Saturday, April 27, 2013

Today is World Tai Chi and Qigong Day

I'd like to offer my thanks to Dr. Robert Bates, Lee and Karen Holden, Garri and Daisy Garripoli, Thich Nhat Hanh, and, believe it or not, David Carradine, who sparked my interest in the gentle martial arts many, many decades ago.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Heart Healthy Pizza

Long time McDougaller Mark Sutton published a book last year entitled Heart Healthy Pizza. I probably wrote a blog post about it at the time. Recently Mark has been doing some local cable spots and live cooking shows demonstrating these pizzas. As a test run to the live shows, he filmed a few test runs and posted some on his YouTube page.

The first videos he shows tell how to make the kale that will be used on his pizza. He says the kale takes about 20 minutes to cook, and since he's limited to 10 minute videos he had to break it down to 4 real-time videos to get the process start to finish.

The next few videos show how to shape the pizza crust, how he dresses this one particular pizza, the making of the sriracha-flavored cheeze sauce he's using on this pie, and a short video showing the finished product, including the now-hardened cheese sauce covering the entire pizza.

While I haven't made that particular pie of his (yet), I have made others, and they beat anything you'll find in the grocer's freezer by miles and are perfectly fine to eat on any plant-based food plan, whether it's Dr. McDougall's, Dr. Fuhrman's or even the more restrictive Dr. Esselstyn's, and everything in-between.

So go visit Mark's site and his blog, take a look at the wonderful pizzas that can be made in your own kitchen that you can eat without guilt. Tasty AND healthy!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sandie's Pizza Potatoes

A long time ago, on a VegSource far, far away, Sandie posted her original recipe for a casserole named Pizza Potatoes. The McDougall forums no longer exist over there and the original post from 2003 is long gone, but Sandie also posted the recipe on her Geocities recipe site. That's gone now, too. Luckily someone else had remembered it and asked about it on the current McDougall forums back in 2006, and Sandie, luckily, is also a member of those forums and answered, so now it's a permanent part of that site.

The original recipe, as written:

Pizza Potatoes

4 cups thinly sliced potatoes (I used Yukon Gold, my
favorite), divided.
2 - 3 cups favorite pizza toppings:
* sliced zucchini
* sliced onion
* sliced mushrooms
* sliced artichoke hearts
* diced red and/or green peppers
* sliced tomatoes
* sliced black olives
* fresh spinach
* any other sliced veggies you desire!
pizza sauce (see recipe below or use canned)
1 - 2 cups water (DO NOT ADD IF MAKING IN THE
Place 2 cups potatoes in a large, non-stick or pan
sprayed baking dish. Layer pizza toppings on top of
potatoes. Cover with half the pizza sauce. Layer on
the rest of the potatoes and the sauce. Pour the water
into the corners of the baking dish. Press down
mixture to allow liquid to cover surface of
ingredients. Cover and bake in a preheated 325 degree
(F) oven for approximately 60 - 90 minutes, uncover
and bake an additional 20 - 30 minutes (until potatoes
are tender) and top is crisp.
Approximately 6 - 8 servings
NOTE: This recipe may also be made in the crockpot.
Layer ingredients in crockpot as described above. DO
NOT ADD THE WATER. Cook on low for 6 - 10 hours.

My changes:
Instead of slicing potatoes I used a bag and a half of frozen hash browns.

The toppings I used were onions, garlic, mushrooms, spinach, frozen pepper strips, and green olives.

Although Sandie also posted a recipe for spaghetti sauce, I used a jarred oil-free low sodium marinara sauce. I did not add any water to the recipe. I figured with the veggies it'll have enough liquid.

I also gave a very generous sprinkling of Penzey Spice's Italian Herb mix over the top of the last layer of tomato sauce. 

I placed a layer of sauce, a layer of tomatoes, a thin layer of potatoes, a thick layer of dry-fried chunked onions, garlic, peppers, and mushrooms, and covered that with a bit more sauce. I then laid another layer of potatoes and a handful of spinach and about a quarter cup of the olives, then covered that with some sauce. Then came the last layer of potatoes and tomato sauce, plenty of herb mix, then covered with first parchment, then aluminum foil, and into the oven it went.
All that time and the exposed taters aren't even browned

I cooked it for almost 90 minutes, removed the covering, and cooked for another half hour, all at 350ยบ F. When I finally took it out of the oven, the sauce was bubbling nicely around the outer edges but the center was warm but still a bit cool to touch. By now hubby was home and starving, waiting to eat.

We ate it anyway. He wanted some cheese on his so I tossed some Daiya mozzarella in his bowl. The leftovers were packed into 2, 3-cup Pyrex containers and popped into the fridge for a decent reheating for weekend lunches. 

Next time I make this I'll be sure to start a whole lot earlier and let it cook for at least another half hour without the foil so it gets not only warmer but a bit crispy around the edges. It probably took so long because I started with frozen potatoes and more than the recipe called for. Actually, the next time I make this will probably be during the warm summer months so I most likely will dump it all into a Crockpot to cook. I refuse to light the oven once the outside temp reaches 65 or so, because that means our apartment on the top floor here will already be in the 80's, especially the kitchen, the only room besides the bathroom without air conditioning.

Monday, April 15, 2013

We Are More Than A Scale

With Rip Esselstyn's new book about to come out in a few weeks, I decided to go take another look over on the Engine 2 Diet site and catch up on some Daily Beet articles or recipes I may have missed. Boy, were there a lot of them!

One of the articles that struck me was this one by one of the Engine 2 team's coaches, Natala. Here's the beginning paragraphs:

       More than a scale

For as long as I can remember I have been on a diet. I remember going to weight loss meetings when I was in Middle School. I remember trying my first diet pills when I was 14. The agony of diets is something that I have been struggling through almost my entire life, 24 years to be exact.
When I started going plant-strong I weighed upwards of 450 pounds. Life was not good for me, every day was a struggle. I didn’t weigh 450 pounds for lack of trying different diets, I weighed that much after attempting every single diet known to man, go ahead, ask if I’ve been on a certain diet, if it is out there, I’ve tried it.

For those people who, like me, struggled for decades to lose even an ounce and cry when the scale is up even a half pound, this article is a must-read.

I'm more than twice her age and have been through this struggle for almost 60 years now. I'm really tired of the agony of weigh-in's that show no loss, even though I'm almost 150 pounds over a "healthy" weight - and HAVE been for over 40 years. I'm been officially overweight since the day after my birth! Like Natala, with each weight loss attempt more weight eventually came ON instead of going off. I really want to just stop. Like Natala (and many, many others I've read about on the McDougall and Fuhrman message boards and elsewhere) I lost quite a bit of weight when I first went on the no added fat, whole foods, plant strong food program (McDougall MWLP, in my case), and like Natala and those hundreds of others, the weight loss slowed, stalled, then stopped completely after a while. A long while. For years, even while going towards more nutrient-dense whole foods and following strict MWLP, at times experimenting with a more Rice Diet like program (Dr. McDougall's suggestion, actually) and going well under 1000 calories. I actually gained weight during that phase of my dieting life, so decided to go back on the regular McDougall program and take what I get and try ignore the scale. Of course, after 50-plus years of weight loss dieting, that hasn't happened (the ignoring part).

When you finish reading Natala's post, search the Daily Beet for other posts by her, then watch this video of her with Chef AJ and Julianna Hever cooking Thai Noodles using a Mary McDougall recipe:

It's been many years since I had such an upbeat attitude as Natala has, and I hope she retains it throughout the rest of her journey, whether she losses another ounce or not.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Blueberry Dumpster Fire Cobbler

This is one of those rare times I wish I still had a silicone cake pan.

I made this recipe from the Engine 2 web site, Blueberry Dumpster Fire Cobbler:

Blueberry Dumpster Fire Cobbler
Preheat over to 350 degrees.
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla
2/3 cup milk substitute
3 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
2 cups blueberries
Combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl.
Combine vanilla, milk substitute, and agave nectar or maple syrup in a measuring cup.
Add contents of measuring cup to dry ingredients and mix until smooth. The batter will be runny.
Pour the batter into a non-stick 8-inch square pan. Sprinkle the blueberries over the batter. Bake for 45 minutes or until browned.

If you look at it from this view, it looks pretty good:

but on the opposite side of the plate:

The whole soggy center of the cake was so heavy with blueberries that as it cooled it sort of fused itself to the center of my tried-and-true non-stick cake pan and when I went to turn it out onto the platter, the entire center of the cake and this bit on the side chose to remain in the cake pan. I had to grab a silicone spatula and scoop it out, plopping it back into the center of the cake, smoothe it out a bit, but by then that side piece was stuck fast to the blueberry goo and wasn't going to move again.

Once it sat a while it solidified and was very easy to cut into quarters and my husband even ate his without a fork and not one blueberry dropped.

It was a very tasty cake, and while I wouldn't serve it to guests, I would certainly make it for my husband again. It all came together in less than 5 minutes. The only change I might make next time is to use fresh blueberries instead of the frozen ones. It would probably have been less soggy. But these organic frozen blueberries I have are such cute tiny ones, about a third to half the size of fresh supermarket blueberries and much tastier, which is why I chose them. Oh, well.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mac & Cheeze & Toms & Beans

I must apologize right now. I found this recipe in my AZZ Cardfile and don't have any attributions with it. If anyone knows where this recipe comes from, PLEASE let me know in the comments so I can set the record straight. Thanks.

Now, on to the recipe.

After yesterday's blah meal I needed something with a wee bit more kick today, and this one will do beautifully.

Mac & Cheeze & Toms & Beans 
10.5 oz tofu
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 T. rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup onion flakes
1 tsp veg. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Bragg's
Blend all in a blender.
Mix together:
1 14 oz can fat free refried beans
1 can Rotel tomatoes (I used "mild")
1 tsp. ground cumin
Then add the "cheez" sauce. Pour over one pound cooked macaroni (I used Tinkyada gluten free brown rice pasta) and serve. Or possibly bake for a half hour at 350 to heat thru? This seems warm enough to serve and I'm off to eat a bowl full right as soon as I'm done here!
I ran the numbers and according to my calcs this should be about 6 percent fat. 

My notes:
I buy MoriNu extra-firm silken tofu by the case from Amazon, so there's always a box on hand for when I need it. Things like nutritional yeast, Braggs and Liquid Smoke are also staples every pantry should have. Just before winter set in I bought a few cans of Amy's Organic lighter sodium ones from the health food store for quick winter soups or pasta meals like this one. The can I grabbed today was the black bean, but I also have some traditional pinto in the pantry, too.

Rotel tomatoes I don't usually have on hand, but I just so happened to have this one lone can in the pantry from a recipe that never got made. I always found them to be a bit too spicy, even the mild one, but my husband likes it so I use it when called for instead of plain diced tomatoes.

Hmm, I just noticed that Mori-Nu tofu has changed its name to Morinaga on their web site and new packages. Mine still say Mori-Nu, but I guess when I replenish them with another case from Amazon they'll have the new name on them.

I'm going to commit a mortal sin as far as McDougalling goes - I'm using semolina (white flour) elbow pasta instead of whole grain. IIRC, Jeff Novick even mentioned in one of his lectures that when it comes to nutritional density, white pasta and whole grain are close because of the water absorption into the dry pasta product. And if I mis-remembered, oh, well.

I'm not bothering with a photo of this meal, because all you really see is this greyish sauce mixed in a pot of pasta - big whoop. But believe me, the taste IS a big whoop! Is "flavor explosion" used as in advertisements? You can use that to describe this dish. And I can tell you right now there will be no leftovers after we get through with it tonight.

Fast, flavorful and cheap - my kind of meal.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Non-Jeff SNAP Meal

This one is courtesy of TomInTN from the McDougall forums. He posted this way back when the Fast Food Volume 1 DVD was released, when a number of board members were posting their own versions of SNAP meals.

Very quick - only a few minutes if you have cooked lentils, but since lentils cook up so fast, it's quick enough for me!

The recipe:
Cook 1 pound of lentils
Add 2 pounds frozen corn kernels, 1 pound bag frozen greens, 2 big cans of no-salt added tomatoes

That's all he wrote!

I cooked up my lentils then added 2 bags of super-sweet white corn and most of a bag of frozen spinach. I added about a cup of diced onions, a few shiitake mushrooms that I had in the fridge, and a healthy spoonful (over a tablespoon) of this roasted garlic herb salt-free seasoning I have. I still have over a half hour until hubby gets home from work so it should all be toasty warm by the time he gets in. I'll reheat some rice that I made yesterday to go with it.

This stuff comes within two inches of the top of this pot, my Revereware 8-quart stockpot. This is a LOT of food! We'll certainly have enough for tonight's dinner, my lunches for the rest of the work week, and maybe even lunches for the 2 of us over the weekend.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Jeff Novick Says: BREATHE

I was rummaging through the old Jeff Novick newsletters earlier today and came across this one on meditation called Building Genuine Health: One Breath At A Time. He describes his discovery of meditation through a pamphlet on Transcendental Meditation (A biggie when I was in my late teens back in the 1970's and made famous by the Beatles when they met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi).

Like Jeff, I've meditated for years, but I love the way Jeff's cousin Sheila does her meditations!