Back on Track, I Hope!

April 22, 2015

Life would be so much easier if I didn’t love food.

But I do. And within my vegan and gluten-free restrictions, I love it all–sweet, salty, spicy. I love to cook, and then I love to enjoy what I made. I love to try new things from the store. I love to go to the local vegan bakery and to eat out at restaurants.

The problem is that I am not so much a fan of exercise, so I need to have some pretty strict controls in place to keep from overdoing. And that control is hard to maintain.

In November 2013, my diet kind of went off the rails, and it stayed there until a month or so ago. I put on some weight–not a lot in the grand scheme, but enough that some of my clothes stopped fitting and others were approaching that point. I just couldn’t get my act back together. I also noticed that I lapsed in my posts here, partly, no doubt, because I felt I had little good to say about myself.

But last month I decided I had had about enough, so I recommitted to eating well. I bought a VivoFit, and I wear it constantly. I have it synched with a food tracking app, so I can earn foody treats by moving more. I started to going to Zumba again. So far, my knees are holding out, and it is paying off. Slowly, but I am making progress.

As long as I pay attention and diligently track what I eat, the pounds are coming off. I am doing better about not buying lots of extras at the store. Weekends are still tough, but I am working on that. I have discovered that a routine is key–and limiting temptation.

Of course, the other members of my family also love food, and it is a challenge to make them understand that we can’t have cupboards loaded with treats. Mainly because I work mostly from home, and, if it is here, I will eat it. Do I lack willpower? You betcha. But, on the other hand, not buying lots of snacks is good for everyone in the long run, and it gives us extra cash for other things, like books or yarn. 🙂

To be continued!


Food for Spring!

April 2, 2013

Between my husband’s spring break and a house full of sick people–myself included–the past couple of weeks have been crazy. As much as I can procrastinate and be scatter-brained, I hate it when my routine gets thrown off! Plus, both these events throw wrenches in my eating. Having my husband home invites more creativity in lunching and snacking, but I guess being sick was the counterpoint to that–I had no appetite at all! So, let’s see if I can get caught up.

I did plan for a normal food week during Spring Break and cooked on Sunday like I always do. I’ve been thinking ahead to Spring, which is now here, but we had snow at the time, so I was doubtful, and green foods have been making their way onto the menu. So on the tenth I made Caldo Verde from Appetite for Reduction, a potato based soup with chard and tempeh. It was really good and made quite a few servings. I have discovered that I like most leafy greens, especially when they are sauteed and crispy. Kale is my favorite, but this recipe called for chard, and it is good too!

Caldo Verde

Caldo Verde

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I made Edamame Pesto recipe from AR to go with some pasta instead of my usual soup. Actually, I intended to make Cauliflower Pesto Soup as well, but the basil didn’t keep as well as I hoped, and I only had enough for one recipe. The pesto turned out a really pretty bright green–hopefully a color I will see out in nature soon! I left it thick–mixes in nicely with the rice/veggies/pasta that way.

Edamame Pesto

Edamame Pesto

I think I am close to running out of new muffin recipes in Cupcakes and Sweet Treats for Everyone!, but I’m not there yet! Two weeks ago I made Apricot Ginger Muffins, and this week it was Cinnamon Raisin. Yum and yum. I also made the Irish Soda Bread recipe in Gluten-Free and Vegan Bread, using currants instead of raisins. I was a bit suspicious because the dough was really dense, but it tasted great out of the oven.

Apricot Ginger Muffins

Apricot Ginger Muffins

photo-4 (2)

Cinnamon Raisin Muffins

This week, I finally felt like getting back in the kitchen, so I made up some Tofu Scramble from Vegan Brunch, tossing in olives and serving some roasted asparagus on the side. It disappeared so quickly, I didn’t get a picture! I also made the Multi-Grain Baguette recipe from Gluten-Free and Vegan Bread. One loaf made it into the freezer and the other into our stomachs!

On a final note, I finally reached my goal weight! Being sick and having no appetite helped, but now I am determined to stay here. I am certain changing how I was eating did a lot to help.

Well, since a break from Indian food was requested, I had to go looking for new recipes. I had been wanting to make the Tortilla Soup in Appetite for Reduction, so I decided to give it a go. And it came out delicious! I had two bowls of it at the initial serving. Unfortunately, my daughter wouldn’t eat it–she was on an “I don’t like tomatoes” kick, which is totally not true. My husband ate it, but I think it was out of solidarity more than anything else. We’ll see if he asks for leftovers at any point. If I haven’t eaten it all first!

Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup

For baked tofu, I found a recipe for Broiled and Blackened Tofu also in AfR. I did reduce the spice mix by half, which made it come out a little bland for me, but everyone else seems to like it. I had never used the broiler before, so that was something new. I tried not to blacken it too much, because my husband has an aversion to food that is charred–even when it is supposed to be. It took pretty close watching since I was new to the broiler, but I think the results were pretty good.

I had some leftover orange juice from a can of mandarin oranges, so I made Cranberry Orange Muffins this week for snacks. The canned oranges I buy are Natural Value, which is one of the few that actually packs in orange juice. Since we don’t normally buy oj, I save the juice in the can for baking. Better than sending it down the drain! Sadly, I just checked their website to put in a link, and it doesn’t look like they have mandarin oranges anymore. Bummer.

Cranberry Orange Muffins

Cranberry Orange Muffins

I didn’t make any Buffalo Tofu this week, but I did find a recipe for Buffalo Tempeh that I am excited to try!

It has now been about two months since I started my Clean Eating Experiment, and it has been going really well. The influx of junk food has been cut off at the store, which is the easiest way to make sure we eat well–the stuff just isn’t here. I always cooked on the weekends, but the expanded routine has become habit. By the end of the day Sunday, we are pretty much set for the week, which also helps take the pressure off. We’ve also been able to restructure our schedule somewhat to that all the errands get done on Saturday, leaving Sunday as a “home day,” which helps the cooking be less stressful.

So, this week I finally got to the 2nd Avenue Vegetable Korma recipe from Appetite for Reduction that I had bought the ingredients for the week prior. I did cut way back on the curry powder, and there were no complaints! My daughter even got excited when she saw some of her favorite veggies: cauliflower, carrots, and zucchini. Served over rice, it made a nice presentation.

I also did up a batch of Basic Baked Tofu and another round of Buffalo Tofu. We were out of Mom’s Marinara, so I made another batch of that before having pizza on Saturday.

We ran out of any type of packaged baked good, so I wanted to bake two things for the days my daughter needed an extra snack for an afterschool activity. So first I made Happy Trails Muffins, still from Cupcakes and Sweet Treats for Everyone!, but I mixed all the trail mix into the batter. Since I make mini muffins, I figured that would be easier than trying to sprinkle some on top. I was looking for something chocolate to make for the second snack, and found a recipe for Chocolate Bread. I made that but decided to make them as mini muffins as well for easier portioning.

I have to say I was hasty when I read the recipe, and I didn’t notice that the chips were supposed to be melted with some of the other ingredients until it was too late. So I tossed in the chips unmelted, and the muffins came out super rich and chocolatey. Of course, I’ve never made the recipe before, so I don’t know how it is supposed to be, but I would make it this way again.

Chocolate Muffins and Happy Trails Muffins

Chocolate and Happy Trails Mini Muffins

Why Weekends are Tough

February 11, 2013

As dedicated as I am to eating well during the week, weekends still continue to be a challenge. Partly because of the change in routine. While we are out doing errands, it is easy to be distracted by all the food choices out there. However, being vegan and gluten-free does enable me to resist most of them. But this weekend we stopped at the vegan bakery in town, Xs to Os, and that is never good for my diet! She has a shelf of gluten-free goodies, and I have a tendency to over-indulge when I am in there. Luckily, I don’t stop there every day!

Having one unrestrained day a week isn’t terrible, however, and I am usually able to bounce back. Last week, I neither gained or lost weight, which, considering the Super Bowl and the extra snacks I made for that, is pretty good. Just need to get back on track this week!

Yesterday I got back to cooking, and I started with Mom’s Marinara from Appetite for Reduction. It is a great recipe even if you aren’t vegan. The batch of sauce lasted about a week, and it was nice to have fresh sauce whenever we wanted it.

I used some of the sauce to make Pepperoni Tofu, the key ingredient for Gluten-Free Vegan Pizza Wraps. I got the recipe in my e-mail, and it sounded amazing, so I had to make it. I got some red pepper hummus at the store, and I decided to forego the cheese. As usual, there was a lot of sauce for the tofu, so I made two blocks instead of one. I couldn’t wait to try it, so I grabbed one off the cookie sheet shortly after it came out of the oven. Yum! I haven’t made the wrap yet, but my daughter took a non-GF version, using a One Bun instead of a tortilla, for lunch today, and I made a version for my husband using rice.

Pepperoni Tofu

Pepperoni Tofu

For this week’s soup, I made Summer Lovin’ Curried Corn and Veggie Chowder, also from Appetite for Reduction. Isa Chandra Moskowitz, the author, suggests serving it over rice, and that is probably a good idea. The rest of the family found it too spicy as a soup, and the rice would probably cut that somewhat. I did use frozen corn, but that was what I had on hand!

Summer Lovin' Curried Corn and Veggie Chowder

Summer Lovin’ Curried Corn and Veggie Chowder

I do miss bread, but I have experimented here and there with making my own–most of the ones at the stores are not vegan. Yesterday I got the urge again and made the Petite Buckwheat Round from Gluten-Free and Vegan Bread. The buckwheat flavor was nice, and I resisted eating the whole loaf! The only thing better than bread, is bread right out of the oven!

Petite Buckwheat Round

Petite Buckwheat Round

My daughter’s snack this week is a batch of Muffin Man Gingerbread Muffins from Enjoy Life’s Cupcakes and Sweet Treats for Everyone! I have to make treats for her Valentine’s Day party at school, but I am putting that off until Wednesday, so I am less tempted to sample!

Muffin Man Gingerbread Muffins

Muffin Man Gingerbread Muffins

February Blues

February 7, 2013

Or should I say purples! Purple food has been a bit of a theme this week. I made some blueberry mini muffins on Sunday for snacks this week–only I tripled the amount of blueberries the recipe called for–1/3 cup was not enough!

Then, last night, I made the Peruvian Purple Potato Soup recipe from Appetite for Reduction–and it did come out purple! I substituted half a can of chopped green chilies for the jalapenos and parsley for the cilantro. If you can get past the color, it is really tasty. I tossed in some baby kale when I had mine, which added a nice contrast!

Since my daughter just finished a project on Francisco Pizarro, who conquered Peru for Spain way back when, she wanted to rename the soup Pizarro’s Peruvian Purple Potato Soup, which make it an alliterative mouthful. But if that gets her to eat it…..

Blueberry Mini Muffins

Blueberry Mini Muffins


(Pizarro’s) Peruvian Purple Potato Soup

Since the muffins are pretty much the same recipe I have used for the other muffins I have been making, I am guessing they will be 3 points each as well. The soup, based on six servings, comes in at 3-4 points per serving–WW’s recipe builder said 3, using the nutritional info in the book said 4.

Back on Track!

February 5, 2013

Well, I am officially blaming the presidential inauguration, and my daughter’s party in honor of it,  for my weight gain two weeks about. Last week I was back on my plan, and I not only lost what I put on, but another pound as well. Yippee! However, I don’t know what this week will bring, what with some relaxing of the dining rules because of the Super Bowl. But I know that, whatever happens, as long as I rededicate myself going forward, I should be OK.

Actually, we didn’t go too overboard with football inspired snacking. I did make some chocolate ice cream on Saturday, and that has been the biggest culprit. But I had a week of lunches to prepare for, so it couldn’t be all treats!

Still working through Appetite for Reduction, I went back to the Masala Tofu recipe since that was such a hit. We were out of bottled pasta sauce, so I tried the recipe for Mom’s Marinara. It was easy since it called for canned tomatoes, and it came out quite good. Since I imagine canned tomatoes are less expensive than bottled sauce, that will also help my grocery budget! I also made the Black Eyed Pea and Tempeh Beanballs, and they were also delicious. I would just leave them in the oven a bit longer next time, and I would like them a little browner.

At the end of last week, I made a box of Lundberg Farms Roasted Brown Rice Couscous, so that has been the starch this week. I made a microwaveable dish for my husband yesterday with the beanballs, marinara, and couscous. He still eats limited dairy, so I sprinkled some cheese on top. He has lost over six pounds so far with our revised eating plan! The rice couscous is quite good, you just need to follow the directions exactly.

Rice Couscous, Marinara, and Tempeh Beanballs

Rice Couscous, Marinara, and Tempeh Beanballs

For those interested in the Weight Watchers points, the couscous has 5 per cup, and, according to the nutritional data included with the recipe, three beanballs are 4 points. The recipe is supposed to make 20, so that is what it is based on.

Kim Harrison

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