean Burritos" from Dr. Esselstyn's book. We did a casserole type of thing with salsa and chopped tomotoes on top. It has onions, garlic, pinto beans, and the Ezekiel tortillas (they are sprouted and no flour is used). Jason loves these! I think because it is a "casserole" type of thing (TOT) and he loves any casserole type things.

I'm down 10.5 pounds! Not bad in 1 month, 4 weeks. And it's a healthy loss - not too fast. This week I will begin my 3rd week of working the my trainer Sassi at the gym. She is awesome and I am really enjoying it. I have been more sore in the past couple weeks than ever before, but I know it's what I need! I figured I am eating so well, might as well kick it up some notches and hit the gym more. This is helping me break through my plateau for sure.

There is only one thing I am trying to get to the bottom of. I sometimes feel a bit dizzy - still. This is going on 5 weeks and I know it's not normal, since Jason has had no such symptoms. I was talking with my wonderful, beautiful friend Nikki who is a nutrition major right now and is so knowledgeable about this subject. She wants me to get a nutrition profile blood test done to see if I'm deficient in anything. She says that we all have a phenotype. She made an interesting comment - "You might not have the phenotype to be a STRICT vegan. Your body may require more protein, even a small amount from animal sources." It hit me like a ton of bricks. She suggested maybe adding some white fish a couple times a week and maybe even a small piece of red meat (3 or 4 oz. ) which is not a lot, once a week. I am going to digest this advice. I have made a commitment to follow this for 3 months. Would I be breaking my commitment to add in some fish a few times a week, even if it is trying to make me feel 100%? Nikki said this is all trial and error. What do you guys think? I would love to hear some opinions, so comment if you so wish to. I feel like I need some advice/help.

Until my next post....

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 21-28 and Realizations

My absolute favorite recipe of the week. Braised greens with butternut squash - so good!! I will post the recipe this week. If you have a hard time eating your leafy greens, this is the way to do it! So yummy!

This was our "mock" Lucy Casserole that is usually made with sausage, white rice, and chicken broth. So we "veganed" it up and used a faux sausage made from veggies, and soy, brown rice, and vegetable broth. I liked it, Jason didn't. Jason said he wanted the real thing. Ok, so we won't be making this one again. I might make it when I'm home by myself and wanting some "comfort food".

This week was insanely busy, so that's why this is my only post for the week. Here are some realizations I've had this week:

- Have we really been doing this for 4 weeks now?? Wow!! We have done it! 1 month!
- People have asked me if I will continue this lifestyle after the 3 months is over. I have thought about this a lot. So many of the things I have incorporated will stick with me - they have become habit now. Will I never have some shrimp or crab again? No, I can say I will. Will I never have a treat again or some turkey on Thanksgiving? No, I can say I will. But it's amazing the changes Jason and I have seen already, and the knowledge we are gaining about our health. I am loving this challenge!
- I have realized that this is getting easier and not so hard anymore. I am looking at it as more of a project now - a fun project. I'm loving making new recipes and finding what works.
- I love cooked kale and swiss chard - yummy!!! I have never had cooked kale or anything else besides cooked spinach. If you have never tried, you have to! It's so worth it for you health!
- Most people think that to get enough Calcium in their diet they have to "drink or eat dairy". That's not true. Did you know that most dark leafy green vegetables have more calcium in them than a serving of dairy? This blows my mind, and I love it when I am drinking my green smoothie, I know that I am getting so many vitamins, minerals, and those healthy phytochemicals.
- Probably about 60-70% of my patients that I see in my office are on some sort of cholesterol lowering medication, and high blood pressure medication. Both of these health issues are directly related to heart disease - something that I never want to have and I definitely don't want Jason to develop. It's TOTALLY preventable with eating a plant based diet - period.
- I made it through my first movie theatre experience WITHOUT movie theatre popcorn. Are you serious people???? Anyone that knows me, KNOWS that I am in love with movie theatre popcorn - the oily buttery goodness of it all. Oh boy, but now that I know the serious health precautions with eating this, it makes me think twice. So, we air popped our own popcorn, spritzed a little "I can't believe it's not butter" spray on, and sprinkled Molly Mcbutter - which is all fat free. We each had our own GALLON ziploc bag full, and I brought an orange for my "something sweet"! It was so delightful, and I didn't miss a thing! I am so proud of ourselves - normally we would share a large popcorn with butter and bring candy of our choice. This is huge for us. WOO HOO!!!!

I am still amazed by Jason's dedication to this. He went to a Diamondbacks game this week and had a veggie burrito, but it had cheese he realized as he was eating it. He also had a 1/2 of a chocolate chip cookie. The next 2 days, he said that his stomach was "ripped up". He realizes how GOOD he feels eating better - this is awesome!

This week: I am making a few new recipes this week....including some from the Dr. Oz home that was featured in Oprah's magazine. I will be trying the vegetable quinoa with fresh herbs, and the lentils with chia seeds. I will return and report :)

I also want to thank EVERYONE for the AMAZING support through this so far. I have been really surprised at people's help with recipes, and just supportive comments. I have to be honest, I expected to hear some comments such as, " You are doing a vegan diet? That's stupid." Or, "how can you do that? That's impossible!" I have not heard one negative thing.... Seriously! Thank you to all of my friends and family. You are such awesome supporters!!

Lots of love! :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Days 18-21 and Recipes!!

This is a WONDERFUL bean and corn salsa courtesy of our friend Jeff Chubbs. So easy and so delicious. Everyone loved this. Here's the recipe:

1/2 red onion (chopped fine)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 can corn - drained
1 can black beans - drained and rinsed
1 can garbonzo beans - drained and rinsed
1 bunch cilantro ( we only used half , but I say the more the better!)
Fresh lime juice - 2 TBSPs
Salt and pepper to taste
garlic salt to taste
6 roma tomatoes chopped

Combine in a big bowl and stir. The longer it sits, the more the flavors come out. We served with multiseed chips that are so good. We found them at Sprouts - my new favorite place. :)

I LOVE THIS MAN!!!! After the Priesthood session of our church conference last night, Jason and I went to YC's (thanks for the reminder Val!), and loaded up on vegetables, some tofu, and wholewheat noodles. It is such a treat to go out, because I don't have to chop or cook our food! Look how cute that guy is :) He's down 10 pounds. Way to go babe! You're my favorite and I think you're amazing!

Here's a closer shot of my dinner at YC's. We sprinkled some sesame seeds and put a couple spoon fulls of peanuts on mine.

A GREAT substitute for sausage - made from soy and vegetable protein. I LOVED the flavor! Jason thought they were a bit bland, but I am not a sausage coniseur at all. He is. These went great with our Sunday conference breakfast.

Whole wheat banana pancakes, sausage patty (can I say again how yummy this was??), baked red potatoes in the oven, and some grapes. Here's the recipe for the whole wheat pancakes:

1/2 cup of whole wheat or buckwheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 ripe banana
2 tablespoons vinegar ( we used apple cider)
3 TBSP maple syrup
2 cups oat, almond, or nonfat soy milk

Mix flour, oats, cornmeal, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl.
Mash the banana in another bowl, and add vinegar, maple syrup, and milk. Stir and add to dry ingredients.
Heat a nonstick pan on medium high. (We used our griddle) When water sizzles on the pan, it is ready for the pancakes. Cook until bubbles form. Flip, cook another few minutes on the other side.

Next time I will add some blueberries, and then maybe make a fruit compote to add as a topping. Today we just used maple syrup and that was excellent too! Yum!

You can't (well I can't) have pancakes without milk! But when you aren't drinking milk what do you do? This is a GREAT substitute - light Silk soymilk.

Our normal conference day would include eating treats (Karin's caramel corn which really is to die for, and you better believe I will be having that again sometime), food, more food, and more food. Today was filled with better choices, family fun, and wonderful messages from apostles and prophet of our church. We had some no fat popcorn today, leftover YC's, and a yummy soup for dinner with whole wheat bread. I can post that recipe sometime, it's good.

Here is 1 more recipe for the lentil stew we love. I though I had a picture....hhmm, anyway, thanks to Adrienne Ellsworth for this one :) This is SO easy, just throw everything in a pot. Makes a lot, so you can eat off of this all week.

Hearty Lentil Stew

2 cups lentils ( I do 1 cup red and 1 cup green)
10 cups water
1/2 cup rice ( I used brown)
2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1 carrot, chopped (I use 6 whole carrots - we LOVE them, you could even add more if you want)
1 pkg. (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (I used fresh - several huge handfuls)

Wash and sort lentils; drain well. In a large pot, combine lentils, water, onion, rice, salt, garlic, oregano, and parsley; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Add tomatoes, carrots, and spinach. (If using fresh, don't add til the very end!) Simmer 20 more minutes or until lentils are tender. SO GOOD!!!

Well there you go. I hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend. We have. Life is good. We are soooo blessed!