Monday, December 22, 2008

Rocking the WW

Well, the vegan thing lasted about two months and apparently I cannot focus on eating vegan and losing weight at the same time. After all, potato chips are vegan. So with the announcement that the baby sister would be getting married in the summer, the mother sucked me into the cult that is Weight Watchers. I've lost 3.2 lbs since starting 2 weeks ago. And I have now decided to do my 50 in 100 plan in earnest. I have to take this weight off for heal reasons and life reasons. No more fat girl clothes. I'm ready to committ and go for it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

VeganMoFo - oatmeal for lunch

Breakfast - Kashi's Golean and vanilla soy milk (about 200 calories). This is my all time favorite work day breakfast. I love a slow cooked oatmeal but a) not practicle for a workday b) not practicle to make for one. When I worked in the cafe, we would make big pots of steaming oat meal - rolled oats and whole (the quick cook rolled oats would break down faster making the oatmeal velvety) with fruit and spices (peach and cardimum!) and topped with steamed milk. Good god, this stuff was good. But I'm lucky if I manage cold cereal before leaving for work most days. I have to work on getting up earlier but now that its turned cold (33 degrees tonight!), it is hard to part company with the electric blankie.

Lunch - Kashi's oatmeal (160 calories). Today was not a planned Kashi Celebration day. I had a lunch time dentist appointment so I needed something quick to eat at my desk before the appointment and oatmeal was the only option. Noting the above statement, I'm not a huge fan of the instant oatmeal, but the Kashi oatmeal is very tasty and not too sweet. I hate a box at work in case of a breakfast crisis.

Snack - peanut butter crackers (calories unknown, but if I had to guess maybe 200)

Dinner - A rice stir-fry.
A drop of peanut oil in the pan
A spoonful of jarred garlic
2 slices of red onion, cut in half moons
A cup or so of broccoli
Saute until the broccoli begins to cook
A few shakes of curry powder
A splash of soy sauce
A drop of fresh grated ginger
A few tablespoons of stock to deglaze the pan and encourage the curry to coat the pieces
A few strips Morningstar Farms Veggie Steak Strips
A cup of left over brown rice.
Cover the pan for a minute or two to help the rice heat thru
Pile onto a plate

Desert - The last sad failed jelly donut cupcake.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

VeganMofo - Jelly Donut Cupcakes FAIL

I had a little gathering to go to Friday night, so Thursday I decided to make Jelly Donut Cupcakes from Veganonicon. I happen to have all the ingredients on hand. Vegan baking is tricky because you often need things I don't generally have on hand. But this ingredient list was fairly simple - flour, soy milk, vinegar, sugar. I did have to make a substitution. For some reason, I was out of flour. I'm not sure how that happened, but I did have some spelt flour which work ok.

I'm a dork, I know, but I had mixed up the batter and THEN realized I didn't have cupcake wrappers. I figured I'd be ok and just grease and flour the pan. I don't think that was the result of the failure.

They baked up just fine, no problems, and they looked delicious. Once they cooled, I popped one out to try. I didn't want to bring horrible goodies to a party! Yeah, I'm a bit sensitive about my cooking. I want people to fall to their knees while one of my tasty treats melt in their mouth. Didn't know if the cupcakes would hold up to that lofty standard.

I popped one out and this is what I found - the jelly sunk all the way to the bottom of the cup and left a puddle of jellied sugar. Aye me, a baking failure!! Now, I used homemade jelly, so that might be a problem, Maybe you need commercial goo to have it set up right. Some magical component in store-bought sweetness, I'm not sure. I did eat one, and they're a bit dry and mellow tasting. Not bad. Just not what I wanted.

I hate when I fail. *pouts*

Thursday, October 2, 2008

VeganMoFo - Veganomicon

I bought the Veganomicon (by Isa and Terry of PPK fame and the madwomen behind Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World) months ago, mostly because I liked the cover. Yeah, I'm swayed by the shiny. I'm made a couple dishes with some mixed results. My biggest con about the book is that its more food-to-impress, rather than food-for-a-Wednesday-night-when-you-just-want-something-quick-and-yummy. I do love the introduction section where they give you the basics of cooking every bean known to mankind. That's very handy.

I have made -

Acorn Squash and Black Bean Empanadas (pg. 55) - These were worth every single second of effort. The crust was very flavorful and light and flaky. It was just a little difficult to work with. It was much softer and wet that I had expected but was totally workable. I think I had wimpy jalapenos because there wasn't much of a kick to the filling. I froze some and they reheated VERY well (always a concern for me). I think I might actually make these this weekend and I might try the Sour Cilantro Cream (pg. 209).

White Bean Aioli (pg. 62) - I am hopelessly addicted. This comes together in no time at all, and it works perfect in a blender (here's a note, it gets much smoother and easier for the blender to handle once you add the garlic oil). I made this once with prechopped jarred garlic, and the garlic punch what not the same as with fresh.

Pineapple-Cashew-Quinoa Stir-Fry (pg. 175) - This was lovely. The pineapple chunks were a great addition and I would highly recommend you DON'T use canned pineapple. Just a warning, reheating this in the microwave at work, the pineapple goes lava and gets crazy hot. It says it serves 4, and I don't know who Isa and Terry are feeding but 4 servings of this were enough to feed linebackers.

Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions and Spice Pita Crisps (pg. 177) - In the charming little introductory paragraphs that goes with every recipe (which I love!) it says "Terry says she could live for months on the simple ans scrumptious meal of rice, lentils, and onions, and be assured she has damn well tried." And that is a spot on proclamation. I did do something a little different. I caramelized the onions on the stove top rather than in the oven. Yes, more time consuming and more hands on but I like the results better. Hm, I might have to make this over the weekend also. Oh I also did not make the Spiced Pita Crisps.

Pasta Della California (pg. 192) - This is a perfect light meal that is easily broken down into a single serving recipe. When you're cooking for one, anything with avocado doesn't do leftovers well so I broke the recipe into quarters. It calls for arugula, and I don't think I like arugula very much so if I do this one again, I think I'd go with just spinach.

Tofu Ricotta (pg. 206) - The directions don't tell you to press the tofu first and I highly recommend you do this or else its just too watery. It also calls for nutritional yeast and well, I don't think I like nutritional yeast. I think I'll try the Cashew Ricotta instead. This was not tasty.

Almesan (pg. 207) - The blurb says "...when your pasta needs a sprinkle of a little somethin' somethin'." And they are spot on with this. Almesan is awesome!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

VeganMoFo - The beginning!

In September, driving home from my parents house, I was alone with my own thoughts. My iPod decided to not turn on. I faced the 5 hour drive flittering thru country music stations or christian rock stations. I spent much of the trip sans music. This is where I hatched my Vegan Month idea.

I have a confession.

This vegan experiment really wasn't about heath, or economics, or the environment or even ethics.

I was driving along and thinking if the nearest grocery store to my house was open or not. This particular store is know for great bargins on staples but is horrible in the fresh food category. To thier credit, they do have a tasty brand of soy milk, but I don't shop there for much besides plastic sandwich baggies and frozen berries. So I started roaming the store in my head thinking of what I could pick up. This was the Ex's favorite shop. He was in love with thier packaged dinners and food products. And I do have to admit, they have some tasty things IF you're not concerned about your health and sodium intake. I was thinking of all the things I would cook for him that he purchased at this shop... breaded chicken breasts with cheese, shelf stable creamy salad dressings, wings, nachos.... instant mashed potatoes.



Now, I have a thing about mashed potaotes. I make 'em good, with tons of butter and roasted garlic and heavy cream. They are a vision of buttery goodness.

Over the course of our doomed relationship, I not only would make, but I would consume, instant mashed potatoes at least once a week. Double Ew. Instant Mashed potatoes aren't even a real food. It's a bunch of chemicals pretending to be food!!

So driving in that car, I can to the hazy realization that I had changed fundanmental things in my life for a man who cared so much about me that he spent 12 hours a day having phone sex with teenagers and married women.

Triple Ew.

Before I moved across the state to live with the Ex, I was mostly vegetarian. The only time I ate meat would be in chinese food 'cuz roast pork is the bomb (as the youths would say). I came to the conclusion that in order to reclaim my emotional and mental health, I had to go back to some of the fundamentals before the controlling-abusive-assy-wonder. Vegan eating seemed like a good place to start.

So here I am, a month sans animal produts under my belt and I'm feeling pretty good. I've decided to join VeganMo(nth of) Fo(od), which is a month of celebrating vegan food thru blogs. This is a good way to ease into the life and learn and grow. I'm not saying I'll never have blue cheese again, and a bbq rib might slip into the scene, but I feel that limiting animal product consumption is a good idea.

So let's get on with it!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Vegan Month Over!

I have gone an entire month without eating any animal products. I can't really believe I did it considering my butter addition. I haven't really missed meat at all. There's been a few times where I could have gone for BBQ ribs, but I did not induldge. Doesn't mean I won't in the future. I don't really have plans to go back to meat eating, however, cheese might be reincorporated. I tried some vegan cheese and I tossed it right out. I just got I think its called soy shreads. Its not bad, but its not cheese. Mostly I can live without milk and meat, but sometimes life is too short not to have cheesecake. But I think if I do decide to indludge, it will have to be for the good stuff - aged cheddar, creamy blue cheese, good pudding.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm starving

I'm starving and I don't know why. I stirfried carrots, turnips, spinach, onions with garlic, ginger and some rice, and topped it with a few fake meat strips. Then I had a brownie (more on this later) a little pb&j and an apple. I shouldn't be hungry but I am. I am really craving creamy stuff, like mac and cheese. Warm and creamy. I have to find a creamy subsitute. Hard to do that without milk and cream and butter.

On a good note, I think I've broken my butter addiction. I could go thru more than a pound of butter a week. Heck, I could bake deserts with butter and slather more on and poof a pound is gone in no time. I have bought vegan margine which is ok, a bit on the salty side I think, but ok.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I know I shall be shunned… but I had a brownie last night. Everyone else was eating tasty treats and there was absolutely nothing vegan on the menu save for salad. And c'mon, everyone's eating cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies, I'm not having a salad. So I had a brownie, and it was a serious disappointment. I wanted gooey chocolate. This was more like a dense cake. Tomorrow is the farmer's market in the town where I work. I really hope they have vegan brownies again!

My "no coffee" experiment was a complete failure. I'm only drinking 2 cups a day, so that is a good thing but I can't seem to quit meat and coffee at the same time. I have brought in soy milk and soy creamer for my coffee but I have been using the occasional coffeemate creamer. I figure the boatloads of chemicals counteracts the "sodium caseinate (a milk derivative - not a source of lactose)" that's listed on the ingredients list.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Spring Rolls ARE Vegan

I was strolling thru my local Barnes and Nobel this weekend. I spend far too much time in that joint. A nice tea and my iPod blocking out the riff raff and I could get lost there. One of my favorite things is to flip thru cook books. I know this is strange but I often read cook books like best sellers, from cover to cover. You learn a lot in cook books, not only technique, but interesting flavor pairings. Oh and one of the other rocking things about B&N is their bargain book section. I’ve found tons of super neat things there. So, with iPod a blasting and sans tea, I scooped up two vegetarian cook books from the bargain section and snuggled into a big chair. The cook books, titles forgotten, were a bit of a disappointment as most of the recipes I was interested in contained cheese. One had the most beautiful photography. I have a rule with buying cookbooks these days – there must be three recipes that I want to run out and make this second before I buy them. So I’m flipping thru these cook books, longing fondling the pages of creamy looking mac and cheese, when I spy a recipe for “Vietnamese Spring Rolls”. Since the book did not meet my three recipe criteria, I whipped out my handy note book and copied it down. Save for the rice paper wrappers, I had all the ingredients on hand or could easily obtain (carrots, tofu, rice vermicelli). I knew the rice paper rappers would be a challenge. This town is not hip to the wonders of international food. The “ethnic” section of the main supermarket I shop at is mostly Taco mixes. That is not my idea of ethnic. So Supermarket #1 did not have them. I decided to stop at the slightly upscale super market. They actually have an “Asian” section that’s more than La Choy noodles. And SCORE! They had rice paper wrappers! These suckers were so good, and fun to make. They just might have to become a staple in my vegan house.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Day 85 – Croissants are not Vegan

Oh the horror! Oh the humanity! The lofty Croissant is not vegan.

It’s sort of amusing that my brain is resistant to acknowledging that butter is an animal product. I adore butter – the creamy tastiness with a hint of salt and the richness it imparts to baked goods. Whew! That’s some good stuff. I could go thru sticks of butter at a time… So with these business meetings this week, I’ve been scanning the buffet tables like a vegan cyborg flipping to the basic ingredients list in my head.

Boop boop boop… processing

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZTTT – Milk product detected!

Woooo wooo woooo – Animal product free!


PPPPPFFFFT – Need more data

Doesnotcompute doesnotcompute doesnotcompute

I can pick out the possibility of hidden milk or eggs but I seem to have a total brain fart about the existence of butter. I mean butter is the main ingredient of croissants. You can’t have a croissant without butter. I can immediately discern that croissants do not contain eggs, but I miss the butter issue. So I walk into the kitchen and spy the lovely breakfast spread this morning. I pass by the sliver platter with the croissants on them on my way to the coffee pot, which is setting next to a tray of sausage and egg casserole, and mini muffins with pots of yogurts plopped here and there. As soon as I see the croissants I say to myself “well, I can’t have the muffins, the egg thing or the yogurt, but wow, croissants! They don’t have eggs in them, I’ll have one of those!” HELLO BRAIN what are you thinking. It didn’t even register until I got my coffee that croissants have butter. Thankfully, they also had a box of granola bars so I happily snagged some fruit and a granola bar (Every time I head to the kitchen, I scoop another bar into my pocket so that I have a mini stash. Shhh don’t tell)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Yet another day of pointless meetings at a once-grand-and-now-rundown hotel. And yet another day of vegan angst.

OK, let me say this first, I didn’t ask before hand about vegan food options so I really shouldn’t complain that there weren’t very many options for me. Remember, this was a whim decision? So no one at the office really knows about it. And I don’t want to make a fuss.

Today’s breakfast spread consisted of: Trix yogurt (I am not kidding, they served TRIX yogurt to the top VPs and Directors of a 100million dollar company), little plastic bowls of breakfast cereals, granola (for the Trix yogurt?), sad looking mini muffins, and watery fruit salad that obviously had been sitting around since the kitchen staff cut it last night. The fruit salad is the obvious vegan choice but I didn’t want to go there. Green tinged canatoupe swimming in mysterious fruit fluid is just a turn off. The muffins and the yogurt are out, so that left the cups of breakfast cereal. I could have made a fuss to see if they had soy milk but I decided to get in touch with my inner pre-schooler and munch on Cheerios straight from the box. It was kind of fun sitting thru boring financial projections while playing with my food.

I thankfully had a priority rush job and skipped the lunch at the hotel so I could indulge in yet another obento from home (I <3>

Dinner will have to be something quick and filling. I am meeting with friends at a coffee shop that has killer cheesecake and fluffy desserts. I was there last night and let me tell you, it was most difficult to walk away from the counter without a treat. Left me wondering if biscotti had eggs in it (I don’t think so) but it most certainly has butter.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 87 - No such thing as a quick bite

When I started this blog it was more about trying to amp myself up to get off my large rear and lose some weight. The past two weeks I sort of shifted to vegan topics. I decided to do this vegan month on a whim really. I didn’t have a plan, I just wanted to do it. I really wanted to focus on exercise and weight loss but I was Shanghaied by Auntie Flo and this work conference waylaying my plans for early morning work outs and evening power strolls. Next week, things will get back to the comfort of the rut and I’ll be better able to focus on those items. I think I just needed to take some time and investigate the different food options out there and not get too sucked into what I’ve called the “Cheese Doodle Vegetarianism” mentality (would that be “Potato Chip Vegan”?). I’ve know many people over the years who would call themselves vegetarian but survive on meals of Blue Box Mac and Cheese topped off with some Ben and Jerry’s and Cheese Doodles. All technically vegetarian foods, however, not exactly picture perfect health wise. One thing I have noticed about forgoing animal products is that convenience food and “grabbing a quick bite” is very difficult. When I was vegetarian and in a rush, yogurt was always my friend. Its fairly health, moderate in calorie count, not a bad choice. Now they have little packages of cheese and crackers in convenience stores, also not a terrible choice. You could even pop a donut or Danish or muffin in your bag and call it a meal. Not eating eggs, butter or milk makes that exceptionally difficult. I’m pretty much assuming that every baked good, save for straight up bread and bagels will have either butter or eggs in it. So if you’re not eating at home and have a freezer full of read to go treats, you are pretty much screwed. Even if you want a quick dinner before heading out to evening activities (like tonight, I’ll have just under an hour to walk the dog, relax and have a bite) if you don’t have stuff good to go, you might go hungry

So what are vegan quickie food options? (if any pro-vegan can help this amateur with ideas, let me know!)

Dump some leaves on a plate, splash on some vinaigrette and you’re good to go right? That’s certainly a quick option if you’re not chopping ingredients. I have some concerns about falling in to the ease of the salad bowl. While a nice salad can be a dieters friend, its not exactly up there on the nutritional level. No protein. Its all fiber and some minerals. Salads should be a frequent guest star on your table, but not the featured actor. Oh yeah, and while salad might be easy to toss on your plate, you do kind of need a plate and some time, not a food for eating on the go.

I adore hummus, but as we all know, its tres high in the fat content. And again, you can’t live off hummus alone.

Veggie Burgers.
I like veggie burgers. They’re quick, tasty albeit a bit dry. They were my go to option back in the vegetarian days. I’m sure most brands are vegan, but I haven’t looked to make sure. OH Garden Burger has these “Veggie Ribblets” that were quite tasty tho pricy at like 4 bucks for two servings, but they did a pretty good job of easing the need for BBQ when I started this adventure. And Boca has these meatless Italian sausage that are not bad.

I think I might have to do a cooking marathon this weekend, some muffins, bread, some beans or something and have a good stash of freezer items so I don’t have to look dejected into a bowl of cereal every night.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day 88 - I survived the test

We have a week of conferences at work which of course means food fit for Roman orgies. I don't know why business equals crazy amounts of food. I was very concerned about this vegan thing when I showed up just after lunch the first day (I had to be in the office so it way Obento Joy for me on Monday!). I peer over the scraps of the buffet they set up and it was all cold cuts and cheese. The only veggies in sight were the flaccid lettuce scraps on the meat tray and waxy looking tomatoes. NOTE - Tomatoes are NOT a favorite food. OH and there were giant bowls of potato and macroni salad. Belch. The other end of the table was laden with 5 perky looking cheese cakes. Cheese cake is probably one of my favoirte desserts. Looking over this animal product minefield, I was very concerned about the next two days of lunchs I'd have to eat here. I got to the meeting late and the breakfast spread was still layed out... breakfast cereals (would have to check the labels), yogurts (nope), fruit (sad looking but could do), bagles with creamcheese, butter and jelly (safe if I stick to the butter), and trays of pastries (OMG no). I had a bit of bagel and tried the jelly, but wasn't grooving on the jelly. Lunch was in the hotel resturant. 5 hot dishes, grilled chicken, fried chicken, some beef dish, Penne Vodka (cream sauce is sadly not vegan), and some whole grain looking pilaf that said "VEG" on the little hand writted tag. Scoped some of that and it was fairly tasty, if a bit flat, could have used more seasoning. There was a "veg" soup that was tasty, and then the iceburg salad bar (go chick peas). Now, I'm taking it on faith that "veg" was actually vegetarian and I'm hoping vegan as I didn't see any obvious evidence of cheese, but who knows about the butter usage. All in all, a safe and hopefully vegan lunch.

Then there was the coffee break. Of course only cream for the coffee. That's a serious disappointment...

Side bar - I was out and about over the weekend and desperatly wanted coffee. There are few things as tasty and comforting as a large coffee light and sweet. I pulled into duncan donuts and then realized, I had never heard of DD using soy milk. Slighty dejected I pulled out and went home to make a soy latte.

So no coffee with the coffee break, tea instead. Then I spied the devil itself - cookies. Saucer sized plump chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chip, which chocolate chip and peanut butter. Quick scan of the ingredient list in my head for cookies and they would certainly not be vegan. Ok they could have been made with shortening, but I doubt it. They had the look of butter about them. So I resisted. Not even tempted really.

So I survived a business lunch.

My monthly tech meeting-cum-wing-and-pizza fest will be super tough. I scanned our prefered resturant's menu and I'm pretty sure everything has meat, cheese or butter in it. I'll either have to order a salad (sans cheese) or bring something from home. Le sigh. I'm tough, I can resist the pizza.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Day 92 - Whipped cream is not vegan

Again with the freaking non-vegan baked goods?
Hot apple crumble with fresh whipped cream in the office kitchen. We start work here at 8am, so someone was up before 6, I’m presuming, making the apple crumble. I can pass the crumble by. Apple desserts are not my all-time favoritest. However, I did win a blue ribbon for my apple bars. But whipped cream is a tough one for me. I’ve been racking my brains to think of a vegan substitute. This might be one of those things that I have as a non vegan treat from time to time.

You know, when you start thinking about something, the topic seems to follow you everywhere. Like if you start thinking you want to buy a VW Beetle, you suddenly see them all over town. Well, vegan topics are coming up everywhere. I read a couple of blogs a day on something vegan or vegetarian or how meat consumption is just bad for you and the environment. And now Macrobiotics are starting to pop up.

Macrobiotic eating is more of a philosophy than anything else and while its interesting to read about, I don’t know if I really have the bandwidth to go “wholehog”. Losing weight and doing the vegan thing really take up enough of my brain power that I don’t have much room for anything else. Macrobiotics is like full contact eating and cooking and honestly, I just don’t have the room in my life to go that crazy.

I was up a little after 6:30 this morning (and I was NOT baking apple crisp). The pupster had some ants in her pants apparently and using my tummy as a spring board. Yes, I did go to bed earlier because I was exhausted and yes, I did want to wake up earlier, but NOT because a fussy puppy was tapdancing on my guts.

I managed to slap on my sneakers and go for a leisurely mile walk. I need to kick this whole exercise thing up a few hundred notches. The period thing waylaid me this week but I’ll bounce right back this weekend. I might even hit the gym (gasp).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Day 93 - Vegan Brownies YAY

All hail the farmers market

The town where I work has a little “farmers’ market” on Thursdays. I say “farmers’” with those “air quote” because there are only a couple veggie stands and the rest are crappy crafts. I try and pop in and pick up veggies, but by Thursdays my brain is mush and I often forget. But I went today, and there was a stall selling Vegan BROWNIES. Huge squishy black brownies. I bought two and they were good. Actually I think I have a bit of a brownie-hangover. But that’s ok, it totally hit the spot. I should have snagged a business card. The “farmers’” market might be done with for the season. Good thing because I’m not sure the diet plan will work with a standing supply of vegan brownies.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day 94 – Auntie Flo and Candy Bagels

OK. I lied

It is that time of the month.

Apparently I don’t know how to use a calendar correctly. I always seem to start a weight loss adventure just before I get my period. Not a smart move. On top of the normal bloated weight gain, there’s the crappy feeling that makes you not want to exercise and the crappy feeling that makes you want to eat everything in site. And then there is that generally crappy feeling. So I’m all fired up for a few days, then blindsided by my uterus and fuck up royally and eat half a cheesecake and figure since I already fucked up and I’m feeling crappy because my uterus is attacking so I might as well eat the other half of the cheesecake and wash it down with a couple pints of ice cream. This vegan thing puts a serious cramp in that plan. I can’t really think of a single comfort food that is vegan. I suppose I can make vegan frosting which is really just shortening and sugar, but I need the cake to go with it. Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World will have to join my library.

The Bagel Fairy switched it up and brought in donuts today. (I was listening to a clip on NPR last night where they were doing a story on bagels, or was it donuts, where a child referred to donuts as “candy bagels”. How awesome is that). I’m happy to report; I was not tempted in the least to scarf up a candy bagel. I don’t know what donuts are made off, but I’m presuming that they have at least eggs in the batter, probably milk too.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Day 95 – Where for art thou chocolate


I’m kind of tired, and I’m kind of grouchy. I was ready for bed at like 9:30 last night but of course I found something to entertain myself with and didn’t go to be till well after midnight. Which of course means I got up late. I did manage to have a hemp shake for breakfast. I really need to get on an earlier sleep schedule. I’m all out of it.

I’m not a super fan of drinking my calories. I did a Slimfast stint once. Protein shakes do have their place however. I like the Kashi shake mix but haven’t been able to find that lately. I have a gianormous bottle of rice protein powder. It has a bit of a chalky aftertaste that I don’t really enjoy. I’ve tried using it to up the protein of things like oatmeal and muffins and have been very disappointed by the results. But then I found this hemp shake by Nutiva. Not only does it have a nice high dose of protein, it is fiberlicious.


Goodness me, I could kill for some chocolate right now. Creamy, melt in your mouth milk chocolate. But alas, milk chocolate is not vegan.


Note to self: Decaf coffee with soy creamer does not satisfy chocolate cravings.


Yeah, Still want the chocolates.


No it is not that time of the month

Monday, September 8, 2008

Challenge: Coffee

This week’s challenge is cutting back the stupid amounts of coffee I drink. The office has free coffee, hot cocoa and Lipton’s tea. Cause it’s free, and an excuse to get away from my desk, I make lots of trips to the coffee pot. The kicker is – The office coffee sucks. It is terrible coffee, perhaps a step up from the “Bodega Bricks” (you NYers know what I’m talking about). I do love coffee, but I just don’t love this crap. Maybe it’s the distraction aspect that is fueling the addition at the moment. But this week, I’m going to start cutting back. I had 4 cups today. Tomorrow we’ll do 2. Wednesday 1 cup and hopefully I can switch over to tea completely and enjoy lattes with soy milk as a dessert type treat. Axing the coffee will certainly save a good handful of calories a day (I’m a “light and sweet” kind of girl).

Oh yah. There will probably be a hate-filled-coffee-free-cranky rant this week. I’m a junkie, what can I say.

Day 96 - Blast you baked goods!!

I work in a strange office. Think “science geek” meets “happy homemaker”. I live in a “rural city” – a city of 60K or so plopped right in the middle of farm country. You drive 10 minutes and you find cornfields and cows. Thankfully we have the ‘inner city’ area where proper white folks fear to tread, so you know we’re keeping it real. A good portion of the women who work here are your classic small town/home maker types who throw Tupperware parties and scrapbook. I’m NOT at all speaking down on these women, they are lovely and delightful, and they cook a mean streak. Almost every Monday, you’ll walk in and counter in the kitchen is festooned with baked goods, left over for the weekend baking madness. Peanut butter pie, cookies, breads, muffins, bagels, you name it. It doesn’t even have to be super yummy. Any item will disappear in minutes. I’m sure I could bake crayons into muffins and the boys would rave. Geek boys always seem to appreciate the free food.

So I walk in today, and lo-and-behold, there is a bucket of home grown tomatoes and a banana bread and a pumpkin cake. I filled my coffee cup and picked up the knife, as I have almost every day the Baked Goods Fairy came to visit… Just as the knife was descending, the rolodex in my sans-coffee brain finally flipped to “Banana Bread” and with a mental “Whoa Nellie!” I put the knife down. Sadly, banana bread and pumpkin cake at the very least contain eggs (NOT vegan), milk (NOPE), and butter (oh how I love you non-vegan butter). I was able to walk away without even a pang of sadness or regret.

I was able to wake up this morning with just enough time to eat a bowl of cereal. I want to try and wake up even earlier and get in a quick mile jaunt before work. Not impossible, but will take a little dedication to get up a half hour earlier. I’m just not grooving on the mornings right now much perfering to stay all cuddled up.

For lunch today, I brought an obento (but I think I forgot my chopsticks!), with brown rice, the mini tofu burgers and tofu shumai. Here’s a lesson in having the proper tools for the job. I don’t have a steamer basket so I decided to do the “pan steam” that you would when you make gyoza. The shumai came out fine with crispy bottoms, but steaming would have been better. Oh and there’s some broccoli in there too. I have enough tofu burgers and shumai for 2 maybe 3 lunches this week, but I have TONS of shumai skins left over so I just might make a bunch and freeze them.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Day 97 - Limited options

"7 Sep 2008, 12:49 PM
Distance: 2.13 mi
Time: 38:38
Pace: 18:05 min/mi
Calories: 398"

All hail the mighty Nike+. If you have an iPod Nano, which I do, and a special pair of Nike sneakers, you can get this little device in your shoe that speaks to a plug-in to your Nano and it will record your runs or walks. You press a button and the Nano speaks to you, tell you your distance, pace, all that nerdy nonsense. I find that if I don't have a goal of some sort set, I'll just poop out before I'm done. I'm lazy apparently.

So I took this jaunt to the closet market and was fairly appalled that much choices of food were so slim. This particular store is heavy on its own line of packaged food, and pretty much everything I picked up had milk or dairy of some sort in it. Its not hard to watch what you eat when you can eat very little. I'm not unhappy with my month long Vegan experiment. I think its a good decision but it will not be easy. It will certainly help me kick the vending machine habit at work. There isn't a healthy item in that thing. I think even the token packages of peanuts have M&M like candies in it. Oh yeah, and I made a horrible realization that "Milk" Chocolate, has milk in it. OH the humanity. I'm going to have to find another chocolate source!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Day 98 - Soy cheese? Meh? White Chocolate Peanut Butter? Heaven!

So yesterday, aside from the butter flop, was a good day. I have my vegan bento for lunch. Super duper tasty. It was brown rice with Mini Mediterranean Tofu Burgers and some broccoli. I over cooked the broccoli slightly but the rice was perfect and the Tofu Burgers were super yummy. Do try they!

Lunch was so filling, I didn't even think about dinner until about 9pm. I wasn't in the mood for anything, and I certainly did not want to cook last night. I had about cup of All Brand with a little bit of sugar and just enough soy milk (vanilla of course) for it to get moist. I know, it's kind of freaky, but I like the healthy crunchy fiber cereals. With a hint of sugar, it's like ginger snaps or animal crackers, just good for you. SparkPeople says I had about 900 calories yesterday. Yah, not so good but I just wasn't hungry.

Today, I slept in a bit and then made a plan for food for the week. I'm going to try a few things out of Veganomicon. I made the "Almesan". Its supposed to be a spinkle when your dish needs somethin' somethin'. I guess it's supposed to resemble parmesan. It's just almonds and lemon zest. I was doubtful that it would be good, but it's mighty tasty and does add that somethin' somethin'. I'm going to make Pasta Della California for dinner this week. I can break the recipie into single serving portions and won't take longer than 20 minutes to make.

I disovered So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt. Really good. I wandered around the supermarket and well, going vegan certainly cuts down your options. Almost every processed food has a milk, cheese or meat product in it. Pankcake mix, Doritos, yeah, all that stuff is pretty much off the table now. Not that I'm complining really. Doritos are a self-indulgent treat that I don't need.

I did however find something that could possibly change my life forever. "White Chocolate Wonderful". This is a Peanut Butter blend by Peanut Butter & Co. "Peanut butter blended with sweet white chocoate". It has 180 calories for 2 tablespoons, about on par with regular peanut butter. It's like all the good parts of a peanut butter cup with out the milk. So yes, it is vegan. I will have to limit the number of times my spoon dips in, but it will be good to have on hand when I need that kick of sweet

Again today, I didn't eat very much, the Yogurt, a pear, and then I made pizza. I used Cook's Country's skillet pizza recipe which makes a crispy thin crust pizza. I made it with fresh tomatoes, basil, soy cheese and soy peperoni. Soy cheese? Meh. It wasn't terrible, but I could have just had the pizza without it. I have stuff to make more pizza but I'll probably skip the soy cheese and pepperoni. It just didn't add anything to the experience. I did sprikle on some Almesan which upped the flavor. I might try some tofu ricotta and pesto soon.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Day 99 - Be Prepared!

Yah, I know, “butter” is not “vegan”.

And here I learn the first lesson in managing a slightly finicky food philosophy – Be Prepared! I can here my Girl Scout Leaders voice echoing in my head.

You see, my morning sort of went like this – Turn my face to the cool breeze of my fan, while snuggled under blankies when I become faintly aware of a buzzin in the background, not to realize that buzzin is my BACKUP alarm that’s been going off for 20 minutes. Those lovely cool breezes generated by my huge fan that sits right next to my head generates a hefty dose of “white noise” that blocked out my alarm. Yeah, that’s the ticket, white noise (air quotes) and not the fact I didn’t go to bed till 1am.

So in a mild frenzy, I showered, dressed, walked Monster and headed out the door, ducking back in to get my obento, getting to the end of the driveway before heading back for my work ID and then getting to the end of the block before having to go back for my iPod.

Yah, so see, it was THAT kind of morning… which means, sadly… no breakfast.

I am headoverheels for Kashi’s GoLean. I love the stuff. I easily eat it for desert like snacks, and lordy, the fiber and protein in those little pellets and twigs is glorious. Monster agrees that the twigs are super tasty. But on a THAT kind of morning, tasty twigs do not even hit my radar.

I was lucky (or unlucky depending on your opinion) that the Bagel Fairy visited work this morning. I grab my ‘joe (one does not consider giving up caffeine on THAT kind of morning) and popped a bagel in the toaster. Sadly, it was not till I had finished the first slice that the following thought train made it into my foggy brain station:

Hmmmm bagels
Onion bagels
Onion breath
NOT vegan

Yah, as I said, I know butter is not vegan. I however made up for that with a tasty vegan bento.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Monthly Experiment = No meat, no dairy, no processed foods

I’m going to have a Monthly Experiment, and a Weekly Challenge. I need to keep this entertaining, for one, but I also need very short and small goals to strive for so that I feel like I’m making progress on something, anything.

I think weight loss and getting fit is 80% experimentation. You need to learn what works for you and what will sending you crashing into a bowl of guacamole faster than you can scream “Butter! STAT!”. For some people, things like Jenny Craig work very well – you just pick a box and you don’t have to worry about mashing together a healthy meal on your own. Slimfast is good if you don’t mind drinking your meals. Weight Watchers can work if you like group therapy and counting. I know some things that don’t work for me. I get board with eating the same thing, which leads me to be lazy which leads me to not want to cook, which leads me to eat out, which leads me to “well, I already fucked up so what difference does a pint of ice cream make.”

So I’m going to experiment with different things to play up my strengths and downplay my weaknesses.

September’s experiment is Vegan.
My carnivore habits have flip-flopped all over the spectrum. I can remember not liking steak as a child because it was squishy. I quickly conquered that phobia (although texture and “mouthfeel” are still very important to me) to be your classic suburban meat-and-potatoes kind of gal. Then I went overseas and rarely eat beef, but inhaled as much pork and fish as was possible. Then I went from being mostly a vegetarian (exceptions were made for bacon, because, c’mon, it’s bacon, can you blame me?) to doing the Atkins program. I did lose 40lbs fairly quickly but of course put it back on when my old lover, the Baguette, came back into my life. I was mostly vegetarian, eating very little chicken and some shrimp (and of course the bacon) until I moved in with the Ex.

Now, I know I just said in the above post that I wasn’t going to Ex-bash, and this is no way meant to be an excuse, but the Ex totally fucked with my food habits. Yeah, I was present, I let it happen, I let his food preferences and this pathetic need to appease and please him shift my fundamental ideas about food and eating. For god sakes, I bought, made and consumed INSTANT MASHED POTATOES! I’m a food snob when it comes to my potatoes. I’ll bring my own bag of spuds to family events rather than risk the instant nonsense. The Ex’s diet consisted of almost all processed foods from frozen burritos’ to pizza. This is what he shopped for, what he bought, and what he ate. Perhaps he’s trying to embalm himself with preservatives before death. Anyhooo, lost in this sea of processed crap, the weight piled on and on and on.

I also realized the other day that I ate because I felt empty. He made me feel so alone and empty that only food gave me that false sense of fullness. Now mind you, I didn’t realize that’s what was going on because I snowed myself into believing the myth of the happily-ever-after with this nutjob.

This “empty” realization was the first kick in the ass to move me forward. The second, yes I know this is still Ex related, was that I allowed myself to fundamentally change core beliefs and behavior patters to please this meathead. I let him stomp out and kill the bubbly, vivacious part of myself. And it is high time I claimed that all back. I was mostly vegetarian before I met him, it is time to go back to the motherland.

“Vegan cleanse” programs are all the rage right now thanks to the Oprah influence. To be honest, I’m not really opposed to the raising and consumption of animals. I like leather, and don’t see myself giving up leather shoes and accessories anytime soon. Yes, I know that is very selfish that I would let animals suffer for my shoes, but that’s where I am right now. However, I’m not finding meat very tasty right now. I’ve had terrible run-ins with “enhanced” meat products that have been soaked in or injected with saline solutions to plump them and make them tastier (well, tastier to someone I guess). I cooked some enhanced chicken breasts and it gritty like saw dust in my mouth. I don’t eat a ton of meat right now, so that will not be difficult to forge.

Dairy will be tricky.

I -heart- cheese. And cream, and butter. Oh butter. I could literally eat it with a spoon. Butter does almost any food good. I don’t know if I can give up dairy for life, a month will be a challenge. I’ll introduce it back and then decide if the love affair will continue. I just have to keep reminding myself that the main function of diary is to make a calf gain 250lbs in a year. YIKES.

So no dairy, no meat, no processed foods in September. After a few days I might be brave enough to include coffee in that, but I’m not quite ready to go there yet.

Day 100 - September 4, 2008

The Rules:

I don’t care if you feel like crap and you hate everything in this world, your hamster died and your best friend is sleeping with your husband, negative words will not come out of your mouth. From this day forward you will not utter bad things about your self, ever. I mean EVER. Play goodcop/badcop with yourself if you must and make sure the good cop wins! Even if it feels like a lie, counter each negative with a positive.

248lbs – 50 to go!

And so it begins.

I am sick and tired of being fat and lazy. Weight has been a battle all my life. My heaviest was 274lbs stretching my size 24s. I took off 75lbs, only to put 60 back on after a break up (cliché, I know, but I think we are all allowed a cliché now and then). I’m done with it. I’m done with a life that includes a family size bag of chips as an after dinner snack while glued to a television. Now that’s a cliché I will happily give up.

Fitness, dieting and weight loss has been something I’ve read about for years. I have tons of diet books (yes, we are all desperate for the magic bullet to the firm bum). I’ve tried a lot of different things, from Atkins to SlimFast. And as god is my witness, the only thing that has kept me from anorexia is my foodie/gourmet obsession, and the only thing that has kept me from bulimia is the fact that I can’t physically make myself throw up.

After walking out of the Ex’s house, I started Weight Watchers. That worked for a bit but I couldn't see the sense in paying someone $10 a week to step on the scale. People claim its the accountability that helps keep them focused. Well, That didn't work so much for me. The program is too generalized. It doesn't speak exactly to the issues I need addressed.

I flip through diet books and fitness websites constantly hoping that on the very next page I'll find the exact words, the exact program that will magically make this simple as pie. But that's not going to happen. So, that's when I came up with the idea for 50in100. Since I can't find the motivational diet book that I really need, I'm going to have to write it. Since I can't find the external motivation, I'll have to provide it myself. This will be part how-to, part memoir and hopefully with contain very little Ex-bashing.