Saturday, October 31, 2009

VeganMoFo Day 31 - Clara's Couscous

Clara Cannuciari is 94 years old now and s till doing Great Depression Cooking videos. Her newest one, Couscous Stew, was just uploaded this week and looks like it's already McDougall-friendly, as long as you use vegetable broth and omit the butter after steaming the couscous. I think when I try making this dish, though, I would cook the couscous the more traditional way, with boiling water. With my luck I would burn the cheesecloth just placing it on the colander!

And now she also has a book out:

I don't own it yet, but it is in my Amazon shopping cart.

So, this wraps up another year of VeganMoFo. Sorry I wasn't as "into" it as last year, but next year will be better, I promise.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

VeganMoFo Day 27 - More Apologies

Sorry for being such a bad MoFo'er, but this has been one of our craziest weeks ever (again). The elderly relative with Alzheimer's we care for from afar got lost coming home from church on Sunday, so now we're hustling to make sure she's safe. She's still refusing live-in help, refusing to allow a homemaker for more than a few 3 times a week, and in fact wants us to stop her visits entirely, still crying she wants us to move in with her, something we told her years ago will never happen because there's no way my husband can commute via public transportation to work (Only 1 bus, runs hourly, takes twice as long as his commute now, and doesn't run well in inclement weather and is canceled altogether when it snows because the trip goes down dangerous steep hills). We're making appointments for interviews at various assisted living facilities and nursing homes with Alzheimer's units in the area because we weren't too thrilled with the place she was in earlier this year, and so far either the people we have to talk to aren't in this week or won't even bother talking to us because there are no openings and long waiting lists.

I've also been arguing with one of the nurses from rehab. Because I'm not losing scads of weight even though I'm doing 60 minutes of cardio in front of official witnesses three times a week and another 45 to 60 minutes 3 more times at home in front of only my son, this nurse feels I just must be eating too much or eating the wrong foods. When I described the McDougall program to her she did nothing but bad-mouth it for a half hour, telling me it's not healthy to eliminate entire food groups, that I'm eating too few calories, need those "healthy" fats in my diet. Remember folks, this is a cardiac care nurse with not just her BSN and state nursing license but has multiple certifications in advanced nursing care, including critical cardiac care! I told her that my doctor, the cardiologist that runs the entire cardio-vascular unit, the guy the hospital BUILT the unit FOR a few years back, not only had heard of the McDougall program (As well as Dr. Esselstyn, Ornish and Barnard and C. Collin Campbell) but was very happy and said he wished he could get ALL his cardiac patients to follow the program. She didn't care - she still claimed it wasn't healthy. She said I should be going to a place like her 400+ pound sister is going to, one that makes an individualized food plan for each patient (her sister eats 3000 calories a day, minimum, about 1/3 each in fat, protein and carbs). No thanks. I'll stick with McDougall. It was because of McDougall my coronary arteries were clear as can be, with no cholesterol plaques or deposits, no blockages, when the cardiac cath was done. I doubt they would still be clear if I ate 1000 calories of fat every day. Maybe she just wanted to make sure I would *stay* a customer of the cardiac unit?

Food - Yesterday was . . . I really have to think what the heck we ate! Oh, my husband and I had a chili I tossed together (just canned beans, canned no-salt-added petite diced tomatoes, frozen corn kernels, and 2 packets of lower salt fajita mix), a dump and heat meal. Today is brown rice and veggies; tomorrow is potatoes and veggies (That Poorman's Meal I mentioned in the past). Thursday will be spaghetti and whatever (sausages, not-meat balls, or just some veggies tossed into the sauce - who knows?). Friday will be our traditional whole wheat, cheeseless pizza.

Saturday, Halloween, we have no idea what we're doing. We may be bringing that relative into a nursing home, rehab or even a hospital, or just at her house clearing out & painting a room in preparation for a live-in companion. I usually make a stew on Halloween and call it Witches' Brew, but I have a feeling that this year we'll eat something even more horrendous - leftovers!

ACK! My husband just got home and I guess he'll want his dinner. Hopefully I'll be checking in again tomorrow with a slightly better MoFo post.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

VeganMoFo Day 22 - Stew pic and McDougall Info

I finally got the photo of my own stew posted to this other blog post. Enjoy.

And there's lots of drama going on around this house again, thanks to hubby's 91 year old aunt with Alzheimer's Disease and now his cousin from out of state who thinks she can tell my husband what to do and how to do it when it comes to the aunt's care but really doesn't want the responsibility, herself. She is insisting on live-in help although the aunt is adamantly opposed to it and is going to hire the person herself, BUT is leaving it up to us to tell the aunt and get the room ready for her, and all that jazz. All I can say is: Oy vey!

So, leftovers again today because I've been running around all day. Instead of a recipe I'll leave you this video from Dr. McDougall about the McDougall Program.

McDougall 10-Day Program from John McDougall on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

VeganMoFo Day 20 - White Bean and Garlic Stew

Over the weekend it got COLD, and instead of salad for lunch I decided to make a quickie White Bean and Garlic stew that I found on Susan V's Fat Free Vegan blog. Here it is with the changes I made in red:

White Bean and Garlic Stew

2 15-ounce cans cannellini or great northern beans (about 3 cups),(I had small white beans in the pantry) rinsed and drained
1 head garlic (the whole bulb--15-20 cloves)(We love garlic so I used 2 heads)
2 tablespoons water
3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped(I used a small bag of organic baby carrots, left whole)
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (I always use unsalted tomato products)
2 bay leaves (Skipped this - I don't like the taste)
1 cup water (Not enough - I used 4 cups)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)(Skipped this, obviously, on my low salt diet)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice (Skipped this, too)

Break the garlic bulb into cloves and peel off the skin. If you'd like, chop one of the cloves, but leave the others whole. If some of the cloves are very large, you may cut them in half lengthwise.

Spray a large, non-stick pan lightly with olive oil (Used water). Add the onion and sauté until it turns a rich, medium-brown, about 5 minutes (Took more like 15 before it gave any hint of color or translucence). Add the garlic and carrots and sauté for 1 more minute.

Add the beans, tomatoes, bay leaves, and water. Cover the pot and simmer for about an hour, adding water if it gets too thick.

Stir in the salt and pepper. If you're serving the stew right away, add all the parsley and the lemon juice. If you're serving it later or at room temperature, add the parsley and lemon juice right before serving.

Serve over brown rice. (Served as-is)

Makes 6 servings. Each contains: 246 Calories (kcal); 1g Total Fat; (3%
calories from fat); 15g Protein; 47g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol;
385mg Sodium; 15g Fiber (Of course, these are different for my version)

I took a photo but my camera's messing up. It does look just like Susan's on her blog, and her pics are always much nicer than mine:

Susan Voisin's Photo

As soon as I figure out why the computer isn't recognizing my camera and fix it (I hope) I'll also pop my photo up there for comparison.

ETA 10/22/2009
It took a few days and me tea
ring out quite few handfulls of hair, but I finally got the pic of my version of the stew uploaded.

As tasty as it was good-looking!

Friday, October 16, 2009

VeganMoFo Day 16 - Mindful Eating

After everything that went wrong yesterday, at least I did one thing right - I was mindful of everything I ate. I ate with peace, without killing, without violence. Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a nice essay on Mindful Eating. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

VeganMoFo Day 15 - It's My Birthday and I'll Cry If I Want To

So I lied yesterday. There will be no recipe today as all I'm making for my birthday dinner is a pot of spaghetti with a jar or no salt added spaghetti sauce. At least I'm making some Italian bread to go with it to jazz it up a bit. No cake, not even a cupcake or bran muffin.

Bad day yesterday. By the end of the day I was sitting here with high blood pressure and chest pains again and debating whether or not to go to the ER (thanks to that crooked contractor, my idiot husband, and a $1500 check) but as the evening wore on the pains subsided. Today started off with the blood pressure high but some meditation and a Richard Simmons DVD workout helped bring it down to normal levels again. Thank goodness no chest pains, and to keep it that way that's why no dietary cheats today. No biggie - I never had a cake for my childhood birthdays, either, because my doc always had me on a low calorie diet. I didn't have my first birthday cake until I was out of nursing school working full time and my co-workers threw a party for me during our lunch break. It may have been my 21st birthday. Maybe next year, but I doubt it.

Great! I grabbed a jar of sauce and it opened with a loud POP instead of a soft "pip" noise and the sauce is almost solid. Luckily I had another jar of that scarce no-salt added, vegan elixir and . . .

. . . the same thing happened. A loud POP and possibly a hiss this time. That jar went into the garbage, too. So I opened a can of tomato puree, dumped that into the frying veggies (onions, red & green peppers, mushrooms, garlic - lots and lots of garlic) then added a can of tomato paste for more intense flavor, then dumped it all in with the cooked pasta. Right now I don't give a crap what it tastes like - I just want to get this meal over with. Because of the rain my husband phoned to say he's been delayed, that the trains are about a half hour behind. What next??

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

VeganMoFo Day 14 - Rice Diet Video

Kitty Rosati, the co-owner and co-director of the Rice House in Durham, NC, has released a video to YouTube. Because the embedding has been disabled for that video (Who knows why) you'll have to click on THIS LINK to see it. Just remember that when she talks about people "on the program" she's referring to those who are attending the Rice Diet program in person, eating at the most restricted level of foods, what's known as "detox" in the at-home version. The daily calorie level on that phase is usually under 1000 cal a day.

I do still follow the McDougall food plan, but even Dr. McDougall himself recommended the Rice Diet for those of us who have a tough time losing weight on his food plan, mainly because the Rice Diet is so restricted in variety of foods and especially calories. I like reading the web site and message boards to look for salt-free vegan recipes. I could never eat that little ever day - many days only 1000 calories! Look around the forums - you'll see so many tales of people who came and left the food plan and very few who are sticking it out. There are more tales of not losing weight on that food plan than there are on the McDougall forums. Can you say "Starvation Mode" everybody?

I promise tomorrow I'll post at least one recipe and probably a picture, too. Sorry I haven't been a good VeganMoFo blogger.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

VeganMoFo Day 13 - Sorry Again

Sorry, but no recipe again today as I've been too busy pulling my hair out dealing with a demented old lady (age 91 and has Alzheimer's) and the contractor she hired. She chased him off her property, even though *she* is the one who hired him 10 days ago when she saw him in the church parking lot with his truck - without telling us and for a job that was already done in May. This guy phones me, as it turned out a half hour before he even got to her house, to tell me she needs a whole new foundation (Huh? He's supposed to be laying tar in her driveway in the space between her driveway and the house because he said she complained that the water seeps into the house when it rains), then after he gets there she threatens to call the police on him because he won't leave her property and he tells me she won't let him do the job. I told him since *she* is the one who hired him and *she* is the homeowner (We had a fight with him over the weekend and even stopped payment on checks she gave him last Thursday), if she doesn't want him to do the work to just leave and not do it. He insisted my husband call him ASAP. When I called her back 10 minutes later she tells me he did put the tar down even before he called me. She stopped him when he tried do something to the foundation itself. She still has no memory of meeting him in church, hiring him, or even him being at her house last week putting down the driveway sealant (for the third time in 18 months. He's the third guy she hired on her own to do this job because she doesn't like having puddles in the driveway.) and her giving him 2 checks.

Isn't Alzheimer's Disease wonderful - NOT!

When my husband finally got out of his meeting at work and phoned the guy himself, he first denied calling me at all, then admitted he called once, then finally twice, but denied telling me she needed a new foundation, says he completed the job with no problem and only waved to the old lady, didn't even talk to her (Gee, then why did he call me from her kitchen phone and I heard her screaming at him to get out of her house in the background and he then handed the phone to her so I can talk to her to try calm her down?).

Now my husband has to meet this guy in a (well lit) drug store parking lot after work to pay him, instead of the guy mailing us the bill and us paying him back by mail, like they decided on when they spoke Saturday night. Our son (age 25 and a towering 6'1") is going with him, just to make sure things go quickly and legitimately and they get out of there as fast as possible.

And my cardiologist told me to avoid stressful situations. I don't even want to know what my blood pressure is about now.

When my guys get back from their rendezvous later we'll have rice and veggies for dinner with some cut up seitan.

As for last night's breast of tofu, the texture didn't feel much different from when I pressed it with my cast iron pans, so next time I'll let it press a bit longer. That rice flour coating does taste delicious, so texture didn't matter much.

Monday, October 12, 2009

VeganMoFo Day 12 - New Toy

A few weeks ago I was making a tofu dish and was doing my usual pressing of the 'fu with paper towels, shallow plates, and a cast iron skillet. As usual, I had to keep returning to the kitchen because the "CLANG" as the pan slipped off the tofu and landed on the floor could be heard clear across the apartment. On that particular day my husband was home and was getting annoyed at the interruptions to his television watching (We both love grade Z horror and sci-movies and I don't begrudge him his brain candy on days off work - he deserves them) and asked if there's a better way to do the task.

"Well, yeah!" I replied, "but it's gonna cost ya about $40 with shipping," and I showed him the TofuXpress web site.

I've drooled over this handy dandy gadget the first time it was mentioned on the PPK during the summer but could never justify the cost. Come on! The shipping cost almost as much as the item itself!

He told me to go ahead and order it, that it'll be worth the price to not have to hear that cast iron pan fall onto the floor any more. So I did, and it arrived last week. Unfortunately, I had no tofu meals scheduled for last week. But luckily I did have one for today, Bryanna Clark Grogan's Breast of Tofu. Bryanna had done a blog post on this gadget a few weeks ago so I figured she probably used it for this recipe, so what better thing to try it out on, right?

Just like all those graphics above, after about an hour and a half there was as much liquid pressed out, volume-wise, as there was tofu. Cool! I sliced up the 'fu then whipped up the marinade and started to pour it into the same container the tofu was pressed in and realized it's not going to work - the marinade will fit but not the tofu slices. So, off the concoction went into the same Corningware I usually use when marinating tofu.

Tonight for dinner I'll do the breading as written in the recipe but bake instead of grill my 'fu. I already have a pot of veggie soup on (just a few spoons of Bryanna's non-chicken broth powder, a sautéed onion and garlic, and a bag of frozen mixed vegetables simmered for a few hours), and I'll toss some potatoes in to bake, make up a batch of stuffing and open a can of cranberry sauce. If I'm really energetic I might even toss a loaf of bread into the bread machine.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Another Oops

I tried to edit the last message but Blogger won't let me.

The "Oops" is because I remembered that I did make something sweet in the recent past - about a week or so ago I made banana bread when I had loads of brown bananas. Mmmm, banana bread. I again have loads of rapidly browning bananas so guess what I'm gonna make tomorrow. Maybe I'll even sneak to the store and buy some chocolate chips to pop in it, too.

VeganMoFo Day 9 part 2 - Need Sweets, STAT!

I haven't had one sweet thing, with the exception of fresh fruit, for a month tomorrow, and with all the frustrating events of the past week or so I NEED to eat something gooey. All I have in the house is more fresh fruit, not even one teensy chocolate chip, so I whipped out my copy of Vegan With A Vengeance and put together an apple/pear cobbler.

I didn't have enough fruit to fill the called for 9x13" pan so used one of my smaller Corningware casserole dishes. Instead of oil I used Wonderslim fat replacer (it's been discontinued but my remaining jar is still unexpired) instead of oil in the cobbler "crumb" part. I know I should have reduced the amount of topping because I used a dish half the size, but who's going to complain? Certainly not my husband or myself! :)

If you click on the name of the book above it'll take you to the Amazon page where you can click the "Look inside the book" feature, do a search for "cobbler" and get the recipe, if you don't already own VwaV. And if you don't own it, why not? That book revolutionized my vegan cooking! As long as you're on Amazon looking in the book, click to buy it. Even if you're a McDougaller you can easily change most of the recipes around to make them McD-legal.

It's a good thing my husband doesn't want me to "strain" myself doing the dinner dishes (even though I wash dishes and do other housework all day long) - this Corningware is gonna be a bitch to clean because I forgot to spray it with a non-stick spray first. Oops.

VeganMoFo Day 9 - More Tears

We found out yesterday that after the health insurance pays their share, we'll still owe the hospital over $4,000 for our share of the cost of cardiac rehab. For what - 40 minutes of exercise while the nurses sit on the phone or take turns running to the cafeteria for cupcakes and coffee?!? I have a treadmill and exercise bike at home, and I've already been taking my own blood pressure multiple times a day for years now, so why are we paying them $388 for a 45 minute exercise session? There's no other therapy, no counseling with a pharmacist, dietician, cardiologist or therapist - only exercise, something I can do in my own home and DID do before the heart thing. My husband and I will talk it over together this weekend and if we can't figure out how to beg, borrow or steal $4,000 by Monday I'm just not going back. Of course, I've been in a depressed, pissy mood since we got that notice in the mail yesterday. It's been one bitch of a week - no thyroid med increase, jury duty summons, asthma problems from a moldy library book that forced me to take my rescue meds three nights already, a reprimand from one of the rehab nurses to mind my own business when I called her over to help one guy who was turning blue, and now this. I'm ready to ditch it all - the healthy eating, the exercise, the doctors - and just live life to the fullest and hope I do die early, cuz at least I'll die happy with at least a few pennies in my pocket.

Because we were already running on financial fumes even before my expensive hospitalization (Over $75,000 for the 2 day stay, many charges denied by our insurance) we try make every cent count. In the past, any leftovers from dinner would become my lunches during the week. Now, because my guys don't have to eat low sodium but I do, many of the leftovers I can't touch, so our refrigerator is filling up rapidly with their leavings. Instead of our traditional Friday pizza today I'm insisting we eat leftovers - ALL of us. I still have some rice and veggies and that lentil stew that are salt-free so that's mine, and the boys have leftover spaghetti and Poorman's Meal.

When I made this in the past I used Julie's seitan sausages

or veggie dogs and and a jar of regular spaghetti sauce. I tried it recently with the no salt added/low salt tomato sauce and the guys hated the way it tasted, so this week I made it the way they liked it and I ate that lentil stew on Wednesday.

Hopefully we'll get rid of all the leftovers by Monday and I can post a different recipe for VeganMoFo. I feel like such a poser this year, adding nothing new to the thread. :(

Thursday, October 8, 2009

VenanMoFo Day 8 - Hypothyroid

Most likely I've been hypo since childhood. I was born fat, was a round baby, toddler, youth and adult. I found out a few years ago that my thyroid was officially low over 20 years ago but the medical practice that I go to doesn't believe in treating anyone if their TSH is still below 10, and mine was 8 (normal range then was 0.3 to 5.5; the upper limit is a wee bit lower now on the lab slips, but the endocrinology associations want it reduced further still to 3.3). Neither of the docs in that practice believed that a sluggish thyroid contributed to my low pulse rate, high blood pressure, high cholesterol (well, high for a vegan, that is) or excess weight of over 150 pounds above the "healthy" range. Three years ago it hit 7 again and it took a student doctor showing my doc his endocrinology text book before my doc would write a script for the lowest dose of Synthroid possible. In the past 3 years my dosage has been up and down, my TSH has been up and down, and for a three month period last year I was even off all thyroid meds because of what I feel was a lab error (Somehow they had me going from 6 to 0.01 in 6 weeks with no change in dosage). This past summer I was finally switched to natural dessicated thyroid replacement and my dose was increased twice in three months and I was finally feeling human again.

Then my heart thing happened.

And my primary care doc got scared that the thyroid med may have contributed to it and immediately cut my dose in half. I asked the cardiologist about this and he said that's ridiculous, that having a sluggish thyroid may have contributed to it, not a well-controlled one, but my doc won't budge. My TSH is now back up to 5.8 but he refuses to increase the dosage back to where it was before, even though my blood pressure is again creeping up, my pulse is again dropping down into the 30's at rest, I can barely stay awake, everything aches, and my rosacea is making my face look like a hormonal teenager's. He said if my TSH is still down in 2 months when I have the lab repeated he'll increase it.

Of course, I'm still recuperating from the heart thing, going to cardiac rehab three times a week and leaving the place looking as if I just walked out a sauna. The nurses are getting upset because my blood pressure is higher than it was when I first started coming three weeks ago and it should be lower. They also noticed that I'm getting tired out much sooner and not putting as much effort into the workout as I was a few weeks ago. I explained to them about the thyroid. I have a feeling that one of them is going to make a phone call to my doc and give him hell, or tell the cardiologist what's happening and have him phone my primary care doc and have the dosage increased.

What has all this to do with VeganMoFo? I'm just too pooped to cook elaborate meals, or even most everyday fare, lately. My fatigue is causing me to nap at least 3 mornings a week after rehab and every day in the afternoon. I'm falling asleep while watching Jeopardy at 7pm, too, then waking up multiple times during the night, sometimes waking at 3am and can't get back to sleep before the 4:45am alarm.

Yesterday's stew was great - dump everything into a pot and let it simmer all afternoon. Today my guys are getting spaghetti and I'll eat some leftover stew, as I'm in no mood to make pasta sauce from scratch (none of the lower salt brands in the stores here come without oil or cheese in it). I'm not even making the bread for it - my husband will grab a loaf on the way home from work.

I know I just saw the doc Monday, but maybe I'll phone him later when he has hours and beg him again to increase the dosage. I can't keep this up for another 2 months!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

VenanMoFo Day 7 - It's Soup Weather! Part 2

I've got this simmering away on the stove right now and it smells delicious! I'm trying so hard not to take a taste - one of my weaknesses. A taste usually turns into a whole serving size bowl before the cooking is done. :(
I'm not bothering to blenderize this. As I mentioned before, those red lentils cook up some creamy and smooth, and besides, my family like a soup with a little bite to it.
One other modification was to add some spinach, about half a bag of frozen chopped (about 2 cups). I was going to use a different red lentil soup recipe for today's dinner, one that was almost identical to this one except it had spinach added and used crushed tomatoes instead of fresh, so I figured it would go with this soup, too.

VenanMoFo Day 7 - It's Soup Weather!

And with the cool weather comes a new recipe from the official Rice Diet web site:

Turkish Lentil Tomato Soup


* 2 large onions, medium diced
* 2 large carrots, medium diced
* 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 2 teaspoons ground coriander
* 2 teaspoons ground fenugreek
* 2 large tomatoes, cored and chopped
* 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
* 1 cup red lentils (soaked overnight)
* 5 cups salt free, vegetable stock
* 1/4 cup fresh dill
* 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil


Heat oil in a medium sauté pan. Add onions and carrots and sauté until
tender. Add garlic and the remaining seasonings except the dill. Add
tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Add lentils and vegetable stock.
Cover and cook on low heat until lentils are soft, approximately 30
minutes. Remove from heat and place mixture into a blender or food
processor. Blend until smooth. Stir in half of the dill. Serve hot.
Garnish with remaining dill.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 6 servings; serving size 1 cup.

Each serving contains approximately: Calories: 197 (5% from fat);
Protein: 11 g; Fat: 3.1 g; Carbohydrate: 23.3 g; Cholesterol: 0; Sodium:
37.1 mg.
I've never soaked red lentils - or *any* lentils - overnight like other
beans or legumes. They're so small and soft they'll just turn to mush
before you can even rinse them off the next morning.

Also, when blending, I always use one of those immersion blenders and do
it right in the pot. Much neater and safer than ladling hot soup back
and forth. And unless you have a gigantic food processor, I wouldn't use
one of those to blend. Remember that the center column, the one that
goes over the post on the processor itself, is only about half the
height of the container, so if you put this entire recipe in a 11 cup
food processor whose fill line is about the 4-cup level, a lot of it
will spill out the center hole onto the machinery. Stick with a blender.

I'll be making this soup today. I have no idea what fenugreek is other
than an herb that I don't have in my spice cabinet
so I'll be leaving it out. I'll also use a can of no salt added tomatoes
instead of fresh, as we've had lousy fresh produce in this area for ages
and I'm not about to spend $3/lb on 2 tasteless tomatoes when I can buy
a can of diced for under a dollar. Of course, I'll omit the oil and sauté in a bit of water.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

VenanMoFo Day 6 = Cookies

That Isa is such a tease! Her (and Terry's) cookie book won't be out for another month, and here she is blogging all about cookies! ARGH!

Not that I would get that much use out of it when I do buy it. I doubt too many (if any) recipes will be McDougall-legal, but I'll probably make a few batches of those delicious baked globules of sugary goo for my family. My husband is the original Cookie Monster. LOL

That doesn't mean there are no cookies suitable on the McDougall food plan out there. Here are some that are officially allowed from early McDougall cookbooks:

* Exported from MasterCook *

Banana Raisin Cookies

Recipe By :
Janice Morikawa
Serving Size : 16 Preparation Time :0:25
Categories : Cookies McDougall Acceptable

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 banana -- ripe, mashed
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins, seedless
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup apple juice -- or water

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the remaining
ingredients and mix well. Batter will be stiff.

3. Drop by teaspoons onto a non-stick cookie sheet (or a sheet lined with
parchment paper) and flatten slightly.

4. Bake at 375 F for 15 minutes.

5. Store in an air-tight container

"McDougall Health Supporting Cookbook, Vol. 2"

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving: 82 Calories; 1g Fat (6.7% calories
from fat); 2g Protein; 18g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg
Cholesterol; 56mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Fruit; 0 Fat;
0 Other Carbohydrates.

Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

* Exported from MasterCook *

Peanut Butter Cookies

Recipe By :
Elaine French
Serving Size : 48 Preparation Time :0:20
Categories : Cookies McDougall Acceptable

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup soy flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup peanut butter -- natural style

1. In a medium size bowl, mix flours, baking powder, and soda.

2. In a large bowl, mix applesauce, water, honey, and peanut butter until

3. Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture and mix well.

4. Drop by tablespoons onto cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork dipped in

5. Bake at 300 degrees F for 15 minutes.

"McDougall Health Supporting Cookbook, Vol. 2"

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving: 70 Calories; 2g Fat (28.3% calories
from fat); 2g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 0mg
Cholesterol; 43mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0
Fruit; 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

and one that hasn't appeared in any McDougall cookbook but are just as safe:

* Exported from MasterCook *

Fat-Free Oatmeal Cookies

Recipe By :Susan Voisin
Serving Size : 12 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Cookies Snacks

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 cup oatmeal -- quick oats
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup Whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 cup Brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Raisins
1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
2 teaspoons EnerG Egg Replacer
2 tablespoons Water

Preheat the oven to 375.

Mix the dry ingredients and the raisins. Mix the egg replacer with the
water. Add it and the apple sauce to the dry ingredients. Drop onto a
non-stick cookie sheet (lightly sprayed with oil, if necessary). Bake
for 12-15 minutes.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving: 118 Calories; 1g Fat (4.4% calories
from fat); 2g Protein; 27g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg
Cholesterol; 146mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Fruit; 0 Fat;
1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

NOTES : Yield: 12 cookies
Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Hmmm, today is kind of filled up already, but tomorrow after rehab I have no plans, and it's gonna be a damp, rainy day, so a batch of cookies just may do the trick. Thanks for the suggestion, Isa. I'm no longer mad at you. :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

VeganMoFo 2009 Day 5 - Fall Foods

We took the air conditioners out of the windows over the weekend and right now I'm sitting here enjoying a beautiful breeze that's causing all my wind chimes to tinkle so loudly my son hears them in his room on the other side of the apartment. Fall is HERE!

And Fall weather deserves Fall foods, so today for dinner I'm making Butternut Squash Soup from Vegan With A Vengeance, Pumpkin Baked Ziti with Caramelized Onions and Sage Crust Topping from Veganomicon, and we'll top it off with Pumpkin Muffins by Mary McDougall from the McDougall Made Irresistable DVD for dessert while watching tv tonight. Heroes! Castle! How I Met Your Mother! Big Bang! Thank goodness for VCR's! I'm still trying to catch up with all the shows I taped last week!

Some of the recipe pages have a photo so I won't repeat them here.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

VenanMoFo Day 4

I did take photos of those baked beans, but the camera is in the bedroom and my husband is sleeping. They'll get posted tomorrow sometime.

The beans were great, but a bit too sweet for my taste, so next time I'll halve the sweeteners. And because Letha said hers came out burnt, I added a second can of no-salt-added tomato sauce right at the beginning. Not one bean burned onto
the Corningware. The beans plus a salad made a great rainy day supper.

Letha's baked beans
(Here's the pic, as promised. Sorry it's so dark.)

Speaking of Corningware, after the cardiologist Thursday we hit the outlet mall and visited one of my
favorite stores in it, the Corningware store. I bought the cutest little 6 ounce bakeware bowls! You'll see one in the bean photo when I get it up. One of the weight loss blogs I read recommended using the smallest plates and bowls possible for your meals, and if you want more, just go and get it, but you have to think about whether you're really hungry or not. Dr. McDougall encourages that. In the past, I would have dished out at least 1 1/2 - 2 cups of those baked beans into a bowl, probably on top of a cup or more of brown rice. Yesterday, that 6-ounce serving with the salad was perfect. Sure, I got hungry again a few hours later and had a banana, but for a meal, that was all that I needed.

Today is Sunday, and in this house that means burgers. If I can't find a decent frozen one (meaning the sodium content is low enough) I may buy the ingredients to make Mary McDougall's McVeggie Burgers. They look a lot
like the Dr. Praeger California Burgers I used to be able to get but are no longer available here. I'll be sure to snap some photos if I go that route.

Well, I've been up for 2 hours now so I better
get breakfast started. Pre-heart thing I would have one of Amy's Breakfast Burritos, but at 540 mg sodium in one little burrito that's now on the no-no list, so I guess my special Sunday breakfast will be a baked sweet potato/yam today. (sigh) I miss being able to eat all the vegan foods I liked.

Friday, October 2, 2009

VeganMoFo Day 2 - McDougalling and My Heart

First of all, let me silently curse out Blogger for deleting a post I spent an hour writing - complete with links, a recipe and a photo - because I tried to preview it to see where the software deposited said photo. Now I have to start all over again.

If you look down at my post of September 17th you'll see that I was recently hospitalized for a weird cardiac myopathy called Takotsubo Syndrome. I went into the emergency room with high blood pressure (220/110) and a pressure in the chest which I had attributed to my asthma (the landlord put some air freshener sprayer in the back hallway and even my food tasted like that crap smelled. My son and I were both wheezing and coughing for a few days and we were both complaining of the same chest and back pressure, something we both have been having for almost 20 years now.). The EKG was fine, my blood pressure was back to normal within a half hour of plopping my butt on the stretcher, and the pain and pressure was all gone before the intake information was completed. But the cardiac enzymes were slightly elevated (troponin level was 1.7, for you nurses and docs out there) so I was immediately slapped with a diagnosis of impending myocardial infarction (heart attack, for you non-medical people) and was scheduled for cardiac catheterization and admitted to the telemetry unit and prepped. The cardiologist made a cursory appearance at my bedside before the procedure and we spoke briefly about the low fat vegan McDougall plan that I was already following. He didn't believe me. He said people on McDougall (or Ornish, Barnard, Esselstyn - he actually knew them!) don't get heart attacks.

He was right. I didn't have a heart attack. My coronary arteries were as clear as can be and there were no ischemic (scarred) areas. What I did have was something called Takotsubo Syndrome, a.k.a. coronary stunning, broken heart syndrome, and a few other names. It was discovered in Japan in the 1990's and named "Takotsubo" because what happens to the heart resembles a Japanese octopus (tako) trap (tsubo). According to the Takotsubo Syndrome web site, it happens in post-menopausal women (check) who have been under a lot of stress (check) and have anger issues (check again). This is my favorite quote from that web site:
". . .
occur in post-menopausal women under some form of extreme, exceptional and prolonged mental stress,... with no good way out, no relief and often feeling deep resentment . . ."
Oh, yeah! That suits me to a "T" for sure! Money worries, worrying about whether or not my husband will get laid off, worrying whether or not my son with the Master's in electrical engineering will ever get a job (He's been unemployed since graduation over a year ago), worrying about an elderly aunt with Alzheimer's Disease who lives an hour away and refuses to move into assisted living (We spent our entire summer vacation trying to get her into a place, only to have her sign herself out of rehab and go home), and the number one worry on the hit parade, my weight. I've been on diets practically every day of my 55-plus years of life. Unless I ate 1000 calories a day or less, I would gain weight.

I even gained weight on McDougall's Maximum Weight Loss version of his food plan unless I dropped calories to 1000.

So, here I was, a bundle of nerves, stressed to my limit with life in general, then having my doctor nag me incessantly about my weight. No matter what I did, he was mad. I gained a few pounds (when my TSH rose to hypothyroid levels at the same time my plantar fasciitis prevented me from exercising much) and he was mad. I stayed the same weight eating 1200 calories but again, no exercise because of foot pain, and he was mad. I lost 20 pounds in one month (much of it water weight because I had gained 5 pounds overnight before the previous weigh-in from salty spaghetti sauce) and he was mad. I followed the food plan he *insisted* I follow (2000 calories SAD) and obviously gained weight, and even though I warned him ahead of time it would happen he was mad.

I don't need this added stress on top of all my other stress!

Then the elderly relative mentioned above not only refuses to let the homemaker into the house but calls the cops on the roofer who came to do an estimate, even after we put signs all over her house reminder her the roofer was coming.

And even though I was again starving myself on 1000 calories a day my weight went up again.

And my heart exploded. Well, that's how my family and I like to describe it. The ventricle wall is bulging and weakened - Takotsubo Syndrome. Brought on by unrelenting stress with no hope of reprieve.

The cardiologist is happy I'm sticking to McDougall, but insists I will lose weight on it. I reminded him yesterday that I haven't lost weight on it in the 10-plus years I've been on it already. He says to exercise more. I'm going to the cardiac rehab that he insisted I go to and I'm exercising as much as the nurses there tell me to safely do. He even said before I started not to do anything extra, do only what they ordered. I told them this morning what the doc said and they said the same thing - I'm already doing the max I'm safely allowed to do.

". . . occur in post-menopausal women under some form of extreme, exceptional and prolonged mental stress,... with no good way out, no relief and often feeling deep resentment . . ."

Don't these doctors realize that insisting I go to extremes to lose weight, even the 5-plus decades of yo-yo dieting, most likely contributed to my current heart condition? And don't they realize that if I continue to stress over the lack of weight loss, even though I'm doing everything right, that it's going to prevent me from healing and may lead to even more serious problems in the future? Nope. They're clueless.

In the three 1/2 weeks since I weighed myself the day before entering the hospital I've lost 14 pounds. Since discharge 3weks ago tomorrow I lost 6 pounds. I see my primary care doc Monday for lab test results (and hopefully get my thyroid med increased back to pre-hospitalization level. He immediately cut it in half upon discharge wondering if that had something to do with my problem. Quite the opposite- too low a thyroid level can further stress the body leading to even more harm.) and a weigh-in. I know he'll be mad, as he wanted to see a 5 pound a week loss, claiming that now he'll have proof that I'm exercising and naturally I had to be lying before, so now the weight should be melting right off. He still refuses to believe I was exercising before my heart thing! So frustrating. So stressful!

But tomorrow is the weekend and I'll have my husband home for 2 days with no plans to see the elderly relative to shop, cook, clean, or take her anywhere or let any contractor in. She finally agreed to the homemaker, although in the 2 weeks she's been going there all she's done is sit and have coffee with her - no housework, no shopping, not even out for a walk. My husband told the aunt we're no longer going to do her shopping and that we're not coming to visit this weekend. It's been 2 weeks since we last did grocery shopping for her (Yes, one week after my discharge I was grocery shopping for this woman!) so I know she's getting low on many items, especially bread, like and orange juice, so she better send that woman to the store and make her earn her $21/hour fee!

See, I get all riled up over things! Eating the healthy McDougall way and going to cardiac rehab for exercise are only 2 parts of my recovery. Stress prevention and relief is the other, and as long as elderly relatives are around and as long as doctors are going to harp on me to lose weight, I doubt I'll ever achieve full health again.

But back to VeganMoFo and food, glorious food! I'm the type of person who lives to eat, and tehre are plenty of tasty and healthy foods available on the McDougall program. Yesterday I mentioned the pumpkin bread. Well, it never got made. We discovered that we still had almost a dozen bananas getting nice and brown and soft so my husband requested banana bread, instead. I've written about the Best Banana Bread from Anne Cryle Esselstyn a number of times during last year's VeganMoFo so I'll just link to it and say no more about it. A photo is better, anyway:
Best Banana Bread

Today is Friday, our family's usual pizza day. Once again my guys will have their pie and I'll finish up some leftovers in the fridge. I make way too much rice and veggies on Tuesdays that by the time it's finished it's time to make it again (every Tuesday, at my son's request).

In the oven this afternoon I'll have a pot of baked beans going. The recipe is from Letha's MWLP blog and it's the first time I'm using it, so keep your fingers crossed. We used to eat Bush's Baked Vegetarian Beans all the time, but with my new sodium restrictions that's now off-limits to me. I'll try remember to snap a picture when I take it out of the oven later. Tomorrow I'll probably open a can of Bush's for my husband and have the freshly made beans for myself for lunch and dinner. Just plop them on salad greens and serve with some soup (I have leftover Double Pea Soup from Veganomicon Double Pea Soup in the fridge for myself and a few cans of tomato hubby can finish up.) and it's a great Fall weather meal.

Sunday's dinner hasn't been decided on yet, but it's usually burgers on whole wheat rolls with tons of lettuce and tomatoes and a squirt of ketchup. The guys usually ask for fries with that and I usually say No, but maybe this week I'll give them a treat.

They've been so good to me since my heart thing, refusing to let me do any heavy lifting, trying to protect me from stressful circumstances, like hospital bills (which stresses me out even more because the last thing I saw was a notice from the insurance company saying they're refusing to pay for the second day). My husband finally relented when he caught me crying over finances the other night and told me all he's done, that the day is covered, as is all the other stuff they initially denied (that I didn't even know was denied because he kept the news from me).

The cardiologist gave me a clean bill of health yesterday and told me I have no restrictions, to go out and live life to the fullest. Finally my husband is relaxing and is telling me things (like about the insurance brew-ha-ha) and is letting me do things on my own again, like go to the grocery store or laundromat. It'll be so nice to get out again without an escort! But they were as scared as I was those days in the hospital, so I have to cut them some slack. And banana bread. And pizza. And surprise them with oven fries. It's the little things that make life worth living.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

VeganMoFo 2009 Here! Nothing to Say

Sorry, but it caught me on the day I have to make my first cardiologist visit and I'm a nervous wreck about that, so for dinner I planned just spaghetti for my menfolk and leftover rice and veggies for myself.

Tell you what, if I get a good report (And I see no reason why I shouldn't except that my nerves are driving my blood pressure up) I'll make this McDougall-legal quickbread from Jan Tz, in honor of October.


Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
Grease an 8" x 8" square cake pan.

Combine the dry ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour (I use a combination white whole wheat and AP)
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda

In a separate bowl, mix the liquid ingredients thoroughly:
3/4 cup hot water, soymilk, or ricemilk
1 Tbs. + 1 tsp. white vinegar
1 cup canned pumpkin pie filling (see below)

When the oven reaches temp., add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix quickly and do not over-mix.

Dump into prepared pan.

Bake about 30 minutes -- toothpick test for doneness.

Remove from oven and let sit in pan 10 minutes.

Remove from pan and cool completely on rack.

Slice when completely cooled.

Variation: If you use pumpkin pie filling, note that it contains sugar already; you may want to reduce or eliminate the added sugar in this recipe, according to taste. If you want to use plain canned pumpkin, then use the sugar, and add 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice or 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, or according to taste.

You could also add 1/2 cup raisins to this. Soak 'em first to soften, then drain, and add in with the liquid ingredients.
I sometimes dress this cake up by taking a paper doily and dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar, then remove the doily to get a nice lacy design. My guys don't care, as long as the cake tastes great.

This particular version of the recipe came from a posting on the old McDougall recipe board which compiled all of Jan's quickbread recipes into one place. I don't know of many McDougallers who could have survived without Jan's recipes!

And now Isa is working on a new cookbook containing lower fat vegan recipes! Yippee! I'm sad I couldn't be a tester - I didn't volunteer because a lot of the more exotic ingredients in her other books are unavailable to me, like tamarind paste and even plain old tempeh - so I knew I would be a bad tester. I'm so jealous of those who made the cut.

Better go get ready for the doc - 8am appointment and I have to be there early to fill out all the new-patient paperwork. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tasty AND Nutritious!

Even with my recent cardiac problem of Takotsubo Syndrome

I'll still be participating in VeganMoFo in October and besides making everything McDougall safe I'll be giving a little tweak here and there to make them lowest in salt. I guess I'll be digging out the Rice Diet books to find the lowest levels of sodium processed products, like canned tomatoes and beans.

But right now, I'm supposed to be taking it easy, so if my husband catches me on the computer I'm dead, so I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

VeganMoFo 2009 Coming Soon

Instead of November, VeganMoFo

is going to be in October this year. Isa made the proclamation on the PPK this week about it HERE.

And this link will take you to the blogs that participated last year.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

At least until I get lab work drawn in 2 weeks I'm sticking to strict McDougall again. Still no weight loss, my joint pain hasn't improved, my fatigue and brain fog are as bad as ever, but at least the lack of dairy the past few weeks has improved my sleep because I'm snoring less.

Here's a few of the meals I'm making this week:

Sweet Morocan Stew

Sweet Moroccan Stew
Marla's photo - my husband dived in before I could take a picture of mine last night. I served ours over rice, as I can't stand the smell of couscous.

Picadillo Pie

Marla's photo, not mine
Photo by Marla. Hopefully I could get a shot before my husband grabs the serving spoon when I make this tomorrow.

Italian Garbanzo Stew

I would have sworn I had a pic of this from when I made it in the past. Oh, well. I'll have to try to get one this week. I have the new camera so I may as well use it for food porn.

Irish Vegetable Stew

Irish Vegetable Stew

Again, Marla's shot from the recipe's page.

After months of S.A.D. foods, my family hasn't been too happy about this change back to healthy vegan meals. My husband got used to tuna casserole, chicken, even the occasional kielbasa meal again; my son started missing his meatloaf, hamburgers and mac and cheese instantly, so he refuses to eat the veg foods and makes his own meals. And I have to agree with them.

The food is tasty, and probably the healthiest in the world, but even after eating until my stomach was full I just wasn't satisfied and was still, well, HUNGRY, and so was my husband. For instance, the Moroccan stew recipe should feed about 4 to 6 people, as written. I doubled the veggies and served loads of brown rice (my husband took about 3 cups of rice with his first serving, about 2 with his second, I had a total of three cups) and the only leftovers we have fit into a small container, about 2 cups of the stew and 1 cup of rice. We both had salads before the meal, and immediately after finishing my husband grabbed a package of fig newton bars and ate a whole sleeve, he was still hungry. I grabbed a banana maybe an hour later when I couldn't stand the hunger pains any more.

Last week we ate low fat veg, but most of the meals were pasta-based. This week I'm aiming for all MWLP legal meals, but I don't think we're going to last if we're as hungry after the meal as we were before it. Tonight's the Irish stew, and I'll double the cabbage and carrots. Knowing my husband, I'll have to pop on a loaf of bread to go with it, so I'll decide later whether it's going to be a loaf of whole wheat or a traditional Irish Soda bread, as Marla suggests. Hopefully that will keep him satisfied enough to forgo the cookies, at least for a few hours.

And hopefully after another week or 2 our tastebuds will change again so all this food will be as satisfying as they are tasty and healthy.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Already moved

OK, I already moved the veg recipe pages to the Tripod account that already had my McDougall recipe pages - the regular McDougall Plan and the Maximum Weight Loss Plan.


I just found out that Yahoo is closing GeoCities, their web page service. Many of the recipes I linked to in this blog were on GeoCities pages. When the service stops and the pages disappear this summer, if you click on any of those old links you'll get a "page not found" type of error message. Sorry.

So now the hunt begins for another web site service. Tripod still exists, but I wasn't too happy with them and moved a lot of my stuff off of there and onto other GeoCities pages. I was told there are others out there but they're smaller and even less trustworthy than Tripod, so I may not have a choice.

I remember reading a few years ago that Google was starting up a GooglePages to compete with GeoCities but never looked into it. I guess now's the time.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Not Much Happening

I guess you can surmise by the lack of posts that I haven't been trying any new recipes for a while. My husband and son preferred to stay in the rut and eat a lot of pasta meals and a lot of our old faithfuls. We even slipped away from strict McDougalling for a while as I tried another food plan at my doctor's suggestion to jump-start weight loss (Didn't work - I gained 10 pounds instead of losing any. I told him that I was eating low cal, low fat vegan and that 1600 calories would be too much for me, especially if I eat S.A.D. and add fats back in my diet!). My son even gained weight because the meals I made for him and my husband were a bit heavier than they were used to, and because of that he felt sluggish most days and cut back on his exercise.

But now we're back. The kid and I are exercising again and the whole family is (mostly) back on McDougall. The kid and my husband are still enjoying their non-McDougall night time snacks, a habit I could never break them out of, but at least all our meals are back to being McD-friendly.

One of the places I discovered while off McDougall eating is Clara Cannucciari and her Great Depression recipes videos on YouTube. Poorman's Meal is a favorite of this family, as long as I skip the olive oil and use vegan sausage, seitan or TVP instead of meat-based hot dogs. If my son isn't partaking of the meal I just use a can of beans. Peas and Pasta is fine as-is, again, ignoring the oil. After watching Clara I attempted to get our own elderly relative (age 90) to open up about who cooking and life was like during the Depression in her own family, but her mind keeps drifting and all I got out of her were some confused ramblings about a job her mother had back in the 1960's instead of her own life in the 1930's. Each week I prod her a bit more, hoping the clouds will lift and the gate to her mind will reopen for a bit.

I made 2 tubes of seitan using the recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen web site (minus the oil, of course) but roasting it according to the directions in Susan Voisin's pepperoni recipe, which was based on Joanne Stepaniak's recipe in the Vegan Vittles book. I really need to get myself a toaster oven before summer sets in so I can continue to make this and not heat the entire apartment up. My husband makes sandwiches of this for work every day, and I also chop some slice sup to add to salads, casseroles and soups. It's a staple I never do without and try keep a roll or 2, plain and flavored, in the freezer at all times.

I've also been trying out some baking recipes. My husband wanted something different so I found these Maple Oat Muffins from the Vegan Sweet Tooth blog. Let me tell you, "sweet" is definitely the word for these! Next time I'm omitting all the brown sugar and reducing the syrup to about a quarter cup instead of 3/4. I had a hard time even getting these out of my mini-muffin pans, and in the past nothing ever stuck, and I've done a lot of fat-free, whole grain baking in recent years. I think I'll be sticking to the Esselstyn Best Banana Bread from now on. I've made that in both muffin (regular, mini- AND Texas-sized) and loaf shapes and it's always a hit in this house.

Next week we're already committed to eating a few off-plan meals, thanks to the holiday and relatives, but after that we should be back to (near) total compliance to the McDougall program again..

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


The seitan sucks. I kept it at a simmer - Isa and the PPK gals taught me that - but this thing looked like a steaming pile of grey brains in that cheesecloth. There was no cohesion - the whole thing was crumbly, and I remember reading somewhere that this happened to others, who compared it to under-cooked ground beef. Yep, that's about it.

I thought maybe I can wrap it up in foil and toss it into the oven, maybe that would do something to it, but before I could do that I tasted some of the crumbly pieces. Yecch! It tasted nothing like corned beef at all. I chucked the whole mess into the garbage. I'm really disappointed and now kicking myself for not picking up a hunk or real corned beef to cook, one of the few meat meals we eat all year.

I hope my husband won't be too disappointed. If he is, he can always call Blimpie. Our local franchise (Blimpie Base #2, IIRC. #1 is in Hoboken, about 10 miles away) makes corned beef sandwiches every year on Saint Patrick's Day. Of course, there are also about a dozen mom-and-pop delis between our house and Blimpie, but they don't deliver like the Blimpie Base does.

All those spices, wasted. I finished up the caraway seeds and only have a bout a teaspoon of the fennel seeds left. My hand is sore from crushing them in the mortar and pestle I've had since my nursing school days back in the 1970's. My sink was so greasy I had to take a Brillo to it, and the bowls and utensils needed a good scrub with grease-cutting Dawn to get them clean again. That'll teach me from veering away form tried and true recipes. That stew just better taste good or I'm really screwed as far as today's dinner goes.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

This Irish gal is making a traditional Irish dinner today.

For starters, I'm making a stew loosely based on this recipe from the old McDougall recipe forum on VegSource. Very loosely. In fact, all that recipe did was put the idea of adding cans of tomatoes into the stew. My stew is about 6 Yukon Gold potatoes (peeled and chopped), a small head of cabbage (chopped), 6 carrots (peeled and chopped), 2 onions (chopped), 2 cans of plum tomatoes (broken into pieces), a few cloves of chopped garlic, and about a quart of veggie broth. Just plop it all together in the biggest pot you have (I had to spread it over over 2 pots - Yikes!) and let it simmer all day so the house smells fantastic and the concoction cooks down to this melt-in-your mouth Irish stew.

Every stew needs its bread, and I'm making a plain loaf of whole wheat with some instant potato flakes tossed in for flavor.

And to go with the stew and bread, corned beef seitan from the recipe by Brian McCarthy found here on Everyday Dish. I've been meaning to make this since I first saw the recipe a year or so ago on that site but never got around to it. This year, it's now sitting in my biggest pot simmering away. This is why my stew had to get split over my next 2 smaller pots. I really have to get myself a nice big soup pot.

For the past week I've been playing all my Irish/celtic music CD's and even watched Feet of Flames twice to get myself in the holiday mood. Man, I love how Michael Flatley dances, but that man has an ego the size of all Ireland! LOL

Monday, February 23, 2009

Luscious Lemon Cake

So many people on the McDougall forums are talking about the Luscious Lemon Cake by Anne Esselstyn that I just have to make it myself today. If I can get my camera to work I'll take a photo of it before my husband devours it.

I need to do this. Ever since October I've been drifting too far away from the McDougall program, mostly because my husband would bring home all kinds of cakes, donuts and pastries from the bakery on his way home Fridays after work. I know he has a very stressful job, and in this economy everyone is on pins and needles, expecting to be laid off with no notice, but this stress eating has got to stop. If it can't be stopped, at least I can make it a bit healthier. He also had started requesting lots of meat-based dishes instead of the low-fat vegan ones we'd been eating, and I was only too happy to oblige.

But lately our health has been suffering. My sinuses have been so bad I can't breathe out my nose at all. My arthritis has been so painful it keeps me awake at night. My husband started complaining that the gouty arthritis in his feet was acting up again. And I won't even tell you how bad things have been on the scale lately. :(

Over the weekend I cleaned out freezer out of all non-McDougall foods, and in doing so discovered half an Esselstyn banana bread and a log of Susan V's Seitan Pepperoni. We ate all the banana bread, and that prompted the need to make more healthy munchies. Also, my husband realized that I'm not the only one getting all kinds of sinus trouble from the dairy we've been eating lately and is looking forward to returning to slabs of spicy seitan in his sandwiches again. I'll be making up another 2 batches to keep in the freezer today, too.

It's so good to be returning to McDougall eating! And now that my husband is getting back on track with me he'll stop sabotaging my efforts like he's been doing recently. In the three days we've been off dairy and fatty SAD foods again my sinuses are starting to clean and our arthritis pains have lessened. My husband feels so good he told me that he's going to join me in cheese-free pizzas from now on, and I felt so much better while doing this morning's exercises. I really hope I remember this when I start sliding off the plan again. If only I could find a good tasting seitan kielbasy recipe.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

DVD Review: Vegan Cooking for Animal Lovers

We finally did something this past weekend that we spoke of doing for a couple of years now but our budget couldn't handle - we joined Netflix. We already have over 100 DVDs in the queue, and when we chose our first three, I popped this one in: Vegan Cooking for Animal Lovers. I read about this DVD a while ago but could never find it for rental anywhere local, and at that time I could only find it for sale in one place on-line and I wasn't going to buy a recipe DVD from someone unknown to me. To this day I still can't find his recipe son-line any where.

Anyway, if you're new to vegan cooking and don't need to lose any weight, this is an okay DVD. Some of the recipes look great, like Tamil Tiger Rice and Mosh Pit-tatoes, but are way too rich for me. Everything he sautés is drowned in Earth Balance margarine; he insists on full-fat coconut milk for the two recipes that require it; the salads that use Veganaise use a LOT of it. Dr. McDougall would have a spaz attack just watching this video!

Each dish made comes with an on-screen recipe directions, but as other reviewers have mentioned, a printable file with the recipes would have been better. He doesn't always follow the recipe, either. "3 cans" of coconut milk (no size given) in print turns into 3 cups of coconut milk when he says it when cooking, yet it looked like a heck of a lot more than 3 cups in the bowl. He has the weirdest way of peeling and cutting cucumbers, then he uses what he said to trim off because it was bitter, anyway.

"Awesome!" Get used to that word. I think he says it at least a hundred times, not only while cooking but also when visiting a HFS in Portland at the end of the video. Also, he drops a lot of F-bombs, but no more than my son and his friends do, all of them around this guy's age (early 20's).

If I had unlimited funds and didn't need to lose over 100 pounds, I would certainly purchase this video for my collection. If nothing else it would help the poor guy pay his rent after his room mate stole his half and he wouldn't have to eat the extra-spicy sloppy joes to keep his belly warm while living under the bridge after being served with the eviction notice. (He explains it all in the DVD)

And hey, he even gave a shout-out to the PPK! Come on, ya gotta love a guy who does this!

If you can afford it, buy it. If you can't afford it and belong to Netflix, rent it. My disk will be heading back later today so it'll be available again on Monday, if this is their only copy in NJ.