Tuesday, November 30, 2010

VeganMoFo Day 30 The Last Day and Rice Medley Recipe

I've been a bad VeganMoFo-er, but that's what happens when something like this happens on a month full of fasting for lab work, birthdays and holidays, vacation and doctor days, and a full pantry and freezer. Having a family who refuses to experiment doesn't help much, either.

But don't worry - I promise to post a bit more in the future. Isa's new book is out and Amazon still says "not yet shipped" even though many PPKers already got theirs. When it does come, I plan on making at least one meal a week from it, and if I can get a pic snapped before my husband dives in you'll see the results of my labors. I will have to fiddle around with them a bit to eliminate oils and such to make them McDougall-legal, but since they're supposed to be low-fat already it shouldn't take much.

Thanks to the more conscientious VeganMoFo-ers out there, and thanks for all your posts and recipes. See you all on the PPK and your blogs.

Wait a minute! I was just at Amazon to grab the book's link and see that my order now says Shipping Soon with an expected delivery date of 12/2/2010. And to think I pre-ordered it way back in June (?) and paid for 2-days shipping. (sigh) WHY do I even bother with Amazon pre-orders after being burned by them so many times? This is now the fifth pre-order (and the third book by Isa) with premium shipping I paid for and the product was NOT delivered on-time or even early, as other PPKer's got.

Oh, well. As for today's dinner, a simple rice dish from Mary McDougall. As is my usual, I'll use no-salt added tomatoes and skip the cilantro. This complete recipe usually makes 2 servings, not the 6 to 8 the recipe says. Who eats only a half cup or so of rice & veggie mixture for a meal?

* Exported from MasterCook *

                               Rice Medley

Recipe By     : Mary McDougall
Serving Size  : 6     Preparation Time :0:15
Categories    : Low-Fat                         McDougall Acceptable
                Rice & Grains

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
     1/2           cup  vegetable broth
  1                     onion -- chopped
  1                     green bell pepper -- chopped
     1/2         pound  sliced fresh mushrooms
  1              bunch  green onions -- chopped
     1/2      teaspoon  minced fresh garlic
  1                can  stewed tomatoes -- (14.5 ounce)
  1                can  chopped green chilies -- (4 ounce)
  1         tablespoon  soy sauce
  1           teaspoon  chili powder
  1               dash  or two of Tabasco sauce
  4               cups  cooked brown rice
     1/4           cup  chopped cilantro

Place the vegetable broth in a large pot. Add the onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, green onions, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, except the rice and cilantro. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes. Add the rice and cilantro. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve at once.

The McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook, page 105


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

Per Serving: 197 Calories; 2g Fat (7.8% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 41g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; trace Cholesterol; 327mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fat.

NOTES : Recipe Hint:  Use one of the seasoned stewed tomatoes, such as Mexican-style, Cajun-style, or Italian-style, for even more flavor in this dish.

Prep and cooking times assumes you have rice already cooked on hand.

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


Thursday, November 25, 2010

VeganMoFo Day 25 Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our menu today will include mashed white and sweet potatoes, stuffing, canned cranberries, roasted carrots and Brussels sprouts, onion gravy, and biscuits. My son requested and will get mac & cheese.

My guys requested no desserts, as my son still has some of his birthday cake leftover he wants to finish  up and my husband prefers his usual fig bar cookies to any kind of pie or other holiday-themed dessert, and since my cardiologist yelled at me last year for having one small piece of vegan pumpkin pie, I don't dare eat anything that would make him mad this year.

We'll close out the day watching a movie on DVD called An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving. It'll be the perfect end to a perfect day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

VeganMoFo Day 24 - Vegan Thanksgiving Article

Now this is good news: Our local newspaper has an article, complete with recipes, about having a vegan Thanksgiving. I wish the papers would have vegan recipes more often, though.

Vegan Thanksgiving recipes everyone will enjoy! Pumpkin pie, gingerbread cookies and more

Tuesday, November 23rd 2010, 1:06 PM
It's easy to make a few vegan dishes this Thanksgiving.
Courtesy of PETA
It's easy to make a few vegan dishes this Thanksgiving.

Have vegetarian or vegan guests coming to Thanksgiving? It's easy to modify your dishes to suit your non-meat eating guests. 

"It's never been easier to eat vegetarian or vegan," said PETA campaign manager Lindsay Rajt. "Besides, a lot of vegan and vegetarian choices are usually great ideas for people watching their cholesterol and heart health."

But what about how it tastes?
Toasted Bread with Roasted Fall Veggies
CLICK FOR RECIPE: Vegan Gingerbread cookiesCLICK FOR RECIPE: Pumpkin Pie

Sometimes, it's just a matter of choosing your ingredients wisely. 

Leslie McEachern knows a thing or two about delicious vegan eating – she's been operating veggie-haven Angelica Kitchen in the East Village since 1982.

They make mashed potatoes without a drop of milk, cream or butter.

"We use fresh, waxy Yukon potatoes, whole cloves of garlic, good olive oil and salt and pepper," she said. "That's how we do it every day."

Mike Walter, owner of 'sNice in the West Village, makes comfort food for vegans and vegetarians. Even the marshmallows for the hot cocoa are vegan.

"Tofu cream cheese is a great thickener," he said. "I use it in leek and potato soup and lot of other stuff." 
A vegan-friendly trick that no one will even notice? 

Grate some fresh pepper into individual bowls, fill with extra-virgin olive oil. No one will miss the butter plate.

Here are some recipes that will please vegans and non-vegans alike because they pass the important test – they just taste good.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

VeganMoFo Day 21 Excuses and A McDougall Lecture

Sorry for the absence - my husband is now officially on vacation and we've been busy. Food-wise, Friday the boys ordered take-out pizza and I had some veggies and rice; yesterday we had pasta with jarred sauce, and although it's not McDougall-approved, I tossed in some TVP strips. The doctor now against ALL processed soy foods although back in the beginning they were listed as good options and Mary McDougall had a number of recipes using things like Gimmelean, tvp, and soy cheeses. Today they boys are having burgers and I'm having the rest of last night's pasta. Tomorrow is our son's birthday and he requested his birthday dinner come from the other McD's, so it's back to veggies and rice for me. Tuesday they're having sandwiches from Blimpie and since the only veg option I know of is a Morningstar Farms veggie burger as the "meat" of the sandwich I'll probably finish up the rice and veggies. Wednesday is still up in the air, so maybe then I'll have a recipe for you.

To hold you in the meantime is this 75 minute long lecture from Doctor McDougall. It's from this year's VegSource Healthy Lifestyle Expo and is a prelude to his upcoming book,The Starch Solution (still not completed and no publishing date yet, AFAIK). I haven't watched the whole thing yet, but so far it's nothing he hasn't already stated and stressed so many times in the past about the benefits of a starch based food plan.

Here's the same lecture from his Vimeo page instead of YouTube. You can find over a dozen videos by him and his Star McDougallers there.

The Starch Solution from John McDougall on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

VeganMoFo Day 18 Potatoes

Photo from Utopian Kitchen blog
Potatoes are such a huge part of the McDougall food plan. Do a search on the McDougall web site and it turns up thousands of references to the lowly spud. Many recipes in the newsletter archives and the McDougall books contain potatoes in one form or another. Telling how whole civilizations lived on nothing but potatoes is a frequent topic of Dr. McDougall's. The Mary's Mini (2 links) version of his food plan uses potatoes as an example of an easy day's meal - hash browns for breakfast, mashed for lunch and baked for dinner.

And why not? The potato is a very versatile veggie, and quite tasty even on its own, without any condiments or additions, even when made with no added fat.

And McDougallers aren't the only ones who think so. Chris Voight, the head of the Washington State Potato Commission, is doing a challenge where he's eating only potatoes for 60 days to prove they're not the deadly menace the low-carbers want us to believe. And he has the blood work results to prove it.

Today is a potato-heavy day for me, too. For breakfast I had a sweet potato that I made a few days ago; my baked potatoes for lunch are in the oven, and I'll be making an Irish Stew with a whole bag of hash browns for dinner.

Below is the basic recipe. I doubled everything except the beans. Why? Because my fridge is now devoid of any leftovers and looks empty. Besides, even though I grabbed the smallest cabbage the store had it made up to well over 4 cups of sliced cabbage.

For the broth I used the broth powder from Dr. Neal Pinckney. It's my go-to broth powder recipe and I always have a giant jar of it in the pantry. It's similar to the one by Bryanna I used to use but without the milk powder or salt.

Before cooking

* Exported from MasterCook *

                             Irish Bean Stew

Recipe By     :Mary McDougall & John McDougall, M.D.
Serving Size  : 6     Preparation Time :0:15
Categories    : Low-Fat                  Vegan

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1             medium  onion -- chopped
     1/3           cup  water
     3/4      teaspoon  caraway seeds
  2               cups  hash browns, frozen
  2               cups  frozen mixed vegetables
  1 3/4           cups  vegetable broth
  4               cups  cabbage -- coarsely chopped
  30            ounces  canned white beans -- (2-15 ounce cans)
                        freshly ground black pepper -- to taste

Place the onion and water in a large pot. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3
minutes. Add the caraway seeds and cook and stir for another minute. Add
the potatoes, mixed vegetables, and vegetable broth. Mix well, cover, and
cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the cabbage and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the beans and cook for 10 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
Season with the pepper. Serve in a bowl.

  "McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook"
                                    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving: 332 Calories; 2g Fat (6.5% calories from fat); 17g Protein; 64g Carbohydrate; 13g Dietary Fiber; 1mg Cholesterol; 537mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 3 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat.

NOTES : You don't have to thaw the frozen vegetables before using them in this recipe. As the potatoes cook, they thicken the stew. This is a delicious dish for a cool winter evening. Whenever we make it there are never any leftovers. We like to eat this with slices of bread to dunk into the broth.

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

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

VeganMoFo Day 16 (belated) Appetite for Reduction

Two posts today to make up for missing yesterday.

Those of us who frequent the PPK know that Isa has a new book coming out in a few weeks, Appetite for Reduction. This is going to be the first book of hers that I don't have to make too many adjustments to the recipes to make them McDougall-legal.

Here are some photos from one of the recipe testers, NOT me. I can't stop drooling!

December 7th can't come quick enough!

VeganMoFo Day 17 - Uncle Buck's Tips Part 2

Success Tips:  Part 2

Hi, Everybody!

After I sent out the first round of "Success Tips" a couple of weeks ago, it occurred to me that I had several other "secrets" which have benefited me greatly over the past nine years.  So, I decided to mail out Part 2 to anyone who requested it.

Ultimately, your success with this program will be determined by your level of desire.  In very plain terms, you have to WANT to do well.  If you do not have a keen desire, then no amount of success tips or helpful hints will help.

Before we begin Part 2, I want to ask you to take a few minutes to consider your reasons for utilizing this program.  Are your reasons enough to fill you with an overpowering desire to succeed?  What are your "wants" (reasons such as excellent health, more energy, better appearance, etc.)?  If your "wants" don't motivate you enough, then what are your "don't wants"?  What will be the consequences if you do not change your lifestyle (reasons such as poor health, low energy, low self-esteem, etc.)?  The bottom line is that your "wants" must be great enough to help you avoid your "don't wants."  If, after thinking this through, you are still undecided about your level of desire and determination, then you need to go back and review your list of "wants" and "don't wants" again before proceeding.  I have found that when most folks think clearly about this, they are able to find all of the motivation that they need.

So once again, the list that I have put together is merely to help you once you have already done some soul searching and are ready to embrace this program as a lifestyle.  Embracing the program as a lifestyle will improve the quality of your life immeasurably.  I encourage you to take that small step of faith and help your life take a turn for the better.

Okay, without further delay, here is Part 2 of the success tips:

(1)    Consider dropping refined sugar from your lifestyle.  Sugar seems to affect everyone differently.  Some seem to be able to consume any amount with no problem while a small amount may send others into a tailspin.  To some folks, sugar is very much like cocaine or some other addictive drug.  Any amount leads to an unquenchable desire for MORE.  Even the smallest amount can trigger a sugar binge for the unfortunate souls in this group.  If you'd like to read a thorough discussion of sugar and its impact on body chemistry, I recommend a book entitled "The Sugar Blues."  In the case of my own life, my struggles with sticking to this program became so much easier when I walked away from sugar.

(2)    The grocery store is a mine field!  It is imperative to eat a good meal before you go shopping.  If you're anything like me, going into the grocery store on an empty stomach may present temptations which are far beyond your ability to resist.  Also, it's no secret these days that grocery stores utilize effective marketing and merchandising methods just like most other businesses.  Many prepackaged foods (especially snack foods) are positioned at key locations in the store to encourage you to make an impulse purchase of that item.  If you are hungry while you are shopping, those donuts or Snicker bars may JUMP into your shopping cart.  Eat before you go shopping.  One final note, it's also a good idea to make a list of exactly what you plan to purchase before going to the grocery store.  Something that has worked out well for me is sticking with basic staple items and avoiding prepackaged foods whenever possible.  Yes, meals do take a few minutes longer to prepare without all the prepackaged foods, but I've found the small investment in time to be well worth the effort.

(3)    Learn where to find the food items you want.  One of the things that we have to realize when we embrace this program is that the rest of the world is still consuming the Standard American Diet (SAD).  With that in mind, it's only reasonable to expect that grocery stores are going to cater to the SAD crowd.  While basic staple items such as fruits and vegetables are readily available at most grocery stores, there are other healthful items which will make your new meal plan a lot more palatable.  Unfortunately, most of these other items are not to be found in your neighborhood grocery store.  I've found some grocery stores to be very gracious about special ordering anything, but sometimes that's more hassle than it's worth.  The bottom line is that you will have to find out where to purchase the items you want, whether it be from a grocery store, a health food store, or directly from the manufacturer.  As you may have heard me say before, if there is one key to which I attribute my success on this program, it is maintaining a lot of variety in my weekly meal plan.  You must learn to prepare foods which taste good to you, and you must locate the sources of the ingredients that you need.  Investing a little time in searching for these sources may very well be the deciding factor in keeping yourself on the program.

(4)    Consider teaming up with someone else who is on the program.   In reviewing the posts on the discussion board over the past couple of years, I've noticed that several folks have teamed up with someone else who has similar goals.  This is sort of a buddy system, and there are many benefits to be found in it.  This other person can be your sounding board and sometimes even a source of strength when you need it.  Also, I would be willing to bet that there are many "old timers" who have been on the program for several years and would be happy to be your success coach.  My feeling is that none of us should ever try to reinvent the wheel when there is someone out there who has already done what we are trying to do.  Lots of people have already been through what you are going through, so by all means, draw on their experience.

(5)    Keep your mind off of what you don't want!  One thing I've learned in my years on the planet is that in order to be successful at anything, you have to keep your mind focused on what you want.  Yet, for some reason, human nature seems to compel us to focus on what we don't want.  This topic is really interesting to me and I could probably write several pages here, but I won't.  Instead, I'll just give you a couple of examples.  For example, if you have a weakness for candy and you know that eating candy is not in your best interest, then by all means stay out of the candy aisle at the store.  Marketing people will keep it in your face enough as it is (through TV commercials and magazine ads), so don't pour gasoline on the fire by strolling down the candy aisle at Wal-Mart.  Okay, here's another example.  I love Coca-cola.  I always have and I probably always will.  Nevertheless, I have learned that drinking cokes is not in my best interest.  Even though I hardly ever drink them anymore, they are constantly calling me.  I've also discovered that the mind controls the body (in my case the reverse of that used to be true).  If the mind controls the body and we want to control our body, then we must gain control of our mind.  If we allow our mind to dwell on something that we know is not in our best interest, the mind may give in to the body and we wind up having the coke or the candy bar.  Okay, here's a secret to help you gain control of your mind when you find yourself struggling to overcome some undesirable urge.  "When thoughts do not neutralize an undesirable emotion (urge), action will" (W. Clement Stone).  When you find yourself about to give in to an urge and your mind is about to lose the battle, simply take yourself out of that situation by taking action.  Take any action!  Any action will work!  When I find myself just about to give in to an urge for a coke, I immediately stop whatever I'm doing and I go hit some golf balls or take a ride on the bike (can you say "Harley"?).  If I'm at work and can't do either one of those, I take out my notebook and I start writing.  That's the secret; just do something (anything) to take your mind off of what you don't want.

(6)    There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting goals.  Setting goals is great and they may help you in your quest for success on this program.  However, if you put yourself under a timeline, you may very well be setting yourself up for frustration and failure.  Setting an approximate weight goal or clothing size is great.  Just don't put yourself under the unneeded pressure to do it in a certain amount of time.  It will simply take as long as it takes.  Seeing yourself as having already accomplished your goal will be very helpful.  I discussed this in Part 1, and it really does work.

(7)    Choose a reward for success on the program.  Granted, excellent health and or weight loss are substantial rewards.  However, it's okay to treat yourself to something special, whether it's a new outfit or a special trip to somewhere you've wanted to visit.  Having a reward waiting for you when you achieve your goal might be just the little extra push you need.  It's also helpful to get pictures of what it is that you want and keep them where you can see them throughout the day.  This in itself isn't going to keep you on the program, but it can certainly help.  In my case, it was a new suit of clothes.  When I was 85 pounds heavier, I always looked somewhat sloppy in my clothes despite my efforts to present a good appearance.  So, my reward when I reached my goal was a new suit that was tailored to fit me.  That was a long time ago, but that suit is still very special to me because it represents the accomplishment of an important goal in my life.  I think clothes were the ideal choice as my reward because losing the weight opened up a whole new world in the area of my appearance.  But, by all means, pick a reward that is right for you.  Only you know what will motivate you.

(8)    Failure to plan means planning to fail.  One of the main reasons that many well-meaning people fail on this program is their failure to plan their meals so that they will have approved foods and snacks available at all times.  Every Saturday, I plan out my meals for the following week because that seems to work best for me.  This also insures that I can go to the grocery store and pick up whatever I need for the entire week.  Please don't allow yourself to be caught without anything healthy to eat in the house after a long, tiring day at work.  That's the time when most any of us are prone to caving in and rushing out to McDonalds for a SAD meal.

(9)    The longer you stay on this program, the easier it gets.  On the one hand, that sounds very simple, but on the other hand it probably sounds quite difficult.  What I really mean is that the longer you stick to the program and avoid those old favorite SAD foods, the easier it gets to avoid them in the future.  As you've probably heard me say many times, our food preferences are based entirely on habit.  So, consequently, the longer we abstain from those old favorites, the easier it will be to abstain from them in the future.  Our abstinence weakens the old habits and helps us replace them with new, healthy habits.  This is something that you will have to prove to yourself, and the only way is simply to do it and watch what happens.

(10)     Your life does not begin after you realize your goals.  It is now!  Don't wait a single day to start living your life.  Life is now!  You can easily incorporate the McDougall lifestyle into the other areas of your life.  Realize that you have charted a course for a very healthy and happy future, and start living.  Don't wait another day!  PLEASE LISTEN TO BUCK:  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL YOU LOSE THAT 50 POUNDS TO BE HAPPY AND START LIVING. My friends, life is now.  Go for it!

If I can help you in any way, I'm here.  Feel free to call on me any time.  Nothing would make me happier than to see each and every one of you succeed and achieve your goals.

My very best to you all!


I tried writing to Uncle Buck at the email address I had for him, but alas, it was returned as undeliverable. I wanted to again thank him again for taking the time to write all these out for us all those years ago.

Monday, November 15, 2010

VeganMoFo Day 15 Onion Soup

My pantry, fridge and freezer are over-flowing, so it's clean-out time.

Breakfast for me is my usual oatmeal with one of the apples in the fruit bowl.

Lunch will be a sweet potato or 2 that are already cooked and sitting in a bowl in the refrigerator.

Dinner for my boys will be some (non-vegan) ravioli from the freezer, garlic bread that's also been in the freezer, and soup. I'll be having leftovers once again, this time of rice and veggies that I made yesterday for lunch.

One thing I haven't made all last week and really want is soup. It doesn't have to be a hearty one, just some nice warm liquid to accompany a few meals. This onion soup does the trick. 

When I make it, I use a vegan, no-salt added veg broth and omit the soy sauce. I have to check the date on my Worcestershire sauce - if it's outdated (again - I don't use it enough) I'll skip it. It's so hard to find a vegan version that I skip it in recipes more than use it when called for.

Now this recipe says it makes 4 servings, but not here. Honestly, who eats only ONE cup of soup at a time? I'll be lucky if I have enough of this for the 2 of us to have one decent sized bowl each. In the past when I made this I usually doubled it, but I don't want any more leftovers so will make just the one batch today.

And once more I warn you to ignore the nutritional info added by Mastercook, because it assumes full fat, full salt broth.

* Exported from MasterCook *

                             Onion Soup - Q&E

Recipe By     :Mary McDougall
Serving Size  : 4     Preparation Time :0:10
Categories    : McDougall                      Soup

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  5               cups  vegetable broth
  3              large  onions -- cut in half lengthwise, then sliced
     1/4           cup  sherry
  2        tablespoons  Worcestershire sauce
  1         tablespoon  soy sauce, low sodium
  1           teaspoon  dried onions -- minced
     1/2      teaspoon  minced garlic -- fresh
     1/2      teaspoon  onion powder
     1/4      teaspoon  ground thyme
                        freshly ground black pepper -- to taste

Sauté the sliced onions in a large soup pot in 1/2 cup of the broth for 10 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 more minutes.l

  "The McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook, page 63"
                                    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving: 266 Calories; 5g Fat (17.5% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 44g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 3mg Cholesterol; 2260mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Vegetable; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Serving Ideas : Serve with a hearty loaf of bread to dunk in the flavorful broth. Or make some whole wheat croutons to float in the soup. Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF. Cut a slice of whole wheat bread into cubes; place on baking sheet and toast for 5 to 10 minutes. Can easily be made in a toaster oven, too.

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

Sunday, November 14, 2010

VeganMoFo Day 14 Pumpkin Mousse

Thanksgiving in less than two weeks away. Since it's just the three of us and neither have now nor ever have been turkey eaters, we rarely do up a big holiday meal. One year we had mac & cheese, a few others (Maybe even again this year) we had lasagna. 

But I do try have a special holiday themed dessert, not on the day of the holiday itself but to share with the elderly relative I wrote about yesterday when we visit her the day or 2 after a holiday (We don't drive on holidays so she's used to late celebrations with us). Last year it was pumpkin pie, and unfortunately I had blood work drawn just 2 days after we had it and boy, was my cardiologist mad when my triglycerides were up higher than 2 months before! According to him, I should never have any dessert ever again, not even a McDougall-approved one, not even plain fruit, and not even for a holiday with a 92 year old relative. Sounds like my childhood all over again, when I was constantly on a 1000 calorie diet.

Sorry, doc, but that ain't gonna happen! Maybe after the old lady dies, but not until then.

Oh, and my trigs were only 16 points out of the normal range. They were much higher than that just a year before while eating 100% McDougall MWLP.

This year, because she's been having problems with her partial denture, I'm going to make something nice and soft. It's a recipe I found on a weight loss forum last year and I'm going to whip up a batch of it either today or tomorrow as a trial before the big day. The gal who posted it said it came from a friend of a friend who found it on-line on "some newsletter" so I have no idea what the real origin of the recipe is or who to credit it to. 

I've made tofu based puddings before so it won't be weird to me, but when I give it to my husband to test I'm not telling him what it's made from. If he can't tell it's soy based the old aunt won't either. 

Direction change: I'll probably just dump everything but the cookies into the food processor to whip up - why switch from blender to bowl and whisk? All my other tofu based puddings go into the food processor alone.

Pumpkin Mousse with Gingersnap Crumbs

1 10 oz package Silken tofu (soft variety)
1/2 cup Maple syrup
1 tsp Grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp Fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ginger
1 Pinch Ground cloves
1 Pinch Salt
3 cups Solid pack pumpkin or fresh cooked pumpkin (29 oz. can)
8 Gingersnaps cookies, crushed with rolling pin

Place everything except pumpkin and gingersnaps in a blender, and puree until smooth. Add half the pumpkin and puree again. 

Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and beat remaining pumpkin with a whisk until the mixture becomes uniformly creamy. Taste to see if it needs more lemon juice. 

Cover tightly and chill for several hours or overnight, so the flavors combine and deepen. 

To serve, spoon the mousse into bowls and sprinkle with gingersnap crumbs. Serve immediately so crumbs don't turn soggy.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

VeganMoFo Day 13 - Right Foods Cups

Every Saturday we visit an elderly relative and do all her shopping, and when done we join her for a little nosh. She and my husband (her nephew) usually have a few cups of coffee and eat those Texas-sized store bought muffins, while I sip on my bottle of water and eat food from home. Many times I just bring a cooked baked potato sprinkled with a no-salt added spice blend, and in the past I had brought along some dinner leftovers. I found those to be way too much food for the short time we're actually in the dining room eating.

 In my pre-McDougall days I had brought along ramen noodle cups, but as I got older and then into McDougall eating I realized they may be delicious and convenient, but certainly weren't that healthy.

Then came McDougall Right Foods. In the beginning, Dr. McDougall and partner/s decided together what to make available, and to this day you'll find a large variety of instant meals, from oatmeal to curries, all McDougall Plan-acceptable. Recently they introduced ready-made soup in aseptic boxes. Many of the soups are way too high in sodium for me; many claim to be 2 servings when we all know nobody is going to share a cup of ramen. Eventually they developed a lighter-sodium version of some of the cups, but at over 300 mg per serving they were still a bit too high for frequent eating.

The cups still say "McDougall Right Foods" but Dr. McDougall recently mentioned in a forum post that he's no longer with the company. He also says these cups are to be "sometimes" foods, not for everyday use. Eating that cup of ramen when visiting that aunt is a "sometimes" thing for me.

There's a new line of these cups out, Asian Entrée, and I picked up a few of them last week. Today I brought the Roasted Peanut Noodle with me to try. It's still a bit high in sodium so I took the advice of some of the people on the official McDougall forums and used only half a flavor packet, and it still tasted pretty great. The spices won't go to waste - I'll use the rest during a veggies & rice lunch. I'm glad our local Stop and Shop has them on sale so I can go back and pick up a few more next week.

This is not something I would eat often - I still prefer to bring my own food when we're out at mealtime, but because I had no leftovers and no potatoes this morning to take with me on this elder-visit, this cup sure came in handy.

Friday, November 12, 2010

VeganMoFo More from Jeff - Favorite Packaged Foods

OK, another day with no recipe - sorry, but it's our 33rd wedding anniversary and my husband insists on having outside food for dinner. This food is NOT going to be McDougall compliant, but will be vegan, so again I will say no more about it.

Instead, I'm going to share a bit more from Jeff Novick. The following has appeared in various forms on-line, between blogs, his DVD, Facebook and forum posts. Just keep well stocked with these items and you'll always have a healthy - and fast - meal available to eat.


The healthiest foods are the foods that come straight out of the
garden and are consumed in their natural form or as simply
prepared as possible. These foods are fresh fruits, vegetables,
starchy vegetables, legumes, and intact whole grains and should be the focus of anyones diet if they want to be healthy.

Packaged and processed foods are usually loaded with too much
fat, unhealthy fats, salt, refined sugars/sweeteners and refined
carbohydrates/grains, They are also almost always calorie dense.
However, there are some packaged and processed foods that can be included as part of a healthy diet. And in fact, keeping some of them around and on hand, can actually make following a healthy diet, easier.

Here they are.
1) Frozen Vegetables
Vegetables are the most nutrient dense food there is and including more of them in your diet is a key to improving the nutritional quality of your diet. Unlike many canned vegetables, plain frozen
individual vegetables usually have no other added ingredients.
Frozen peas and beans may have some added salt, but they usually make my 1:1 sodium/calorie guideline. They can easily be thawed and including as part of a healthy recipe and/or meal.

Caution: Be careful of all the new fancy frozen vegetable mixes as many come with added sauces that can be high in salt, sugar and or fat. Look for the plain mixes.

2) Frozen Fruits
The same reasoning for frozen vegetables also applies to frozen
fruits. Look for the ones that are just frozen fruit and avoid the
ones with added sugars. Frozen berries are one of my favorites to
keep on hand. While fresh berries are very seasonal, and often
mold and rot very quickly and easily, frozen berries do not and are available year round. In addition, you can often find wild berries, including blueberries and strawberries, which are often sweeter and more nutrient dense
3) Success Quick Cooking Brown Rice
My favorite kind of rice, is basmati brown rice. I love the taste and the aroma, especially when it is cooking. It smells like popcorn popping. However, I do not always have the 40 minutes to prepare the basmati brown rice from scratch. Nor do I always have some cooked up ahead of time. The solution, Success brand Quick Cooking Brown Rice. This has to be the simplest and easiest
version of quick cooking brown rice ever invented. Many versions
require the measurement of water and rice (which can be
troublesome for many). However, with this version all you do is
place a pre-measured bag in a pot of boiling water and in 10
minutes, perfect brown rice.

4) Eden Foods No Salt Added Canned Beans
Next to green leafy veggies, beans may be one of the healthiest
foods there is. They are rich in nutrients and fiber, very filling and relatively low in calorie density. The problem for most of us is that most beans can take hours to cook and most canned beans are extremely high in sodium. For those in a hurry, the solution is
Eden Foods No Salt Added Canned Beans. There are about 12
varieties of beans available, including Kidney, Red, Black, Garbanzo, Pinto, Adzuki, etc and not only are they available online, and in health food stores, I find most local grocery stores are now carrying them also. Just open a can, rinse the beans and add them to your favorite dish, recipe or meal. Eden Foods canned beans are all packed in PBA free cans.

5) No Salt Added Tomato Products
Tomatoes make a great base for many dressings, sauces, soups and meals (i.e., stews, chili's, etc). However, good fresh tomatoes are not always available year round and some of the one that are available are literally tasteless. In addition, most canned tomato products are extremely high in sodium. However, if you look carefully, you will find several varieties of tomato products that are no salt added and often times, they are not even labeled as such or carried in the health food store. Even some of the more well known brands, like Huntz and Heinz offer "no salt added" varieties of tomato products. While these tomato product could never substitute for a fresh "in season" tomato on a salad, they can help make excellent soups, sauces, and meals when fresh tomatoes are out of season or when you are in a pinch.

While there are no BPA free canned tomatoes on the market, you
can purchase tomatoes in glass jars or you can purchases tomatoes in aseptic packaging. The most popular brand is POMI and is widely available in most grocery stores.

6) Whole Grain Pasta
The problem with many whole grain processed products (like bread, dry cereals, bagels and crackers) is that even if they are whole grain, they are still calorie dense. The only exception is whole grain pasta. The reason is, when you cook whole grain pasta, it absorbs some of the water it is cooked in, which is absorbed into the structure of the pasta, lowering its calorie density. Foods with high water content, are lower in calorie density and generally higher in satiety.

Unlike most processed whole grains, which have a calorie density of 1200-1500 calories per pound, the calorie density of most cooked whole grain pasta is the same as most intact whole grains and starchy vegetables, which is around 300-600 calories per pound. It is also very quick and easy to cook and can be ready in under 10 minutes. Mix in some fresh or frozen vegetables and you have a healthy, nutritious and filling meal.

7) Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is natures candy. Unlike fresh fruit, it is shelf stable and will not spoil easily. Adding dried fruit to dishes can add both
nutrition and sweetness. A few raisins or dates can really sweeten up a bowl of fruit or a fresh fruit smoothie. They also go great in a bowl of whole grain cereal like oatmeal or as part of a dessert like baked apples. In addition, they make great additions by adding a little sweetness to a large vegetables salad, or even some cooked dishes like stews and rice.

However, due their high calorie density, go easy on them. A serving of dried fruit is only 1/8 to 1/4 cup (compared to 1/2 cup for fresh fruit) so they are easy to overeat on.

8) Unsalted Raw Nuts/Seeds and Nut/Seed Butter
Raw nuts and seeds, and the "butters" made from them, are rich in nutrients especially minerals. A few of them, like walnuts, flax
seeds and chia seeds are also excellent sources of the omega 3
essential fat. They are also shelf stable and will not spoil easily.
They can also add creaminess and texture to some home made
dressings and dips/spreads and/or soups. I make a salad dressing
that is made from a little tahini (sesame seed butter)mixed with
lemon and water. I also add a small amount of tahini to blended
garbanzo beans to add some texture to my homemade hummus.
However, due to their extremely high calorie density, go very easy on them. I recommend consuming no more than 1-2 oz a day at most. Also, if you are struggling with your weight, I recommend either eliminating them or limiting them even more, to no more than 1 oz, no more than 1-5x a week. And, when you do use them, make sure you mix them with something low in calorie density, like a vegetable or fruit salad.

9) Intact Whole Grains (Buckwheat, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, etc)
Whole grains that are consumed in their "intact" form are low in
calorie density, high in satiety, nutrient rich and shelf stable. They are easy to cook (just add water) and can be the base of many healthy meals and dishes. They also make great additions to soups and salads. Oatmeal, buckwheat, and barley all make a great breakfast and a great way to start the day. Brown rice, cracked wheat, quinoa, and/or millet mixed with vegetables make a great meal, side dish and or salad.

10) Salt Free Spices/Seasonings/Herbs
As you decrease the amount of salt, sugar and oil in your diet, you will begin to appreciate the wonderful natural flavors of food. However, some people still like to add a little "spice" to their life. Fortunately, there are many salt-free spices, seasonings and blends available. Probably the most popular one is Mrs. Dash, which has many varieties available. In addition, for those of you who are not a chef and not familiar with the different flavor combinations of spices, you can now buy many salt free blends that can help. There are pre-mixed blends of salt-free Italian, Mexican, Indian, Southern and many other blends available.

There you go. My favorite 10 packaged staple foods that are not
only good for you and can be included as part of a healthy diet.
And in fact, keeping some of them around and on hand, can
actually make following a healthy diet, easier.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

VeganMoFo No Recipe Today; Uncle Buck's Tips

I have way too many leftovers from previous meals this week, so again for lunch and then for dinner today, maybe even tomorrow and the weekend, we'll be finishing them up.

So today, I'll just send up some words of wisdom from a long-time McDougaller known only as "Uncle Buck." Back on the old forums he was a very frequent poster, even becoming one of the Star McDougallers, but when the new forums appeared he posted once or twice then disappeared. The best thing Uncle Buck ever did was write his 2 posts of tips every McDougaller should read over and over again, and gave permission for them to be shared in any way possible. I had posted these on the blog in the past, so this is for the new visitors. Today I'll post the first of his tip files and the second before the month is out, perhaps even tomorrow when we're still chowing down on leftovers. 

Wherever you are now, Uncle Buck, I still thank you for these.

Success Tips For Newcomers

Dear Friends:

I've been on the McDougall program for nine years, and I thought it might be a good idea to put together some information for you newcomers.  Whether you are starting the program or maybe just considering it, I hope this information will be of help to you.

First and foremost, the thoughts that I will be sharing with you here are not intended to take the place of the basic information contained in Dr. McDougall's books on this program.  I will assume that you have already read at least one of the books and that you are already familiar with the basics of the program.  My intent is merely to share some success tips based on my own experience with the program in order to help insure your success.

Secondly, if you have any questions with regard to the basics of the program after reading the book(s), you can post them on the discussion board where any of us "old timers" will be happy to answer them, or you can contact Dr. McDougall directly via email.  He has proven to be extremely conscientious about responding to questions and comments.

Okay, without further delay, let's get started…

(1)  This program is a lifestyle!   As you may have already discovered after visiting the discussion board, there are many reasons why people choose to go on this program.  Some want to rid themselves of chronic health problems, and some want to feel better.  However, if the posts on the discussion board are representative of the McDougall group at large, the desire to lose weight is by far the most common reason. 

The McDougall program is a very effective program for weight loss.  However, let me say this very emphatically:  IT IS NOT A DIET!   IT IS A LIFESTYLE that we can and should embrace for the rest of our lives.  The folks I know who have lost weight and kept it off are those who have made this program their way of life (myself included). 

(2)  Rid yourself of the diet mentality!  Have you ever been on a diet that  gave you permanent results?  I haven't, and believe me, I tried them all.  A diet, by its very nature dooms us to failure.  Diets involve counting calories, portion limits, frequent weigh-ins and overall feelings of deprivation.  When we go on a diet, our mentality is that we can deprive ourselves for a while (long enough to get the weight off) and then go back to eating our familiar treats.  Well to begin with, I've never known anyone who could even stay on a diet long enough to get the weight off.  I never could.  One day, it dawned on me that if I was ever going to be able to lose weight and keep it off permanently, I would have to resort to something other than dieting since diets absolutely do not work.

One of the best definitions of insanity that I've ever heard is "doing something the same way you've always done it and expecting a different result."  Well, I was tired of living in such an insane manner.  I finally decided to permanently get out of the diet loop.  I think you know what the diet loop is; we've all been there.  We start a diet with the best intentions only to crash and burn in a few weeks.  Then we put back on all the weight that we took off plus a couple of extra pounds.  A couple of weeks later, we are frustrated again because our clothes are tight, so we make a firm resolution to go back on a strict diet and absolutely stay on it until the weight comes off.  Then, two weeks later we crash and burn again.  By now you can probably see the endless cycle that keeps repeating itself in our lives.  And it's a cycle that leads to certain failure.  So, one of the first steps in realizing success on this program is merely to stop doing what we know has never worked in the past.  We must stop dieting.

(3)     Eat when you're hungry!  Now, this certainly flies in the face of the dieting mentality.  Whoever thought that it would be possible to eat whenever we want and all that we want and still lose weight?  Well, it's true; you can!  As long as you are eating approved program foods, you can eat whenever you are hungry, and you can eat until you are full.  There is no need to measure portions or count calories, because it simply is not necessary.  The foods selected by Dr. McDougall are the foods which support health.  If you find yourself still thinking that you must limit your food intake, then you haven't completely shaken the diet mentality.  Please trust me.  I lost 80+ pounds and kept it off without ever once measuring a portion or counting calories.  If we wish to free ourselves from the diet mentality, then we must return to listening to our bodies and trusting them to tell us when to eat and when we are full.

(4)  Stay off the scales!  A scale is not an accurate measure of progress on this program, and if you weigh yourself frequently, you are only setting yourself up for a lot of unneeded stress and aggravation.  Now, some of you will want to fight me on this, but here is my very best recommendation to you for success on this program:  Weigh yourself one time.  Write that number (your weight) on a slip of paper and file it away in a drawer somewhere.  Then, GET RID OF YOUR SCALE!  Believe me, you don't need it, and it isn't going to bring any peace into your life.  Either give it away, or get someone to keep it for you.  If you have it available nearby, you'll be tempted to go in and stand on it much too frequently.  You'll know the program is working when your clothes start to become loose, and believe me, they will!

(5)     Don't put yourself on a timeline!  There's something about trying to lose weight that makes people crazy.  For some reason, we feel like the weight has to come off overnight.  I don't know if that's just part of the diet mentality, or maybe it's because we have become accustomed to instant gratification.  In any case, all a timeline will do is put you under a lot of unneeded stress.  If you really want to be happy and at peace with this program and the rest of your life, consider divorcing yourself from the timeline aspect.  If you are following the program, the weight will come off.  I promise!  And it will come off at a rate which is right for your body.  How long will it take for the average individual?  It will simply take as long as it takes.  Please believe me, I'm not trying to be flippant.  What I'm trying to get you to see is that it doesn't matter how long it takes.  If you've made the decision to change your lifestyle, you can be certain that the results will come.  So, don't put yourself under the added pressure of so many months or so many pounds per week.  Let your body worry about that because it will take care of it for you.  You need not give it another thought.

(6)     Fill your pantry with approved foods!  Write out a shopping list and visit your local grocery store.  Purchase approved brands listed in the book, or select other brands which may be acceptable.  If you elect to purchase other brands, you must read the label to insure that the product does not contain any ingredients that you are trying to avoid.  Stock your pantry with plenty of approved foods and snacks.  If you still have your old favorites from the Standard American Diet lurking in your pantry, my best advice is to get rid of them.  Either throw them away or give them away.  The little bit of money that it costs you to do this is a good investment in your future.  If you have family members at home who have not embraced your new lifestyle, simply put their favorites in a special cabinet so that you will not have to be tempted every time you open the pantry.  Adhering to this program by yourself while the rest of your family continues to partake of SAD foods can be a challenge, but I am here to tell you that it can be done.  It simply involves a decision on your part.

(7)  Prepare all of your meals at home!  If you have already started this program, you know how difficult it can be to find McDougall friendly foods in restaurants.  So, when you're first starting this new lifestyle, I recommend preparing all of your meals at home.  If you work outside the home, prepare your lunch at home and take it with you.  Trust me; it's the best way to go.  Nearly all of the recipes in the McDougall cookbooks can be put into a container and taken to work.  When you get hungry at work, you'll have a good meal ready for you.  All you'll need to do is reheat it.

This is one of the critical areas when you are first beginning this lifestyle.  When you are trying to make a successful transition from SAD to the McDougall program, it's very easy to find an excuse to revert back to your old way of eating.  One of the particularly dangerous pitfalls is failure to plan your meals and not having acceptable foods available at meal time.  If you work outside the home and you decide to go out to lunch at a local restaurant with your co-workers, the chances of finding a good meal consisting of approved foods every time you go out are slim to none.  In talking with lots of folks on this program over the past couple of years, I would have to say that this is the greatest reason many people "crash and burn" and revert to their old way of eating.  Maybe you can go out with them occasionally if you find a restaurant which serves some McDougall friendly food, but for now, please don't chance it.  During the first month or two, while you are changing your eating habits, don't expose yourself to a situation which might cause you to fail.  A little bit of planning and preparing your meals at home might just be the very factor which insures your success.

(8)  Changing your lifestyle involves more than just changing what you eat!  If you have a weight problem like I did, chances are you are somewhat sedentary.  You can dramatically improve your results on this program by getting some exercise each and every day.  It doesn't have to be painful or strenuous.  You just need to get out and MOVE.  A 30-minute brisk walk is fine for most folks.  I'll be honest with you; when I first started walking I didn't care much for it because the old habit of coming home and sitting on the couch was still calling me.  However, after I'd done it for approximately 30 days, I actually started looking forward to it every day.  It definitely improved my metabolism and it always assisted me in clearing my mind after a stressful day.

(9)  Put your thoughts to work for you!  Okay this next one may sound a little bit far fetched, but I promise you it is the absolute truth.  We become what we think about.  What you are today is merely a reflection of the images of yourself that you have maintained in the past.  Part of our human nature seems to be focusing on what we don't want instead of focusing on what we do want.  However, if you can train yourself to focus on what you want, you will be much more successful at reaching your goals (in every area of life).

Let me put this in practical terms for you.  Do you think thoughts about yourself being as you are now (overweight)?  If you do, here is a process which will help insure your success in losing the excess weight.  Start thinking of yourself, not as you are, but as how you wish to be.  Start thinking of yourself at your goal weight. See yourself in vivid detail.  What kind of clothes would you be wearing if you were at your goal weight?  You must see yourself in vivid detail as having already accomplished your goal.  Now, as you can imagine, this can be a little difficult if you've never tried it.  However, it definitely becomes easier with practice.  Start forming that new mental image of yourself several times per day, especially before going to sleep each night.  Some of you might think this is a lot of hocus pocus, but you need only put it to the test.  Don't take my word for it.  Just try it and watch the miracles start to happen.  There is true power found in this practice if you will practice it.

(10)  Don't be afraid to swim against the tide!  When you make that wonderful decision to embrace this lifestyle, you must also brace yourself for the onslaught of friends and family members which is sure to occur.  Be assured, they mean well.  It's just that they can't understand why anyone would not want to eat plenty of meat, eggs, oil, and dairy products.  Some folks just can't stand to see someone not eating the same foods that they eat.  Perhaps they are concerned because of some misguided notions about which foods support health, or maybe it's just that misery loves company.  In any case, you'll have to develop a thick skin to insulate you from these well-meaning comments.  Now you and I have never met, so let me tell you something about myself.  I'm a very tolerant person, and I always try to be kind to everyone I meet under all circumstances.  And, I try very hard to be kind and gracious when I'm on the receiving end of comments from the meat eaters.  But let me also tell you this.  I am not going to let ANYBODY deter me from maintaining a healthy lifestyle FOR ANY REASON.  I don't care who they are. If they have a problem with the way I eat, then they had better GET A LIFE!  I've been to the mountain, and I've seen the light, and now there is nothing that could deter me from living and eating this way.  This is the attitude that I suggest you adopt if you wish to be successful on this program in the long haul.  Listen graciously to people's comments, and be kind to them.  But let their comments go in one ear and out the other.

Okay, I hope these ten success tips will be of value to you.  Also, I want you to know that I want each and every one of you to succeed.  If I can help you in any way, please let me know.  In any case, please drop me a line occasionally just to let me know how you're doing.

My very best regards to you all!

Uncle Buck

Thanks, Vets

Fort Knox
From the comic strip Fort Knox

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

VeganMoFo Day 10 Alfredo Sauce

Wednesdays will be pasta days this month, thanks to Thanksgiving. Today I'll be trying this alfredo sauce by Mary McDougall instead of the one I usually use.

I have no access except by mail-order for those boxes of Mori-Nu so I bought a 1-pound Naysoya silken tofu to use. To lower the sodium I'll probably skip the soy sauce. And knowing this family's love of the nooch, I'll definitely be adding a bit more than a tablespoon!

Although this would probably go okay over just about anything, today I'll be using eggless ribbon noodles.

The recipe and photo for the noodles come from this post on the Penniless Parenting blog.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Alfredo Sauce

Recipe By :Mary McDougall & John McDougall, M.D.
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:10
Categories : McDougall Acceptable Pasta
Sauces Vegetarian

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
10 1/2 ounces tofu, silken, Mori-Nu Lite
1/2 cup soy milk -- or water
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon garlic -- minced
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
black pepper -- freshly ground

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

Pour into a saucepan and heat through, about 5 minutes. Do not boil.

Serve over pasta, sprinkled with soy parmesan cheese, if desired.

"The McDougall Quick & Easy Cookbook"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving: 95 Calories; 5g Fat (47.4% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 335mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

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