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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sweets!!

Ummm, natural sweets, for the most part. This low sugar thing is really hard.
When I was at Dual buying Indian spices, I also picked up some maca, SO while this LOOKS like an innocuous lumpy oatmeal breakfast, it was ACTUALLY revving up my sexual prowess!! Or maybe just giving me some vitamins and energy or something. Maca tastes sweet and slightly caramelly. These overnight oats also had two dates and some vanilla in there, so this was pretty good.


Bought 5 mangos on sale for 69 cents each, and then kinda forgot about them, so I've been trying eating them a lot recently.


This Rawpothecary Sun Coffee was also on sale, so I picked one up. Pretty refreshing. They make a lot of interesting drinks but they are so expensive that I can't really buy them. I may just study the ingredients and attempt my own.


Rest assured, the carrot cake is being eaten.


One more test recipe for Jess's cookbook, Greens 24/7 - spinach pancakes! These were so easy to make and are really delicious. Froze a bunch to heat up in the oven for a quick breakfast.

I ate these ones with maple syrup, but there is banana in the batter so they are just slightly sweet enough to not need much else on them.
I also whipped up a batch of raw chocolate truffles to eat as a quick snack:

I used this recipe as a guideline. I also added maca and protein powder.
Trying to pace myself...
Happy Spring in New York City:

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter This Year

Happy Easter to anyone who celebrates.This year my family and I didn't do much - there were a series of plans that fell through, along with a bunch of exhausted and/or reclusive people and me being depressed. I ended up going to my folks' house, where it was just the three of us (and the cats) on a beautiful Spring day.

When I got there, my mom had started the grill in the yard and a scallion marinade for mushrooms from Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (which I had bought her a couple years ago for Christmas.)

              I cooked the quinoa with peas, and my dad watched the asparagus (also grilled.)


                   The centerpiece with chocolate chickens and Ukrainian ikon wrapped eggs.

I made dessert but forgot to bring it! Or, rather, it was still cooling and I was in a rush and since I'd be biking home later, didn't think I could tote the cake safely back and forth so I opted not to bring it. But I made a carrot cake, using this roasted walnut oil from Trader Joe's that my mom bought me for Christmas.


A slice of carrot cake I ate alone when I got home. Vegan cream cheese frosting. The cake recipe was from Nava Atlas's Vegan Holiday Kitchen (carrot cupcakes baked in a cake pan.) The cake itself is sweetened only with maple syrup and applesauce, which is a nicely delicate flavoring; the frosting uses refined sugar, though.

While I was with the folks, we ate fresh strawberries and this marzipan I bought at Economy Candy. Obviously the marzipan is NOT in keeping with my restricted sugar diet since it is bascially entirely sugar, plus food coloring, but hey, it's a holiday. I used to love marzipan and I think the shapes are so pretty.


Then we went for a walk around the neighborhood. We came back and I played with the cats for a bit.
                                                  This one is Cicero; he never stays still.

                                        Seneca I caught mid cat-nap, so he was a bit calmer.

Not to have Haxan feel left out, here she is snorting some asparagus. She doesn't eat it - she knocks it out of my hand and chases it around the apartment, but my mom says that Cicero ate an entire plate of her asparagus!
That's all for now. See you later.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Indian Food in the Lunchbox

On Sunday I met up with Pam and Ed (of Thanksgiving last fame, among other mentions) to go see The Lunchbox, a sweet movie about two strangers connected through Mumbai's lunchbox delivery service.


Beyond being entertaining, the movie made me very hungry (AND I loved their metal compartmentalized lunchboxes!) I had made the mistake of only eating two pieces of fruit all morning before the movie. I was right there with Sajaan, who could barely wait until lunch time to open his box to smell the meal. Ever since then my mind can't focus without slipping back into the NEED to eat Indian food.
So:

Zucchini Masala with black-eyed peas. It's exactly the same recipe as Bhindi Masala from Isa Does It (a very traditional Indian cookbook, if you haven't heard of it...) but subbing zucchini for okra because I couldn't find okra.


Served over brown rice with cilantro.
and a side of Barbati Sabji, spicy green beans from Vegan Richa. Topped with coconut flakes. I also bought a bunch of other fun spices for the recipe, including stinky hing:


What the hell else do I do with the rest of the bag?
The meal was enjoyed while listening to old Bollywood movie soundtracks. If you ignore the leers in the video, this song is great. And would that I could dance like that.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Eat Pretty (and be kind to others)

So. That inspiring book:


Eat Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out by Jolene Hart.
It's no coincidence that this book dropped onto the shelves now and caught my eye, since one of the chapters begins, "If you're reading Eat Pretty for the first time, it may feel like your own personal spring; it's your moment of reinvention." Even though we usually make resolutions for the new year, it feel more natural to really work on them when the days are longer, the sunlight makes us feel more positive, and we want to take part in the rebirth that the Earth is experiencing too.
Eat Pretty is a three-part book: 1 explainins Hart's philosophy on beauty ("healthy vanity" is a really interesting concept she introduces,) 2 is a seasonal breakdown of foods available at what time and what they do for our bodies (with recipes,) and 3 is other ways to take care of yr body beyond feeding it well. The healthy vanity idea really made me do a double-take.
As someone who identifies as a feminist and a punk (among many other things) there have been numerous times in my life when I've made unhealthy, and even deliberately destructive choices to prove that I didn't care what anyone thought about me, or how I looked, or how I lived my life. To come across the idea that being "vain," something most children are taught is a vice or that old school feminists have declared irresponsible or not serious enough, can be a positive choice was enlightening and a bit of a relief. I suppose I knew that already, but it's nice to have reminders. Hart writes, "Our appearance shapes the way we feel about ourselves - and that reflects in our confidence, in our decision-making, in our overall joy, even in the way we treat others." We need to learn to love ourselves before it becomes second nature to be kind to others (including other animals!)
I appreciate that Hart isn't pushing beauty products on us, nor is she insisting on a standard of beauty, and I highly doubt that she secretly works for the asparagus lobby. ("Get 'em hooked, and good!")  She also definitely keeps it real:"There are no overnight miracles. If you expect to wake up with hair that has grown silky-smooth overnight after eating half of a butternut squash, you'll miss the point." Her idea is that everyone is already beautiful; we just need to treat our bodies the way they deserve. It sounds hokey, I guess, but it's true.
Anyway, Hart then goes on to list the top "Beauty Betrayers:" alcohol, caffeine, sugar, meat, processed foods, etc. Personally, my biggest indiscretion is my sweet tooth - followed by caffeine, I guess. I don't usually drink more than a cup of coffee a day, but I do drink a lot of tea as well.
How have I been trying to incorporate Hart's healthier suggestions?

Non-caffeinated teas. I still drink a cup of coffee in the morning for now, though! (As Gena says on Choosing Raw, "add first; subtract later.") Yogi and Traditional Medicinal teas are always favorites. A lot of these I had already, but I've stocked up on nettle leaf and roasted dandelion root teas. Nettle is good for allergies, roasted dandelion root is a liver detoxifyer, ginger tea helps with digestion and inflammation, peppermint relieves stress. At the bottom is a laxative tea, which I use mostly during cleanses. Not shown are my caffeinated teas or raspberry leaf tea, which "supports the female system" aka helps with menstrual cramping and regulates one's periods.

Nettle leaf tea infusion. I left this out on the fire escape overnight for the blood moon lunar eclipse! Drank it today with some lemon juice and stevia. It was really delicious and refreshing. Surprisingly so.

Brazil nuts, which contain selenium (a necessary mineral - it maintains skin elasticity and protects against free radicals)

Coconut yogurt with goji berries, blackberries, oats, and walnuts. Antioxidants, selenium, zinc, healthy digestive bacteria...

This is one of the recipes in the Spring section of the book: Lemony Beauty Smoothie. It has watercress, lemon, and parsley in it, among other things. All very detoxifying. I never buy watercress! It lent a slight pepperyness to the smoothie, but it was light and creamy and slightly sweet too. Really good.


How to use up more watercress: in a salad with endive, lentils, onion, and olives.
I have also stopped eating sweets for the most part, besides plain dark chocolate, fruit, and dates.
There's one other Spring recipe from the book that I want to make. Hopefully I'll get to that soon, and hopefully I'll continue making the other recipes through their respective seasons, or at least incorporating more of the beautifying (and otherwise good for keepin yr body working well) ingredients into my diet. If nothing else, it'll make me expand my produce horizons.
This is not really a vegetarian cookbook: I think there are a couple fish recipes and some with eggs but it is primarily gluten-, dairy-, and meat-free. In any case, there's a ton of great information about the wonders of vegetables!
It's recommended for sure. In case that wasn't apparent.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Testing Teasers

I said I'd have a book review today for you but G borrowed my camera for a video game convention this weekend so I didn't make any recipes or get into the book as much as I'd have liked to. Soon, though.
Today, instead, I have a couple photos from a test cookbook in the works from Jess at Cupcakes and Kale! I love her pretty website and delicious recipes so I'm really excited for the cookbook itself to come out. Luckily for me the recipes so far have been mostly conducive to the healthier eating habits I'm trying to adopt:

Greens and Broccoli Quiche. Really good. I shared this with Greg for a return from the convention brunch. Apparently the food video gamers eat is abysmal. Who'da thunk? Oh, wait. (P.S. here is a comic he made for the convention.)

                                            Quick pickles - I made a gingery variation
And on the slightly more decadent side:
Cinnamon-Zucchini waffles. It's been a long time since I've made waffles (the iron was at G's - and we quickly remembered what a hassle it is to clean) so I was afraid these wouldn't turn out too well, but they came out well. Served with maple syrup and blackberries.
Can't wait for the next round of testing.
And since I wasn't able to take any photos of Haxan doing all the adorable things she did this weekend, here instead is a photo of a pin G got me at the convention. Bub!


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring Cleaning out my Insides

I've been more determined to eat healthier lately because the weather is warming and meals can be raw and sunshine or something yadda yadda but also because of an inspiring new book, which I'll get to in the next post. Til then:
Breakfast:


Lunch:
Sunflower seed pate from Kristen's Raw (no longer a raw, vegan website, but still with occasional vegan recipes) in endive leaves with tomatoes, bell pepper, carrots, and zucchini. Why do I not stuff endive leaves more often?

Dinner:
Kinda-raw miso soup: kale, carrot ribbons, zucchini noodles, onion, seaweed, and spices in warm miso broth.
Good stuff.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Breakfasts Lately

The most important AND often most delicious meal of the day:

                        banana on its last legs, GF toast with Earth Balance and apricot jam

Soaked overnight oats with coconut flakes, cacao nibs, and protein powder. Seems like I added a little too much liquid.

Vegan pineapple-coconut muffin from a cafe/sandwich place in the hood, Norma's. The flavor was nice but a little too greasy and airy for my tastes. Points for vegan baked goods, though.

Beet-berry smoothie with strawberries, kale, frozen banana, and protein powder added.
TTYL.