Vegan, Jane Austen student, Minimalist, Reader, Librarian

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Green Smoothies for Dinner?

Music: Uta Weyand, Enrique Granados

Recently, I've decided to change the time of day I drink my green smoothie. For awhile now (probably almost a year), I have not liked feeling so full in the evening from eating a regular evening meal. Since I exercise in the evening as well as in the morning, this is part of the reason. I just much prefer my largest meals of the day to be breakfast and lunch. Also, the last thing I feel like doing after work is cooking or preparing a meal. And it also saves me time in the mornings since I don't have to prepare a green smoothie to take to work in my thermos in addition to my lunch.

What better solution than to have my one quart--yes, that's right, 4 cups--of green smoothie as my evening meal? All I have to do is blend and I'm still getting my greens as well as eating raw. Plus, Jim hadn't been drinking green smoothies due to lack of time, so this solution helps him as well.

So far, we've been doing it for three weeks now and it has been working out great. We have our smoothies between 6:30 and 7pm, with plenty of time to digest before we exercise at 8:30pm.

This might be a great solution for you, if you have been thinking about incorporating green smoothies into your diet. Just make it a meal replacement instead.

Power to the Greens mix (from Trader Joe's), avocado, pineapple juice,
water, banana, frozen mango, maca powder, bee pollen

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Eating Vegan on the Road

To help combat my homesickness bouts, which have flared up again lately, we're trying to go home more to Michigan to visit family and friends. This inevitably leads to us thinking about food and what to eat on the road. But it's not that difficult, it just takes a little planning.

Home, sweet, home!

We always make sure our hotel room has a refrigerator because we take homemade muesli and travel-size soy milk for breakfast.

The last trip we took we made a huge salad of whatever was left in the refrigerator that would spoil while we're gone: baby spinach, cucumbers, carrots, onions, celery, leftover barley and rice, and avocado. We used lemon juice, sea salt, and pepper as dressing since we have found that, since being vegan for over five years now, we prefer the taste of the vegetables to the taste of dressing covering the vegetables.

Familiar landmarks

I also had 3 avocado to use so I made a quick guacamole with fresh lime juice and sea salt; if you leave the pit in the bowl, it hastens the oxidizing process which turns the guacamole from green to brown. Note: it's still good even if it's brown, it just doesn't look as pretty but tastes exactly the same. We enjoyed this with some blue corn chips from Trader Joe's.

Along with some apples and Jim's homemade scones, this food lasted us for three meals! So it saved some money.

Abandoned train station, Detroit

Another option since the Ohio Turnpike has those very convenient plazas is to eat at Panera. Unfortunately, we can only eat one sandwich on their menu (sans cheese, of course!): the Mediterranean Veggie. Personally, I don't care for their salads or their bagels and bread. I would love to see a vegetarian restaurant option on the Turnpike but I know that will never happen. When you're traveling, you want to eat good, whole foods, not processed, fried foods that wear on your body!

You know you're home when you see Joumana

Once in Michigan, we always make time for one meal at the Inn Season Cafe in Royal Oak. And, when visiting relatives, we always stop and pick up lunch to go at the amazing fresh food bar at Whole Foods in either Troy or Rochester Hills.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

So What About Exercise?

Music: Motown mix on my Macbook

I talk mostly about food and being vegan on this blog but one thing I've never talked about is how I exercise. Yes, I do exercise, every single day. The only time I don't is when I'm sick (which is rarely) and, even then, I'll do some stretching and/or yoga.

Since I took ballet for twelve years during my childhood, daily movement of any kind is important to me. My body just doesn't feel "right." In fact, many years ago, I was sick with the flu for an entire week and, by the end of it, I think I did something like two hours of yoga because my body couldn't get enough stretching and breathing.

So what do I do? Twice a day I do a DVD workout called Synergetics. It's a balance, flexibility, and muscle contraction exercise with some aerobic and stretching components as well. It's only 12 minutes twice a day. I've been doing this every day since 1994.

Walking around Oakland, in Pittsburgh

I also take a walk because I love to be outside. During my workweek, I walk for 20 minutes around the entire city block where the library, museums, and music hall are. On weekends, in nice weather, this is upped to 40-60 minutes.

Trail at Clear Creek State Park, PA

On cold weather days--because I hate feeling cold and do not like to walk in windy weather--I'll just do another Synergetics workout on the weekend or walk in the museums during the workweek.

At home or on vacation, I still do my Synergetics workout but I also try to walk as much as possible. If the weather is fine, I will walk all around Mt. Washington to do my errands (library, post office, and hair salon to name a few)--the steep hills add even more to my workout. Some weekends, Jim and I will head to a state park and hike for hours. And, on vacation, I love nothing better than to get to my destination and park the car for the entire trip; on foot is also the best way I get to know my way around a place.

So that's it. That's all I do. I've never been a runner or an aerobics fitness devotee so you won't find me jumping and sweating profusely. Not my thing.

How about you? What is your exercise routine?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Vegetable Pie

Valses Poeticos by Enrique Granados 

Pie doesn't always have to mean dessert. In fact, since my sweet tooth has pretty much disappeared, the last thing I want around the house is a fattening and sweet dessert.

I have fond memories of my mother's chicken pies when I was a child so I thought a vegetable version might be just the thing for a cold winter's day.

Jim's Vegetable Pie with a salad

Jim had made a pumpkin pie last Thanksgiving, but he had only needed one of the two pie crusts in the package, so I asked him to make something with the second one. This is the delicious creation he came up with, very loosely adapted from Dreena Burton's Broccoli-Mushroom-Walnut Phyllo Pie (in the book Vive le Vegan!):

1 organic whole grain pie crust, frozen
2- 2 1/2 C of broccoli florets, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 C sweet onion, diced
2-2 1/2 C white or cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 Tbsp tamari
2-3 Tbsp soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 C bread crumbs (Jim made his with two day old bread; RESERVE 2 Tbsp FOR TOPPING)
1 C pecans, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large saute pan, heat the oil. Add onions, salt, pepper, oregano, & mustard. Cover & let cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broccoli, mushrooms, garlic, & tamari & cook another 5 minutes, stirring until broccoli is just tender.

Remove from heat. Pour mixture into a food processor & chop vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Add milk, vinegar, nutmeg, & bread crumbs then process a bit more. Add pecans last & pulse again until just mixed. MAKE SURE YOU ARE NOT BLENDING; you want texture.

Pour mixture into a frozen pie crust & sprinkle 2 reserved Tbsp of bread crumbs on top. Bake for 30 minutes or until pie turns golden.

This is even excellent a few days later as the spices seemed to blend even more, just like a good soup.