Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Come On Dooooown

This morning I woke up like it was the night before the first day of school. I ran out and bought most of the stuff I am going to need for Vegan Mofo. I shopped for two weeks worth of food. I spent 100 bucks which was good. Most of the stuff I can use multiple times (spices and flour). I also bought some things for a package swap. I am the queen of making 20 bucks look like 50.

I'm excited y'all! I am going to be cooking and writing up a storm. I organized my fridge today. It needed it so badly. I found two things of peanut butter, two things of tahini, a gang of pickles and a ridiculous amount of jams I didn't know existed. My produced is stacked nice and neat in drawers, oddly enough, by color. Complete accident. What wasn't an accident was the 15 minutes it took me to make sure every label in my fridge was facing forward.

I'm kicking off Vegan Mofo with pumpkin week and a Tex Mex twist...sorta.

I'm actually thinking about grabbing breakfast at a local vegetarian restaurant because it's also World Vegetarian Day and the Texas "Veggin' Out" something or other. I always forget these things until it's too late.

So. Tomorrow begins a month of vegan foodgasms. See you soon....mo.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

31 Days Later...

My first phase of the raw journey is complete. One month at 99% is done! I did my happy dance already. I've lost 11.4 pounds and am completely stoked. I'm going to get in gear with the exercise tomorrow. I'm hoping to get Wii Fit in the next few weeks.

Anyway. I tried a few things the past couple of days. I have experienced sprouting, which used to be a foreign concept. Actually, it still is. But in a few days I shall have delicious raw pumpernickel.

The other day I felt compelled to make oatmeal. I slightly altered Ani Phyo's Banana and Raisin Oatmeal recipe by adding some cardamom and drizzling with agave. So frickin good. The texture is right on. I felt it was even better in the dehydrator. There is no way I can eat oatmeal (raw or not) if it's cold. I can definitely see myself playing around with this recipe and eating raw oatmeal from now on.

Next, I decided to make a soup from The Artful Vegan. I made a raw version of the Chilled Avocado, Tomatillo, and Cucumber Soup with Saffron-Lime Ice. It was tasty. I had to subsitute lemon juice for the lime, so I imagine it would taste even better next time. I didn't seed my jalapeno all the way and it left a nice spice to it. Basically, this soup reminds me of a tomatillo sauce. It would probably make a damn good topping to enchiladas. The saffron-lime ice was especially fancy. It melts into the soup and creates these gorgeous orange swirls. I love when my food has movement and purpose.

Today was my first day eating cooked food in a while. As I said before, I'm dropping down to 75% raw. Surprisingly, I didn't go all crazy on the cooked goods. I had been thinking about KMouse's "tuna" melt for days and decided to make my own. The rice singles I used didn't get all melty though. But it was awesome. Below is the recipe for my own version of Chickpea "Tuna" Salad.

Chickpea “Tuna” Salad
15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup raw almonds
¼ cup Vegenaise
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp kelp powder
1 Tbsp dill relish*
Up to ½ cup veggies of your choice, small dice **
Salt and pepper to taste

Process the chickpeas and almonds in a food processor until everything is good and chopped. Add the Vegenaise, lemon juice, dijon mustard and kelp powder. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor as necessary. Place chickpea mixture in a medium bowl. Stir in dill relish and diced vegetables.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

* For the love of all things holy, put DOWN the sweet relish. It is an abomination to all things good.

** I usually add celery and carrot, as I’m not a fan of onion in my “tuna.” If I’m feeling saucy, I add red bell pepper.

I served the "tuna" melt with Mattye's Mustard "Potato" Salad from Frugal Raw. This was awesome. Kalamata olives, onion, dill relish! Nice. Jicama replaced the potatoes, which worried me at first. But there really is a lovely flavor going on. Plus her raw mayo is super smooth. A little trick saved me a bunch of time. The recipe calls for soaking cashews over night. Instead, I placed them in a coffee grinder and put them in a blender with the liquid ingredients. I let it sit for about ten minutes.

That is all I have for now. One day soon I will make a recipe for that raw miso soup I promised. Until next time...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I Didn't Even Have to Use My AK

Ice Cube doesn't have anything on me.

About a month ago I decided to change my life. I felt a need to gain control of my eating habits. I'm not trying to go too deep with this, but I've struggled with eating disorders for about 13 years now. Raw seemed like the logical leap to gain a better food perspective. I usually run to fasts to lose weight, detox and regain control. But this time I wanted to stay away from deprivation.

At first, this was definitely hard. I'm from Texas. We likes our food cooked. How I longed for a damn taco. Or good god! CTate's queso. However, something really clicked for me. I started seeing food as less of a thing to be feared and more of a thing to be cherished. I got so many great ideas about how to deal with food. It never dawned on me to use collards in place of tortillas. And raw desserts opened up an even better option. I am definitely a person obsessed with sweets. I feel like I have to have something sweet every single day. Sometimes fruit just doesn't do and raw desserts/smoothies give me a healthier alternative.

I feel different. More energized. Less bloated. I feel almost weightless. And I have done jack in the way of exercise for the past week and a half. I'm eating more fruits, vegetables and nuts. This is fantastic because I was relying far too much on soy and wheat gluten to get me by. I'm also loving the fact that I still feel satisfied eating unprocessed foods.

If you've ever considered a walk on the raw side, challenge yourself to do this. For a week. For a month. Whatever the amount of time, I guarantee you will look at things differently. In less than a month (with very minimum exercise) I'm down 11.4 pounds and up in energy like you wouldn't believe.

Okay. I'm gonna step off of the raw soapbox now.

Last night I did a little Vegan Mofo research. It's only a few days away. I watched Kissing Jessica Stein because it will be my "dinner and a movie" movie. So many great ideas. How stoked am I? I'm a ridiculous amount of stoked. Yay!

In my next blog, I'll upload pictures of the incredibly fancy/easy soup I made from The Artful Vegan yesterday. It involved tomatillos, cucumber, avocado and saffron-lime ice. It was garlicky goodness.

If you'll excuse me, the two Coreys are calling my name. That's right, I'm bout to watch Lost Boys: The Tribe. I wonder if watching it after the original would only make it even worse?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Miso Hungry

I know I was supposed to post these a few days ago, but life happened. I spent the weekend at my parents because my sister was in town. Raw was so hard over there. My mom made cinnamon raisin biscuits (she makes them vegan). Boo. I ate fruit salad.

Anyhow. I've been craving seaweed a lot lately. I think I saw somebody with sushi and my mind has not let that go ever since.

First, I made a raw miso soup the other day. It was pretty good. I love it for it's simplicity. It only has maybe five ingredients, but each adds a different element. I don't have a recipe yet, because I want to make it one more time. It was a bit salty and I need to tweak that. It really hit the spot though. I'll post the recipe in my next blog.

I've also been delving into raw sushi making. I discovered a whole new world in which nut pates replace the rice. At first, I was highly skeptical. Mostly because I just can't let go of the horribleness that is sunflower seed tuna. So I continue to equate nut pates with what I'm pretty sure death has to taste like. Cake or death? Death, please!

My first go at raw sushi was from Mattye Lee Thompson's Frugal Raw. I cannot do anything but speak positively about this book. The few recipes I have made turned out delicious. What I love most about it, though, is that nothing really calls for ridiculously expensive ingredients. Almost all the nut based dishes call for sunflower seeds or cashews. Color me impressed. Buy this book because Mattye is a wonderful person and the book is "Hot fiyah," as the youth like to say.

So...Mattye's Nori Rolls are delicious. I went with the sunflower seed variation. As I said before, I wasn't expecting much. The garlic and ginger made this so right on that I ate an entire batch in one sitting. Of course, I don't think I added quite enough water because the recipe only yielded enough for three rolls. It is damn good. There is a spiciness and saltiness to it that makes soy sauce and wasabi completely unecessary. I made cucumber & avocado rolls and cucumber, green onion, avocado and red bell pepper rolls.

Finally, I decided to go all fancy schmancy and make some things from The Artful Vegan. My husband bought me this cookbook last Festivus and I have yet to make anything besides the sausages. The recipes seem very inspired but, ultimately, laborious. Plus, there are a gang of ingredients I have never even seen before. I decided to go ahead and make a salad. The recipe I made was the Avocado, Sea Vegetable and Plum [Salad] with Creamy Wasabi Dressing and Spicy Candied Peanuts. Try saying that five times fast. Seriously.

The recipe was pretty good. Although...not feeling the wasabi dressing so much. I feel it is probably just my circumstances, though. Not sure how old my wasabi powder was so it wasn't spicy enough for me. Also the sesame oil overtook the dressing so the wasabi was just in the background. I did think that everything worked together in it's entirety, though. I would like to make this again with new wasabi and roasted peanuts.

Above is a picture of the salad undressed. It was quite the sight! More to come soon...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Vegan Mofo, mothatruckas!

Vegan Mofo is on my brain. I'm a listy kind of person. Seriously obsessed and derive much joy from making lists. I once had an Angel marathon so I could make a list of my favorite episodes and lines. I'm sure this means something. OCD much?

I've been thinking hard about Vegan Mofo. It's the week after next and my first time participating. I've decided to divide my time by calendar weeks. There are five in October. Each week will have a theme. This makes it much easier for me and very organized. Because it's Vegan Mofo, I will be stepping down from about 99% raw to 70-75%.

Here's what I have. I'm pretty sure this is my final list of weekly themes:
1. PUMPKIN: I'm going to do this during the first calendar week. Four days of sweet and savory pumpkin filled recipes.

2. FOOD MEMORIES: Stories and recipes that remind me of my youth. It will involve a lot of veganizing. This will definitely be the last week because I have to end food memories with a tribute to Halloween.

3. VEGANIZING THE WORLD: This was one of my favorite ideas from the PPK thread. I'm going to take dishes that are never thought of as vegan and make them. I have my eye set on finally making vegan haggis (which I never in my life thought I would type, let alone eat) and the jackfruit carnitas. I have a few more regional ideas and a desire to take on Food Network because they're herbivorists!

4. FORGOTTEN COOKBOOKS: I haven't been able to do this at the PPK because of the raw journey. I always buy cookbooks and only use the same recipes.

5. MISC: I couldn't decide what else to do and there were several ideas floating around that I liked. So I'll dedicate one week to spontaneity. I know for sure I want to do the dinner and a movie theme.

So I'm completely stoked about this. October can't get here soon enough.

I have a handful of pics to post later today.


Monday, September 15, 2008

On Veganism and Weight Loss

There's this common misconception that converting to veganism will produce automatic weight loss. Just like an omni change in dietary lifestyles, it really depends on the individual. Some people lose a bunch when they first cut out animal products. Others stay the same or even gain some pounds. I think it really depends on two things: your diet before veganism and how you eat once you become a vegan.

I first went vegan at age 19. At that time in my life, I was very active. I was in college, involved in a comedy troupe and the poetry scene, had a restaurant job, and went to clubs every weekend. I literally danced my ass off. I suppose it also helped that I was completely unaware of the versatility found in a vegan lifestyle. I spent the first couple of years thriving off of fresh fruits, vegetables and tofu...with the occasional soy lunch meat thrown in a sandwich. I hated reading labels so I stayed away from a lot of sweets and breads (which have always been my weaknesses). I lost about 40 pounds and was at the lowest weight of my adult life at 138 lbs.

Once I discovered decent vegan dessert recipes, however, it was over. Around that same time I got engaged. The stress of the wedding and my new passion for cooking made for a substantial weight gain. I topped the scales at 218. On my 5'3" frame, it was ridiculous. Some people are a healthy 218. I had trouble walking up stairs. I couldn't fit any of my clothes. And I was genuinely unhappy.

It took me several months to get below 200. I'm about 40 pounds away from my goal weight. So I thought I'd share some pretty universal weight loss tips. These work for me, but it may not work for everybody.

1. WATER is essential to weight loss. It's the foundation of life, so don't skip out on this. I've always had a love/hate relationship with water. As a wee lass growing up in South Texas I wouldn't drink it. I was often dehydrated to the point that I couldn't move. I went to the doctor once because my sides had been having sharp pains for days. He told me I was constipated. I think that day definitely changed my perspective on the whole water thing. Drink 8-10 eight ounce glasses a day.

2. EXERCISE is a word that used to make me cringe. I have gym fear. I have workout clothes fear. I don't like to run. And I hate to see skinny people workout. A couple of years ago, I took a cardio kickboxing course and realized how much I loved to work out. I don't like the typical stuff, though. I walk, do pilates, kickbox, dance, bust a fool down in Wii Boxing... It's really possible to make your exercise regimen work for you. Try to, at the very least, walk for 30 minutes a day. It makes a difference.

3. I don't believe in depriving my body of anything. I'm a foodie to the core. When I want to lose weight, I simply incorporate more RAW AND LIVING FOODS into my diet. I do this for a few reasons. First, they offer a lot of fiber...and more fiber equals healthier poop. Also, they are filled with nutrients and sunshine. A lot of raw foods are packed with water as well. I also like the lack of preparation. Throwing a salad together or grabbing a piece of fruit is much easier than cooking something for an hour.

4. The one thing I learned from LA Weight Loss was this: 5 SMALL MEALS A DAY really aids in weight loss. It's common sense people! If you eat throughout the day, you will always feel satisfied. Ravenous hunger will kill a weight loss goal in a minute. This happens to be the hardest step for me. Sometimes I get so stuck on what to eat that I forget to even do so. Like now...it's almost 7 in the PM and all I've had is a handful of raw crackers and some peanut butter/carob/agave nectar concoction.

5. VERSATILITY is the key to happiness. A decade ago, while taking home economics, I learned that your plate should be as colorful as an Alaskan day is long. More colors and versatility equals more nutrients and vitamins. I also think it saves you from a dull fate and the boredom that often comes with a weight loss plan.

6. While I don't believe in depriving yourself of food, I do believe in watching SALT AND SUGAR INTAKE. I don't do iodized table salt because I think it's kinda gross. I stick to sea salt. Usually, I keep it to a bare minimum and add just enough to make the flavors pop. As for sugar, I'm currently using dates and agave nectar as sweeteners. This is a helluva lot more expensive than plain sugar, but I don't crash after and I feel better in general.

Above anything else, I really feel like you should listen to your body. It will definitely tell you what works for you.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll have to go find me some food right now. For shame.

Friday, September 12, 2008


I've been making a lot of recipes from Ani Phyo's Ani's Raw Food Kitchen lately. However, I'm backing off of nut based dishes and going for stuff centered on fruits and veggies. I just made the Red Pepper Corn Salsa. It is, in a word, refreshing.

I’m pretty much anti salad. I spent a good part of my early vegetarianism eating salads…everyday. Recently, I’ve come to appreciate them again. I often like to make salsas and dips to go atop my greens instead of dressing. Case in point…this salsa. Lots of flavors going on. Sweet from the corn, a little kick from the jalapenos and garlic, green onions add another depth and cilantro packs in the freshness. Seriously love cilantro. Red bell peppers, tomatoes, and salt bring it home.

Simple and fantastic, yet it’s visually and orally stimulating. I did cut down on the salt, as I’ve found that some of her recipes are a tad too salty for me. But I’ve always felt that salt and pepper are very personal things. All in all this salsa is pretty great and versatile.

It would taste great on greens, in a wrap, or on some tortilla chips. And it could very well add a different dimension to nachos. Oh, how I miss nachos. Word.


This is me writing about food. For the time being, I am on a raw journey. My primary goals for going raw: weight loss and focus on health. I hope you enjoy what you read here. Thanks!