Monday, September 30, 2013

VeganMoFo Day 30 - Basque Paella

For the final recipe of VeganMoFo 2013 I've chosen another new-to-me recipe from Mary McDougall.

Basque Paella

1 cup uncooked brown rice
2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup water  
1 onion, chopped  
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small green bell pepper, sliced
1 small red bell pepper, sliced
2 small red potatoes, sliced
1 small tomato, chopped
2 cups hot Vegetable Broth 
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground oregano
Pinch of powdered saffron
1 small can water-packed artichoke hearts (about 6), cut in half
1 cup frozen peas

Place the rice and boiling water in a bowl. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes. Pour off the water and set aside.

Place 1/4 cup water in a large pot. Add the onion and garlic. Cook and stir over medium heat about 2 minutes, until the onion softens. 

Add the bell peppers, potatoes, and tomato. Cook and stir for another 3 minutes.

Add the rice and hot broth. Bring to a boil. Stir in the soy sauce, oregano, and saffron. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. 

Add the artichokes and peas. Cook for another 5 minutes

The McDougall Program for A Healthy Heart
John McDougall, M.D. and Mary McDougall
(1996), ISBN: 0-452-27266-1 
page 329

Not only had I never tried this recipe, I've never eaten paella, nor have I had artichokes in my life, so it's a new adventure all the way. The only thing I know about paella is that George Costanza's mother made some to feed Jerry Seinfeld's parents when they came up to visit from Florida.

Again, the red and green pepper strips will come from a bag of frozen ones. Ditto the onion and garlic.

I'll concede to using a fresh plum tomato.

The saffron is a problem. I have saffron threads but have never seen powdered in the stores. Out comes the handy dandy mortar and pestle and a'crushing I will go. 

Those are a lot of steps in this recipe, and some I don't understand why, like soaking the rice in the beginning. But, as I said, I've never made or eaten this dish before so I obey all the directions as close as possible.

A few mistakes were made.

I decided to use brown basmati rice. I always said this brand must be mis-labeled, because the rice seems more the texture of white than brown, and this dish could have used the heartier regular long grain brown rice.

My saffron disappeared. I always kept it in the freezer because I rarely use it, maybe twice a year. Two of us tore the freezer apart and couldn't find it, and since the food was already on the stove, there was no time to go shopping for more. I thought of using turmeric, as others on-line suggested, but thought better of it and just skipped it entirely.

The plum tomatoes were horrible so used a regular slicing tomato of a fairly large size.

I added 2 cups of peas instead of one. That wasn't a mistake, but intentional. We love peas.

Not bad. We finished off the entire batch and were satisfied nicely without being over-fed. I have no idea what the saffron could have added to this dish, it was good the way it was. Well, it would have been better with the right rice, but still good as-is. My husband liked it, said it was another keeper.

Tonight I'm remaking the Pea, Potato and Couscous Hash that I made 2 weeks before MoFo started, back when my husband's appetite was nearly non-existent. Tomorrow  I'm making a tried and true favorite he's been asking for, Cuban Potatoes. Then comes a SNAP favorite from Jeff Novick, Simple Everyday Meal. I do have another Esselstyn heart-healthy recipe planned for later this week and if I do make it, I'll write about it.

As for "keepers" from this year's VeganMoFo recipes, there aren't that many. I'll add the Bright Summer Stir Fry, Golden Kanieski Sauce, Potatoes Mexicali, Spinach Rice, Spicy Potato Stew, and Bachelor's Bounty to my list of family favorites. I already mentioned the Mac & Oaty Cheese as possibly my new go-to mac & cheese recipe. My husband has already adopted the Roasted & Rustic Red Pepper Sandwich as his favorite lunch.

And one thing I will never, ever make again is Speedy Vegetable and Bean Soup. We finished up the last of the leftovers the other day, about a cup and a half each with sandwiches, and both of us were running for the bathroom for the rest of the day! Never again!

Thanks for following along, and I hope you enjoyed it. See you next year for VeganMoFo 2014, possibly as early as August. In the meantime, I'll continue to plod along.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

VeganMoFo Day 29 - Hearty Bean Soup

This is the soup I was planning on making, before the other soup fiasco. I still have plenty of that one in the fridge so I won't be making this one now. Maybe some day next week? I'll still share the recipe.

Hearty Bean Soup
Servings: 4
Preparation time: 15 minute
Cooking time: 35 minutes

1/3 cup water
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 cans (15 1/2 ounce) cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
15 ounce stewed tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup packed fresh chopped or baby spinach

Place the water, celery, onion, carrots and zucchini in a large soup pot; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are fairly tender, about 15 minutes.

Mash one cup of the beans until fairly smooth, then add to the soup pot, along with the tomatoes, additional can of beans, broth and basil. Add pepper to taste.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook another 15 minutes.

Add spinach, cook an additional 5 minutes, then serve.

The McDougall Program for A Healthy Heart
John McDougall, M.D. and Mary McDougall
(1996), ISBN: 0-452-27266-1
page 320

One way people have made this soup even quicker is to avoid all the chopping and just do a rough chop of the veggies and pulse them in the food processor to turn them into smaller bits. While it does make for nice tiny pieces of the veggies, you're now stuck with clean-up of a multi-part appliance and a knife instead of just a knife. You can also use dehydrated/freeze dried veggies, either reconstituted first or just tossed into the pot with an extra cup of water or broth. For this meal, I'm using freshly chopped carrots and zuke, frozen onion, but freeze-dried celery.

I don't bother mushing up a can of beans. Near the end of the recipe, if I do want the soup a bit creamier, I take the immersion blender to it. I usually just skip that part and the soup is hearty enough.

I usually skip the zucchini, but did buy one this time. Right now they're plentiful and cheap.

Although it always tastes just fine to me as-is, my husband always takes his bottle of sriracha sauce and shakes a bit into it for added flavor. He seems to do that with more and more foods lately, especially now that he's on a low salt diet. Better him than me - I can't stand super hot and spicy things! When we were younger (WAY younger!), he would eat hot peppers out of a jar as a snack and add them to every sandwich he had. Just touching one of those would burn my finger, so you would never catch me attempting to eat one of them! He stopped his pepper infatuation almost 20 years ago but started it up again with the discovery of the rooster sauce a few months ago, before his heart surgery. It became a blessing then, when he had no appetite, and the sauce made foods more palatable to him.

This is a hearty soup and always made enough for us to enjoy for 3 days of lunches or 1 dinner and 1 lunch. If I want to stretch it out even further, I would get a loaf of whole grain bread and have a little of that every time, too. 

Darn, I really want this soup now! The Speedy Vegetable and Bean soup should last just about one more day and after that I can make this one for lunches during the week.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Jeff Novick Videos

Boy, oh boy! Long-term readers of this blog know how much I enjoy Jeff Novick and his works. Didi on the McDougall forums just posted a link to a Jeff Novick video on smoothies, and I discovered he's been doing a whole series of videos for EHE International - Executive Health Exams.

While I'm waiting for him to finally release his fourth Fast Food DVD of more SNAP meals (but not tomato based) that he announced over a year ago, I'll have to make myself happy watching these short videos. Fast Food 3 - Shopping School was announced at the same time, but that one did come out. Jeff is "delete happy" and removed all traces of those conversations from the forums so I can't link to the announcement from last autumn when he said it was delayed until after the holidays. Well, holiday season 2012 is long gone and holiday season 2013 is rapidly approaching, so I hope it finally gets released soon.

Is it my eyes or is he "aging in reverse" and getting younger??

Cousin Shiela is back! I love his videos with her! You can see that humor runs in the whole family!

And of course, his "scoop on spuds":

I'm cooking up some taters for breakfast as I type. Yukon Golds are worth their weight in real gold!

There are 26 videos on that site right now and 15 of them are from Jeff. Oh, boy!

VeganMoFo Day 28 - Bachelor's Bounty

I haven't used as many recipes from Dr. Pinckney as I originally planned and hope this one makes up for it. It's another quick, dump, heat and eat one, at least after the pasta is cooked.

Bachelors' Bounty
Amazingly simple and easy one dish dinner for people who don't cook 

1 1/2 C whole wheat macaroni
1 can beans in tomato sauce
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 T ketchup
1/4 C BBQ sauce
1 T taco seasoning
crushed chili peppers or hot sauce to taste

Cook macaroni, drain. Add everything else. Stir and simmer a few minutes.

2 huge servings, each 584 calories:  3% from fat (2.34 g), 82% from carbohydrates (129.1g), 15% from protein (24.0 g). Sodium 365* mg, Fiber 22 g.   *when made with no salt added beans and tomatoes

Healing Heart Hints:
Adding shredded fat-free soy cheddar and/or soy parmesan cheese when cooking gives this dish a TexMex flavor.

Any diced vegetables can be added, but they should be steamed or microwaved for a few minutes before mixing them in.

Cooking pasta requires plenty of water, at least three cups for each cup of pasta. Bring water to a full boil and slowly add pasta, stirring at first to prevent it from sticking together or to the pot. Most white pastas take about 6 to 9 minutes to cook, whole wheat pasta a minute or two longer. No oil or salt needs to be added. Check to see how well done it is by taking out a piece and biting into it. When done, rinse immediately in cool water to stop it from cooking more. Overcooked pasta can be gruesome. Pasta can be warmed just before serving by rinsing in warm water. If you make more than you can eat, put it into a baggie and freeze it; a few minutes of microwaving will have it as good as new. 

©2001 Dr. Neal Pinckney / Healing Heart Foundation
When the web site's servers are fixed, it'll be found here again, but for now you can grab it from Susan V's Fat Free Vegan page for it.

I make mine a little bit different than this, because although this says it makes 2 servings, we want a little more so we can have some leftovers, too.

I use a whole box/bag of pasta. For this I'm using Tinkyada's Fusilli.

I need low/no salt added products, so I'm using 2 cans of mild Health Valley no-salt chili purchased from VitaCost instead of beans in tomato sauce. Doing that also eliminates the need for taco seasoning.

I would have tossed some spinach or kale into the pasta water, but after yesterday's problem with the soup my hubby requesting NOTHING GREEN for today. I can't say that I blame him. The rehab nurse even called the house before she left for the day to make sure he was feeling alright again, so I wonder how bad be looked when all that was happening.

You know at the beginning of every episode of Futurama there's always a billboard for Bachelor Chow? This is the stuff they had in mind. But it's not a perfect bachelor food - there are too many ingredients. The pasta and 2 cans of the tomato-y beans/chili would have been enough. I've lived with bachelors, my husband was one and we used to visit his friends' places before we all got married. To them, a meal is tomato soup made with hot water and ketchup. This is way too fancy for the bachelors I have known, including my own son. He said it was too spicy, too many flavors in one bowl.

My husband declared it almost as good as our usual Friday night pizza. Almost. He still prefers to keep up our family traditions, so next week it's back to pizza again for Friday's dinner.

Friday, September 27, 2013

VeganMoFo Day 27 - Speedy Vegetable and Bean Soup

A Fuhrman recipe soup today. 

You can tell Autumn is in the air, even though the temperatures aren't quite there yet during the day. In the mornings, sure. More than once already I've waken up to temps still in the upper 40's, but they warm up to near 80 by afternoon. But morning comes later, night comes earlier, and my body starts craving those soups and stews. I've read on a few message boards and blogs that others are feeling the same way.

Speedy Vegetable and Bean Soup
Serves: 10
Preparation Time: 15 minutes

1 pound frozen Asian vegetables
1 pound frozen broccoli florets
1 pound frozen mixed vegetables
1 pound frozen collard greens
2 cups frozen corn
1 cup frozen onions
7 cups carrot juice
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups sun-dried tomatoes, snipped in half
1 cup cooked adzuki beans, or canned no salt added or low sodium, drained
1 cup cooked red beans or canned no salt added or low sodium, drained
3 cups cooked lentils or canned no salt added or low sodium, drained
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest or other no salt seasoning
1 tablespoon Spike, no salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
8 ounces organic baby spinach or coarsely chopped organic spinach

In a large soup pot combine all ingredients, except the fresh spinach. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add more water if a thinner soup is desired.

Turn off heat and stir in spinach to wilt.

The recipe above was taken from the Member Center on the Fuhrman web site using his link to recipes from the book. The link only works for forum members. The recipe as printed in the book is a bit different:

First off, the name is Quick Vegetable Bean Soup.
The first few rows of frozen veggies stays the same, but there's no corn in the book version.
Then there's just one cup of water and 4 cups carrot juice.
The lentils are listed as 2 cans instead of freshly made.
Adzuki and red beans are both listed as one can each.
The sun-dried tomatoes aren't clipped in half and is only a cup.
The book calls for a pound of spinach, the web only half.
Garlic is listed as 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
Other spices are 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala and an optional 1/2 teaspoon curry powder. There's no mention of Spike.
Another optional ingredient is 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast.

Cholesterol Protection for Life
Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
page 102

My changes include combining both recipes.

Frozen veggies stay the same and I'm including the corn because I love corn. But wait - Where's my broccoli? I know I bought a bag of broccoli the other day! Crap! No broccoli! Oh, well. Too late now.

Since all I have left in the closet is one jar of carrot juice, that's what I'll be using. The water is a bit more than the one cup in the book but less than the 4 cups in the web recipe. This finally finishes off my stash of carrot juice.

I made fresh lentils and there are no adzuki beans in my entire city, canned or dried, so one full can of red (1 1/2 cups) will have to do. This pot is getting really crowded, and it's the largest one I own, too.

Who cares about what size to cut sun-dried tomatoes? I just grabbed a bag of julienned. No mess, no measure.

Same ease for the spinach. I have a 1-pound bag of triple-washed baby spinach to dump in. That'll bring it up to the rim of the pot when I add it. 

Spike and nutritional yeast are being used, for both taste and convenience, but I'll leave the nooch at 1/4 cup, thanks to my having powdered, not flakes.

After the spinach was added

I love these dump, heat & eat recipes! As soon as VeganMoFo is over I already have some Jeff Novick SNAP and Engine 2 meals planned. This one takes an hour to heat, but once everything is dumped in you can just forget about it until dinner time.

As usual when I make these big batches of soup, I used the large pot from my pressure cooker, the 8 quart one. When the spinach was added, as I predicted, the greens were over the top, but once they warmed and softened and mixed into the soup, the level came down to about an inch below the rim of the pot. Whoa, mama! This makes a heck of a lot of soup!

But because it's mostly green/yellow veggies, it's not that filling. My husband even dunked 4 slices of whole wheat bread in his bowls just to feel fuller. We each had 2 large bowls of it and used up half the pot, even though Dr. Fuhrman says this makes 10 servings. I guess they would have to be smaller servings than we're used to eating. We'll have those smaller ones when we finish this soup over over the next 2 days for lunch.

As for the taste? Well, there are so many things in there you can't really taste any one - it's just a mouthful of, well, stuff. All that stuff made this a fairly expensive meal to make, compared to the usual starchivore meals I make, that is. 

All those frozen veggies alone, even choosing store-brand when I could, cost over $20, then add the juice, the ebans - well, it certainly costs more than a bag of veggies and a few taters. To be honest, if it wasn't for the spices - the VeggieZest and Spike, this would probably be pretty much tasteless.

Others may enjoy it, but this isn't a soup I'll be making again. My husband had a dizzy spell and cold sweats in cardiac rehab this morning and my son had to go over to drive him home. His blood pressure dropped to 90/50 during the session. While waiting for them to get in I phoned the rehab nurse and found out from her that he had diarrhea all night long that he didn't tell me about, and her feeling is that he was just dehydrated. Maybe this is why Dr. Fuhrman calls for the recipe to make small servings. She also discovered today that he doesn't eat any breakfast before he goes for his hour exercise session and said she reprimanded him for that, too, and now wants him to eat before coming. She told him she doesn't care that he's not a breakfast eater usually but should have at least a few pieces of toast before coming in to give the body the fuel it needs. I think a nice bowl of something like Apple Pie Oats or just plain old fashioned oats with blueberries will do the trick. Only takes 3 minutes to get ready from pantry to table so he has no excuse. I'll even make it for him while he gets his sneakers on, it's that quick to make.

Back to the soup - he has informed me that he's not going to any more of it ever, and has said not to make any more very veggie heavy meals like that ever again. Even before his heart thing he had a hard time with meals like this, and I had been asked not to make any on a work night. He has a 90 minute commute each way via public transportation, and there are no restrooms on subways or light rail trains nor their stations, so if the urge hits, he's literally SOL. So no more Fuhrman or other greens-heavy meals for us, at least not the night before any day we have to leave the house, which is just about every day. 

It sucks to get old.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

VeganMoFo Day 26 - Winner, Winner Mac & Cheese Dinner

I'm not sure if it's the veggies I chose, the fact that I tripled one of the ingredients, or the one ingredient that made this recipe for mac & cheese different from all the other mac & cheese recipes out there, but this was the best of all the mac & cheese dinners I've made.

Macaroni and Oaty Cheese

2 cups water
1/2 cup quick-cooking oatmeal flakes
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 4-ounce jar diced pimientos
1 pound uncooked elbow macaroni

Place all ingredients, except the macaroni, in a blender jar and process
for several minutes until very smooth and well blended. Pour into a saucepan,
cook, and stir until thickened.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Cook the macaroni until just tender, then drain. Place the macaroni in
a covered baking dish, pour the cheese sauce over the top, and mix thoroughly.

Bake, covered, for 30 minutes.

The McDougall Program for A Healthy Heart
John McDougall, M.D. and Mary McDougall
(1996), ISBN: 0-452-27266-1 
page 349

I had to buy some quick oats. I had plenty of old fashioned, even 2 different packages of steel-cut, but no quick around the house. So now I do, for this recipe and some of the fruity dessert recipes.

I'm using a nutritional yeast brand that I'm not happy with right now. I ran out of the nooch I used to get from The Mail Order Catalog a while ago, and rather than pay as much in shipping as I did for the nooch itself, I bought some Bob's Red Mill yeast. When that local source dried up, I ordered what I thought were yeast "mini-flakes" from VitaCost, but turned out to be Frontier brand nutritional yeast powder. Not one flake in the whole bag. I used it once or twice at breakfast (grits and a tofu scramble) and it didn't taste all that great, so I decided I needed my tried and true Red Star yeast back. The local HFS recently started selling this, but in tiny 1-cup plastic shell-packs. Not only was the price too high but think of all that plastic! The last time I bought it from The Mail Order Catalog I saw that they just slapped their own sticker on the sealed bag over the Bulk Foods label, so this time I went directly to Bulk Foods, where the price was the same but shipping costs way less. Within 24 hours my 5-pound bag of nooch was on the way via UPS and is now in my food storage pantry, waiting for me to finish the other nooch I have before opening this big bag of golden flakes. Ah, the comfortable feeling of knowing I have enough nooch to last the upcoming winter months!

But for this recipe, I used the Frontier brand powder, and I used the full 1/4 cup the recipe called for, although I once read that if you use powder instead of flakes, use half the amount. Since I usually use a half cup in cheese sauce recipes anyway, I stuck with the quarter cup as written.

Onion powder is the ingredient I accidentally used three times as much of, but that's another ingredient I usually use more of than a recipe calls for and didn't think much of the mistake.

Again, instead of a wasteful 4-ounce jar of pimientos I used a half cup of roasted red peppers from a large jar.

For the pasta, once again it was store brand whole wheat, but twists this time.

While the pasta was cooking, I microwaved up some frozen veggies I picked up in Walmart last week. It's Bird's Eye Normandy Blend and comes in this gigantic 72 ounce bag. I used some last week when I bought it, but the rest of this bag was taking up about a third of my total freezer space, so I cooked up the rest of the bag, about 3/4 or more of the total amount on the label, which filled my 8-cup Pyrex. When cooked, it really shrunk down to a bit less than 4 cups. 

When the pasta was cooked & drained, veggies were nuked,  and the cheese sauce was blended, I mixed everything together in the pasta pot for a good mixing, then dumped it all into my glass roasting pan, shook some whole wheat bread crumbs on top, covered it with the non-stick foil, and popped it in the oven for the 30 minutes. I didn't bother to pre-cook the sauce as directed.
before the breadcrumbs
It looks just like every other pan full of mac & cheese I've ever made, but the difference was at the table, on the fork, in our mouths. It may be the choice of veggies - this mix has not just cauliflower, carrots and broccoli, some pieces up to 6 inches long, but also both zucchini and yellow squash. It may be the triple onion powder. Could it really be the oats instead of the usual white beans, tofu, potato or even cashews? It had a nice little hint of sweetness to it, yet the taste of each vegetable still stood out on its own.

I'm going to have to make this again using different vegetables to know for sure if it's the sauce or the veggies, or even which brand of nooch I used. I'm hoping it's the oats, though, because they're more convenient and cheaper than all the other thickeners I've used in these trial recipes, and something I always have on hand. Now that my husband's appetite is back to normal he'll be wanting his mac & cheese weekly again, so I'll find out soon.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

VeganMoFo Day 25 - Spicy Potato Stew

We've got another winner on our hands! As soon as my husband took his first forkful of this stew he commented on how delicious it is and hoped I would make it again soon.

Spicy Potato Stew
servings: 6
Preparation time: 15 minutes (needs cooked red potatoes)
Cooking time: 25 minutes

1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red or green pepper, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup water
1 fresh tomato, chopped
14 1/2 ounce can stewed tomatoes, Mexican-style
1/2 cup salsa
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 - 14 1/2 ounce cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (3 cups total)
2 cups cooked red potatoes, cut into chunks
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place the onion, bell pepper, garlic and water in a pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Add the fresh tomato and cook for 2 more minutes, then add the stewed tomatoes, salsa, parsley and cumin. Cook for another 2 minutes, then add the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes.

Serve over rice or other whole grains.

The McDougall Program for A Healthy Heart
(1996), ISBN: 0-452-27266-1 
page 341 

Now for my changes:

Once again I used the frozen diced onion and pepper mix, a cup total.

Dorot garlic cubes instead of fresh minced. We love garlic so I used three cubes.

I can't find specific-flavored stewed tomatoes in no-salt added form, so used regular stewed with the addition of lots of Mrs. Dash salt-free Fiesta Lime seasoning. I love this stuff and wish the stores around here would get it back, but the Mrs. Dash sections of 3 different stores have been bare, and Amazon vendors are crazy, asking as much as $6 for a 2 1/2 ounce bottle of this.

I used 4 red potatoes, which came out to a bit more than 2 cups. I had nuked them earlier and had them in the refrigerator.

Doesn't that look great? 

I used the same grain blend I used in this VeganMoFo recipe, finishing off the bag. In fact, the recipe itself says it makes 6 servings, but it made for us 2 generous ones and 2 smaller ones with no leftovers. Good. I'm sick of leftovers!

One week left to this year's VeganMoFo. Has everyone been keeping up with some of the other McDougallers' blogs? If so, what are some of your favorite posts? I have to confess that with everything I have going on, I haven't, but will when I can.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

VeganMoFo Day 24 - Sloppy Joes

Like mac & cheese, everybody has their own favorite version of this family favorite, too.

Here's the one I thought Mary McDougall has in the heart book:

Sloppy Lentil Joes
Prep: 15 minutes | Cook: 1 hour • Serves 8 to 10

1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils
1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons regular or reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
Whole wheat buns and condiments, for serving

Put 1/3 cup of water into a large saucepan and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder.

Add the lentils, tomatoes, soy sauce, mustard, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, pepper to taste, and 3 cups of water; mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly for 55 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To serve, ladle the mixture over split whole wheat buns.

As it turned out, it wasn't. The heart book one used red lentils, ketchup and honey. That's what I get for taking somebody else's word for it rather than type it out myself. This is still a Mary McDougall recipe, though, but from a newsletter.

But back to the recipe at hand. I made a few changes:
For the onion and green peppers I again used the frozen bag of tiny diced onion and peppers, half a bag, about a cup.

I misread the recipe and thought it said a cup and a half of cooked lentils and that was all I had ready when getting the dish together. Another oops. I still had some Lightlife Smart Ground crumbles in the freezer so took out a ziplock bag of them and defrosted them in the nuker. I know they're no longer McDougall acceptable, but as little as half a cup adds a heck of a punch to a pound of spaghetti. When I buy a box I measure it out to 3, half-cup amounts, double-wrap in freezer bags, and pop them in the freezer for just such occasions. So I added this now defrosted half cup of crumbles to the cup and a half of lentils. It probably still didn't make the entire amount originally called for, but was good enough for us.

For the vinegar, I had rice vinegar, and I had wine vinegar, but no rice wine vinegar. I used the rice vinegar.

My husband and I both checked the shelves in the supermarket and the health food store and there is no such creature as 15 ounce (or smaller) cans of crushed tomatoes. I could find gigantic 28-32 ounce cans, but nothing smaller, and since I had no reason to use the other 15 ounces from the giant sized can and no freezer room left to store it after our shopping trip, I picked up a can of petite diced no-salt added ones. All the other sloppy joe recipes I've used called for tomato sauce, or, as I mentioned above, ketchup.

So, while the crumbles were defrosting I tossed all the rest of the ingredients together in the saucepan, then stirred in the crumbles when they were defrosted enough to break apart. Popped the lid on, sliced up the rolls, cooked a big bag of baby carrots with 1/4 cup of maple syrup in the microwave, and in less than 10 minutes had everything on the table.

I would have had a photo of the plated food, but my husband just grabbed and started eating when I went for the camera. I made his so nice and neat so it would look good, too. Mine I just plopped on and lived up to its name. Oh, well, you'll have to do with this pic of the stuff in the pot.

I don't know if it was because we were so hungry, or because the rolls were as soft as a baby's butt for the first time in a long time, or just the different recipe ingredients, but these sloppy joes tasted much better than others I had made in the past, including Isa's Snobby Joes recipe. I guess this will be my go-to recipe from now on. 

I only have one bag of crumbles left in the freezer, though, and when it's gone, I'll start making up and freezing Engine Two's Coach Ami's crumbles, instead. It took a while but the local HFS finally got the bulgur back so I can make these. Let's see if he can tell the difference. I already had the two types of lentils called for. It'll be nice not to feel guilty about using crumbles again. :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

VeganMoFo Day 23 - Another Leftover Day, Lawyers, and Cookbook Perusing

Yes, we had that many leftovers in the refrigerator that we're getting another day out of them, so no new recipe today, either.

Thanks for the encouraging replies yesterday. We really did need that "mental health day" to unwind before starting today's busyness, starting with the lawyer to get new Power of Attorney and Advanced Directives forms drawn up. When hubby was in the hospital the few days before his surgery I looked all over the apartment for the old AD's we drew up when our son was a baby but couldn't find them, so the hospital gave him the Five Wishes booklet to fill out. For 3 days he couldn't get anyone to witness his signing of it, so he went into surgery without one. When he got home, he was in no shape to sit in a lawyer's office to get it done, then when he felt good enough for it, the lawyer was on vacation. So that's how we're spending the early part of this morning. After that's done, it's off to the park for a nice long walk along the waterfront as our exercise for the day, as long as my knee holds out.

This afternoon is also planned out, with him doing some work on the computer, and me going through some library books looking for recipes, deciding whether I want to buy the books or not. The first is Dr. Fuhrman's Cholesterol Protection for Life. I know I've used a recipe or 2 from it already, but that's because he has them available in his Member Center. I would have bought this book last year when he still had it in ebook format on his web site, but by the time I got around to doing it, he already pulled it. He said he's working on a new book about heart health that's being released in 2014 that will replace it. I still wish he would have kept the old one available. Used it's still selling for $80 and up! The book itself says nothing new that isn't already covered in Eat to Live, and he even refers people to that book for further details and recipes. There's no difference in the food plans for people needing to lower their cholesterol, including the eating of nuts, which he considers essential for cardiac health.

The second book I'm looking over is Lindsay Nixon's Happy Herbivore Abroad. I have her other 2 books and was undecided about this one, based on recipes I've already seen on her and others' blogs. I bookmarked a few, but they all seem very familiar, as if I've seen them elsewhere. Even the names of the recipes are familiar. I'll spend some time doing a few on-line searches to see if I'm right. I probably won't be buying this book any time soon but wait for cheap copies to show up on Lots of photos in it, not only of the food but the places she traveled to while backpacking through Europe.

The other inter-library loan book is Forks Over Knives - the Cookbook. I love the recipes Rip Esselstyn and others share on the Engine 2 sites, and many of the recipes shared in the original Forks Over Knives book were good, too. But when I read that the recipes in this cookbook were coming from a gourmet chef Del Sroufe and Isa Chandra Moskowitz did the dessert section, I had my doubts about it. I'm not a gourmet cook, and the grocery stores around here aren't geared towards gourmet tastes. I have to hit three different stores just to find shallots, it's only the past few years they're carrying more than just white button mushrooms but now offer cremini and portobellos. Shiitake's are still a rare find. Nobody carries any dried mushrooms any more - I found that out while looking for dried porcini mushrooms for a dish of Mary McDougall's I was thinking of making. So far I only glanced through it, but unlike Lindsay's book, I don't have any recipes bookmarked yet. And I won't be looking through the dessert section any more. All Isa did to change her regular recipes to be compatible with the FOK way of eating was change the margarine to nut butters. Since nut butters are now banned from this house, and we really shouldn't be eating sweets because of my weight and both our triglycerides, that whole section can't exist for me.

So, thanks once again to the American free public library system for saving me some money. I'll use these savings to purchase Kindle & other ebook versions of the Esselstyn and McDougall books I already own. I already bought the ebook/PDF of The McDougall Program for A Healthy Heart, and even though it's not really formatted well for use on a Kindle (pages are cut in half and the view - landscape vs portrait - are messed up), or even on the computer (bad OCR transfer so things like "1 1/2" appear as "h y" when I copy and paste), I'll probably also buy the ebook versions of the two Health Supporting Cookbooks, the books that were my introduction to the McDougal program back in the 1980's. And when Amazon's new Kindle MatchBook service starts in October, I'll definitely be nabbing the Kindle versions of the other McDougall books I've purchased through Amazon as well as Dr. Esselstyn's Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and all of Rip's and lots of other books. Having an ebook version makes saving recipes so much easier than typing things out by hand. At least I'll finally be assured of having all ingredients and directions 100% correct.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

VeganMoFo Day 22 - Overwhelmed

I'm overwhelmed with a refrigerator full of leftovers and fruit, so I'm not cooking today.

I'm overwhelmed having my husband home all day, every day. At least he's starting to do things by himself, getting out of the house alone, giving me a few minutes of blissful peace.

I'm overwhelmed dealing with Explanation of Benefits from the insurance company and bills from doctors, labs, and hospitals, both my husband's and my own.

I'm overwhelmed at how darn hard it is to get lab results from blood work drawn back in July sent to my doctor's office.

I'm overwhelmed at the results of that lab work, showing not only did my cholesterol and triglycerides go up over the spring and early summer, but I now have a diagnosis of Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, a fairly rare autoimmune disorder. I just had even more lab work done, and after I see my primary care doc again in another week I'll have to bring all these lab tests with me to a rheumatologist and find out not only what my disease is but what to do about it. 

I'm overwhelmed doing my own research on this disease, on its effect on the body, and especially on the medications used to treat the symptoms (There's no cure). I'm overwhelmed finding out that the majority of my complaints for the past 30 years, the same complaints my PCP blamed on my weight, are actually the results of having this disease, even the rare heart condition I got in 2009. Everything I read about it says it appears when a woman is in her 20's to 30's, and here I am, suffering for 30 years and about to turn 60 in less than a month, and just being diagnosed now. It's one of the hazards of being fat - everything is blamed on weight! I 'm overwhelmed thinking of all the damage that has already been done to my body because of medical prejudice in treating fat patients.

One thing I'm sure of is that I do NOT want to be on things like prednisone and methotrexate for the rest of my life and want to look into dietary treatment, like Dr. McDougall and Dr. Fuhrman suggest but rheumatologists advise against.

We're taking today as a day to decompress, to do nothing except go grocery shopping, reading the Sunday papers, and watching crap on television. We're way behind in our bad movie viewing (SyFy Channel movies, Roger Corman horror movies, the Tremors series, etc.) so we'll do some catching up this afternoon. We may even take a nap, something we haven't had the time to do lately, with all the doctors, lab and lawyer appointments and hubby's rehab schedule. One thing I'm not going to do today is read any medical/dietary books, visit any research sites on the Internet, or, as stated above, cook. Today is a total drop out/turn off day for both of us. See you tomorrow!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

VeganMoFo Day 21 - Fruit and Triglycerides

Well, the Autumnal Equinox is here. I found my first horse chestnuts earlier this week - those come before the changing leaf colors around here. It's so weird to realize that my husband has been out of work since the outside temps were close to 100 degrees and he'll be going back in 5 weeks wearing his winter coat.

I want my fall temperatures! Yesterday hit 79, today 80 is expected. I have hot meals planned, and lighting the oven means the kitchen temperature soars into the low 90's, even with a fan in the window. 

We ate nothing new last night. We ate nothing hot last night.

My husband's boss phoned, made small talk, spoke about how sorely missed he is and how far behind the  office is with him out this long (Sorry, but he's NOT going to feel guilty about this!), and made up some excuse for needing his home address.

About 2 hours later the doorbell rings - it's a delivery from Edible Arrangements! And not just a bouquet but also a box of dipped fruit, and a balloon! My husband called his boss back, thanked her and the gang profusely, then settled in at the kitchen table and started dissecting the bouquet. He stopped and asked me if he's allowed to eat all this stuff . I nodded my head and he started stuffing his face with melon balls and strawberries. I hadn't seen a smile this big on his face since weeks before his first bout of chest pain! He did a few South Park/Jennifer Love Hewitt and Godfather jokes with a mouth full of melon balls. He had his fill of fruit, we took the rest of the arrangement apart and put the fruit into a container in the refrigerator, and I was getting ready to make the pizzas for dinner.

Then he gave me a guilty look. He was so full of fruit and in the mood to have more later that he wanted to hold off on the pizza. He felt guilty because he thought the dough, made 12 hours earlier because I was up and unable to sleep since before 3am, would go bad. I told him to be at ease, that the dough will easily keep with no problem.

He then pulled a container out and had more fruit.

We shouldn't be eating this much fruit, not with our high triglycerides, but I let him go without a word. Today I'll mention that fact and restrict him (and myself) to the equivalent of 3 servings of fruit. Looking at the size of those strawberries, it'll probably be only 2 of them, that's how big some of them were. I've always wanted to get one of those arrangements but was always thrown aback by the prices. I'm cheap and would never spend that kind of money on ourselves. When I went to grab the graphic to put in this blog post I caught a glimpse at the price of the bouquet and my jaw dropped, but the gals in the office insisted on giving him something he would enjoy, and they noticed that the few times there's something going on at work and food is offered, he skips the meat dishes and all the sweet stuff and just grabs a piece of fruit or a plain bagel, depending on what time of day it is, so figured he would enjoy the arrangement. Well, he may have enjoyed the money they spent for it more, but after seeing that smile, I think they made the right choice.

So, we had fruit for dinner. And as an after-dinner snack while watching As Time Goes By. I dreamed of fruit over night. And we still have a lot of fruit in the container in the refrigerator.

I think the only fruit I'm having today will be some frozen blueberries in my breakfast oatmeal. He can enjoy his bouquet until the fruit runs out or it goes bad, whichever comes first. It's a good thing neither of us have any blood work planned for the near future. Here's Dr. McDougall's opinion on fruit and triglycerides, and here is Dr. Esselstyn's. Dr. Fuhrman claims that triglycerides go down eating all the fruit you want on his food plan and doesn't limit them. I'll stick with Drs. McD and Essy on this, because I've proven it with my own lab work. I've also proven that nuts, even Dr. Fuhrman's limit of 2 ounces a day for fat people like me, keep cholesterol levels and weight high, the same thing a certain famous veg chef also learned. In the 2 months since I stopped using cashews for my cheese sauce or adding almond or cashew butter to my morning oatmeal, I've lost 15 pounds. I'll have the lab results in another week that should show the cholesterol down again, but I do know that they went up as soon as I started using cashew cheese sauce instead of my former tofu based one.

All this to say I'm sorry there's no new recipe today, and possibly none for tomorrow, either. I was going to make and post about Mary McDougall's pancakes that I was going to make for lunch, but besides all this fruit, my husband decided he now wants those red pepper sandwiches for lunch again. Dinner is supposed to be a plain old pot of pasta with jarred sauce. If I decide to fancy it up a bit I'll let you know.

But I really wanted those pancakes. :(

Friday, September 20, 2013

VeganMoFo Day 20 - French Bean Casserole

I really haven't been using much from my freezer aside from some corn and greens, so today I decided to go with a very veggie meal:

French Bean Casserole
Serving Size  : 6     
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

2 medium Potatoes, peeled & chopped
1 Carrot, peeled & chopped
1 small  Onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups water
5 ounces Tofu
1/3 cup  Nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon Lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon Garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt (optional)
1 1/4 cups  Brown rice, instant -- uncooked
20 ounce bag Green beans, Frozen French cut, thawed
4 1/2 ounce jarred or canned sliced Mushrooms, drained
3/4 cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Place potatoes, carrots and onions in a small saucepan with 1 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook until tender - about 10 minutes. 

Place tofu, yeast, lemon juice, garlic powder and cooked vegetables from step 1 and water in a blender until smooth and creamy. Add salt if desired. 

Pour into a 3-quart casserole dish. 

Add remaining ingredients. Mix well. 

Bake for 45 minutes. 

From "Your Good Health" newsletter and The McDougall Program for A Healthy Heart (page 338)
recipe by Mary McDougall 

Mary has used that carrot/potato sauce in a number of recipes, but I used to just substitute my own favorite nooch sauce instead. Today I'm finally using it. The veggies got cooked a little longer than written because we were watching a recording the finale of America's Got Talent and I didn't want to miss anything and waited until the commercial break to go turn the pot off. No problem, I'm sure.


I'm gonna miss you, Taylor!

Instead of 5 ounces of an unspecified type of tofu, I used half a block of Naysoya extra-firm, which comes out to about 7 ounces. I'll save the other half block for tomorrow's breakfast. A scramble will go nice on a cool and rainy morning like tomorrow's promises to be.

I skipped the optional salt. I'll probably put some on at the table, and knowing my husband, if the dish needs anything he'll use his sriracha sauce. Sometimes I regret the day I first bought that for him, because he got to the point where he doesn't taste anything first to see if it needs any seasoning, he just reaches for the bottle and starts squirting.

Luckily I have a box of instant rice around from the days our grocery store had no Success brown rice.

And for the mushrooms, I used a 4 ounce can of store brand no-salt added stems and pieces. Next time I make this I'll use a larger can, since over half the can was water, leaving only about a quarter cup of mushrooms.

The instructions didn't say to cover the casserole dish but I did. I felt that was the only way to assure the rice gets cooked, otherwise the water will evaporate and the rice will stay crunchy.

The final result:

Once again, a new recipe was a bit on the bland side to me, but my husband loved it just the way it was and didn't bother with the rooster sauce. 

The recipe said it feeds 6, but we only got 4 servings out of it, and we were both hungry afterwards and had some fresh fruit. Maybe this made 6 side dishes, but this was listed as a main dish. We were both still hungry when bedtime rolled around.

My husband liked it enough to say he wouldn't mind if I made this again in the future, but next time I'm using 2 bags of regular cut green beans, not French cut, and twice the amount of mushrooms, perhaps a whole 8 ounce box of sliced ones. And a shake or 2 of some non-sodium seasoning, like one of the Mrs. Dash ones. It needed something in the spice department. I wound up putting salt on mine, then had 2 extra pounds on me on the scale in the morning, so clearly I can't do that again. There are many no-salt seasoning mixes out there so I'm sure one of them will do this meal justice next time.