Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cookbooks and stuff.

I love weekends. It's on Saturdays and Sundays that my husband and I have time to spend together and we end up doing a lot of the same things we did when we were dating, like dining out, shopping for music and especially bookstore browsing. We hit up two stores today: one was a dollar used bookshop and the other mega-bookstore Borders. At the dollar shop I got lucky and found some great old cookbooks:

This is what I got:

Toll House Heritage Cookbook (1980): This book is chock full of dessert recipes that use Toll House baking products and loads of dairy and eggs. No matter. I will try and veganize some of these recipes using animal free products like soymilk, egg-replacers (like cornstarch or mashed bananas or tofu), vegan margarine and dairy free chocolate chips. Some recipes that sound good: Cookie Brittle, Oatmeal Marble Squares, Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies and Bourbon Balls. I know I'll have fun veganizing these. My neighbor Shannon is a vegetarian but loves to bake vegan and she takes on the challenge with great results. So I will follow her example with this book.

Veggie Lovers Cookbook: I scored with this one as it's completely vegan with a ton of simple and practical recipes such as Vegetable Loaf, Miso Macaroni, Curried Sauté, Carob Mousse Pie and banana ice cream. It looks like a very healthy book as the recipes do not contain sugar or salt but instead use things like date sugar, brown rice syrup and tamari.

America's Favorite Recipes from Better Homes and Gardens (1966): This one is going to be a blast to veganize. Such crazy sounding recipes like Oriental Chi Chow, Asparagus Delicious, Burger in the Round and Vegetable Trio with Zippy Sauce. I know with some of the meat dishes I'm going to have to use meat substitutes like tofu, tempeh or seitan. Can't wait to experiment!

The Simpler Life Cookbook from Arrowhead Mills: i wonder if this is the same company that makes the vital wheat gluten that I buy? (off to check online...) Why yes it is. This book is vegetarian (it has recipes with dairy and eggs) but most can be veganized. A lot of them utilize all kinds of grain such as whole wheat, millet, barley, bulgur, oats, rye etc as well as other healthy staples like beans, lentils, vegetables and nuts. Some recipes that look good and healthy: millet patties, barley rice burgers, millet casserole and garbanzo goulash.

Fit For Life: I've heard about this book after reading interviews with Bryan Adams (yes Bryan Adams, the singer songwriter) and his vegan diet. He recommended this book for it's healthy lifestyle full of fresh fruits and vegetables. It looks like a weight loss book about food combining and eating the right foods in the right combinations at the right time. Might give it a try one day.

And I also got a few non-cookbooks:

Twins: the book that was the inspiration for the film Dead Ringers.
The Forbidden Tower: oooh....scary! Haha! I'm a sucker for these gothic suspense novels that are from the 60's and 70's.
Doctor Who: The Pirate Loop: My husband got me this from Borders. Yay! I looooooove Who.

Oh, I should mention what I had for lunch: Subway $5 footlong! I had a Veggie Delight on white with mustard (no mayo, no cheese) and filled with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green peppers, onions, olives, carrots plus avocado, oil and vinegar, salt and pepper, pepperoncinis and jalapenos. It was yummy!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Seitan and Snow Pea Stir Fry

My mom made this for me! This past weekend my aunt bought me a hunk of seitan from the asian market near her house and it had been in the fridge since then. The seitan was plain and unseasoned so I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it. My mom to the rescue! She quickly whipped up this stir fry with snow peas and carrots and seasoned it with mushroom soy sauce and garlic. Very tasty!

On another note, Chocolate Covered Katie is giving away a box of Jocolat bars!!! Mmm mmm! Go here for more details.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fat Free Pineapple Coffee Cake + African Pineapple Peanut Stew

I've been craving desserts. After the three week detox, I'm a little wary of going full force with desserts just yet. Yes, I dream of layer cakes with buttercream filling and cookies with gooey chocolate chips but I think I want to do it a healthier way today. I got this yummy coffee cake recipe from the fat free vegan blog which I visit regularly. Susan V. has a treasure trove of fat free or low fat original vegan recipes that you can incorporate into your weekly meals from breakfasts, lunches, dinners and desserts! I've made this coffee cake about 2 years ago when I first went vegan and I loved it. I'm glad I have gotten around to making it again. It's very moist and healthy cake made with whole wheat and oat flours, no oil, very little sugar and a crunchy cinnamon sugar topping. Perfect for your tea or coffee break!

I didn't have raw turbinado sugar so I used regular sugar for the topping. I also didn't have Ener-g egg replacer so I substituted 2 TB of cornstarch with no problems.

Edited to add:

I made this African Pineapple Peanut Stew using the leftover pineapple from the cake. I added some chickpeas, sweet potatoes, a little water and way more peanut butter than the recipe calls for! It's delicious served over rice or couscous.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tofu Cacciatore

Here's another comfort food meal which is super easy for a weeknight. I got the recipe from a vegan recipe site called 'Ethnic Vegan'. This particular recipe is called "Better Than Chicken Cacciatore". It originally calls for a chicken substitute but I used baked tofu chunks instead. (You can probably use extra firm unbaked tofu as well.) I had already prepared some baked tofu and tempeh bacon this morning to make club sandwiches during the week so I was all set. Just needed to add some red and green bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and tomato sauce and presto!: tofu cacciatore. I omitted the last step in the recipe where it requires you to bake the cacciatore. I was fine with just simmering it in a saucepan for a while. Mmm. mmm!

On top of linguine!

Here's the baked tofu that I made. I used half for the cacciatore and saved the rest to make club sandwiches. I brushed both sides of the tofu slices with a marinade of olive oil, soy sauce, dijon mustard, garlic and black pepper. I baked them on an oiled baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes flipping them halfway.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

All you need is comfort food!

Today I needed something warm, hearty and comfort foody. Pot pie to the rescue! I've been wanting to try the 'Vegetable Pot Pie' recipe from the Country LIfe Vegetarian cookbook for quite some time. I'm glad I did as it's a little different from the pot pies I usually make. The gravy is creamier with the addition of soymilk and flavorful from the 'country style seasoning' which is another recipe in the book. I didn't make the 'Flaky Oat-Wheat Crust' that is supposed to go on top because I didn't have all the ingredients so I used a frozen pie crust that had been languishing in my freezer for a while. I just thawed it and popped it out of the tin pie plate and flattened it out with a rolling pin and cut out little biscuit shapes for the crust. Came out real nice.

The insides: potatoes, green beans, carrots, onions, corn, celery and broccoli. I was going to put mushrooms in here but I forgot!

Edited to add the pretty purple smoothie I had after a long dog walk. Blueberry/Strawberry/Applesauce/Soymilk

Monday, February 23, 2009

Blackened Tempeh Sandwich

I ate a lot of snick-snacky things today including Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos, Spicy Wasabi Rice Crackers, Snickerdoodle cookies and more date brownies. Not very good for my first day off the diet, huh? Need to slow down...

Lunch was fantastic. I made this sandwich using blackened tempeh (dredge thin slices of tempeh in cajun seasonings and pan fry in a little olive oil on both sides until browned), cashew cheese spread, lettuce, tomato, sauerkraut and thousand island sauce (vegenaise, ketchup, capers, dijon, pepper). Yum! It's kinda sort of like a reuben except I used french bread instead of pumpernickel.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Last day!

Hooray, I made it! Today is the last day of 3 weeks of healthy eating. I feel really good and so proud of myself that I was able to get through it without any issues. I've really enjoyed cooking healthy meals and eating much more veggies, fruits and whole grains than usual. I will definitely incorporate all I've accomplished into my daily routine. I learned that it doesn't take much to make healthier choices. It's not expensive or as time consuming as one may think. I've heard time and time again that healthy cooking/eating is expensive. It really isn't! In fact for this particular diet, my grocery bills were nice because all I bought were fruits, veggies, beans, tofu and whole grains. No processed, packaged products at all which really cut down on the expense.

I feel like after doing this, I will keep making better choices and learn to center myself and not give in to too many unhealthy cravings. I've even lost about 4 pounds, so knowing that will help me try to maintain it rather than gain it all back again!

Last day eats:

Breakfast: Green smoothie (spinach, banana, dates, mango)

Snack: Celery and sunflower paté plus a square of date brownie and later on, a banana.

Lunch: We went to The Veggie Grill today and I tried my best to make a healthy choice. This was the soup of the day: "Chickin'" Gumbo. It was delicious.

This was the Baja Fiesta side salad. It has romaine, papaya, avocado, roasted corn salsa, quinoa, cucumber, cilantro and a ginger-papaya vinaigrette. Yummy!

Dinner will probably be leftover pizza from yesterday. And most likely another salad. And maybe a brownie? :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Detox Week 3, Day 20

Hello weekend! It's a great one because it's the last weekend of my diet and next week I will finally get to eat some of the things that I've been craving. My husband bought me a bag of Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos, hehe...naughty! I'll have those next week as well. Just a little though. I'm not going to be a gluttonous pig or anything. I will have whatever I like in moderation. Other things I will have in moderation: banana chocolate chip cakes, nachos, tacos, vegan beer bread, chocolate rum cake, blueberry buckle, pizza with tofurky sausage and pine nut cheese, vanilla pudding trifle...boy there are a lot of desserts I'm looking forward to!

Today's eat were very nice.

Breakfast: Dandelion Carob Tea (dandelion tea, 1 tsp carob powder, unsweeteened soymilk, 1 tsp brown rice syrup)

A breakfast treat: Instead of eating my usual oatmeal, I'll have my oats in another form! Oat-Corn Waffles (oats, cornmeal, dates, water, olive oil) with sesame seeds. Served with 2 TB maple syrup. I got this recipe from the Country Life Vegetarian cookbook.

Snack #1: 1 tangerine

Lunch: Mediterranean pizza with a sweet potato crust. A Gillian McKeith recipe. Very healthy yet absolutely delicious!

Served with red leaf salad. I ate two slices at lunch.

Snack #2: celery and sunflower paté with a square of date brownie

Dinner will be two more slices of pizza and another salad!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Detox Week 3, Day 19

Only two days left not counting today! I've got a huge list inside my head of all the things I want to cook after my diet. Like black bean empanadas, chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, stuffed pasta shells, mashed potatoes and miso gravy, monte cristo sandwiches, veggie pot pie, coffee chip cookies, vegan buttermilk biscuits, pan fried tofu with plum sauce and on and on....

Here are today's eats:

Breakfast: Strawberry, Mango, Soymilk smoothie

Snack #1: a tangerine

Lunch: Ani Phyo's "Save the Tuna" sunflower paté on three grain german bread, celery...

...and a salad tossed with olive oil, lemon juice and sprinkled with sumac...

...and beautiful red strawberries.

Snack #2: Walnut date brownies! Quick tip with these brownies: the "batter" tastes great spread on strawberries!

Dinner: Leftover veg stirfry from last night.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Detox Week 3, Day 18

Hello! Time for some food porn! I totally dropped my camera a few minutes ago and freaked out. I thought I had broken it and lost all these great pics of food! Luckily I didn't break it as it still works. There are a few little cracks and dents though. :( I may have to shop for a new camera in the near future if it starts shutting down. Hopefully that won't happen as I love this camera.

Today was a busy day as I had to drive Grandma to a few appointments and then take her home to Torrance which I don't mind one bit because she lives around the corner from the 99 Ranch market! I only had $20 on me but was able to bring home this:

yams, chinese eggplant, broccoli, celery, bananas, baby bok choy, water chestnuts, vanilla essence, baby corn, golden plum sauce, wasabi paste and korean bbq sauce. But wait, you're thinking...I missed one!

That would be this intriguing item. Sweet Potato Noodles! I have no idea what this tastes like as I've never seen it before. I believe the ingredients are just sweet potato starch and water and the noodles are green! Weird. Can't wait to try it. I'm imagining a stir fry with peanut sauce or something...

Today's eats:

Breakfast: granola with soymilk (not pictured as I had to eat and run!)
Snack #1: a banana and a half (eaten in the car while driving)

Lunch: Oriental chopped salad. Green leaf, romaine, spinach, red peppers, shredded carrots, mandarins and almonds tossed in a sesame miso dressing recipe which I got from You Are What You Eat cookbook.

Snack #2: a small serving of brown rice pudding. I was so mesmerized by last night's rice pudding that I had to make some. This is Gillian's healthier version though which is only half as sweet as last night's pudding. It's made with brown rice, cinnamon, lemon juice, lemon zest, raisins, brown rice syrup and soymilk. It's good but only slightly sweet. I don't mind that though. It still feels comforting and is a nice dessert.

Dinner: Beautiful veggie stirfry with broccoli, baby bok choy, carrots, red peppers, zucchini, baby corn, water chestnuts and onions. I made it healthy by using only a little soy sauce diluted with water.

To go with the stirfy I made this korean bbq baked tofu. I marinated thick slices of extra firm tofu with 1/2 water and 1/2 korean bbq sauce. I also had brown rice with my meal.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Happy Anniversary to us! (Detox Week 3, Day 17)

I have to apologize that today's post is a picture-less one. I didn't eat a whole lot during the day (granola for breakfast, soup and salad for lunch) because I wanted to have room for our special dinner. Today is our 5 year wedding anniversary and we celebrated by dining at Real Food Daily in Hollywood. It was absolutely perfect. I think I may have eaten more than I should. I was starving by the time we arrived there for dinner that I over-ordered, hehe! But you know what, the food is fresh, organic, vegan and undoubtedly healthy AND it is our special day so I'm not going to beat myself up about it. We started out with a plate of edamame for our starter. Simple and very good. I also ordered a cup of their soup of the day which was butternut squash bisque. Really yummy. It was smooth, creamy and slightly sweet. For my main meal I ordered the "Ciao Bella" sandwich which has portabella mushroom, onions, red peppers, lettuce, tomato and pesto spread on hemp bread. This was delicious. The pesto was nice and garlicky, the portabello very meaty and succulent and the yeast free whole grain hemp bread was surprisingly good. I will definitely order that again and maybe add some avocado next time. My husband had the Club sandwich which I was so jealous of. It had thick cuts of seitan, tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato and vegenaise on sourdough bread. He says it's the best club in L.A. I must try that at another time. For dessert (I really couldn't help myself!), we shared the coconut rice pudding. It was the perfect end to the meal. Creamy, coconutty, and sweet with raisins and maple syrup. I can't wait to go back!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Detox Week 3, Day 16

I can't believe it. I threw my back out yesterday! And it wasn't even a big movement, I was bending over to put my dog's lead on and when we took a few steps on our walk, I thought "Why does my lower back feel funny?" Great. Now I'm pretty much immobile and I can't exercise which really annoys me. I wanted to work out every day this week to get the full benefit of my last detox week. :( Now I have to bed rest for a couple days. Argh.

Anyway since I'm here in bed, I might as well spend some time typing. Someone asked me today about this detox I'm doing and wanted to know what my experience was like and what, if any recommendations I may have. Well, as some of you know I decided to do this diet based loosely on the principles of Gillian McKeith's book/show 'You Are What You Eat'. It's not what you might think of detox. It doesn't require fasting on lemonade concoctions, or juice fasting or going 100% raw. What she recommends is cutting out things like processed foods that come in packages with ingredients you can't pronounce, sugary sweets, caffeine, alcohol, white refined breads/rice/pastas, store bought juices, salty snacks, meat, dairy....etc. The focus should be on whole foods, fresh fruits, vegetables, salads, homemade soups, smoothies, whole grains, nuts and seeds. I thought it sounded easy enough. What makes her plan great is that she balances raw salads, fruits and veggies alongside cooked meals which I was very happy about. I love a good hot homecooked meal. I think most people who's diets are a bit out of control will find this diet not so bad and quite easy to follow. If you look back on my last two weeks of journal entries, I was able to have quite a variety of food from pizza to pasta, to stews and stuffed peppers. Not everything I made came from Gillian's cookbook. I was able to improvise existing recipes by taking her principles into account, for example leaving out the salt but using low salt tamari or soy sauce, decreasing oil and replacing ingredients for healthier alternatives. A lot of recipes out there adapt very easily to this diet.

An important part of this diet is to have the correct foods and staples in your kitchen. This is what I had in my kitchen at all times:

-Dried Herb and Spices: I used cumin, paprika, turmeric and italian herbs a lot. The sky's the limit with herbs and spices. Fresh herbs: cilantro, parsley, basil.
-Savory flavorings: Instead of salt, I used low salt soy sauce, tamari, veggie broth powder, miso paste, cider vinegar, nori flakes, tahini and dijon mustard.
-Sweet flavorings: Instead of sugar, I used brown rice syrup, maple syrup, agave syrup, carob powder, dates and vanilla extract.
-"Milks": Plain soymilk and rice milk
-Nuts and Seeds: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, flax, almonds, cashews, macadamias, pine nuts, walnuts.
-Oils: Olive, Sesame and Sunflower.
-Beans: aduki, black, chickpeas, lentils, kidney, white beans, split peas
-Tofu (tempeh is also recommended)
-Flours: whole wheat, oat flour
-Grains: brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, oats, millet, brown rice pasta
-Fruits: ALL KINDS! My favorites: bananas, apples, plums, mango, strawberres, blueberries, pears. I used fresh as well as frozen which are especially good for smoothies.
-Veggies: ALL KINDS! My favorites: broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, green leaf lettuce, spinach, onions, sweet potatoes, celery, onions, tomatoes, rocket, kale, collards, cauliflower, garlic, cabbage, squash and leeks.

The hardest time I had with this diet is my sweet craving and bread craving would kick in often. I also had a difficult time without my usual black tea and coffee. I found that snacking on a few dates (or date brownies!) or fruit would help with the sweet cravings. Herbal teas like lemongrass and licorice spice were great in place of coffee. There was really nothing that could replace good old white bread though. I love a good fresh french baguette and there were some dinner times where I wished I could have a slice of french bread with some Earth Balance margarine. I also missed Vegenaise but I didn't eat any sandwiches at all so I guess it wasn't all that bad without it. The lovely thing about this diet is that my fridge was always fully stocked with loads of vegetables and it would really inspire me to cook something wonderful. I also really enjoyed the yummy smoothies I made for breakfast as well. It felt good to eat so many fruits and vegetables which I felt were lacking in my diet before. I know that I will incorporate them much more after the diet is over. Being a vegan, vegetables and fruits are a big part of my diet anyway but I've been known to get lazy and go for foods that are not the best like quick processed stuff, carb heavy meals and sugary desserts.

So on to today's eats!

Breakfast: Strawberry, mango, banana, soymilk smoothie

Mid morning snack: 1 piece of carob date brownie and a tangelo.

Lunch: Super Green Kale Soup (from You Are What You Eat cookbook). The soup was delicious! It has kale, celery, onions and zucchini. It's even creamy without having a drop of dairy in it.

Along with the soup I also had a green salad that had green leaf, cucumber, red peppers, carrots, onions and sunflower seeds. I drizzled it with 2 tsp. of raw goddess dressing.

Afternoon snack: 1 apple, 3 sprouted grain chips, a few grapes

Dinner: Quinoa casserole (quinoa, chickpeas, onions, celery, broccoli, diced tomatoes, curry powder, soy sauce). I found the casserole recipe on Recipezaar. I served the casserole with a salad. It was very good, though a little plain. You can bump up the curry powder or soy sauce and it should be better I think.

I also made a healthy granola which I will have for breakfast tomorrow. Here's the recipe:

2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1 TB cinnamon
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup raisins
Combine all ingredients except the raisins, thoroughly. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 300 degreesF. Stir after the first 15 minutes into baking. Let cool. Pour into a container and combine with raisins.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Detox Week 3, Day 15

Hello week number three! This is my last week of my diet and I'm feeling good. I'm definitely going to continue eating healthy foods after the diet as much as possible.

This morning it was raining heavily and it made me lazy. I didn't want to do anything but lay in bed or on the couch with a bag of chips watching Doctor Who re-runs. How very tempting. But I didn't do that. I ate breakfast which was a bowl of oatmeal with half a banana, raisins and sesame seeds and a little after I exercised for half an hour.

Lunch: miso soup w/ spinach...

..and green salad w/ walnuts and goddess dressing

Snacks: mid morning I had 1/2 banana and in the afternoon, 1 plain brown rice cake...AND

I also made another batch of carob date brownies. This one has chopped macadamias, almonds and coconut on top. Mmm! This I had with my tea.

Dinner: Grapes and a bowl of aduki bean stew.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Detox Week 2, Day 14 husband has quit the diet and is now back to his regular foods. He ordered a sausage pizza yesterday. :( I'm a little disappointed but it's not my place to force him to do anything. He did it for almost two weeks and it was enough for him. He said the raw salads and vegetables were giving him heartburn. So, it's just me now ready to finish off the last week of healthy eating. I have to say that I'm starting to really crave white bread and coffee like crazy. I made a gluten free butternut oat bread today that bombed big time. I'm not even going to post a picture. It was very sad. So no bread for me today. But other than that, things are good. I've lost about 3-4 pounds which is nice! If I can stay on track with my workouts this week, I can probably lose another pound or two.

Today's eats:

Breakfast: Banana, date, mango, tangelo and strawberry soymilk smoothie.

Lunch: Chopped salad with spinach, green leaf, rocket, cucumber, red peppers, onion and walnuts. Drizzled with goddess dressing.

Snacks: Veggie crudités and white bean dip, sprouted grain chips, a pear and three 1" pieces of carob date brownies.

Dinner: Aduki Bean Stew (from You Are What You Eat cookbook) on top of cauliflower mash.

After dinner tea.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Detox Week 2, Day 13

Yay weekend! When I woke this morning, I hung out on the couch for a while watching 'You Are What You Eat'. Today's episode was about a lady who ate nothing but bread and butter, bread and jam, pastries, cakes, crumpets, bread, bread and more bread. It was pretty astounding! And it was all white processed refined bread too which made it worse. I'm a carbohydrate addict and I could have easily become like her. In fact, I WAS her a long time ago! I was in my first year of college. I was 17. I was living in the dorms and our daily breakfast, lunch and dinners were at the dining hall which served the worst foods: fried chicken, meatloaf and mashed potatoes and gravy, tuna melts, chicken nuggets, grilled cheese, ice cream, french fries, cake, cookies, you name it... I ate a lot of that stuff and a lot of bread and cakes which helped me gain my freshman 40! Yep, I gained a hefty 40 pounds instead of the usual 10. It was not good for my 5'2" frame. I think I was about 180 at the time. After I moved out of the dorms, I slowly lost the weight and several years after was able to get to a healthy weight of 135-140 pounds. Then I got married and it went up again to about 155-160. Then later I went vegan and went down to 146. Up and down, up and down... Now I'm still in that 146-ish range which is alright but I think I can afford to lose a few more considering my height.

ANYWAY, enough of that weight talk, it's time to refocus our energies on feeling good and most of all healthy. It shouldn't be so much about weight. It's about eating foods that make you feel alive and not dead!

Today's eats:

Breakfast: a bowl of oatmeal with sliced bananas, raisins, sesame seeds and brown rice syrup.


Herby White Bean Dip with veggie crudités.

I can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 TB tahini
2 cloves garlic
juice of 1/2 a lemon (or more if you like)
1 tsp mixed herbs (I used Trader Joes 21 seasoning salute)
1/2 tsp low salt soy sauce
black pepper to taste
a splash of olive oil
a little water to help it blend better
Add all ingredients to blender and blend til smooth and creamy. Garnish with paprika.

Fresh homemade salsa with baked sprouted grain tortilla chips.

Lunch: Split pea soup (again!), red grapes and a salad w/ steamed broccoli

Dinner was leftover curry from last night and 1/2 a minneola tangelo. AND how could I forget my brownie treats? I had about 6 little 1" pieces throughout the whole day.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Detox Week 2, Day 12

Happy Friday the 13th!

I was running low on the fresh vegetables in my fridge so I took a trip to the grocery. This is what I got: (I love lists.) celery, broccoli, cilantro, green leaf lettuce, spinach, carrots, kale, red grapes, minneolas, lemons, fuji apples, red bell peppers, cabbage, bananas, cucumbers, zucchini, frozen strawberries, whole wheat flour, canned tomatoes, more fire-roasted peanuts in the shell and fresh tortilla chips. All this for $36.

Today's eats:

How healthy can I get than starting out my day with a green smoothie? Breakfast was this banana-date-mango-blueberry-collard greens smoothie. Yum.

Lunch was a cup of split pea soup and veggie crudités with a little bit of hummus. No photo.

Snacks: Mid-morning, a brown rice cake with pb and brown rice syrup. After the dog walk, I had an apple.

It's cold, wet and rainy outside and all I wanted for dinner was something warm and comforting. I had to make a curry. I made one that was based on the Chickpea and Tofu Mild Curry from You Are What You Eat. I omitted the tofu and added a can of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, garam masala, shiitake mushrooms and cauliflower. I pretty much transformed the recipe into something else haven't I? It was pretty good. I have to say that I am not a huge fan of shiitake mushrooms. This was my first time working with them and I found them to be way too strong and their flavor permeated the curry a little too much. I wish I wouldn't have added them in but oh well...the chickpeas were ace!

Very pretty curry. I served this with brown rice and a salad.

So we all know people will be scoffing all kinds of chocolate tomorrow in honor of St. Valentine right? I am not going to be deprived of gooey chocolatey goodness! If I can't have chocolate, than carob will do. I know some do not appreciate the flavor of carob but I happen to like it. I have fond memories of visiting the local health food store with one of my friends after school and we would get these carob ice cream sandwiches. They were good! Today I made a batch of fudge carob brownies made with carob powder, dates, walnuts and vanilla. I was originally going to make Ms. Gillian McKeith's brownies but her recipe required way too many kinds of nuts and seeds that I just didn't have. So I went online and found this recipe that was perfect. I had all the ingredients except for raw carob, I only had roasted carob but it worked in a pinch. I also added a layer of dessicated coconut on top which made them extra special. Such an easy recipe. It's all mixed up in your blender or food processor, spread into a container and placed into the fridge or freezer. I'd say they took me about 10 minutes to make.

I put my container in the freezer to firm them up a bit. The icy coconut is a nice contrast to the gooey fudginess.

Oh fudgy! I did sample two of these bites and I was filled with delight. They are gooey, sweet and very reminiscent of chocolate. I'm in love with these brownies and will be enjoying these through the weekend.