Saturday, February 15, 2014

5 course Valentine's Day Dinner for The Boyfriend.

The Boyfriend is not easy to buy gifts for, but he loves good food, so I made this meal for him for Valentine's Day.  Note, there is some meat in this meal.  I am still vegetarian and I do not eat meat, but I do cook it for him on occasion.   

First CoursePanzanella with Homemade Croutons, Roasted Tomato-Garlic-Shallot Vinaigrette, Bucheron Cheese, Fresh Basil, Lemon Zest and Pea Shoots.

Second CourseGrilled Ahi Tuna with Green Olive Tapanade over Dressed Baby Arugula.

Third CourseChipotle Orange Sweet Potato Soup with Candied Spicy Pumpkin Seeds, Maple Orange Greek Yogurt and Fresh Thyme.

Fourth CourseChianti-Tomato-Garlic Braised Beef, Spelt Berry Pilaf, Red Chard with Caramelized Garlic, Shallots, Candied Spicy Pumpkin Seeds, Cranberries and Feta.

Fifth Course: Super Dark Mocha Chocolate - Raspberry Ice Cream Cake with Kahula Ganache.

He enjoyed the meal and I love pleasing him.  Thank you Sweetie for being such a great boyfriend.  I love you so much and am so glad I know you.  You are such a good man. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Meatless Monday: 2 Point Winter Tabouli


I love tabouli so much.  In fact, bulgur is one of my comfort foods.  If you are shopping for bulgur, make sure to get the whole, cracked wheat, not the instant bulgur where all you have to do is pour boiling water over it.  I created this awesome salad the other day and wanted to share it with you.  It serves 3 and has two Weight Watcher Points.

The GREAT thing about this recipe, is that you can pretty much add whatever veggies you want. Broccoli, cabbage, collards, spinach, whatever!  It is one of my "clean out the fridge" creations. I also made a new and improved version of my Balsamic Flax Vinaigrette, which is a key flavor to this salad.

Winter Tabouli
  • 1 cup cooked bulgur
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Balsamic Flax Vinaigrette to taste

Balsamic Flax Dressing recipe:
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 Knoor vegetable bouillon cube 
  • 4 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 scoop  Kal stevia powder (1 packet)
  • 2 tbsp golden flax meal 
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
Method:
  1. Place salad ingredients in a mixing bowl. 
  2. For the dressing, dissolve the bouillon cube in boiling water, then add the rest of the ingredients. 
  3. Let it cool before using, so it will thicken up and the flavors will come together. 
  4. The dressings yields around 2 cups and contains 6 WW points for the whole batch. 
To address the issue of the Knoor Vegetable Cube, which I know many of you will feel compelled to comment on.  This is what I used to create the recipe.  I have no issues myself using it.  The taste of the recipe depends on the use of the bouillon.  If you have an issue with it, please, experiment with your favorite broth cubes, but I can't guarantee that it will taste good.  That being said, this Winter Tabouli was a GREAT addition to my breakfast of Curried Lentils, Turnips and Veggies. 

Awesome breakfast: 6 WW Point. 

Friday, February 07, 2014

2 Weeks on Weight Watchers: 10 lbs lost and Sugar Sensitive?


So, today was my second weigh in at Weight Watchers. (For the record, I am in no way, shape, or form, paid to endorse Weight Watchers.)

I have lost 10.2 lbs total; the bulk of it the first week. (8.6 lbs)

This week, I lost 1.6 lbs.  This week was harder.  The first week, I went to the gym 5 days and exercised an average of 45 minutes per day.  

This week, I did not go to the gym at all.  I will be going back.  I had a cold and then my mom came for a visit and my foot really hurt.  I feel SO MUCH BETTER when I exercise. 

The first week, I fell back into my "normal healthy" eating habits.  The most notable being a large, savory breakfast around 2 hours after I wake up.  When I say large, I mean large, but it's mostly veggies.  Either a HUGE salad with 1 cup beans or tofu or a huge curry with at least 4 cups of veggies and 1 cups of beans along with around 1/2 Tbsp of coconut oil.  I add a bunch of hot peppers or hot dried peppers and I feel GREAT!  It holds me for hours and gives me a ton of energy. Either that, or I make a soup out of beans, veggies, 1/2 tbsp fat and lots of hot peppers.

That is how I started most of my days last week.  Note, what you see in the pics may not represent the true portion I ate.  Usually it is MUCH larger.  I will start taking pics of the amount of food I eat. It's pretty staggering how many veggies I can pack away.


Tofu and Veggie curry 8 Points

Italian Veggie and White Bean Stew 6 Points

Vegan 'Cheesy" Cauliflower Soup 5 Points

Black Eyed Pea and Veggie Curry 6 Points

Thai Cauliflower Bisque with Tofu and Cremini Mushrooms 7 Points

All of these breakfasts gave me what I needed to make the day easy and almost effortless.

I just read a book called Potatoes Not Prozac that has really opened my eyes to my patterns with eating.  Now, I am not a huge sugar eater, but I LOVE bread, even whole wheat bread.  Good quality white bread is like CRACK to me; in fact, it is a huge reason I ballooned up to 300+ pounds TWICE in my life! 

I also have a lot of alcoholism in my family, which is a pre-curse biochemically to being sugar sensitive.  I strongly recommend this book to any of you who have trouble with your relationship with food.  It explains the SCIENCE behind things.  I've known that I have worked REALLY hard mentally on "issues" only to have things fall pear shaped (pun very much intended) fast when I stop eating the way I know makes me feel the best.

This week was a study in this.  I got cereal.  Whole grain, high fiber cereal and Greek yogurt.  I had several breakfasts: one with high fiber cereal, Greek yogurt, flax meal, and frozen, unsweetened fruit.  Calorie wise, it contained around the same amount; same with fiber and protein, yet within and hour, I felt like I wanted more and more food.

I also have never really felt satisfied with oatmeal, even steel cut or old fashioned oats.  I started to get shaky, hungry and just felt a HUGE need to eat more food all day long mentally and physically.  
I wondered if it was the wheat/grain element, so this morning, I had a great and super yummy breakfast of Greek yogurt (1 cup) 2 tbsp flax meal, stevia, cinnamon, 1/2 cup frozen cherries and 1/2 banana.  

Within and hour, my heart was racing and I felt shaky.  I felt this way over the holidays once when we were at The Boyfriend's grandparent's house and they served fruit and danish for breakfast.  

I am OK eating sweeter treats like this as a snack, or a smaller amount after a meal, but I don't think I can eat this first thing in the morning.  I guess this is why I've always been drawn to savory breakfasts... which for me, is usually leftovers.  Since I never ate eggs and obviously never ate any breakfast meat, things like this were what I would eat breakfastwise... and it never agreed with me.  Even when I was cooking in restaurants, I would not eat breakfast and rely on tastes of this or that savory food all day long instead of eating real meals. 

I'm glad to see the science behind why I feel this way.  I really encourage you to pick up a copy of Potatoes Not Prozac

This week, I have a new plan of action.  I will eat my savory breakfast.  1 cup beans and as many veggies as I want either cooked or raw, along with healthy fat: whole avocado, sesame seeds, peanut butter, coconut oil, olives, nuts, seeds. 

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Chipotle Egg Tacos : 7 Weight Watcher Points.


The Boyfriend works from home, so I make him breakfast most mornings.  I think if he had his way, he would eat Corned Beef Hash Benedict every morning!  He used to travel for work, and a Chef at his hotel used to make him that for breakfast and he raved about it.  

These simple breakfast tacos took around 5 minutes to make; or the time it took to cook the eggs.  We have a gas stove, so I toasted the tortillas over flames as I was "frying" the eggs.  They are your simple, over easy eggs, my Chipotle Sauce, Shredded Cabbage, 1 tbsp Feta cheese per taco, then topped with cilantro, raw onion and a little more Chipotle Sauce

Now, I'm not a fan of eggs unless it's The Boyfriend's Japanese Rice and Eggs, so I make my breakfast tacos with either Dry Fried Tofu, Beans, or my Mexi-Base.
I love being able to make fast meals for both of us, even if we don't use the same proteins.  I always have at least 1 cooked legume in the fridge, and more in the freezer, so I can create fast, healthy meals.

Savory breakfasts are definitely my thing.  If you are looking for something more traditional, my Breakfast Breads are great to have on hand, especially topped with some nut butter.  Peanut butter is my all time favorite. Natural, chunky, no sugar added.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

1 Point Vegan Strawberry Frozen Yogurt in your Food Processor!


Couldn't Be Simpler:
  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 frozen banana, chunked
  • 1/2 cup almond milk kefir (or soy kefir
  • stevia to taste
  • pinch salt

Process until soft serve consistency. Freeze for 1 minutes, then eat! 

The whole batch has 1 weight watcher point, but I am mindful of the fact it contains around 300 calories.