Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Low(er) Carb Vegan

When I think of a low carb diet, the Atkins diet is the first thing that comes to mind.  This idea generally fills my head with pictures of beef, cheese and other fatty and fiberless things.  But truthfully, no low carb diet is intended to be a meat filled fat fest.  Lower carb diets, like Atkins and The South Beach diets, are both done in phases, first cutting out most carbohydrates, and gradually adding whole food carbs (carbohydrates from nuts, beans, fruits, grains and other starches) back into the diet regimen.  

In the past decade I have had loose stints with these diets, in both omni and lacto-ovo veg capacities, however a vegan interpretation never seemed feasible.  I refer to these experiences as "loose stints" as they have been unstructured spurts of low carb eating, mainly centering around coffee, diet soda, vodka, animal products, and lettuce.  These sporadic weeks have helped me to trim down (and dehydrate) quickly (BAD), and also help to break my sneaky addiction to sugar (GOOD).  

My freedom from sugar, and gravitation towards whole grains, helped me to cultivate very good eating habits and a variegated diet.  For the most part I ate clean, whole, low fat omni foods.  Well, until I tried veganism, that is...

Peanut Butter filled Donut "hole" muffins, with Bac'un Bits, Maple Syrup and Maple Sugar

Vanilla Cupcakes and Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (VCTOTW) with Captain Crunch and Courvoisier

Pumpkin waffle and Chai Tea Latte with Boba from Freesoulcaffe

I have never cared much about baking but I had to make vegan cupcakes and muffins and breads and cakes and ice cream!!!  How else could I find out how veganism worked?! 

After about a year, I started to feel really Really REALLY crappy...and my Vag Mahal was, well...ANGRY.  I had started to gain weight, had undulating occurrences of Eczema, constant heartburn, and I think my hair started to thin as well.  


I also live in a fantasy world, and am convinced food with heal everything.  I knew I got heartburn often with sugary foods and that the Vag Mahal was happy with a low carb diet, so I started there and tried to eat alkalizing, low carb whole foods, and added more protein.  As I slimmed down, my Vag also calmed down.  But, of course dessert snuck back in and so did the heartburn.  


Long story short, here I am trying to find a balance for my body.  To me a vegan diet is about whole, plant based, common sense foods.  So the idea of a low sugar, non-processed diet is a given.  However, I have yet to let my interest in a healthy diet drive my eating habits.  Given my idea of what a vegan diet is, eating vegan is not necessarily convenient.  I often leave my food choices to be determined by my mood, stress or energy level, thus complicating my situation further.  


I need structure for now.  Here are the guidelines I would like to follow for the next month:

1. NO refined/white carbohydrates: White rice, flour, potatoes, or sugar
2. LESS carbohydrates overall: Very limited intake of whole grain bread products, other grains, starchy vegetables and legumes.
3.  LESS fruits and fruit juices.
4.  LESS fat from processed and heated oils.
5.  LESS caffeine: Replace daily coffee with tea, coffee allowed on occasion.
6.  LESS alcohol: Limit alcohol to special occasions only.  
7.  DRINK MORE WATER!!!  Water is life and I am convinced it will cure everything.  ;)

This list may not seem very specific or strict.  I need to start somewhere, and I am clear about what this means to me.  I am sure the specifics will become more evident with future posts.  

I am excited about what will come out of my low(er) carb intentions!  


Monday, October 3, 2011

Photo Carb Un-loading

Yay!  Yay!  Yay!  Welcome to my first (belated) MoFo post of 2011!

I have made a lot of food in the last year, but have kept all the pictures to myself.  In order to start this year's MoFo anew, I wanted to unload all my hoarded pics!  So grab a tissue and enjoy this stream of gratuitous, unadulterated food porn...

November 2010

Cheese plate: Cashew Cheese with Cherry Preserves, Almond Cheese, Cashew Goat Cheese

Baby Herb Salad with Apples, Roasted Beets, Roasted Butternut Squash, and Wheat Beer Vinaigrette

 Roasted Beets, Beet Greens, Orange and Avocado salad with citrus dressing.

Mini Harvey Wallbanger Cakes

December 2010

Coconut Tempeh from reFresh

Cucumber Sushi Cups

Chocolate Cake from VCTOTW, layered with Coconut Whipped Cream.  
(That's a horrible frost-drawing of Darth Vader...not Swamp Thing)

January 2011

Bread, Assorted Olives, and Spiced Almonds.

Red and Blue swirled Crimson Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (VCTOTW)

Buffalo Chicken Wrap from Red Velvet Cafe in Las Vegas

AMAZING Basil and Avocado Pasta from Red Velvet Cafe

February 2011

Seitan Steak marinated with Garlic Butter, Shojin

Baked Tofu with Pesto 

Dippers and Fondue Bath


Taco with Hominy, Veggie Dog, Avocado and Queso.

Tempeh Bacon Wrapped Veggie Dog with Saurkraut, Spicy Mustard and Queso.

Chard Frittata from Vegan Brunch, with Thymed Cauliflower with Pine Nuts.

Gluten Free Pancakes with Peanut Butter and Sugar Free syrup.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

There will be no vegan baked goods up in this MOFO!

So...yeah.  Vegan MoFo 2010 was somewhat of a bust for me.  But, hey!  I posted four whole times!  And there was a recipe.  With measurements!!!  Rest assured that for me, this is unprecedented excellence!  So, I should feel victorious and accomplished that my couch potato self did anything at all.  Sadly, I really felt only disappointment, regret, and shame for not upholding the MoFo commitment.  
I blame employment for my lack of blog posts and horrible self worth.   
Since I have somehow wrestled Netflix and new fall programming to the ground in order to get this post written, I have resolved that I can do anything (!) including posting during Mofo.  I am excited about the challenge of MoFoing without a camera (ah!) and carbs (so much easier than I thought!).  
Okay, without LOTS of carbs.  
That’s right!  There will be no vegan baked goods up in this MOFO!  So get ready for all the nuts and soy products you can get your little veggies on!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Yum-bundance: Snippets of Big Food.

I'm big.  Like, tall.  And nowhere near a waif.  NOWHERE.  And most of the time I like it, except for those times when I don't.  So, I like when other things are big:  the sky, Pee Wee's silverware at the beginning of Pee Wee's Big Adventure, horse sized dogs...I don't know what it is like to be dwarfed by much of anything, so I like to pretend when I can.

I recently bought a fancy camera for a trip to Canada.   While the super descriptive macro function has always delighted me, I did not know the joy it could truly bring me:  the ability to feel small ALL THE TIME.  I really do love, not only the ability to magnify detail to an almost grotesque level of clarity, but also how it forces perspective on the viewer and instantly miniaturizes them.  With my first macro shot, I totally felt like Rick Moranis, know what I'm sayin?  And I loved feeling small!  :D

Concord Grapeage.

Concord Spinach Smoothie.    
                                                                           Giant Zucchini of Death!!!


   Zucchini Bread.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins.




 Pumpkin Zucchini Bread.



 TIE fighter carrot cake sandwich.

                         Lentil Burger.

Dragon Roll.




Roasted beets and Turnips with avocado, butter lettuce and Citrus Cilantro Vinaigrette.

                                       Grape tomatoes. 

                       Tofurky Pepperoni Pizza.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My first recipe (Twofer!)

My first recipe!  That I actually wrote down!!!  KIND of!  WhaTEver!  I’m TOTALLY EXCITED!  
(Can you tell?!)
First off, I would like to commemorate this milestone by thanking all of my live-in partners for attempting to keep down all types of food, vegan and non, and for somehow tolerating fridges full of edibles, that usually went uneaten :(.  I would like to thank all my co-workers, friends and my family for thinking that following a recipe makes you a baking phenom.  I will also include a shout out to the Food Network, for being alive and feeding my food obsession wonderment with hours and hours (and hours) of barely applicable information.  For these things, I am truly grateful!  :D  
Despite the years that I have let my interest in cooking run my life, ne’er a recipe have I wrote (down).  This, I must say, has been quite a blow to my self esteem as I have only had grainy iPhone pictures to prove how delicious my creations have been.
“Look!  I made Garbanzo Bean Chili on Sweet Corn Cake last night!  It was so good!”
“Oo!  Can I have the recipe???”
“Oh, uh...I didn’t write it down...sorry.  :( “
“Oh,”  and often, “...liar...” as a long faced, furrow browed acquaintance turns and walks away.

 Garbanzo Bean Bad Pic.  I mean, Chili.
Garbanzo Bean Chili on Sweet Corn Cake!
...Or, more accurately, 
Garbanzo Bean Chili that goes on store-bought mix for El Torito Sweet Corn Cake*, or rice, or polenta, or cornbread...
1/2 15 oz can garbanzo beans
1/2 bag frozen corn
1/2 bag Boca crumbles (or other flavored protein bits)
1/4-1/2 medium onion
1-2 garlic cloves
2 TBL concentrated tomato paste
2 TBL olive oil
1 TBL chili powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1.5 tsp seasoned salt (I used Chef Prudhommes Magic Seasoning)
1/2 tsp salt
large pinch of cinnamon
2 cups vegetable broth
1.  Chop onion and garlic 
2.  Heat oil on medium high
3.  Add onion and garlic to oil and heat until fragrant
4.  Add chickpeas, boca crumbles
5.  Add tomato paste and stir to combine
6.  Add chili powder and smoked paprika and stir
7.  Add corn
8.  Add seasoned salt and cinnamon
9.  Add vegetable broth and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
10.  Add salt to taste.
Serve the hell you want.
*I made this vegan, by not adding creamed corn.  Duh.  Although, creamed corn is very tasty, as I recall.

Debate may surface surrounding whether or not this is a true recipe.  I can neither confirm or deny the absolute value of recipeness in the ingredients and procedure above, due to the uncertainty associated with how often the cook may need to stir, and the extreme iteration of the word “Add.”

(Also barely a recipe, but I wrote the sucker down!!!)
Easy Cheapo Vegan S-bucks Peppermint Mocha*
1 package iced Starbucks Via
Vitasoy Peppermint Chocolate soymilk, chilled (YEEEEES!)
  1. In a 16oz cup, mix packet of Via with just enough water to dissolve most of it.  (I use hot water because it dissolves faster and I’m addicted to caffeine.  Don’t judge!)
  2. Add 4-5 ice cubes.
  3. Fill cup with Peppermint Chocolate soymilk (YEEEEES!)
*Contains no actual food, whole or otherwise.  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The one thing The Indigo Girls, Cartman, and Elvis have in common.

'Cause if there's one thing she don't need
It's another hungry mouth to feed  
In the ghettooooooo  
(in the ghettoooooooo)!  

Personally, I can no longer think of this song without singing a horribly awful Cartman voice. But really, after hearing Cartman sing it, how can you not???

I have a great affinity for this song.  Not only did I first hear it as a collaboration by the Indigo Girls and various other Lillith Fair greats, but I have also lived, that's the ghetto (in the ghetto).  However, when I was a kid I never thought that my fam was slummin' it.  Well, at least not until I ate over at a friend's house.  They had all the foods I wasn't allowed to have.  Fruit snacks, Coco Puffs and WHITE BREAD (!!!), brand name and sugar filled foods.  I felt like I fell into a Candyland board every time I visited one of their homes.  To this day, I think of a PB&J on white bread as a treat.  (Wtf?)

The 80's seemed to be overflowing with crazy kids foods.  Fruit Roll-ups, Squeez-its, Jell-o Pudding Pops and various other  hyphenated foods exploded out in front of me no matter how hard my mother tried to feed me granola and turkey burgers.  It's all I ever thought about.  How could a kid possibly resist all those cartoon characters and  bright packages?!  I surely couldn't and I threw fit after fit, when I had to eat oatmeal instead of Cookie Crisp.

My mother did a very good job of keeping those out of the house, and I actually liked a LOT of the food she made.  Of course the blue box mac and cheese was my favorite, and even better with tuna mixed in.  Other favorites included hamburger helper, weenie wraps, hamburger patties and mashed potatoes with brown gravy, and last, but certainly not least there was Shit on a Shingle.  As I've gotten older, I have come to understand that there are many variations of Shit, but ours certainly freaks me out the most, and how it came to be surely has to be of the ghettoist proportions...Ours was basically creamed peas and tuna on toast.  A brown and grey mound cut by bright (if we were lucky) green peas, which without fail, always made me think of boogers.  ALWAYS.  And while this combination sounds increasingly horrible to me as I age, I can still remember how good it was.

The invent of the internet and my love of cooking has helped to make all kinds of food accessible to me.  As a result, I don't often just throw anything together anymore, nor do I try to keep a budget for food, thereby eliminating creations that might seem "ghetto."    I plan, I buy, I eat and often times throw away! :( I am rarely lacking in food for random combining.  However, as of late I have managed to dredge up a couple not-as-processed dishes that certainly fit my ghetto bill!


This casserole features veggie dogs, garbanzo beans, wild rice, corn, and PEAS.  And of course I needed something creamy (duh!).  The sauce on this is my version of vegan Chik-fil-A sauce: ketchup, vegannaise, agave nectar, and possibly a bit of mustard.  YUM!!!  

Creamy stuff+rice+beans+hot dogs+mixed vegetables= In the ghetoooooooooo!

Cheezy beer chili mac.

Not only does this dish look absolutely lackluster, but it was also DEELICIOUS.  Pasta can really do no wrong in my eyes.  Not even angel hair that has been cooking for 20 minutes.  Seriously.  I've actually eaten this grey glob of carbs.  Fer rills.  Anywho, I wish I had written down what the hell was in this!  I am oh so horrible at keeping track of recipes.  But I do have some idea of the list of ingredients:

Better than Boullion (I think)...or maybe soy sauce...?
Nutritional yeast
Tofutti cream cheese
Sam Adams Oktoberfest

Sauteed onion, added broth goop, some water, and nooch.  Added tempeh.  Heated through.  Then, stirred in cream cheese, then beer to taste.  Cheezybeerycalorie-ey really could get no better.

Fake cheese+protein grounds+broth goop+beer+noodles= In the ghettoooooooooooo!

These were fun to throw together, and surprisingly tasty, but in the end I gotta give it up to my mom.  I had my fill of McDonald's as a child, but she made pretty good decisions for my food overall, and I'm sure I'd be wholly unhealthy if she hadn't.  Good job, mom.  Way to feed kids on a budget.  Oh, and I still eat oatmeal instead of Cookie Crisp.  :D

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's here! It's here!

I am so excited!  I spent an entire YEAR trolling veggied out MoFo posts before I knew what Vegan MoFo even was.  (Hey!  It was when I was new, okay?!) But I am very excited to finally take part in the great vegtastic challenge known as the Vegan Month of Food!


VegNews Mac and Cheese with rapini, and Roasted Beet Sautee.