Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Almond Butter and "Jelly" Smoothie!

[This is a cross-post from one of my other blogs, A Midlife Regeneration.  This delicious, regenerating smoothie is also vegan!]

After a week of striving for the Wahls' 9 cups of veggies and fruits per day -- I'm sold!  On the days I was able to get close to 9, I felt amazing and many of my persistent symptoms (skin pain and numbness, fatigue, brain fog) began to disappear again.  Other autoimmune skin issues disappeared instantly, my facial skin improved freakishly fast (it seems tighter and pores are smaller, tone is more even).  Since I doubt healing is only skin deep, I'm hoping the benefits to the CNS are even more dramatic.  A couple of days I ran out of time and was only able to squeeze in 6 veg servings and the old symptoms began coming right back again.  Immediate palpable evidence is so rare as we spoonies strive to find what's best to include in our healing arsenals.  What a treat to have anecdotal evidence to match Dr. Wahls' clinical results.

Since I adore freshly made juice, and Dr. Wahls didn't recommend it in The Wahls' Protocol because of the glycemic index spike it could cause, that was one of the reasons I stopped pursuing the Protocol last year.  I never thought I'd like smoothies as an alternative to juice, because of the texture.  Now, looking back, I wonder why I was so hard-headed about this.  It seems crazy that I didn't even try veggie smoothies as a way to up my veg doses for the Protocol.  It's so much easier to eat more vegetables when some of the servings are pre-digested in smoothie form.  I've had the Vitamix all along, and am now really putting it to good use -- every day!

I've really enjoyed the recipes in Dr. Wahls' new book, but this one is my original recipe.  It was amazing, and provided at least 3 cups of my required servings, along with wonderful healthy fats and protein.

Almond Butter and Jelly Smoothie
1 c red organic seedless grapes
1/2 cucumber, peeled unless organic
2 organic purple carrots, unpeeled
2 Tbsp. organic almond butter
1 Tbsp. MCT oil
1 c filtered water/ice
a shake of nutmeg
a shake of powdered ginger
freshly ground black pepper - 1 grind

This recipe made about 3 servings, and this is how I portioned them.  I initially put the mason pint jar in the fridge and I sipped it later on in the morning.  So I had all three servings -- sort of a brunch situation.  The smoothie was substantial enough that I needed no additional breakfast, and had no problems with nausea from supplements and medications.  If I don't have enough on my stomach I do sometimes get a little ill when I take my pills.  Not in this case!

I feel so happy to have found one piece of my wellness puzzle!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Parsnip Salad/Chutney/Compote

This lovely concoction came from improvising one of my favorites, "Parsnip Tabouli" from Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Kitchen.  Kris' recipe replaces couscous with raw parsnips and the result is shockingly lovely and delectable.  I didn't have most of the ingredients but had recently found some amazing organic parsnip specimens, so I tossed one into the food processor with Italian parsley, a few raw garlic cloves, sea salt, lemon and olive oil.  Amazing!  The flavors were perfect the first day, but the lemon continued to intensify as time went on.  I think I'd squeezed a whole lemon into this.  I'll use a little less next time.  Nevertheless, once I shifted my thinking on these leftovers (chutney or compote instead of salad), this was amazing mixed into fresh arugula with another drizzle of olive oil, stirred into a gorgeous, brothy vegetable soup, piled atop a sprouted english muffin, and also stuffed into a baked sweet potato!  One giant parsnip made all of this and I'm still eating it on everything.  What a great way to amp up the raw veggie representation!

I have a couple more giant, organic parsnips, which will also be amazing in a puree -- so much more silky and decadent than mashed potatoes.  For that, I'll just roughly chop them, boil them for about 15 minutes, then blend them in the vitamix with a little "butter" and nutmeg.  Mmmm.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Veg- Forward

Every once in a while I just want a big plateful of veggies and more veggies.  Last night's dinner fit the bill.  Lentils with fresh thyme paired perfectly with baby bok choy, garlic and mushrooms sauteed with a little of my fresh pickled cabbage.  This was delicious and health-affirming.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Japanese Sweet Potatoes

There seem to be so many varieties of sweet potatoes out there, and maybe there are several names for each one.  I don't believe "Japanese Sweet Potatoes" is the actual name for these delicious tubers, but that's what they were called at Whole Foods.  Strangely, they look on the outside exactly like a less exotic, orange-fleshed potato.  Both types had a pretty purple skin and the same general size and shape.  I'd inadvertently gotten a few of each.  Sometimes you don't know for sure until you cut into them.

I mixed the cut, raw potatoes with coconut oil and 1/2 tsp of sea salt, and roasted them on parchment on a pan preheated to 400 degrees for 30 minutes, flipping halfway.  They were amazing tossed into a Swiss chard saute at the last minute.  I'd forgotten how much I love chard.  Mom used to grow a lot of it in her big backyard garden when I was young.  This bowlful made a delicious breakfast.

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Warm Salad

These greens are topped by green, which is topped by more green.  I was craving greens today (obviously) but my arugula was lackluster.  But I did find, in my crisper, some lovely fresh brussels sprouts and half a bunch of broccoli rabe (rapini), still in excellent shape.  I quickly sauteed these in coconut oil and garlic and then topped the warm veggies with almost a whole avocado (bits of it weren't as good as the rest so I removed them) and some fresh chimichurri that I made the other day (parsley, cilantro, purple onion, garlic, vinegar, lemon, olive oil).  This was SOOOO good.  Never enough greens, people.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Even Better The Next Day

We've been enjoying more vegan and vegetarian meals per week in our household -- even for the omnivore, who's now outnumbered.  Though not gluten-free, this delicious one-pot meal made good use of spring vegetables.  First, four cloves of garlic and a package of white mushrooms, both sliced, were sauteed in coconut oil and olive oil.  Whole grape tomatoes were then added and all was cooked at medium-high heat until the tomatoes' skins split.  Sliced brussels sprouts and asparagus were then added, along with a tiny pinch of salt, a shake of tamari and a couple shakes of cumin.  Then a scant 1/4 cup of good tomato sauce and cooked pasta were stirred into the mix and the pan was taken off the burner and covered.  The green veggies cooked perfectly in the remaining steam.

This was so easy and enjoyed by all.  The vegetarian and omnivore added parmesan cheese to their bowls and I added capers.  After sitting overnight, the noodles had soaked up the goodness, making the whole thing even better.  

Monday, March 6, 2017

Beautiful Bowl

I love a big, beautiful bowl of vegan food!  This usually means various leftovers from meals past, artfully combined, elevating each to a fresh new level.

Arugula (rocket) is the star of my bowls of late, and I've really been enjoying jasmine rice too.  I know there are healthier versions of rice, but the subtle flavor of the jasmine is on the tip of my tastebuds recently.

I did a terrible job of making oven frites the other night -- I'd not properly pre-heated the pan before laying the spuds upon it.  The fries got stuck and cooked unevenly and finally fell apart.  Cold, from the crisper, the leftovers of that debacle shine as they hadn't before, when added to this veggie bowl.  Crispy and herby, they are much better than croutons.  The grape tomatoes are tangy and better than we usually find this time of year.  They perfectly offset the richness of the olive oiled frites.  Delish~

Monday, February 27, 2017

"This is Her Broccoli Face"

--That's what my daughter said as she shared this photo she took of Ellie, our veggie-loving dog.  This little old sophisticated lady instantly morphs into an eager pup when she hears the crisper opening.  Then, she's under foot, with that big smile, batting those lashes, until I toss a chunk her way and she leaps to catch it out of thin air.  Broccoli, kale, celery, romaine . . . as long as it's green, she's all in.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Nurturer

I love it when our sweet, vegetarian daughter comes home from college for a visit.  She insisted on making us dinner and then we sat and listened to music with her.  She's always been this way -- an intuitive caretaker.  She knows I don't eat dairy, so she only served cheese on the side, making this dish vegan.  She's becoming such a great little veggie chef, experimenting with subtleties of flavor.  This Italian vegetable melange was delicious, and it was great not to have to think about what to make for dinner, but I best loved the chance to watch her in her element, and to have time to learn about what matters most to her.  She's a pretty amazing person.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Edible Flowers

This pretty salad has already been featured on A Midlife Vegan+, but it's worthy of another look.  In our neck of the woods, Spring seems to be coming early, putting me in the mood for fresher fare.  Edible flowers, such as pansies, roses and nasturtiums, are beautiful and delicious in salads, imparting a peppery tang.  It's imperative that the flowers are organically grown, since we don't want bug spray in our salads.  I grew these beauties myself from seed.  They were lovely on a pile of watercress and avocado.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


This is not gluten free, but this delicious plateful is an example of how we can eat delicious, vegan food without a plan.  I sauteed 3 chopped garlic cloves in olive oil and then tossed boiled gnocchi, a drained jar of pimientos and a couple of forkfuls of capers into it.  This took 5 minutes and I didn't have to go shopping.  Stock your cupboards! (I had a giant green salad on the side) 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

It Might Be Time to Plant This Potato

I've never been one to shy away from eating a tuber with a few eyes sprouting.  I've just rubbed them off in the wash and prepared the potato as usual.  In this case, when I neglected the root bin and found these lovely sprouts, the process had gone too far.  Not only has this plant now likely sapped much of the flavor and nutrition of its benefactor, I just don't have the heart to kill this willful, spunky little thing.  I'm debating now whether to keep it inside and give it some water for a while while it warms up outside (it's had no water thus far) or put it right into the ground. Hmm.  I'll keep you posted. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What I Did with a Rutabaga

Have you cooked one of these?  With its beaten-up, thickly waxed peel, it was a bit daunting.  The thing was the size of a small pumpkin.  As I was pronouncing it out loud in the supermarket, the produce department employee chimed in, "They are very popular!"  Hmmm -- wish I'd asked him to elaborate.

I decided to put it in a lovely stew.  Based loosely on a recipe I found in a Martha Stewart cookbook, I added my own spin based on what I had on hand.  Utilizing spices common in Morroccan cooking, I researched "harissa" and invented one of my own, using dried chipotle chiles instead of the sharper, hotter varieties.  I also mashed garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway and dried mint.  I didn't have the saffron the recipe called for, so I subbed a little smoked paprika.  Carrots, a parsnip, and lots of sauteed shallots rounded out the vegetables, and I decided to add a couple of bay leaves and also a couple of star anise pods because I knew they would complement the warm spices.  Finally, I decided to use a little cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  The recipe suggested serving the stew over the larger Israeli couscous, but I couldn't find it so orzo worked just fine.  Fresh cilantro on top was perfect.  Delicious!

Garden Inspiration

Our weather has been so mild this winter, but not warm enough to garden.  Still, finding this pretty photo of a 2011 harvest is inspiring.  I'm looking forward to planning.

Monday, January 30, 2017

A New Paint Color?

The hue of my wonderful juice this morning reminds me of a recent "color of the year" shade.  I'll call this one celery-broccoli-lemon.  It tasted as good as it looks!

Monday, January 23, 2017

From My Vegetarian Daughter!

I started my vegan journey, and this blog, in 2010, when my daughter was only 12!  My diet has changed a bit since then, and I've settled back to a mostly vegan diet again -- in my comfort zone!

In the meantime, my amazing daughter is on the Dean's List in her freshman year of college, and she's been vegetarian for almost two years now. She was home this weekend and was glad I already had everything she needed for this lovely curry, which happens to be vegan.  I love watching her learn how to cook, tasting as she goes, developing her preferences.  I also love tasting her creations!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Ellie Loves Veggies!

Here's a great action shot of my veggie-loving pup, Ellie.  She's so proud of herself as she catches a piece of celery.  Whenever I'm cooking and she hears me going into the crisper for something green, she comes running.