Quinoa should be a staple in everyone’s nutrition…

quinoa amino acids

(courtesy benbu.com/quinoa benefits)

JET and I were first introduced to quinoa during a hike on the Inca trail to Macchu Picchu, Peru in June 2008.  This was a grueling 3 day, 28 mile hike to altitudes as high as 15,000 feet.  The cooks served it to us 3 times a day – hot cereal for breakfast, in soup for lunch and like rice for dinner.  It is filling, satisfying, energizing and relatively inexpensive.  You can buy it in seed form, flake form like oats and even flour for baking and other uses.  A friend of ours, an amateur brewer, is considering brewing some beer with quinoa.

Here are 18 benefits of eating quinoa…

18 Health & Nutritional Benefits of Quinoa (see the link below for detail on each)

http://bembu.com/quinoa-benefits

  1. Contains All Amino Acids
  2. High in Fiber
  3. High in Iron
  4. High in Magnesium
  5. High in Riboflavin
  6. Rich in Manganese
  7. Contains Lysine
  8. Has Antiseptic Properties
  9. Supports a Gluten-Free Diet
  10. Low on the Glycemic Index
  11. Contains Flavonoids
  12. Helps You Avoid Getting Fat
  13. Good Source of B Vitamins
  14. Potentially Anti-Inflammatory
  15. Helps Lower Cholesterol
  16. Helps Lower Blood Pressure
  17. Helps Balance Blood Sugar Levels
  18. Supports Weight Loss Efforts

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Drinks

18 oz cold pressed apple-carrot-kale-cucumber-parsnip-turmeric juice

20 oz black coffee

112 oz water

Eats

9 banana walnut quinoa yuca pancakes with pure organic maple syrup

vegetarian Pizza

arugula salad with thin sliced tomatoes, avocado, red onion, cucumber, portobello mushroom, shredded carrot and feta/blue cheese, with valsamic vinagrette

organic rice fettucini pasta with garlic, red pepper, lemon and sea salt and finely diced rtomatoes

Exercise

7,000 steps

Sleep

6 hrs 51 minutes, 2.5 hrs deep sleep, 90% efficiency

Overall Feeling

Fulfilled

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Things I miss since becoming Vegetarian/Vegan…

las

(Vegan Lasagna)

Since becoming vegetarian, then mostly vegan beginning in August 2013, I rarely pine for specific foods any more.  I am grateful that the sugar addiction affecting most of us is gone.  Forever.  I have no desire whatsoever for dessert or candy any more.  The same for meat, although when traveling in Ecuador every July, I will have an occasional ceviche pescado as a treat.  What I miss are textures found in omnivorous diets, such as the texture of ground beef in chili or the absolute creaminess in macaroni and cheese.  The absence of these textures pushes me to seek vegetarian and vegan ingredient alternatives that will result in approximating those textures (and tastes), while maintaining my desired vegetarian/vegan nutrition.  Not an easy thing.  Butter, eggs and cheese are hard to replicate.  However, I have had some success so far (IMHO, which is totally subjective):

Chili sin Carne

Vegan Lasagna

Macaroni & “Cheese”

Vegan quiche

It is said that the journey can be more enjoyable than the destination, and this is certainly true for me…

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Drinks

18 oz cold pressed apple-carrot-kale-cucumber-parsnip-turmeric juice

20 oz black coffee

96 oz water

Eats

1/2 cup quinoa flakes cooked in filtered water

handful raw mixed nuts

handful raisins

2 kosher dill halves

Vegan lasagna

soft pretzel

Vegetarian pizza

Exercise

11,000 steps, cleaning house top to bottom

Sleep

6.5 hours, 92% efficiency, 1.5 hrs deep sleep

Overall Feeling

a little stiff, truth be told…

What’s Up With Kale Bashing?

kale-chart-2

I’m a fan of Kale.  I drink cold pressed juice a couple of times a day that has kale in it among other things.  I cook with it and use it in salads.  Not always the case…in fact, the first juice JET and I tried that we made with kale was unspectacular, to say the least…..we barely managed to drink it down.  It is definitely an acquired taste, one that we now happily enjoy…

Lately, it seems that there are numerous articles and other attempts to discredit kale and its nutritional properties.  I don’t understand or agree with negativity in general.  Too much of a good thing is usually not a good thing, but good things in moderation are indeed good.  We consume 6 bunches of kale per week as part of our daily juice component of our nutrition. This is 2.5 – 3 lbs per week incorporated into roughly 3 gallons of juice for the week.  This translates roughly into 1 18 ouce bottle per day for JET and 2 18 oz bottles per day for me.  Hardly overdoing it.

Since beginning this journey 18 months ago, we both hasve lost significant weight and kept it off, feel great, seem to be able to fight off colds much better, sleep better, and never feel bloated, fatigued or tired.  My doc said to keep up whatever we are doing, and we plan to….I’ll leave the criticisms to the naysayers…

Friday, February 20, 2015

Drinks

36 oz cold pressed apple-carrot-kale-cucumber-parsnip-turmeric juice

20 oz black coffee

96 oz water

Eats

1/2 cup quinoa flakes cooked in filtered water

2 handfuls raw mixed nuts

handful raisins

large salad made with arugula, thinly sliced red onion, portobello mushroom, avocado, cucumber, tomato, shredded carrots and a little bit of feta and gorgonzola cheese ( I know, not vegan, but it’s OK), topped by a drizzle of EVOO, fig balsamic, lemon juice, cracked pepper and a bit of sea salt

1.5 bowls of Tall Guy Navy Bean, quinoa and rice soup

Handful tortilla chips

Exercise

Not today…

Sleep

7.2 hours, 94% efficiency, 2 hrs deep sleep, feeling rested

Overall Feeling

Ready for an active weekend…

Food 4 a Year – Day 1

I have been reading an interesting book by Tony Horton, architect of many fitness routines, the most famous perhaps being P90X (bring it).  One of the disciplines he espouses is keeping a daily food journal of everything you eat and drink.  Also, he suggests keeping notes about how you slept, what exercise you did (or didn’t), how you feel, etc.  His theory is that as you journalize you will not only have a historical road map of where you come, you develop great discipline habits.  Works for me….I thought about waiting until Match 1, to start at the beginning of the month, but, why wait???

p.s.   this is NOT about counting every calorie…thank jah I have lost the need to do that any more….it is more about having a solids frame of reference for where I have been, where I am and where I want to go…

Thursday, February 18, 2015

Drinks

18 oz cold pressed apple-carrot-kale-cucumber-parsnip-turmeric juice

20 oz black coffee

64 oz water

Eats

1/2 cup quinoa flakes cooked in filtered water

handful raw mixed nuts

handful raisins

2 kosher dill halves

salad

large salad made with arugula, thinly sliced red onion, portobello mushroom, avocado, cucumber, tomato, shredded carrots and a little bit of bleu cheese ( I know, not vegan, but it’s OK), topped by a drizzle of EVOO, fig balsamic, lemon juice, cracked pepper and a bit of sea salt

2 X 4″ portions of Tall Guy vegan Lasagna

Handful tortilla chips

Exercise

Not today…

Sleep

7 hours, 95% efficiency, 2.5 hrs deep sleep, feeling rested

Overall Feeling

Since Christmas, many sick people at work, have managed to fight it off repeatedly over past couple of months.  Promise myself to add daily exercise starting Sat 2/21/2015…

My Induction Into Carmelized Onions

Our new induction range is really quite splendid. Being from Chicago, I grew up using natural gas in the kitchen. It was not until we headed south to F-L-A in ’06, that we faced the reality that electric stoves were the norm. Doh!!! Over time, I got used to electric. I never embraced it, but I formed a shaky alliance. I knew what to try with abandon, and what to pass on…

Carmelizing onions gave me fits on an electric stove. The best carmelized onions com from very low, even and constant temperature cooking for the most part, which is dicey on an electric stove. They turned out pretty good, just not GRRRRREAT!!, as Tony The Tiger would say…

This new Samsung induction range is making me brave. I still feel like an infant around it, but I feel excited, nay, giddy about what culinary enjoyment lies ahead. I have only been playing around with it in the evening over the past week, so this is more akin to warm ups. However, my experiences bode well for some serious, 4 – 5 hours cooking sessions over the coming weekends.

I have slow sauteed onions every night this week, experimenting with different amounts of EVOO, various types of sea salt and other spices, herns, garlic etc. The precision of the induction range is remarkable. It. Is. Constant. There is no up and down, hotter and colder. I set it at 3.5, and it cooks at 3.5. I push power boost, and withinseconds, the pan contents are dancing to the high powered heat. I shut of the burner, and everything stops. W.O.Wow… (note: the pic below is a stock photo…I was too busy enjoying cooking to think about a picture)

Carmelized

Back in the saddle again….

DSC05582clean slatenew kitchen 1new kitchen 2

 

Whew….nine months later, we have a new kitchen…

Was it worth the wait, absurd cost and hassle?  Big 10-4…

I have no regrets about the project, design or hardware (so far…).  We used the same footprint, and added 50% more storage, while opening up the entire house.  The island and pot rack are a true joy to use.  As a side benefit of having 9 months to contemplate our new kitchen, we spent a lot of that time evaluating what we need and what we could do away with.  We also decided that a cluttered kitchen was no gouda.  We purchased some nifty chrome roll out shelves for the cabinets.  This allows storage of everything we used to have on the counter tops.  Now, the only items on our counters are 1) a coffee maker, 2) a dish drainer and 3) paper towel holder.  I even put a couple towel bars inside the sink base so that towels are not in sight.  It all looks so clean…..it also forces us to keep it tidy, and it’s not hard to do…

As for cooking in la nueva cucina?  Fantastico!!!  My first experience with an induction range has been an epiphany…talk about precise control…and negligible ambient heat thrown off.  The only unknown was whether our 30+ year old Saladmaster cookware would work on it.  A magnet adhered to the pans, but research showed that the older Saladmaster might be temperamental with an induction range.  Alas, it did not want to work.  So, I put the whole 16 piece set on Ebay and sold it for $500.  Bought a few specific items (covered 13″ stainless chef’s pan/wok, 11 X 17″ stainless griddle, 8 quart stainless stock pot, 6 quart stainless pressure cooker) to supplement my collection of enameled cast iron pieces.  Let’s just say that I never thought carmelizing onions would be so cool…

Convection oven?  Wow…I cooked my way through college, and the restaurant I worked at had convection ovens, but that was 30 years ago.  I made vegan lasagna last weekend in the new oven.  Extraordinary.  Perfectly baked, evenly cooked, beautiful browning vs burning.

We ate out quite a bit during the construction…this exposed me to a lot of new ideas to try…stay tuned…

 

 

Random Musings for the Weekend…

Since our kitchen is mid-remodeling, I have been relying on store-bought, cold pressed juices for the past couple of weeks…

Let’s just say that I’m looking forward to making my own juices again.  I tried several different kinds.  Not the crap from Naked or Odawalla, that are loaded with not so good ingredients.  Rather, these were cold pressed creations from Evolution, Suja and Blue something.  They average 6 – 8 bucks per 16 oz bottle, and you really never know how old they are…

Oh well, they have sufficed in a pinch, but I prefer making my own…

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Not having a kitchen has also presented challenges with respect to preparing vegan friendly meals at home, too.  I cooked in advance a large quantity of chili, and a huge pan of lasagna, since both keep well for a long period of time.  Alas, we ate the last of the chili on Friday.  What to do…

I have an industrial sized (8 quart) slow cooker, so I can cook the diced tomatoes and various kinds of beans.  However, the bell peppers, celery, garlic and onions are just not as good,in chili, if they are not semi-carmelized in a saute pan before stirring them into the beans.  Oh, yeah…no stove…

The the light bulb clicked on…we DO have a gas grill, and God invented aluminum foil pans for situations like this…I just finished sauteeing a couple of large onions 4 large red and green bell peppers, a bunch of celery and a dozen cloves of garlic, all nicely chopped, in a large foil pan, in olive oil, pepper and sea salt for about 20 minutes.  Let me tell you…fire roasted vegetables and chili go together like peas and carrots…

Image

Here is the chili after adding the freshly roasted vegetables…the only thing left is to add the pressed, crumbled tofu…

Image

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The last word:   The only bad thing about Indian cuisine is that it took me 55 years and becming a vegan to incorporate it into my palate, and discover how delicious and exotic it is…

Have a great rest of your weekend…

Namaste,

Vegain’t