Thursday, February 28, 2013
I've been slacking off on the healthy eating. I can trace the decline of my good habits beginning with my first knee surgery. The second surgery came quickly after the first, and so there were a lot of no-cooking days this year. Vacationing with Alex, Alisha, and Kael at Christmas was another valley (regarding eating -- the vacation itself was great). These are not good reasons to stop eating in a healthy way, but they are the excuses I've used.
It got worse and worse -- I'd go out for lunch and grab a hot dog. Yes, my home is still vegan (with a few minor exceptions for Kael and Alex -- American cheese and frozen pizzas, neither of which are appealing to me), and I cooked healthy meals, but I'd go out and eat not only animal products, but deep-fried animal products!
Just what you'd expect to happen happened. I gained weight, felt yucky, etc. I just couldn't seem to rouse myself out of my food-induced stupor, though. I deserved that doughnut, I'd say. I'm entitled to that cheese pizza. Crazy logic.
A couple of days ago I watched a video created by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, explaining that the average Canadian spends the last decade of life in poor health and disability (here's the link to the video). And it hit me -- this is the point of the whole thing. And if I'm not going to do it right, why am I doing it at all? So -- back with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication. And I'm pretty happy about it.
Dinner last night was one of the best recipes I've made. It was a hash brown casserole, healthy style. It was funny -- the creator of the dish took a typical hash brown casserole, took out all the unhealthy stuff, and basically was left with potatoes. :)
Anyway, we LOVED it and I wish I'd doubled it like I had considered. The only ingredient that isn't available at Publix is the nutritional yeast, which I realize is not something that you're going to have on your shelf unless you eat a plant-based diet. And you really can't make this without it -- it's the main flavoring ingredient of the sauce. (I'm sitting here with my mouth watering; I might go eat the last of the leftovers after I type this!)
I also made a baked beans recipe with no sugar. The sweet flavor comes from an apple and dates! I was ready to add sugar if I felt like it lacked something, but it really didn't need it. They are not as sweet as your typical baked beans, but they were delicious. I served that with a quinoa pilaf that was outstanding. (I used vegetable broth instead of the chicken broth, I eliminated the oil, and I used Craisins instead of pomegranate seeds.)
Rounding out my cooking this week have been two muffin recipes. These pumpkin muffins are absolutely fantastic. No added fat, except for what's in the walnuts. I can't find Sunsweet Lighter Bake, so I just used all applesauce. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly. I do have Ener-G Egg Replacer (I bought it at Whole Foods), so that would be an odd ingredient. Some of the commenters say they left it out and it was still good. I think if I didn't have it I would have ground up a couple tablespoons of flax seeds and mixed them with a quarter cup of hot water until it thickened and added it when the recipe calls for the Ener-G. I've used ground flax seeds as an egg substitute a few times and it works well.
I also made chocolate chocolate chip muffins based on this recipe from The Post Punk Kitchen. I've made this one a lot -- first time I used the cherries, but Bruce prefers them without, so I just add extra chocolate chips (Costco's chocolate chips are vegan!!!). I also use a muffin tin because I don't have mini loaf pans. The only added fat in a dozen muffins is a quarter cup of almond butter. Bruce likes to take them to work for a snack. They're quite delicious and very rich -- if you have a chocolate craving, they'll definitely fill the bill. You'll notice that there are no egg substitutes in this recipe and they turn out great.
So -- those have been my cooking projects lately and my re-dedication to a healthy, plant-based way of eating. Tomorrow's dinner? Penne with artichokes, sundried tomatoes, and baby spinach in a creamy sauce. I think I deserve to eat this way!!!