Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Keep On Keepin' On

Heeeeeey!  So the weekend was okay.  Mentioned in my last post that there were some recipes I wanted to try.  Dang, this herbivore stuff is pretty good with the right tools.  My favorite being my Happy Herbivore cookbooks.  I never thought I could be someone who could live without cheese and it's been almost three weeks now!!!  Say whaaat???  Here's a couple things I tried and they definitely did not disappoint!!  First up, Easy Mac & Cheese, or should I say "Cheese".  While this doesn't taste like cheese, it has all the important qualities of macaroni & cheese that are important.  Kind of salty, creamy, a little bit rich, and mixed with noodles, you can't go wrong.  I loved it and I actually made just the sauce tonight and put it on steamed broccoli.  With recipes like these, I can totally go without dairy cheese.  This recipe was from the Happy Herbivore cookbook which you can buy here.  I don't know what the rules are about posting actual recipes so I'm just not going to do it, unless she has the recipe on her website (she does have a lot) and in that case, I will link to it.  Also, if you are thinking about adding more veggie dishes and decreasing meat and dairy in your life, I highly recommend these books.  Previously, I found vegan/vegetarian recipes complicated with weird ingredients and just plain difficult.  These are simple simple simple.  I can't stress that enough.  Trust me when I say that if it wasn't, I am the first one who wouldn't be doing it.

I also tried the Cinnamon Bun Smoothie.  While it was really tasty, it didn't really taste like a cinnamon bun.  It tasted like banana and cinnamon. I'd make it again but would like to try it with less banana to really increase the cinnamon flavor and make the banana less strong. The next thing I tried was the Lasagna Rolls.  AMAZING!!  I actually fed these to my brother-in-law and he said "hey I guess you started eating cheese again eh?"  Umm, nope, you just INHALED tofu.  :)  He was so surprised, he had no idea it wasn't ricotta.  One thing about the recipe online and the recipe in the book is that the book instructs you to wrap the tofu block in a clean tea towel and put between two cutting boards and put a can of something on top to press out extra moisture for about 20 minutes.  After this it crumbled up perfectly and looking just like ricotta with seasonings.  See below! 8 oz of the lasagna noodles came out to 10 noodles but I really could have probably gone with 12 because I had enough stuffing leftover.  It's in the fridge and I plan to use it for a personal pizza tomorrow night.  

I will likely pick out a few more things to make this weekend too.  So happy that everything I've tried so far is a big winner.  Excited to make another batch of Lasagna Rolls to freeze for lunches too.  

On Saturday night, my sister from White Rock, BC messaged me and said she was about to start watching The Vow.  I hadn't seen it yet and it was on video on demand so I ordered it and we started it at the same time and text messaged our way through it.  Haha!  Hilarious and we will definitely be doing that again.  Good movie - better than I expected from what I'd heard from a few people.  Here's a little of how the movie night went . . . 

On Sunday afternoon, I went to the zoo with my sister, her husband, and the cutest baby in the world.  I came home with intense heat stroke, three pictures of animals, and 50 pictures of the cutest baby in the world.  Seriously, the heat stroke knocked me on my ass for about four hours.  My head pounding, my face pale, I was comatose.  I was supposed to be studying up some policies etc for a job interview I had on Monday but I couldn't open my eyes and read so I crammed Monday morning.  The only thing that looks like it might hold me back from the new job is seniority.  A few others applied that have more than me and unless my experience and qualifications blow them out of the water, that job won't be mine.  Fingers crossed!!!

And I will leave you with pictures of this Cutiepie Monkey in her natural habitat.


Oh wait!  I'm not done yet!  Survivor!!  Yes!!!  Although the season started off crappy and Colton was horrid, Kim played a wicked game and totally deserved to win.  What's crazy is that she managed to win and not have anyone actually hate her and she won the extra 100 grand awarded by viewers.  Now THAT is a flawless game.

When did it become necessary to bring something ridiculous in order to be memorable???  Glass slippers, bobbleheads, ostrich egg, dressed up as a Grandma, arriving in a helicopter???  Hey I know, just show up and be funny, smart, and cute!!  From now on I'm calling the mansion where the dudes stay "the toolbox", I think you know why.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


So today my sister sent me a text message that her husband got a job he applied for.  It's 1400 kms (869 miles) away.  If this had happened last year before they got knocked up and shotgun married, I wouldn't have really cared. Might have been a relief really because they create a whole lot of stress.  But it's happening now, now that they have this little monkey. I'm in love with her.  Right after the text message, she splashed it all over facebook in her oh-so-sensitive way and from the comments she has added, they are leaving in a month. The closest I'm ever getting to having a baby is her and she's leaving.  Excuse me while I stuff my face with half a Costo sized bag of Veggie Straws while simultaneously bawling.  Would someone please f*cking stop me?!  I've stopped now because I actually feel sick. The eating, not the crying.

I was supposed to start running this week but said sister, husband and baby were over for dinner Tuesday night and then I babysat so they could go run errands baby-free.  Wednesday, I had a haircut and a massage which I'm so glad I did, and today is just too hot (surprisingly) and now I'm sick-full of Veggie Straws.  Perhaps tomorrow.  I've decided that this should be my TRAINing plan . . . I am Vern in this video, now all I need now is someone to hell "RUN GAWDAMMIT RUN!"  Anyone up for the job?

Other than the blow I took today, the week has been going well.  I made the Pad Thai again.  So tasty and cheap!! The scale is moving in the right direction although the veggie straws might have something to say about that now.  I've somehow managed to avoid any sweets cravings.  I even walked by Werther's and mini peanut butter cups at work repeatedly and didn't want them.  It was weird because I almost had some because I thought I should want them.  How messed up is that?!  Ultimately, I bypassed them and still don't want them.

Now I must clean up my superbly messy place and distract myself for a while.  Also going to pick a few a recipes to try this weekend and make a list.  I'd like to try this Cinnamon Bun Smoothie and these Lasagna Rolls and this Sun-dried Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta.

Okay, pouring myself a big glass of wine now.  Told ya.

Monday, May 7, 2012

If it ain't broke...

Hellooooooo!  Well, to start, my weight last week was 216.6.  This week. . . 211.4.  HELLS YEAH!!!  So happy.  I didn't feel deprived even once.  I'm getting more creative with food and by that I mean, I'm trying other people's creative recipes that previously would have seemed a little out there for me.

I went for a bike ride!!In my last post, I talked about feeling a little scared to go out for a bike ride.  Mostly because I'm self-conscious and don't want to look stupid.  Three or four years ago, I had a nasty spill over the handlebars of a bike.  Something on the front tire snapped, I was going down a slight hill and the front tire stopped dead and I went right over.  Bruised the hell out of my legs in the handlebars, scraped all the skin off my left forearm, scraped my chin, my shoulder and actually cracked my right elbow.  Oh and I yelled the F-word about thirty times fast while crying.  Classy.  It wasn't my bike so I never did ride again until I bought my own bike last year.  Even then, I only rode it a few times.  I plan to do this much much more this year!!

My breakfast of the weekend was one I hadn't had in ages.  Why oh why!!!  So delicious and comforting and right and tasty.  Squirrely bread toasted with Trader Joe's peanut butter and sliced banana.  Heaven.  Also in the peanut butter & banana theme, I was out of spinach this morning so I made a smoothie of almond milk, frozen banana, bit of peanut butter and a scoop of chocolate Amazing Grass.  So delicious.  Yum.

In my attempts to eat more veggie meals, I was on the hunt for vegan and vegetarian blogs.  I stumbled upon Lindsay at Happy Herbivore.  Lifesaver!  She's amazing!  She's got a blog, plenty of recipes, meal plans (awesome), and I discovered she's got two cookbooks.  I ordered both off of Amazon.  I almost ordered the Kindle version and then thought it through, how can you flip back and forth and scan recipes on a Kindle??  You can't.  Just a few days later, these beauties arrived.  The Happy Herbivore and Everyday Happy Herbivore.  The cookbooks are beautiful.  Nice pictures, simple recipes and lots of definitions and suggestions which are great for the non herbivores.  I'm tempted to pull a Julie/Julia thing and make every recipe in them.  My first was Cheater Pad Thai.  Oh and another thing I love is that in some recipes, there is the base recipe and then variations listed as well depending on what you want.

I think the only not so great thing that happened was my oat bar incident.  I was out of oat bars and had to make a batch.  Then this happened.  At first, I just stood there getting super pissed off.  Then I realized I hadn't yet put in the flour or the baking powder and the bowl did land right side up.  I swept up what spilled and put back in the bowl.  Baha!  Just kidding, I eyeballed what was spilled and replaced the oats.  I had used the last of the craisins so this batch just had less.  The expired craisins are officially done!!  And the oat bars taste just fine.  
So I'm going to just keep doing what I'm doing.  I'm making the pad thai again tomorrow night for my sister and her husband.  And I'm going to flip through the books and finding a couple more to try this week.  There is just so many to choose from!!

Anyone got a favorite workout song right now??  My playlist is dying for an update. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cheers to the Freakin' Weekend!

Thank goodness it's the weekend!!!  Actually, this week has been a pretty good week in a couple areas.  First, my most annoying co-worker was away three days this week. Seriously, it was like I was on vacation at work.  Even though a few of us had extra work because one was missing, it was pure joy.  Everyone was so light and relaxed and fun.  I kept thinking that this is what it could be like once she retires.  She says "one year" but I hear from others that she's been saying "one more year" for about three years.  Gulp.

It was also a good week in the area of eating.  In my previous post, I talked about some changes I was making and it's still going really well.  Even though this would be the week that I had the most temptation to eat really badly (wink wink nudge nudge), it just wasn't there for the most part.  I had one evening where I wanted to eat purely emotionally and for comfort and instead, I went to bed and read my book.  I've never ever eaten in bed so that's a good safe space.  Then tonight, I was doing the whole "i need salt, I need sweet" dance so I went to an organic market that has all sorts of vegetarian, vegan, and organic stuff I've never heard of.  I left with all dressed pretzel chips, like pretzels but hammered flat and Almond Dream Vanilla ice cream.  Both were incredibly amazing.  I'm totally happy I got them and consumed them and I don't feel bad about it one bit.  It's weird to feel that I indulged but I don't feel bad about it.

Here are the other recipes I tried this week.  The first is the Healthy Banana Cranberry Oat Bar from ohsheglows.  They were so amazing.  I will definitely make these again, likely this weekend.  I took one to work every day this week in place of my normal fibre one bar.  I also gave one to a co-worker and she loved it.  And I served it as dessert when my sister and her husband came over for dinner this week, they both loved it.  I love recipes like this where if you have the base ingredients, you can throw whatever you want as the add-in.  I ended up using cranberries, coconut, some sliced almonds, and leftover crushed cashews from the Sweet Potato Lasagna.  The next time I make them I will use a larger pan.  Mine ended up being thicker than hers in the picture so they were more of a soft square rather than a firmer granola bar.  I measured the base of my pan and it's 7 inches not an 8 x 8 like I"d always thought.  Weird.

The other recipe I don't have a picture of for some reason but it was the Mushroom & Onion Stroganoff from Engine 2 Diet.  VERY SIMPLE!  It was really good but I made some minor adjustments purely for my own tastes.  I found that it wasn't saucy enough.  So I ended up adding more "milk" (of your choice) and a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce.  The next time I make this, instead of starting the sauce right in with the mushrooms and onions, I will make the sauce in its own small pot and then add it to the mushrooms and onions but this is definitely one I will be making again and next time I think all add some corn or broccoli as well.  I'm a huge mushroom fan so it wasn't hard to love it.

Now on to the activity . . . I danced my ass off while tidying up today.  Okay, I didn't really clean up, I just danced but it counts a little.  I also pulled this ↑⇑beauty⇑↑ out of my storage room yesterday and pumped up my tires.  I haven't been out for a ride yet.  Here's where I choke.  I let my weight stop me from doing so many things and it's stupid.  I know it's stupid.  I have no idea why I worry so much about what people think of me.  I really shouldn't give a shit.  But I sit here and worry that I'll look silly or stupid or make a fool out of myself.  I need to suck it up and grab some self-confidence.  The weather tomorrow is supposed to be a smidge rainy and then cloudy all day.  I can deal with cloudy and even a little rain so my goal tomorrow is to get out for a ride.

Now I'd better get to bed so I don't waste Saturday napping!!

Oh!  And I bought some kale to attempt kale chips this weekend . . . anyone had great success??  I've been searching recipes and ideas and everyone seems to have a different way although it sounds like low temp for a long time seems to be the winner just for the crispiness and lack of burning.

Have a good weekend!!  Saturday is a free day for me that is going to include some cleaning, groceries, a new recipe and a BIKE RIDE!!  Sunday, I'm going to see The Five-Year Engagement and then for sushi.  Mmmmm sushi.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I watched Food, Inc. quite a while ago, early last year I think.  For a little while after that, I did go meatless a few times a week, sprung for the occasional organic produce but only if it wasn’t A LOT more than the regular.  In short, my habits didn’t change all that much.

About a month ago, I watched Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead.  That guy went hard core with a juice fast.  I knew I would never do that but I do enjoy making green smoothies almost every day.  One of the things that jumped out to me in that documentary was that he mentioned he had chronic urticaria.  I just glazed over.  I didn’t know what that was.  Then a bit later, he starts talking about a rash & hives and how they’re gone.  That’s when I sat up straight.  I went back in the video to the part where he mentioned the chronic urticaria.  Hives.  It’s a fancy word for rashes and hives.  It’s also often nocturnal.  Hell on wheels, impossible to sleep.  I have that.  He started talking about how a host of autoimmune diseases can be reversed or at least stopped where they are by a change in diet.  No one ever told me that.  I have an iGa deficiency in my blood that I inherited from my mother.  This deficiency makes you more likely to develop autoimmune diseases.  

Mine started at the age of 24.  I had my first outbreak of hives that lasted three solid months.  Head to toe.  Pure torture.  At 25, I found my first patch of skin that didn’t tan in the summer like the rest of me. Those patches have steadily increased to include my arms, legs, and face. It's called Vitiligo.  Thankfully, I’ve always been fair and freckled so mostly you can tell in the summer.  I am careful to pile on the sunscreen so that the parts that do tan, don’t get darker.  Hey, pale is the new tan.  At 26, I had my first surgery for endometriosis.  At 27, I had my second.  At 30, they did a full abdominal surgery to remove two large cysts and my left ovary.  At about 34, my doctor told me I was hypothyroid.  All of these are autoimmune diseases and some of them can actually be reversed or helped by diet????  After watching Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead, I consciously increased my veggies and decreased by dairy a smidge.  I don’t drink a lot of milk but I do like my greek yogurt and any kind of cheese.   
This past Friday, I watched Forks Over Knives and Food Matters – both fantastic.  I know this is going to sound bad.  I saw Food, Inc.  Thought it was very informative, disturbing, extremely well done.  After watching, these two though, the impacts to MY health and well-being were very clear to me.  I feel totally selfish in saying that.  Like I shouldn’t have been able to change for the animals??  I haven’t had meat or dairy in five days now.  I feel great.  I’m not hungry.  Even though I’m pms-ing big time, I’m not willing to run people over for chips or chocolate.  It’s like the further you get from something the less you need it or crave it.  I can go ages without having McDonald’s.  Then in a pinch, I have it and it’s like it unleashes the beast within that wants it all the time. 
So I’m trying this out.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to say that I’m vegan.  I’m not even going to say that I’m a vegetarian.  I don’t think for one second that I won’t be at a restaurant one day thinking that the lobster & brie grilled cheese sounds better than the vegetarian or vegan option.  But for right now, I am trying it out.  So far it’s going pretty great.  I’m learning about different products that I didn’t know existed.  For example, I had no idea there was almond milk yogurt.  Now I’m excited to find some.  I’m in love with Almond Breeze.  Love.  Did I mention I love Almond Breeze?  I’ve only tried Original, Unsweetened Original, and Unsweetened Vanilla.  Even if I were to bring dairy back in, I think Almond Breeze is here to stay. 
I ordered the Engine 2 Diet book on the Kindle.  He was featured in Forks Over Knives and I thought it was a really cool story and he was preparing some great looking food.  On Saturday, I made the Sweet Potato Lasagna and it is so amazing and makes an absolute ton.  I actually ended up getting a 9 x 13 as well as an 8 x 8 out of it.  I’m going to freeze a couple pieces for a week and then eat them and see how they fare.  If they are still great then I will still make the whole batch and if it’s not fantastic, I’ll half the recipe next time.  Everyone I’ve pinned to the ground and force fed offered it to has loved it. 

I have a couple other recipes I tried and loved but I'll save those for the next post since this is too long already.  And I still haven't talked about TV.

The quick & dirty:

**My least favorite season of Biggest Loser ever.  So glad that it's over.  I only watched the last 15 minutes of the finale to see the at home winner and the winner.  I won't spill because it's still Tuesday night and some may not have watched yet.  
**I love The Killing.  I'm dying to know who killed Rosie.
**I can't believe the season finale of The Good Wife!!!  Oh Kalinda!  Dang, she's exciting.
**Amazing Race -- so sad to see Kentucky go!!  I don't even know who to cheer for.  I want just Rachel of Rachel & Dave to win.  Hahahaha -- I want her to take her money and run far away from him.  I hate when there's only unlikeable teams left!!  This happened last year when the Snowboarders went home.   

And finally, as always -- thanks for the support everyone!

Anyone got any favorite meatless dishes??  Please share!