Sunday, July 25, 2010

How to Take a Bite Out of Crime (with your vagina)

This has been around for a while, but it's the first I'm hearing of it. It's an anti-rape device worn in a woman's vagina. It's inserted and removed by an applicator because it clamps down with sharp TEETH on anything inserted into the vagina. It can only be removed from the skin by surgery! Yikes. It was invented by a South American man who thought it was "high-time" someone helped a woman stop rape. Well, it doesn't exactly stop it from starting, but it stops it from continuing. My first thought was this sort of thing would really piss a guy off. One article suggested vindictive ex-girlfriends or wives might use it. If they are presently being raped by their significant others they have a legitimate reason. However, critics are worried it would cause more damage if the man is angry and hurts the woman more, something I think would happen, especially with spousal abuse in the form of rape. Wife beating and raping sometimes go hand in hand already. For someone in that position I would not want them to use this device. Other critics are angry that the responsibility to prevent rape is being put on the woman and suggests putting shock devices on men instead. I don't think McGruff had any of this in mind when he said his memorable slogan.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Eating Better

Another cleansing day. Even after putting my frozen green juice in the fridge before bed it was too frozen to drink this morning. I put it in a bowl of warm water, changing the water once and after a while it was good to go. While I waited I still had my one (small) cup of coffee. I drank the juice throughout the morning up to lunch along with hot green tea.
Lunch: Half a yellow pepper, hummus, salsa, organic blue corn tortilla chips. This is not raw, but pretty neutral as lunches go. Kids had the same thing minus the salsa.
Snack: Green tea, Half an apple; 3 pieces chocolate--I couldn't resist!
I'll probably be hungry again in a couple hours and it'll be getting close to dinner time then, so I plan on having a salad before dinner.
Dinner: Whole wheat pasta with nutritional yeast, roasted veggies--both from yesterday.

It's difficult to eat better, but I want to feel lighter and more energized like I have in the past. I'm also getting up earlier and earlier. I've been sleeping in all summer... embarrassingly late some days! So, I'll have more day to get through now, but that means more day to enjoy as well. I did some school planning, so I feel really good about at least ONE class. Ha!

Sad news: One of my favorite blogs, Green and Crunchy, is shutting down. Too bad.

On the other hand, Kris Carr has been very inspirational with her latest vlogs about alkaline diet, so I'm keeping that in mind as I choose my foods. I need to read more about it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Food Blog Summer 2010 Edition: Birthday Cake!

I have a few days of food blogging to show you.

First up, last week I made Pasta Florentine from The 30 Minute Vegan: I highly recommend that cookbook. This pasta dish is one of my favorites. I used Red Star Nutritional Yeast and rice milk for the cream sauce. The spinach was Wild Harvest organic frozen cut leaf spinach. The pasta was Eddies Spaghetti: Vegetable Bowties, also organic. S and I LOVE this dish. G, who can't digest egg or milk and who is the reason I started exploring vegan options years ago, doesn't care for it. Go figure.

As of yesterday I am one year older! My youngest G is also a new five year old. Five years ago she was born on my birthday. She was due Sept 13, but due to preeclampsia she was induced early and it just happened to be my birthday. It was a scary and exciting event and I was very sick and G was in the NICU hooked up to IVs for a month. Anyway, here is our birthday cake from last Saturday. The cake recipe is from Vegan Lunch Box, but the icing is a vegan cream cheese vanilla recipe I found online a couple years ago when searching for vegan carrot cake recipes. At this point I don't know where it came from, but it's a nice vanilla creamy icing with Tofutti Better Than Cream cheese as its base.

The girls watched me assemble the cake. They said it looked like a giant oreo before I put the icing on top. In fact, they gave me a good idea because next time I make this cake I'll turn it into an "oreo" cake. I'll actually use Newman's Os that are dairy and wheat free. Those things are awesome! G's teacher actually felt the need to mention to me that G had oreos in her lunch and don't those have milk? Ha! Thanks Newman! I'd crumble up the Os and put the crumbled mix in the middle and bigger pieces on top. That'd be so good!

As you can see, there are five candles so G was the only one blowing them out this year. I'm fine with that!

And here is the drink of choice at our party. Natty Bo, for short. When the girls first saw the big sign on what used to be the beer factory, they thought it was the Pringles man. Now they know better.

This pizza was not the best idea for my digestion, even though it WAS goats cheese on my pizza. But it made use of what we had in the house. These were our last three tortillas 2 days ago. The pizza in the back was for S, with kale, spinach and mozzarella. The pizza on the right was for G, also kale, spinach, but vegan rice cheese. My pizza had kale, spinach, sweet onion, feta and cheddar style goat's cheese. Maybe I could digest goats cheese alright if I didn't eat other processed foods like bread or regular cows cheese. It's so hard, but I know I need to give it up completely. We toasted these in the oven and got them all nice and melty. Yum.

Tuesday I decided to have a more cleansing day and started with a tall (though not as tall as my lucky bamboo) Green Lemonade as per Natalia Rose. It consisted of a head of lettuce, a bunch of kale, a head of celery, two lemons and one green apple. It was the perfect mix. G had two sippies full of this. She gets open cups except for green juice. It's a special treat for her.
This Lucky Bamboo plant used to have three stalks, but it's been through a lot and one didn't survive. I had it in my classroom at school. It got knocked over a couple times. Now I have it home and it's doing very well. Later on Tuesday I had a salad and for dinner Tortilla chips and Salsa and then a lettuce sandwich. I love bread and it's difficult not to eat it when it's in the house. Still, I felt much better after being raw much of the day.

Wednesday I had a grapefruit for breakfast, bean chili for lunch, a slice of rye bread and then went out to PF Changs for my actual birthday dinner. Not a bad day of eating, but today I felt bloated and needed to cleanse some more.

So, today I've started with a smoothie consisting of baby spinach, vanilla almond milk and frozen blueberries. It has a sort of turquoise color, though it only looks purple in the picture. Very pretty.

One of my goals this summer has been to end my addiction to coffee. Well, I haven't done that, but it's decreased greatly. I now only have one small cup in the morning, followed by water and then whatever I'm having for breakfast. This week it has NOT been toast, so that's been very good. It's been either fruit, juice, or smoothie. I think the more I have green juices the less I'll need coffee and if I can keep it up for the start of the school year I'll be in the clear. If not, I'll be back on the caffeine (and sugar!).

I'm rereading Natalia Rose's Detox 4 Women to stay motivated. I just need to DO IT!
7pm Update: I DID IT! I ate a cleansing diet today. After my smoothie I had a small salad. Then I went grocery shopping, came home and had another larger salad with a whole avacado. After I felt reenergized, I made a bunch of green juice and froze 11 Mason Jars of juice. I generally filled each one up halfway and added a little filtered water so they were a little more than 3/4 full. Hope that's enough that they don't explode! I juiced two heads of green lettuce, 7 lemons, a bunch of kale, two heads of celery and 5 golden delicious apples.
Then I cleaned the juicer and chopped up parsnips, sweet potatoes and organic carrots. I drizzled them with olive oil and added salt, pepper and rosemary from my mom's garden. I had put it in the fridge 11 days ago and it was still perfectly fresh! I roasted the vegetables for about an hour at 375 degrees. This cooked the sweet potatoes fully, but the parsnips and carrots were al dente. I ate the vegetables with leftover tofu and brocolli from PF Chang's yesterday and gave the girls whole wheat pasta with vegan butter and nutritional yeast to go with their veggies.
I'm going on a trip next week. I plan on taking the frozen juice with me. I hope I can keep up this diet!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Food Blog Summer 2010 Edition: Mung Bean Sprouts

I'd bought the bag of Mung Bean Sprouts spontaneously. It turned out no one really cared for them in this dish. The proportion wasn't right. Maybe if there'd been 1/3 the amount of mung beans so the kale would have the larger percentage it'd been better. G said "I don't like these noodle things."
In the Rice Wrappers the mixture was good. I baked them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. The girls were thrilled with their crispiness, but when it came to chowing down on them, G didn't live up to my expectations. She only ate 1/2. It may have been those noodle things, though.

It looks pretty. Onion, garlic, shredded carrot, kale, mung beans, salt, pepper, ginger, lemon juice. I toasted bread and ate it on top like an open face sandwich.
Maybe eating the bread last night wasn't such a good idea, because all I wanted for breakfast was toast! Ha! Oh well. One not so great eating day after a great one... all in balance.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Food Blog Plan and Successful Nourishing

My Plan: I have a plan for tonight that involves mung bean sprouts. I have four spring roll wrappers. Apparently, since the last time I made them I didn't fry them, they are summer rolls. Spring rolls are supposed to be fried to be crispy. That is how I like them, but I have read that they can be baked. That is what I'm going to try.

Mung Beans and Kale:
Saute garlic and onion in olive oil. Add shredded carrots and kale, lemon juice and grated ginger. Add fresh basil and mung bean sprouts.

I'll use what I need in the spring rolls. Brush them with olive oil and bake at 350 degrees until crispy. I'm guessing 5-10 minutes.

Then dinner will be a serving of the kale mixture and an egg roll. The girls love kale, so this should be pretty satisfying. I'm tempted to make brown rice, but G is the only one who really enjoys it. I can take it or leave it and S doesn't like it.

Successful Nourishing: During the school year my breakfast was usually a lot of coffee and a toast with vegan butter or natural organic toaster pastry. When school let out my consumption of coffee diminished, but my toast ration went up, way up. I was eating 2-4 toasts each morning. It was an addiction. I'm craving some right NOW! I've had a few mornings of smoothies or green juice, but not many. The number on the scale hasn't gone up, but my year of not exercising regularly and eating whatever I want (within a vegetarian diet) is catching up to me. I feel the difference in the way my pants fit and of course in my energy and stamina. My plan was to eat more raw foods this summer, which I have, but really, I'd like to be raw until dinner like I did a couple years ago. It was very cleansing and it really increased my energy. And it doesn't have to be 100% raw until dinner. Some crackers at lunch once or twice a week isn't a big deal as long as they accompany lots of raw veggies.

Anyway, I've been successful today in giving my body the nourishment it needs.
Breakfast: Green tea and a Smoothie with baby spinach, almond milk, frozen blueberries and frozen pineapple. YUM! It was soooo good.
Lunch: Big salad of organic romaine lettuce, sweet onion, orange peppers, cucumber, alfalfa sprouts and feta with organic Italian dressing.
Snack: Banana
It's 3pm. It helped that we were gone much of the day at the library and getting my hair cut, so I wasn't tempted to eat toast! Here's what the kids had:
Breakfast: Hemp Plus Granola Cereal with almond milk
Snack: 1/4 Cantaloupe each
Lunch: Organic whole grain tortilla chips, 1/2 avocado made into guacamole each, 3-4 slices orange pepper each. G had red pepper hummus in addition.
Snack: Vegan chocolate chip cookies I made the other day.

I'll post on the dinner tomorrow. Hope it turns out well. Tonight I'm going to see Eclipse. Yes, the Twilight Saga. I'm a fan. What?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

On living sans microwave

Google this: living without a microwave. There are many people doing it for many reasons. There are also many how-to sites. We are not alone. This could be a revolution! We've been living without a microwave since we moved to our new place two months ago. It was something we talked about when we lived in NC. I used the microwave to heat up leftovers and cold drinks that should be hot, but that was it. It wasn't daily. Then I used it even less at my parents where we lived for a year, but my mom used it to heat up leftovers for me. So, we still ate microwaved food occasionally. But, my not using it helped me rethink how I would heat food once we moved. I can't say that I would never use a microwave if one existed in my kitchen. You know how difficult it is to NOT eat the cookies when they're right there in the cupboard. But when the house is free of cookies, it's no problem. Sometimes I make cookies because I want to eat cookies, but that method won't work with a microwave. So, I do without. I reheat things on the stove, in skillets or sauce pans; I reheat things in the oven. It's really not a pain. I think ONE time I missed having a microwave because I slept in and the coffee was just a little too cool to enjoy, but I was too lazy to heat it on the stove or make a new pot so I did without.

My sister was over and said, "You guys need to get a microwave." Nope, I said, we're not. Ha! The look on her face: HUH? Really, we've decided we're not going to get a microwave. We'll just use the stove. Plus, cooking with gas is sooo nice. I've always had electric and gas is much faster. Plus, if we lose power I can still cook or reheat things in my normal fashion.

HUH? No microwave? How can you LIVE? :) Does anyone else go without a microwave, even if you have one in your kitchen?

Here's some interesting reading material on how microwaves work.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Forks Over Knives – The Official Movie Website

Forks Over Knives – The Official Movie Website
This looks very cool. I've enjoyed two other documentaries recently (Food Inc. and King Corn) and I look forward to seeing this one. Dr. Campbell of The China Study is in it. I have the China Study on hold at the library. I've been wanting to read it for a while.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Food Blog Summer 2010 Edition: Summer Rolls

One of my summer goals was to cook new dishes and just cook more often. I've been actively pursuing this goal. I've made Coconut Thai soup, Sweet Potato and Carrot soup, various pasta dishes using nutritional yeast for cheesy sauce, Tempura using panko bread crumbs, Coconut lime banana bread (too delicious to describe), chocolate chip cookies, pizza with sauteed peppers and onions and fresh kale... and more to come. Some things required more prep than others, such as the tempura, but it baked quickly. Most could be made in 30 minutes. The sweet potato soup and the banana bread took the longest just because the sweet potatoes and the bread had to bake for an hour. I've had failures, like burning the banana bread in my finicky oven and having to make a second one because I was set on having that bread! It was successful the second time. My next projects are blueberry muffins and sushi. I've made sushi before, so it's not new, but I've only done it 2 other times. The blueberry muffins are from the book Baby Cakes and are completely vegan. It's a beautiful cook book and I copied down a few of the simpler recipes while borrowing it from the library. Eventually I'll buy it so I can have all the recipes.
Today I conquered Spring Rolls. I've always loved spring rolls. I do prefer them fried and crispy, but I served these at room temperature without frying.
First I sauteed fresh garlic and sweet onion in olive oil. Then I added shredded carrots and kale I had hand torn into small pieces, discarding the stems. I added some dipping sauce I had used for tempura a few days ago (I didn't think to take any pictures of that meal, but it was awesome.) The sauce included Shoyu Sauce, Agave and Dijon mustard thinned with a little water. It's a light and sweet sauce. I sauteed it so the kale was wilted, but not completely cooked. I didn't want it to be too tough to eat, but I do not like my greens mushy. Here it is ready to go in the rice wrapper:
Here is my work space all ready to assemble. I sliced red pepper very thin and added 3-4 slices to each roll. The pie dish on the right had warm water to soften the rice sheets. Once softened, I laid them on the cutting board and added a scoop of the kale mixture, peppers and rolled.And here they are. The first one I did I softened it too much and it ripped while I rolled it. By the 4th I'd gotten the hang of it and figured out to soften it just enough. I had looked up pictures online to see how to roll them and it's very easy to do.I made a dipping sauce of Shoyu Sauce, Agave, water and fresh grated ginger. (Ginger tip: peel it, cut it into manageable pieces about 2-4 inches in length, wrap each piece individually in plastic wrap, place them in a baggie, and freeze. Then you can just take out a piece and grate what you need into your dish.) My girls loved it. And they loved the spring rolls. G lost a lot of kale along the way. She had a little mountain of kale on her plate and said she was making a salad. After 3, maybe even 4, rolls she got a spoon and spooned all of her kale into her sauce and ate it. S did the same thing, though hers was mostly onions and carrots and she didn't use her sauce. I had three and one-half (Will came home and tried it and it was not to his liking) and was quite satisfied. The only way these would be better is if they were crispy. I have 6 wrappers left and I'm going to look up a way to make them crispy. Maybe it's a matter of putting them in the skillet with olive oil. Maybe they can be baked. I don't know, but I can find out.
Along with this dinner I made ginger green tea. I just grated a little ginger into the teap pot, added agave and it was delightful.
Do not be afraid of Spring Rolls! I have a few recipes in my vegan cookbooks, but I didn't have the ingredients for any of them. So I used what I had and what my kids like and my kids like their KALE! (I really don't know how that happened, but I'm so glad it did. They had seriously been bugging me to make sauteed kale with garlic and onions. Crazy kiddos!)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thank you, Mom!

This documentary titled Formula Fed America looks very interesting. Thanks for giving me the best start, Mom.

Vegetable, Animal, Miracle

If the volcano erupts in Yellow Stone, or California falls into the ocean or society breaks down for some other reason, Barbara Kingsolver and her family might just be okay on their farm in southern VA. Barring physical attack, they will be safe and have enough to eat because they grow it themselves. Kingsolver's book chronicles "One Year in Food Life," meaning, they ate only local food for one year. There were a few exceptions to this rule: coffee, some spices, whole wheat flour. Otherwise if it didn't grow on their farm or a neighbor's farm, they didn't eat it. This meant they had to can and freeze their crops for the winter. They also raised poultry and then harvested it (i.e. slaughtered, de-feathered, gutted, washed and froze it--the way she wrote about it was amazing, seriously, you should read it for yourself). Their chickens gave them eggs enough to eat and sell, her youngest daughter's project. They made their own cheese from store bought milk (not sure if it was locally sourced, it may have been an exception).

At times I was a little annoyed with the "journalistic investigation" tangents and was more interested in the memoir portions, especially the farming. Do you know how asparagus grows and is harvested? Now I do and it's fascinating. I never thought I'd enjoy reading about a plant growing, but it's wonderful! Go find out for yourself.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Time Travelers Wife

Loved, loved, loved, loved, loved this book. I haven't watched the movie, yet, but saw a preview for it and, as expected, it distorts the real story in the book. For some reason I'll still watch it. Maybe it will surprise me.

The story is also reminiscent of The Memory Keepers Daughter.
Both are excellent summer reads which I could not put down. Beware, though, if you outright cry while reading, it will happen during both of these books. It's so worth it. I love a good book cry!