Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall Lunches for the Ridiculously Lazy (that's me!)



The hardest time of day for me is what to eat for lunch. If I happen to have a left over soup then it's easy - I put it over brown rice or potatoes - but even that takes time. You have to cook your rice, or pre-cook it, the same goes with your potatoes. And for some people, taking that extra 30 minutes at lunch time for yourself just doesn't happen! Hence fast food lines at lunch time - people just won't/can't/don't want to do it!! That's what led me to this...

I saw these bags of precooked frozen brown rice at Costco and thought, "How lazy can you get?"... apparently pretty dang lazy because I bought some last week (after my Auntie swore she did the math and it worked out to $1.40 per lb. - and I pay $1.29 per lb. for my short grain brown rice) I figured it was worth .10 cents a pound to give it a try.

Oh my! They are the BEST!! The rice combined with a bag of your favorite frozen veggies (I like the Stir-fry mix at Costco - it has baby corn cobs, water chestnuts, broccolli and carrots cut in fun sticks along with other yummy veggies - hate the mushrooms in the mix though (too slimy, and I AM a fan of mushrooms) - I just pick them out.


So here's how it goes around 11:30am at my house.

Open freezer and pull out ginormous bag of Stir-Fry Veggies and a packet of brown rice.

Nuke the rice for 3 minutes - put on counter

Nuke some veggies for 3-4 minutes - and pour on top of 1/2 the bag of rice.

Choose a sauce or topping.

Sometimes it's a orangey spicy asian bottled sauce.

Sometimes my homemade teriyaki. (Made ahead in fridge - weeks ago)

Sometimes it's nutritional yeast (I LOVE this stuff - reminds me of "cheesey" comfort food.) I think you might need to develop a taste for it - but once you do - watch out!! Well you don't need to really watch out - it's very good for you! And no fat or oil - so....

Once in a while plain soy sauce and crushed red pepper.

You get the idea.

So for most of us who don't have time to slave in the kitchen at lunch time and the leftovers aren't looking too good, try a SUPER EASY veggie & rice dish - hits the spot everytime - especially in the fall/winter when warm comforting lunches are where it's at!

Got an easy lunch idea? Please share!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Potatoes O'Brien with "Summer's Last Hurrah" Tomatoes



Ok, so it's been a while since my last post...ummm...(almost 4 months) - but let's not hold that against me - I mean 4 children, 1 husband and 2 jobs doesn't exactly leave a person with lots of time for "fluffy" things.

Like this blog.

It's a luxury.

If I have time (energy) to blog then I do. If I don't, then I (obviously) don't. But I KNOW there are so many amazing food blogs out there that I'm sure all of you are fairing just fine. In fact, you're thinking....Pass the Who??

So mostly this blog is for me - as I don't even know who reads it anymore. And because it's for me (and my posterity) I feel the need to document how and why I eat the way I do - just incase it might help someone in the future or now, who is struggling with health issues.

****
I have realized something over these past few months (ok, and pounds) that creeped up on me. That I can not "do" moderation when it comes to rich food. When I taste it, I just want more.

And more.

Some people can.
I can not.

Therefore, I must stick to the program at all costs. Or the one day "cheat" turns into one meal - turns into one day, turns into one week, month etc. etc. You get my drift?
Unless it's a feast day (holidays/birthday) where I can allow my self to slightly stray. (And I'm talking 10 days out of a year!)

SO if you are eating a diet of grains, veggies and very little oil (less than 10% of calories from fat) - after about 3 days, do you find that all of the food starts to taste MORE delicious than if you were eating "rich" foods along side?

I find I am MORE excited to eat, and I don't feel deprived or hungry for those "rich" foods anymore. But the key (for me) is not to stick my toe in the pool. For first the toe and then the foot and then a back dive into the deep end.

This is just my experience. What's yours?

I would love to hear your comments...


On to the recipe now. If you can call it that.
I was recently at Albertson's (a regular grocery store out here in CA) and found these hash brown potatoes. They contain no added oil. I "fry" them up in a non-stick skillet - don't add oil, they will brown without it! Then I sliced some tomatoes (sweet darlings - on their way out...) from the garden added salt & pepper and there you go, that's been my breakfast for the past 4 days. Mmmm... really delicious.



The reason I'm even mentioning this SUPER simple recipe is because if you're like me, sometimes you make things harder than they need to be. I shop at all kinds of "non-mainstream" markets - but have never seen this product! And if there was something comparable I'm sure it would've been very expensive - because those places usually are for "convenience" type foods.

Though I won't be giving up my Trader Joe's or Henry's anytime soon - I just thought that I would share with you that sometimes good ideas are right under your noses.

Have a great week!

p.s.
Here's a great article on moderation by Dr. John McDougall - is it an wonder I love this guy??





Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Super Fast and Easy Fruit Crisp


Most of what I blog about is pretty darn simple. That's because I have 4 children, a husband, a home to run and a part time job while the kids are in school...all of which don't allow me to spend hours creating culinary masterpieces in the kitchen. So please excuse the paper plates and using the microwave - I'm sure it's giving me various tumors in my brain - but I will have a healthy body!!! lol!

This recipe was born out of pure desperation. I made my family these beauties...

because my children are at the age where if I don't make it - they will find some other mommy who does and I won't be their favorite any more. (That's another post)

These babies were sitting around, and they are my BIGGEST weakness - cookies!! So I decided I needed me something sweet to compete. And believe me people it's not gourmet - it's desperate.

Super Fast and Easy Fruit Crisp
Putting this dessert on a plate instead of a bowl will make it "crispier" instead of soggy. Feel free to use a beautiful plate and make your dessert feel "special".

* 1/2 cup of fruit - fresh or frozen
* sprinkle with a teaspoon of flour
* and a dash of salt and/or cinnamon if it compliments your fruit
* top with a handful of regular or quick oats
* drizzle with agave, honey or sprinkle brown sugar

Microwave for 1-2 minutes. Let cool or you will burn your mouth off. Enjoy while everyone else is eating their fat laden treats! WILL POWER PEOPLE!! That is all that separates us from them. Good old mind over matter. Sounds so easy huh?


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Red Leaf Lettuce with Roasted Corn & Pico De Gallo


It's almost time to get into the swim suit. And I'm feeling the effects of too many "treats" basking around my bottom half.

SO, it's back to 2 salads a day for a while. Do thoughts of salads make you cringe? I know it's hard in McDougall world to find a dressing that's fat free and palatable - I don't care for the bottled fat free varieties. But I DO love rice vinegar paired with different things...like PICO DI GALLO.

You can make your own pico de gallo or buy it pre-made at the store - it is one of my staples. And the kids don't like the chunkiness so they don't touch it - but recently my hubby tasted my salad and was like, "Oooh - that pico de gallo rocks!" Now I think I'll be sharing with him.

In addition to salads, I use it to top baked potatoes, brown rice and even oatmeal!! Just kidding on the last one. I wanted to make sure you are paying attention.

I learned from Susan V that you can roast corn on the cob super easy by throwing them in the oven with their husks still on. 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. And because I LOVE corn on the cob I almost always have leftovers on hand for this salad. But if you don't, you can use frozen corn or * gasp * canned if you must. ; ) Read more about how to roast corn here.



Red Leaf Lettuce with Roasted Corn & Pico De Gallo
This isn't so much a recipe as it is a combination idea - use your own amounts. To make this more filling you can add warm brown rice too. Warm rice on a cold salad? Try it! It's so dang good.

red leaf lettuce (or whatever kind you like/have on hand)
1 cob of roasted corn, sliced off the cob
pico de gallo
sprinkling of seasoned rice vinegar
salt & pepper

Monday, May 17, 2010

The White Pig Blueberry Pancakes

Throw away all your pancake recipes EXCEPT this one.

Don't let this picture be the judge of whether or not you try these pancakes. I was in a hurry - as usual. So if you are too, then you need to make these DELICIOUS pancakes - that only have 6 ingredients!! I'm ditching my old recipe for this one - and the ENTIRE family is in agreement!
These pancakes are SO tender and fluffy - you will save time, money, and fat.

I got this recipe from my Vegetarian Times magazine May/June 2010. It is from a vegan Bed & Breakfast located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Central Virginia called "The White Pig."


The White Pig Blueberry (or Strawberry) Pancakes
serves 6

This recipe states that you can substitute spelt or gluten-free flour, along with any kind of dairy free milk. These are scrumptous with blueberries and/or strawberries - and whatever else your imagination can dream up.

2 cups all-purpose flour
6 Tbs. Sucanat natural cane sugar
2 Tbs. nonaluminum baking powder, such as Rumford
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups unsweetened soymilk
2 cups blueberries

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in soymilk, adding more if necessary, for a smooth, spreadable batter. (I used water to thin them out to desired consistency)


Happy Breakfast!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Challenge I'm Up For...

Last night I was watching the first episode of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. I have been meaning to sit down and watch for some time - the whole idea intrigues me.

It was sad to see the reaction he was getting from the adults - they were so unwilling to even TRY to change the school lunch program to some healthier fare. The kids of course chose school pizza over fresh chicken drumsticks - much to Jamie's shagrin - Duh!

What got me was when he told this mother, "This is going to kill your children early!" She was in shock to see it all laid out.



Even though they are exposed to a variety of healthy foods, 3/4 of my kids would still choose the greasy fried meat tacos my neighbor serves up before my homemade split pea soup and cornbread. Hands down. Grease tastes awesome*. And until children gain some maturity and can think with their heads instead of their mouths - I think we are fighting an uphill battle.

*Healthy food tastes amazing too, but not if you're regularly eating S.A.D. food (Standard American Diet) everyday. You have to change your palate.

This is not to say I am not willing to fight. I know someday...SOMEDAY my kids will thank me for exposing their palates and their minds to extremely healthy food. (I say extremely cause Jaime's version of "healthy" and my version of "healthy" are pretty different)

But I'm ok with it.

My job as a parent it to teach my children everything they need to know to be healthy, happy, productive members of society.

They do not eat perfectly. Come on they are kids - and I will not be a control freak about every bite that enters their mouths.

But I provide healthy, nutritious meals as often as possible, teach them to eat their veggies, and educate them on what types of diets cause what types of diseases.

Is this outrageous? To me it is common sense.


This week's yummy grub:

Oven Roasted Asparagus

Douse with water, and sprinkle with sea salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Roast in 400 degree oven until tips are a tad crispy. I can eat a whole bunch myself. Watch out for stinky pee after wards though. Sorry, that was gross.

Trader Joe's I love you. Let me count the ways.
1. Spicy Black Bean Dip. I know I can make my own - but it's so nice you are just there for me.
2. Papaya Mango Salsa and Pico de Gallo - again, could do it - but it tastes better coming from you!

Have you tried these? Corn Tortilla Flatbreads with Sesame Seeds. You can dip them in salsa's like a chip. They are salty, crunchy and FAT FREE!


And lastly, on my never ending search for healthy cookies, here is one from Vegetarian Times magazine. These were tried and tested on a group of normal eaters - and they loved them.

Oatmeal Cookies with Lemon Icing from Vegetarian Times Feb. 2010 issue

INGREDIENTS

2 Tbs flaxseed meal

1 C oat flour (I ground 1-1/2 C of oats to reach a cup of ground)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 Tbs margarine (Earth Balance) ...or butter - I just used more applesauce.

1/2 C light brown sugar

1/4 C sugar

1/4 C applesauce (or they recommend prune puree)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1-1/2 C old-fashioned oats

1/2 C raisins or dried cranberries (I used 1/4 C golden raisins and 1/4 C of orange-flavored craisins)

Icing:

3/4 C confectioners' sugar

2 Tbs lemon juice


DIRECTIONS
Stir together flax meal and water in a small bowl; set side. Whisk together oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl; set aside. Beat margarine, brown sugar and sugar with an electric mixer, 1-2 mins, or until light and fluffy. Add applesauce, vanilla and flax meal mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in oat flour mixture with a spatula or wooden spoon. Add oats and raisins/craisins, stir to combine. Cover and chill 2 hours or overnight. (I didn't even read this part until now - so I did not chill) - But would be good to make at night and pop in the oven for breakfast!

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking pans with parchment paper or coat with cooking spray. (I used silicone mats). Roll cookie dough into golf ball-sized rounds, and place them 1-1/2" apart on baking sheets. Flatten each cookie to 1/4" thickness with the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in water. (My dough was very moist, I couldn't have rolled them into balls - so you can add a splash more milk to get them more moist like mine, or try them like this.)

Bake 10-12 mins or until cookies look dry on top and are just starting to brown.
Meanwhile, to make icing: Whisk together the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth. Icing should be thick, but spreadable. Gently brush icing on hot cookies with a pastry brush. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container. Enjoy!



Per cookie: 99 cal. 2 G. Protein, 2 G fat, O mg CHOL, - but take out the margarine and you have even less calories and no fat!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Artichokes and Brownies

Sorry about the lapse in posts. I've been letting my "To Do" list overwhelm me. My new, more realistic goal is to post once a week and share anything new in my low-fat vegan world. I'm not promising it will always be exciting - but maybe it will be enough to spur you on to some of your own great ideas...


Steamed Artichokes with Soy Sauce and Wasabi

Upon trying to think of WHAT to dip my artichokes in that was not a gazillion grams of fat - and wasn't just plain old barfy fat free salad dressing (no offense you lovers of this) I came up with just plain old soy sauce mixed with wasabi. (think sushi). I have been craving them about every other day since! It's SO delicious - as I think soy sauce has buttery undertones and tastes rich at times. Maybe I'm just too deprived. And on a side note, I called my mom to tell her - and she had JUST thought of that herself the night before!! (Crazy!) I get my genius from my mom, what can I say.

No-Pudge Fudge Brownies with Better'n Peanut Butter

Sometimes there are sweet cravings that no cup of chamomile tea or piece of fruit will conquer. These brownies are not vegan (they contain egg whites) but I look the other way. I'm not a fanatic. And I AM SO EXCITED about this peanut butter I found at Trader Joe's. It is only 20% fat compared to 75% in regular. I make a single serving (2 TBS. brownie mix + 1 TBS. Applesauce) microwave it for 45 sec. And I only add about 2 teaspoons of the peanut butter (but you can have 1 TBS. for 50 calories) That makes this dessert 170 calories!! Nothing to feel guilty about.

Have a great week!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lickity Split Lasagna


I always tell people I'm lazy and that's why I have so many ideas. I'm always trying to figure out how I can do A, B, or C with less effort, money and mess. Sometimes my ideas are ridiculous. Ok, most of the time. Other times I amaze myself. I'll admit the latter happens less often than the first.

My family loves lasagna, but I don't make it often because of all that pre-boiling noodle nonsense - where you get third degree burns while assembling. So the other day I just stuck the noodles in a 9 x 13 pan with some hot tap water and walked away for 20 min. When I returned, viola! soft noodles. I know, you're thinking what about those no-bake noodles, why not use those? They cost more that's why. Just pre-soak your noodles and seriously that's enough to make a girl want to cook up some Amore.

The meat eating vegans ate: Vegetarian Spinach Lasagna - which consisted of layering: noodles, ricotta, spinach and sauce (from a jar people!) couldn't be easier.

I ate my own mini version: I use this recipe instead of the ricotta. Super tasty. And everyone's happy.
Especially my non-scorched fingers.


No my counter top is not slanted downward, just my photography lameness

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Learn something new!

Hi all!
Sorry for lack of posts - sometimes it's hard juggling family, work, and extra interests. But I did find some great articles on the McDougall discussion board written Jeff Novic, who often works with Mcdougall, but also has his own site. They are about the simpleness of starch based eating. I found out something very interesting about whole grain pasta I never knew!

Jeff's Favorite Healthy Packaged Foods

Simple, Easy & Starch Based

Quick Recipes

Happy Reading!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Garden tomatoes in winter?

Ok, so my gardening routine is about as constant as my blogging...few and far between. But I wandered out there this week to see what the rain and wind had done to it and low and behold there were 5, yes 5 beautiful red tomatoes. I expected everything to be dead (which is what happens in the summer if you neglect it), but then I remembered why I love winter gardens!
And why I love living in California!


Toasted Tomato Sandwiches in February!!


Toasted Sourdough
Sliced tomatoes (Mine are the Mortgage Lifter variety, I highly recommend planting them in the spring!)
Salt & pepper

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Confetti Tacos & Mexican Rice

If you've already tried these tacos, then there's not much difference - except I used 1 can of kidney beans and 1 can of pinto, draining out 3/4 of the liquid. I've also started adding a tablespoon of sugar to the taco filling and it really enhances all the flavors. My teenage son ate 7 tacos tonight and called them "excellent!"

As for the rice, I just sauteed an onion and 2 cups of rice in a bit of oil until golden (you can omit, but the natives might frown upon it. I chose not to partake of the rice since I'm trying to be good). Then added 3 3/4 cups of water, 1/2 cup of fresh salsa, and 1/4 cup sugar (secret ingredient) and 3 -4 teaspoons of chicken bouillon or veggie bouillon. Oh, and chopped fresh cilantro after it's done cooking. Teenage son remarked that it was close, but not quite as good as Cafe Rio. Whatever.
What's the deal with all the teenage son comments? Do you have a teenage son? Well I'll just tell you that they LOVE to eat.


Here is a pic of the taco filling. We just use shredded lettuce, no cheese (doesn't need it) but do what you must. I grill the kids tortillas with spray oil and mine I grill dry. My life is so boring. Ha! Joking!

Sorry I'd have to reopen iphoto to flip this picture and I'm too tired. Busy day today and tomorrow, I need to get to bed.

Non-chicken Nuggets...pass or fail?


I have made a few vegan dad recipes before and have enjoyed them. He has a slew of boys and therefore makes a lot of seitan/fake meat stuff. I don't need this category in my vegan cuisine, but I understand that a lot of people like to eat fake meat. So when the hubby isn't home for dinner (last night) I usually try out something on the kids for fun.

Find the recipe for Vegan Boneless Chickenless Hotwings here

They didn't take long to put together and I had all the ingredients already on hand.
Overall, the kids liked them - and I tasted and thought they were actually pretty good! They liked them dunked in bbq sauce best. I coated them in crushed up shredded wheat instead of panko breadcrumbs because I didn't have any - so I'll try those next time.


Picked these up for the kids but when hubby called and found out what we were eating he said, "save me some"! Sorry, that idea did not fly with 4 hungry kids.

And maybe putting these under the broiler for the last 2 (or 5 ) minutes wasn't such a good idea.
I may or may not have thought a bad word in my mind when I almost burned these babies.

Monday, February 1, 2010

"Veggie Night"


This is the meal that started it all. About 4 years ago we started having "veggie night" - Just my attempt at getting a lot of veggies into their system without filling them up with meat too. This didn't take very much effort or creativity. It's just as you see it: baked yams & sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli, roasted asparagus and white sticky rice. Sometimes the rice is brown, sometimes we make mashed potatoes, and often I'll make the kids some garlic bread to go with. At first they asked, "Where's the beef?" ...but after awhile they stopped asking. Now they fight over the biggest yam. But one things for sure - there are no hungry tummies when you eat a starch based meal - and the price is right!


I roasted the asparagus in the oven at 400 degrees with a few sprinkles of water and garlic salt. I cook them until the tips are a bit crispy and the stalks are juicy and tender (about 15 minutes) I think I ate almost the entire bunch tonight - minus the few my hubby ate. My kids aren't big fans so they ate broccoli. Mmmm... I LOVE these!

Veggie Night tips:

* Kids add butter to everything. They just do.

* We don't. Well sometimes the hubby does : )

* Try a little brown sugar or maple syrup on your yam instead of butter.

* The yams are best the next day cold from the fridge as a snack - the juices turn sticky like candy. Am I weird?

* A friend taught me that broccoli tastes really good sprinkled with seasoned rice vinegar.

* She's right. I always eat mine like this now.

* The kids don't.

* Of course.

*They just add more butter. - But at least they're eating their veggies!

What's a mom to do?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Loaded Marinara Sauce

I had a fun day visiting with my mom and aunt who came to visit. They took the kids and I out to lunch at Super Mex (I had their Lite beans and green rice with warm corn tortillas and salsa - which I will try to recreate soon - it was delicious!) Then we shopped around at thrift stores for treasures - which my oldest son called "worse than a garage sale." (The skeptic ended up getting a really cool tie!) By the time we got home it was homework, clean up and time to think about dinner. Luckily I had leftover Marinara sauce in the fridge along with some fresh veggies. The old fallback.

The interesting thing about this Marinara sauce is that it is secretly loaded with veggies and hence tons of nutrition and yumminess.


Here is what I did:

Cut up some carrots, red bell pepper, yellow onion, and garlic - steam fry in pan (with water, but allowing them to still get some color). When they are semi-tender, toss them in your blender with a jar of low-fat (less than 10% calories from fat) marinara sauce. Puree til almost smooth.

Heat sauce until bubbly, and add more spices if desired. I love to add crushed red pepper and/or fresh basil.

Serve over your favorite pasta!

For the veggies: I rinsed the snow peas and tossed them in a hot pan until they all turned bright green (about 4 minutes) then I added some garlic salt. I didn't even cook the carrots, just sliced and threw in at the end. It was super hard, I don't know if you can handle it.

For the natives, I broiled them some garlic toast - and all was well. They never blink at pasta. We're Italian. Could eat pasta everyday a different way - but that's not the title of this blog now is it?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Veggie "Fried" Rice

I think the theme this week is one dish meals.
That, or I've just been too lazy to dirty more than one pan.

Anyhoo - here is something most of the family enjoys: Veggie "fried" Rice
I took out my portion and then threw in some shrimp and a little oil to appease the natives, but you can serve it as is too, if your people aren't so picky.

(Forgot to take the picture before the "add ins")

No real recipe, just throw these items together:

First, chop the veggies, I used carrots & green onions

Next, add them to the hot pan and steam fry for 3 minutes. (That means add a tablespoon of water at a time if they start to stick)

Then add the rice , 3-4 cups cooked leftover rice (I used sticky Japanese rice) and sprinkle with soy sauce as it heats up.

Finally add the frozen peas and continue stirring til everything is heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Other fun add ins:
Firm tofu (crumble it)
Fake meat (seitan)
snow peas
asparagus
mushrooms
any veggies leftover in your fridge!

MMmmm comfort food. I WILL NEVER FEEL GUILTY FOR EATING RICE. There. I said it.
And I mean it. Do you LOVE grains?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Whole Wheat Penne Genovese


Today was a rough day. I had to send off my 5th grader to Outdoor Science Camp. I'm not a fan of school enforced outings. So I was feeling a bit blue, praying the bus would get safely up the mountain - and hoping he wouldn't get too homesick. He's definitely mama's boy.
So needless to say, I wanted something warm and comforting on this cold, rainy, melancholy day.
I retrieved this recipe given to me by my neighbor and friend. I changed a few things, and ended up with my 14 year old calling it "brilliant" a word I've never even heard him use. When I asked what he meant by that, he said, "All the flavors just go together so well"

The original recipe called for olive oil , so I just replaced it with broth and made it a chunky pasta "soup." But on the hardy side of soups - not very much broth. I'll definitely be making this again!

Whole Wheat Penne Genovese
adapted from Good Housekeeping Feb. 09 Issue

12 oz. whole wheat penne or rotini
1 c. packed basil leaves
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup water
1 small onion, chopped
1 can white kidney beans (cannellini) rinsed and drained
1 pt. grape tomatoes , cut in half
2 Tablespoons vegetable broth powder (or bouillon)

1. Cook pasta as directed.
2. Put basil, garlic and water into blender and blend (don't liquify) #4 on Vitamix
3. Heat a large skillet and add onion. Cook onion until golden brown by adding a few tablespoons of water when it starts to stick to the pan. (This method is called steam frying.)
4. When onion is browned, add basil mixture and cook for 1 minute.
5. Add tomatoes, beans, vegetable bouillon, cooked pasta, and 2 1/2 cups of pasta water. Toss. Add salt and pepper to taste.

My kids had parmesan on theirs, but I didn't even miss it with all the flavors going on.
I did however miss this face at the dinner table


Mangia!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Oatmeal. Everyday.

I love oatmeal. I didn't discover it until my 20's so maybe that's why, but I could (almost do) eat it every single day for breakfast. I change it up by using different fruit. Lately it's been frozen blueberries or Granny Smith apples.


Once, a friend was visiting and I made her a bowl using frozen mixed berries - she LOVED it! I was so surprised that she hadn't eaten it "this" way. So just in case you aren't an oatmeal lover, maybe I can turn you into one?


Fruity Oatmeal

1/2 cup regular rolled oats
1 hand full of fruit (frozen berries, or cut up green apples etc.)
add enough water to just cover the oatmeal - not enough to cover the fruit (about 1/2 c. water for 1/2 cup oats)
microwave for 1 min - 1 min. 30 seconds (if using frozen fruit)
garnish with cinnamon and brown sugar or your favorite sweetener

It's even yummy as a dessert - when the natives are eating cake.

Oh, and if you are terrified of eating a little brown sugar, this is what Dr. John McDougall has to say, "When used in small amounts, simple sugars can enhance the enjoyment of the McDougall Diet without adverse consequences." Or read more about sugar here.

Biggest oatmeal mistake in my opinion?

Not adding enough water.
It turns gluey and hard instead of creamy. If this happens I have to start over. I just can't bring myself to eat it. I don't measure the water - I always eyeball it, so sometimes I mess up.

But I did measure for you : )

Happy Breaky!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

(Make your own) Frozen Burritos

Most of my greatest discoveries are made out of desperation.
I desperately need to eat.
Now.
And make it healthy.

I LOVE eating bean & rice burritos for lunch - I make them ahead and freeze them. I could eat one everyday. If you work or are going to be away for lunch, take one with you and it will be room temp by lunch. I like them like that - or you can find a way to heat them up. They are surprising filling too!

Not a real complex recipe - but here is my latest -


Mexican Rice (in a hurry!)

Into your rice cooker goes:

3 - 4 cups of short grain brown rice - (or white)
correct amount of water (look on package - I use my hand to measure - but hard to explain)
1 can Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
1 package Burrito seasoning packet (or your favorite)

Press "cook" and walk away.

Serve in (my favorite) Mission white or wheat 96% fat free tortillas with (my favorite) canned pinto beans (or make your own - some times I do) with NO cheese for you - but add some cheese for the natives. (I call them natives cause sometimes my kids remind me of natives scouring the land for food, meat, and anything with loads of fat and sugar. - hope that's not a politically INcorrect word)

Some thoughts:

You can serve these for dinner the day you make them- adding veggies like: lettuce, tomato, sprouts, avocado ( if losing weight isn't an issue) and fresh or canned salsa. OR freeze like I said above - without the veggies.

I wrap mine in wax paper - so I can microwave them in it.

Experiment with different seasoning packets, make up your own, or use a packaged seasoned rice and DON'T add the butter/oil.

Let the natives put on: cheese, sour cream, gobs of butter, whatever will make them eat it. (I'm joking - but not really - at least they are eating brown rice and that's a start!

If you make your own beans, then this might not be "in a hurry" anymore. Unless you froze your homemade beans and defrosted them.

You may need to add salt to the rice per your liking. I love salt. Probably not a great thing.

Try dipping your burritos in your favorite taco sauce ( I Love Taco Bell's mild) or try barbecue sauce!

A note on fake cheeses:
They are expensive.
The ones that taste like anything are full of fat.
If I want fat, I'd rather have avocado.
Therefore I don't use them.


Have I talked enough about these things that are supposed to be EASY???
Enough.

Mangia!









Saturday, January 23, 2010

I'm back...

A week's worth of groceries...
check back and see what's for dinner all week!




No excuses. I haven't been making time for my passion. When things get super busy that's usually the first thing to go (the blog). That and my 5:15 am spinning classes. But I'm back and I have a fun month planned. I am going to (try to) post everyday for 1 month, usually about what I'm making for dinner. I'm hoping that those of you out there will come out of hiding and let me know if I am any help to you at all!

I went shopping today. Fresh and Easy. I haven't always been a fan but they are growing on me. It may or may not have anything to do with $10 coupons you can always find online.

For those of you new to my site, let me clear somethings up - so you aren't expecting something I'm not. Technically I'm not vegan. I will eat some fresh parmesan once in a while, a little turkey at Thanksgiving, and I have a pair of leather shoes. I don't eat vegan for ethical reasons (although I know I should) I'm just not that good of a person yet. BUT I can say that I think about it a lot and need to educate myself more in that area.

I have 4 children who were raised on a varied diet. Not vegan. And although they are very super amazing for eating what's on the dinner table, there are times my 11 year old and 14 year old boys BEG me for steak. It's hard because they remember the old days and the old favorites. And although they have MANY new favorites there are still times that they crave it. And so I will prepare some meat for them once in a while. This blog is about just that.

For many of us, life can not be 100%. Especially if you are just beginning to introduce veggie meals to your family - you need some tips so they don't FREAK out - as kids (and sometimes husbands) will do. But not mine of course. Oh no.

Here are a few tips that will help the natives not FREAK out if there is no meat on the table:

1. bread & butter. Always have some kind of yummy bread, cornbread, rolls, biscuits etc. if you are serving a low-fat vegan meal. Don't stress about it being healthy. YOU don't have to eat it!

2. Whatever you make: soups, quick breads, pastas, etc. - if it is not "rich" enough for non-deprived palets let them add a bit of butter or olive oil to theirs on THEIR plate, instead of putting it in the whole dish. Again, YOU don't have to eat it! And they won't use very much.

3. Once in a while make your kids something they want. We do this about once a month. If we go out we don't force them to eat veggie - but sometimes a few of my kids will anyways.

4. Don't frown on what they eat. (Or make them feel guilty) Just enjoy what you are eating. Eventually they will start to like your favorites too.

Do you have any tips to share?
 

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