It’s Friday! *dance party*
1 med. onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 med. carrots, sliced lengthwise and cut in 1/2-inch semi-circles
2 med. white potatoes, chopped
4 med. beets, peeled and chopped small
1 heaping c. cabbage (any kind)
1 bunch dill, de-stemmed and roughly chopped (reserve a few sprigs for garnish)
4 c. water + 1 and 1/2 bouillon cubes vegan “chicken” stock (or vegetable stock)
1 tbsp lemon juice
Pepper, to taste
Greetings and such!
Whatever part of the world you folks reside in, be very, very glad that you’re not here. Factoring in the windchill, the HIGH today was -35 C. That’s the high in Regina today. Same with tomorrow. I’m California dreamin’…
Today I attempted to make a Vietnamese meatball soup, and failed terribly. Not on flavor, mind you – the flavor was awesome. But my little veggie meat balls didn’t hold together very well, so it’s back to the drawing board. Luckily, I had plenty of this to eat with it:
Rice bowls are clearly our current choice of food, seeing is how yesterday we filled our bellies with our Mexican-inspired Fiesta Bowl! Bibimbap is truly awesome, though. If you’ve got a Korean grocery store handy, or a well-stocked Asian grocery store, you’ll likely find gochujang, the defining hot red sauce of bibimbap.
Bibimbap can be a little bit of effort to assemble since it can have many components (“mini-salads”), so what I often do is just prepare all of the veggies raw – it takes far less time than cooking them! Today we simply shredded some carrot, massaged baby bok choy with sesame oil and salt to wilt the leaves, sliced some cucumber with a mandoline, and topped off the rice, sauce and veggies with sprouts and sesame seeds. Super easy and delicious!
Now I’m off to teach some music and anticipate the advent of a very, very cold Friday!
I keep hearing the statement “everything in moderation” tossed around, as though it’s the be-all, end-all practical solution to all things in life. I get it, I do. It’s a good statement, it makes perfect sense. It’s also perfectly vague, which is where my problems with it begin.
I’m going to apply this statement in regards to food and health, since it’s what I know. Generally, when someone says “moderation is the key to good health”, they really mean “I’m not a dietician and I don’t have all the answers, so everything in moderation is a safe bet.” I get that, too. Nutrition can be a confusing matter – billions of dollars are spent on confusing us.
But here’s the problem: back in the day, “everything in moderation” in my life meant moderate beer drinking, moderate cigarette and pot smoking, moderate fast food consumption, and moderate instant noodle eating. I rarely overate and never binged, didn’t ever feel the need to smoke two packs a day, and only went on the occasional booze bender (okay, semi-occasional). I was a moderate gal. But was I the picture of good health? Uh, hell no.
So that’s where me and the idea “just eat and drink in moderation, it’s all good” have issues. Anyone can hide behind that expression and have a false notion of good health. My grandpa, bless that cool guy, might eat moderate portions of steak, cheese and white bread, but come on, it’s still steak, cheese and white bread. Maybe he throws in a moderate portion of peas and calls it a day.
The truth is that my previous “moderate” diet sucked. I subsisted on sandwiches, instant noodles and cereal. Pizza and burgers were far too complex for my limited kitchen skillset, but frequently found their way in through my front door since I was also very lazy in addition to being incompetent. I wasn’t completely dull to the notion of eating my veggies – my better sandwiches included lettuce and tomatoes, and my pizzas had some in there somewhere (I think).
The long and short of it is this: if you eat a moderate diet, you’ll only enjoy moderate health.
Well, that ain’t good enough for me! I want to live a long time, stay in shape and have tons of energy even when I’m old! This is a crazy-awesome life right here, and I intend to enjoy it all the way! A moderate life is simply not the life I want to lead.
So what am I suggesting, then? Indulge with abandon in the most healthful foods on the planet!
Whenever possible (aka as much as possible), load up on green food! Green foods (kale, spinach, romaine, green bell peppers, broccoli, etc) are full of chlorophyll which is like plant blood, pretty similar in composition to our own human blood. Greens also tend to be high in calcium, protein, iron, vitamin C, folate, and other important nutrients. Our cells love that green goodness, and their way of saying “thanks for the grub” is to give you super-awesome energy and vitality!
Of course, other veggies are totally worthy of being superstars on your plate. Calorie for calorie, they pack the most nutritional punch (especially the greenery) and are just completely awesome. There are so many different veggies, and so many different methods of preparation that I wager it would be extremely difficult to get bored with ‘em. Move over, cholesterol-laden meat! Veggies are taking over your star place on the plate!
So on my plate, instead of having moderate (piddly!) portions of meat, veggies and ‘tatoes, you might see a gigantic jewel-green salad with carrots, tomatoes and avocado, tossed in a creamy nut dressing, served with a piece of garlicy toast on the side. Or you might see a black bean burger topped with salsa and guacamole sitting alongside a baked sweet potato and fresh veggies. Or, if I’m pressed for time, you might see heaps of raw and/or steamed veggies and tofu cubes piled on top of warm brown rice smothered in a delicious Asian sauce.
I love to eat, and I’m not about to settle for small portions of glorified junk food when I could be eating big, hearty meals full of healthful greens and veggies! Moderation be damned! 🙂
Here are some of the awesome parties at my table:
Mere minutes ago, I was shoveling this into my mouth:
Adapted and veganized from this recipe.
¾ c. raw almonds
¾ c. flour (I used whole wheat)
1/4 c. cocoa powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ c. oil (canola or melted coconut)
¼ c. agave or maple syrup, or a mix
200 g dark chocolate (2 dark chocolate bars)
1 and ¾ Tofutti plain cream cheese containers (400 g)
½ c. sugar
½ c. firm silken tofu
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp hot water
1 c. Mimicreme, unsweetened (or other very thick vegan cream)
5 tbsp Kahlua
For the crème topping:
½ c. cashews, soaked for 30 minutes
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp Kahlua
2-3 tbsp Mimicreme, or more for consistency
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly oil a 20-cm spring form pan.
Grind the almonds into crumbs in a food processor. Add the flour, cocoa and salt. Process until combined. Turn the flour mixture into a medium bowl, add the oil and agave, and stir to combine. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the spring form pan, and bake for 10 minutes, until it’s firmed up slightly.
Break the chocolate into pieces into a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave in 30-second increments until melted, stirring each time. Set aside.
Blend the silken tofu in a small blender (I used my Magic Bullet) until pureed and no chunks remain. Combine the cornstarch and hot water in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar with electric beaters until fluffy. Slowly add the tofu and cornstarch mixture and blend. While blending on low power, add the Mimicreme, Kahlua and melted chocolate and blend until combined. Pour the mixture on top of the pre-baked crust, and bake in the oven for about an hour, until the top is shiny, a bit wobbly and darker in the center. Loosen the edges of the cheesecake with a knife and cool on a counter, transferring to the fridge after it’s cooled down a bit. Refrigerate for 3 hours or more.