What a couple of fun days in the kitchen. I suppose having a van full of goodies from Whole Foods trekked down on a 2 hr drive will inspire just about anyone!
Breakfast on Monday was, as usual, a cup of coffee and a green juice. I read a tip from another blog that the pulp can be frozen for future use (bloody brilliant really), so I put that right into the freezer. Apparently it’s good for about 2 weeks, so no excuses on making up batches of raw crackers or bread with it.
For lunch, D and I met up and went to Jason’s Deli. We were both craving something light. He had the salad bar, and I had vegan mushroom and artichoke pasta. Both of our offices are close by, so it’s a convenient spot when we want to grab a quick bite together. We both tastelessly mocked the guy at the table next to us who made a really big salad – and put about two cups of 1000 Island dressing on it. I think it ceases being anything remotely resembling a healthy lunch when that happens. Just saying…
I was feeling playful at dinner, so I made our very own salad bar! I chopped up and washed two heads of romaine lettuce (my sister’s words stick in the back of my head EVERY time I eat a salad….iceberg lettuce isn’t really a vegetable – it’s nutritionally devoid and doesn’t really count. To this day, I tend to avoid any salads with iceberg lettuce!). I put a ton of other veggies on the tray, and everyone served themselves and put whatever they wanted into their bowl. I also roasted some portabella mushroom caps in olive oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce. Everyone but D liked them – I forgot how much he hates balsamic vinegar (which I frankly don’t understand….nectar of the God’s that stuff is). I also made a cheese stuffed tortellini for the rest of the family.
R had a lot of fun using the salad spinner. It’s like a new toy!
Fresh cut corn has GOT to be my favorite new thing on salads. Plus everything else you see!
Despite M’s crazy face, they all really did enjoy dinner! Notice the Disney themed shirt R’s wearing? That will become important later in the post J
Breakfast today was another cup of coffee and yummy green juice. Addicting. Fully and totally addicting. Now…if I could only get everyone else in my family to actually TRY it, I’d be set. Lunch was another salad packed up with the leftovers of the Family Salad Bar from last night. Yum, yum, yum.
Today’s green juice ingredients. It helps buying the Romaine lettuce heads in bulk at Sam’s club
My awesome juice with my reusable Disney straw!
Before work, I put a couple things into the dehydrator. One was a batch of raw sesame bread from Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen. The other was a raw mushroom burger from Raw on $10 a Day (or less!). The only substitution for me was not using walnuts (R’s ever present nut allergy) and using sunflower seeds instead. It still turned out absolutely great.
On its way into the dehydrator
A good 6 sandwiches’ worth! I’m set for days!!!
My burger mixture
On its way into the dehydrator!
Finished burgers. I’m sorry, but that’s just cool looking, isn’t it??
I was also craving a good risotto, so I decided to play a bit in the kitchen. Originally, I was going to do a mushroom one – but I used them all up in the burger! So I looked through my fridge and decided on an asparagus one. Risotto is one of those foods I used to love when I wasn’t a vegan, and I really wanted to recreate that comfort food. I have to say, I was pretty darned happy with the result.
Crissie’s Vegan Asparagus Risotto
4 cups simmering vegetable broth
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons Earth Balance (I used the sticks, but any vegan buttery substitute or olive oil would work)
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
1 bunch asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
½ cup vegan parmesan topping
Salt and pepper to taste
Put the broth to simmer on a burner. Have your ladle ready, because you’re going to need it.
Boil the asparagus for about 7 minutes. Drain and run cold water over it (I should say to place it in an ice bath, but I’m honestly too lazy to do that).
Melt the butter over medium high heat in a large sauce pan. Once melted, add the onion, and sauté until well cooked (but not browned), about 5 minutes.
Add the rice, and cook until it stops sizzling; about 4-5 minutes. Some grains will get brown. That’s okay.
Turn down the heat to medium.
Add a ladle full of stock and stir until it’s absorbed. Repeat this over the next 20-25 minutes until all 4 cups of the stock are in the sauce pan. There will still be some fluid visible, but not too much.
Add the asparagus and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the cheeze, stir well, and turn the heat off. After a couple of minutes, all the remaining fluid will be absorbed, and you’ll be left with creamy goodness.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Penzy’s spices are from my hometown of Milwaukee, WI! Same family as owns the spice shop that created the kit my parent’s sent me for Christmas. I picked this up in Richmond back in January when AC and I went up there. Any veggie stock will do – this did great.
Are you sensing a theme yet? I love Disney. I have the matching salt and pepper shakers too. No mocking me.
That’s the broth in the background
Any cheeze would probably work, but I really liked how creamy this came out. And I can get this locally, which for me can be tough!
My mushroom burger with some guacamole I made at the Whole Foods salsa bar on Sunday as well as some sliced red onion. And risotto of course!
I admit that I ended up needing a fork for my burger. The guac kept coming out the sides and it was easier.
Nothing like quoting an Outkast song for my title that I actually don’t really like that much!
Yesterday was a swim day. I didn’t swim. I was exhausted, and while I totally should have met up with AT at the pool, I didn’t. Shame, shame on me.
Today though, was Zumba! I mentioned last week that A tried it for the first time and liked it, so S and I just had to take her back. S called the Y to get us signed up. I think I mentioned last week too that the class holds a maximum on 90 people – and is actually held in the indoor basketball court rather than the normal fitness studio because of the class. S called at 930 this MORNING for a 650 pm class. We had slots 79, 80, & 81. Totally, totally crazy how popular this is. But let me tell you – its crazy fun. There’s Latin dancing, hip hop, Indian, belly dancing, and everything in between. You shake it, and shake it hard. It doesn’t matter if you have no sense of rhythm (pretty much no one does) or if you don’t know the exact steps, but it’s hilariously fun. Apparently our instructor does an aqua zumba class too. I can’t even imagine what that’s like….water aerobics on crack.
I took my camera, and as much as I wanted to snap pictures during the actual class, I didn’t want to a) stop dancing to get my shots and b) get beat up by all the sweaty women who didn’t want their pictures taken. Instead, I took one just before the hour of shaking began.
Really – if you have a class by you, check it out. This is my third, and it’s just now becoming fun rather than awkward, but I’m digging it.
On top of this, I got to wear my new workout shoes! When I stopped at the Williamsburg Outlet Mall on Sunday, I took a trip to the Nike store. My daughter really needed athletic shoes, and so did I. All of my workout shoes for the past 3-5 years have been running shoes only. While I absolutely LOVE my running shoes, they’re meant for running – not other activities. I happen to be a supinator, and my shoes correct that and help propel forward motion while keeping my ankle steady and my foot from rolling outward. However – when I’m doing “other” workouts, those really aren’t appropriate. So…since I was at an outlet anyway, I picked up a pair of cross trainers that will allow that side to side motion without killing my running shoes. Yeah!
I have to say that the weather is getting to me. It was over 100 degrees today, and there’s no fun in that. When A and I left the Y around 8pm, it was still 92. I’m struggling with getting my runs in because of the heat. I love to run – and I miss it when it’s not pretty much daily. Treadmills can sustain me for a few miles once a week or so, but I want to be outside. I still can’t get that morning run thing going, so I am relegated to wanting to run at 10pm…which kind of sucks for the whole sleeping thing. D and I keep talking about moving from VA some day. Now on my list is somewhere slightly more temperate (along with commuter friendly, vegan restaurants, and culturally rich – if you’re going to dream, dream big). My fitness routine just doesn’t love the heat!
I am still bummed for my lack of strength training. I need to. I hate it. I don’t know what I’m doing when left to my own devices, and I have little equipment at home. I actually put a plea out on Twitter for help! One guy told me to “live in the moment and to let it be an opportunity to practice mindfulness”. Great suggestion if I knew how to turn my brain off long enough to do that. I ended up emailing with Heather from Where’s the Beach for some advice. Her column is full of strength training workouts, so I know I got the right advice! I am going to check out a few library books and see if I can’t get a few videos too. I may have to invest in some workout equipment beyond my 8 lb dumbbells for the house, but it’s something I have to do. I know you’ve all heard this before. I really just need a strength training workout partner! Someone to guilt me into doing something I don’t like….
Thus far it’s been a good week. Work wise, I can’t really complain. The team is doing great, the projects are rolling along, and my boss is still the BBE (Best Boss Ever). I’ve been reminded the past 2 weeks about why I love what I do so much. It’s fun, challenging, and never – ever boring. I’m surrounded by the smartest people I’ve ever known, and I watch as they constantly do amazing things. Really, really awesome.
Yesterday I finally decided it was time to move my blog. It had been rolling around in the back of my mind for several weeks now. I think what did it was my inability to reply to comments on my site at an individual level. So…after some investigation and research, I took the leap and moved! I’m excited – though a bit overwhelmed too. I was in a comfort zone with Blogger, and now I have to learn so much more. There are a lot more options, and I’m excited about what my site can build to…over time of course.
Today I had another fun and revealing discussion with D. A few weeks ago I think I mentioned how he told me he wants to eat more like I do. While not willing to entertain veganism (which is his right in my opinion), he does want to eat better and feel better. With his Crohn’s, it’s even harder for him. After 3 days of juicing, eating mostly raw foods, and having nothing processed after my trip, I felt like a million bucks! For him – it’s so much different. I can “reset” quickly and feel great – he can’t. I mentioned to him in passing during this earlier conversation that I noticed that he tended to put a ton of salt on everything. Anyway, he stopped adding additional salt to all of his food. He didn’t tell me for a few weeks, but I think it’s neat that he’s paying attention and caring. He told me today that he’s been feeling great (thank you, fresh fruit and veggies!), and that he’s been thinking about trying to cut down/out on caffeine. WOW. I can’t tell you how amazing this is. Normally, I drink one cup of black coffee – and he drinks pretty much the rest of the pot. Plus some at work and sodas later. The fact that he’s considering giving it up is just mind boggling to me. We have been together a very LONG time (though not nearly long enough), and this year is the first he’s ever expressed a desire to be a healthier person. I’m so proud of him. I told him I’d quit right along with him if it’s what he wanted. I’ll keep ya posted!
My cat, probably like all cat’s, is pretty quirky. She likes to drink out of the faucet in my bathroom, sleeps in the same place every day (you can see the divots in my bedding where she sleeps and doesn’t move ALL day), puts all of her toys in her food bowl, and demands specific things. She’s actually pretty cool and has quite the personality. D found her like this today, and I had to take a shot….
Bad Bumble! To the corner with you….
Well, that’s enough for me tonight. It’s been quite a busy couple of days, but I really can’t complain (other than maybe about the heat and my corresponding electric bill). It’s time for me to finish my glass of wine, get into the shower, and get to bed!